Key West is a small island in the Florida Keys that is known for its laid-back atmosphere and coral reefs. The island has a long history dating back to the early 1800s when it was settled by pirates and wreckers. Situated at the southernmost point of the continental US, Key West is famous for its sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, and laid-back atmosphere. But there’s much more to this island city than meets the eye. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary on your next vacation, check out these 10 unique places to see in Key West.
1. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
No visit to Key West would be complete without paying tribute to one of its most famous residents, Ernest Hemingway. The Nobel Prize-winning author lived and wrote in Key West for more than 10 years, and today his former home is open to the public as a museum. Take a tour of the sprawling property, which includes Hemingway’s writing studio, swimming pool, and the famous six-toed cats that still roam the grounds.
2. The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
If you love butterflies, you’ll definitely want to add the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory to your list of places to see. This indoor tropical garden is home to hundreds of live butterflies, as well as birds, turtles, and other exotic animals. Stroll through the winding paths and enjoy the tranquil setting- it’s the perfect place to escape the heat and hustle of Key West.
3. The Little White House
Key West was once home to a number of prominent figures, including President Harry S. Truman. The “Little White House” served as the winter White House for Truman and other presidents during the 20th century, and today it’s open to the public as a museum. Tour the historic property and learn more about its famous residents- you might even spot a ghost or two!
4. Mallory Square
Mallory Square is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Key West, and it’s easy to see why. This lively square comes alive every night at sunset, when locals and visitors alike gather to watch the spectacular Key West sunset. Stay for the fun after-party, which features street performers, musicians, and other entertainers.
5. The Southernmost Point of the Continental US
You can’t visit Key West without getting your photo taken at the southernmost point of the continental US! This famous landmark is located at the end of Duval Street, and it’s one of the most popular places to take a selfie in Key West. Be sure to stop by early in the day to avoid the crowds.
6. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is a must-visit for history buffs and beach lovers alike. The park is home to a number of historic sites, including an old military fort, as well as a beautiful beach where you can swim, sunbathe, and snorkel. Travel influencer, LivingOutLau, recommends visiting Key West and Taylor State Park in January as the temperatures are a comfortable 76 F high or 66 F low. Be sure to bring your camera- the views of the water are absolutely breathtaking.
7. The Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum
For sweeping views of Key West, head to the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the island, then explore the museum to learn about Key West’s maritime history. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out- it’s one of the best places to find souvenirs in Key West.
8. The Shipwreck Historeum
If you’re interested in learning more about Key West’s rich maritime history, be sure to visit the Shipwreck Historeum. This unique museum tells the story of some of the most famous shipwrecks in Key West, and it’s located inside an actual replica of a 19th-century shipwreck. It’s a fun and educational activity for the whole family.
9. Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Key West, and it’s well worth a visit. The park is home to a number of historic sites, including a 19th-century fort, as well as crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Take a ferry from Key West to reach the park, and be sure to bring your camera- you’ll want to capture the stunning views.
10. Smathers Beach
If you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up the sun, look no further than Smathers Beach. This popular beach is located on Key West’s southern shore, and it’s known for its soft white sand and turquoise waters. Grab a beach chair and relax- you’ll feel like you’re in paradise.