KEY WEST

Key West, the southernmost point in the United States, is famous for watersports, lively nightlife, beaches, historic sites and its pastel, conch-style architechture.

 

Duval Street, one of the most energetic strips of shops, bars and cafes anywhere, offers Sloppy Joe’s bar, a favorite Key West hangout of novelist Ernest Hemingway.

 

And, for the more sober-minded, there's Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. (Look for the celebrated six-toed cats).

 

Walking tours of Key West are the best way to see the island's intriguing homes, courtyards and gardens. Start in the center of town at the Key West City Cemetery, which offers a glimpse of Key West's past and its offbeat sense of humor, as exhibited by gravestones that read, "I told you I was sick," and "At least I know where he's sleeping tonight."

CLOSE TO PERFECT FAR FROM NORMAL

Palm-lined streets with gingerbread mansions and tin-roofed conch houses were home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost and Jimmy Buffett, a few of the famous people who discovered solace and inspiration in the island city whose Bahamian and Cuban heritage in large part was inspired by Bahamian wreckers, commercial fishermen, spongers and Cuban cigar makers.

COMMUNITY & CULTURAL HERITAGE

African cultural heritage is celebrated in the historic churches, indigenous food and annual festivals held in the Bahama Village neighborhood, founded in the early 1800s by Africans migrating from the Bahamas, and frequented by Ernest Hemingway during the 1930s to watch boxing matches. Significant cultural sites include an 1860 African Burial Ground, located on the island's Atlantic Ocean shore beside a Civil War-era fort, believed by experts to be America's only African refugee cemetery.

 

ONE HUMAN FAMILY is the official philosophy of the modern island community of Key West and the Florida Keys; a simple warm-hearted motto that is a shining example of a vibrant gay and lesbian community, and one that is openly shared with global neighbors.

Parties of historic proportions

Running north to south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, Duval Street is the epicenter of Key West’s famous party atmosphere. The thoroughfare was named in honor of William Pope Duval, the first territorial governor of Florida. This mile-long stretch of pavement draws millions of visitors from around the world who want to experience the legendary lifestyle of the Conch Republic. Whether you want to find a souvenir to bring home, grab a quick bite to eat during the day or kickback with a cocktail at sunset, “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and Duval Street is the place to be.