Key West

key westKey West isn’t the only place in the Florida Keys that offers resorts, or sportfishing, or museums, historical attractions, fine dining, fabulous sunsets, galleries and bars, but it is the only place that offers allthese things in multiples, plus more, in one place. Key West is the most happening place in the Keys, it’s the most populated, the most visited, and has the most preserved historical buildings in the Florida Keys. For some, this is the only destination in the Keys, and for most, it’s at least one spot they hope to visit while on vacation, discovering the Florida Keys.

Key West is the only real city in the Florida Keys, and boasts famous resident writers, artists, and pirates throughout history. There are more galleries, restaurants, museums, shops, guest houses, hotels, watersports outfitters, bars, live entertainment, and general partying going on here than anywhere else in the Keys. There are beaches, parks, bicycle paths everywhere, every kind of watersport rental you can imagine, and of course the famous Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square each night, where everyone gathers to cheer the setting sun over the water. What a way to kick off the evening! There is a constant parade of events here, such as Fantasy Fest, Hemingway Days, Conch Republic Days and too many fishing to even list. There’s a communal party-like atmosphere on Duval Street, which is Key West’s main hub of activity. Cruise Duval for bars, shops, restaurants, galleries, ice cream, and other surprises to get your vacation started. There’s a lot of discovering to do right from Duval, and then explore the side streets of Old Town for beautiful Conch houses, the epitome of Key West architecture, and for which Key West is famous. You might even be staying in a historic conch house that now serves visitors as a guest house. There are dozens of them in Key West and you can’t miss them as you stroll down the streets off Duval.

Key West has a charm that’s unique to this special part of the Florida Keys, and indeed the Conch Republic, was born here, with the Florida Keys having seceded from the US in the early 1980s. The dispute was over border issues and Cuban immigrants, but things have settled down since those days, and today the Conch Republic is more of a fanciful quirkiness and symbol of civic pride rather than a serious attempt to separate from the United States.

Key West really isn’t like any other place in the US, for it has a unique combination of historical preservation and love of freewheeling fun and anything goes attitude that some people find refreshing and others find strangely unsettling. This is a fun-loving town, and there’s no better way to witness the wonderful strangeness of Key West than to visit during Fantasy Fest, the week leading up to Halloween. This is Key West at its best, with parades, costumes, floats, and parties all week long. Book early, since accommodations fill up early. This is a popular event!

From tours of historical conch houses, to trolley car rides around the city to top tourist attractions, from offshore Key West fishing charters to dive and snorkel excursions, from deluxe resorts to quirky guest houses, from Key Lime Pie ice cream to exquisite shrimp feasts, Key West has so much to offer to everyone who visits. Discover Key West and you’ll have the time of your life!

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