Key West, Florida.... There is so much to see and do on this island oasis, the Southernmost Point of the United States. What to choose? How to decide? S.O.S! We're here to give you a hand with just a few of the best things to make the most out of your 2 day vacation.
1. Visit the Southernmost Buoy
This is just one of the many free things to do in Key West. YES - fun can be free! The only thing that it will cost you is possibly some time waiting in line. The Key West buoy is one of the 10 most recognizable and photographed landmarks in the States. While it proclaims to be the southernmost point of the United States, that actual point sits just around the corner on the Naval Base. Unfortunately, that area is off limits to the general public, so the City of Key West designated this site to host the buoy and created this must do photo opportunity.
Photo Credit: Piqsels
Insiders tip? This should be the first stop of the day or very soon there after. #1 - The Lines. . . Everyone and their brother will eventually want to stop and get their photo taken there. The "early bird" will avoid the crowds and #2 - weather...you are actually in the Caribbean climate and it gets hot. In the summer months, afternoon humidity is usually in the upper 80's so, get there early to beat the line and tropical heat!
2. Hemingway Home and Lighthouse
Just down the road from the buoy is the Hemingway Home and the Key West Lighthouse. Two separate attractions but, since they're right across the street from each other why not do both!
As the name suggests, the home is the former residence of the world renowned author, Ernest Hemingway. He lived and wrote here for more than 10 years. There are guided tours about this storied, island legend; his life, loves and home. You'll also get to see some of the many 6-toed cats that he was so fond of and see the swimming pool. What's so interesting about the pool? At the time it was the only in-ground pool for over 100 miles and in the 1930's when it was built, cost over $20,000 to construct. No small feat as the 10' deep, 24' wide and 60' long pool had to be dug entirely by hand. in an island that is composed entirely of solid coral rock.
Photo Credit: Piqsels
Across the street is the Key West Lighthouse, constructed in the 1820's by the US Navy. It was decommissioned in 1969, as technology made its use obsolete. The lighthouse still stands and is now a museum. You can climb the 88 stairs to the top for one of the best views on the island!
3. The Key West Cemetery
The location of the current cemetery was established after the hurricane of 1846, washed out the previous one, near the West Martello Tower and Higgs Beach. The current location is the highest natural elevation on the island. There are maps available at the entrances that will guide you through the various sections and more notable and humorous headstones.
A wonderful, historical freebee on the island.... as long as you stay above ground. If you opt to stay permanently, it will cost you a pretty penny!
4. Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Remember before we'd mentioned Key Wests' tropical heat and humidity? Well, this is the stop you want to make in the afternoon. IT'S AIR CONDITIONED! Yes, step back in time and into the air conditioned comfort of this historical museum. Learn about the history of Key West and what helped make it the richest city, per capita, in the United States.
There's a short movie at the beginning of the tour that outlines much of what you'll see throughout the building. Once the movie ends, challenge yourself to climb the Wreckers Tower. At 90' tall, you can see where Key West's Wreckers would keep a watchful eye for ships that ventured too close to the island's coral reefs.
5. Mallory Square
Lastly on our top 5 things to do, is Mallory Square. While not really an attraction (although there are many wonderful things to do and see), it is certainly a MUST DO for any Key West visitor. The nightly Sunset Celebration brings out the wild and wacky of all Key West. Street performers and artisans of all walks of life, come to see and cheer the beautiful fireball in the sky, sink slowly into the horizon and the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Photo Credit: Piqsels
With fun & free ideas for stuff to do in Key West, all that's left to do is decide when you're going to visit and get your tickets on the Key West Express. You'll be living the island life, before you know it!