1. Duval Street
Not your average street, Duval Street is one of the few places in the world that touches two bodies of water. At its northern end, which is frequented by tourists and cruise ship passengers, Duval Street meets the warm Gulf of Mexico. At the south end, near the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States, marked by an oversized buoy that attracts photos around the clock, Duval Street spills into the bright blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
This street is home to a vibrant collection of hole-in-the-wall bars, historic haunts, funky shops, art galleries, outdoor cafés, restaurants and plenty of places to people watch.
2. Southmost Point
The Southernmost Point in the Continental United States! The massive, brightly painted buoy that marks the Southernmost Point sits on land and is visited and photographed more than most buoys. It has the ability to attract people from around the world around the clock. Just watch. Even if you are thousands of miles away, you can experience being here with us. The Southernmost Webcam brings you the sunrises, sunsets, sunshine and storms. See the revelers, the trolleys, and the occasional rooster making a cameo.
From this point at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets, there are a mere 145 kms (90 miles) to Cuba. Erected in 1983 by the City of Key West, the Southernmost Point buoy is a landmark and a must see for any traveler to Key West.
3. Ernest Hemmingway Home & Museum
One of the attractions, this is a beautiful Spanish Colonial style mansion built in 1851. Ernest Hemingway and his wife Pauline first moved here in 1931 when Pauline’s rich uncle Gus bought the house for them. The house still features the Hemingways’ personal effects and unique European antiques they collected during their many trips. Hemingway brought the animal trophies and skins scattered around the house from his African safaris and hunting expeditions. Visiting the studio where Hemingway produced so many of his wonderful books is particularly exciting. It was in this studio that he wrote his novel about the Key West in the Great Depression "To Have and Have Not." Interestingly, the museum serves as a home to the numerous descendants of Hemingway’s six-toed cat.
4. Mallory Square
Located on Wall Street in Key West’s historic Old Town, Mallory Square is a waterfront plaza just west of Duval Street. The square faces west towards the Gulf of Mexico, and because of this convenient location, watching the Sun setting is one of the most popular things to see and do in Key West.
Every evening about two hours before the sun begins to set, hundreds of tourists gather here to watch the beautiful sunset and to enjoy exhibits of arts and crafts, taste what the food vendors have to offer, and see street performers like clowns, jugglers, magicians, and local musicians. This tradition began in the 1960s, and the fun parties for which the area is famous still take place every day.
5. Dry Tortugas National Park
For history buffs, a visit to Dry Tortugas National Park with its spectacular 19th Century Fort Jefferson is a must. The park, which consists mostly of water and seven small islands, is located about 70 miles from Key West. It lies in magnificent blue waters surrounded by a variety of healthy coral reefs and diverse marine life. There is also a large colony of migratory and tropical birds.
You can get to the park using a chartered boat, a seaplane, or the ferry. Enjoy the 45-minutes guided tour of the Fort to learn about its history or take a walk along the moat for a spectacular view of the surrounding reefs and sea life. Snorkeling and swimming, available in designated areas, are thrilling activities in which you can participate.
6. Harry S Truman Little White House
This house started its life in 1890 as the headquarters of the command of the naval station during the Spanish-American War. It served the same function during both world wars. In 1946, the building became President Harry S. Truman’s winter White House. Later presidents used it as a place to rest and unwind, particularly during tense situations like the Cold War. While the house is still used by the country’s leaders as a retreat and a business venue, it is also a museum open to the public.
The museum’s official trip logs are interesting documents to investigate, as they mention such details as the dates of President Truman’s visits, the individuals he met, and other interesting information related to the 11 trips he took to Key West. Guided tours provide more information about the presidency of Harry S. Truman, the Cold War era, and the Key West Naval History.
7. Oldest House
The Oldest House in South Florida, built in 1829, is located at 322 Duval Street in Key West. The house and garden admission is $5.00 per person, children under 12 are free. Open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm every day except Sunday and Wednesday. Staff and docents are available to provide historical information about the house and family, and to answer questions. The house features family portraits and original furnishings, as well as other period pieces, ship models, and documents telling the story of old Key West. In the rear of the house is a spacious, peaceful garden, where benches invite you to sit and reflect. There, you will see the only surviving Cook House in South Florida.
8. Key West Aquarium
Located on Whitehead Street adjacent to popular Mallory Square, the Key West Aquarium was built between 1932 and 1934. Originally built as an open air aquarium, it is the only public aquarium in Key West and is one of the oldest aquariums in Florida. Some of the aquarium’s exhibits include the American Alligator Exhibit, the Atlantic Shores Exhibit, and the Jellyfish Exhibit.
The aquarium offers several educational programs such as Touch Tank/Aquarium History, Sea Turtles Conservation Tour, and Shark and Stingray Interactive Feedings. The aquarium offers regularly scheduled tours as well as group tours.
9. Conch Tour Train
See the best on the train tour that has been entertaining visitors to the island city of Key West, Florida since 1958. The Conch Train is one of Florida's most popular attractions. The tour of Key West will give you a conch's eye view of all the wonderful Key West attractions
10. Shipwreck Treasure Museum
At the Key West Shipwreck Museum you will step back into time as you discover Key West’s unique maritime heritage and how it became the richest city in the United States. The museum combines actors, films and the actual artifacts from the 1985 rediscovery of the wrecked vessel Isaac Allerton, which sank in 1856 on the treacherous Florida Keys reef.
Join master wrecker Asa Tift and his wrecking crew as he tells you the story of how this unusual industry provided for the livelihoods of the early pioneers of Key West. You will also be invited to climb the 20 meter (65 foot) lookout tower.
11. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Located on Truman Annex near the southern tip of Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a popular park and beach that offers many activities. Also known as Fort Taylor or Fort Zach to the locals, it is a Florida State Park that is listed as a U.S. National Historic Landmark because of its Civil War-era fort. There are several special events that take place in the park, including Civil War reenactments that last for a week. Considered to be one of the best beaches in Key West, the park also offers beach equipment like chairs and water sports equipment such as snorkel gear and floats. There are several places to eat throughout the park.
12. Historic Seaport at Key West Bight
The Key West Historic Seaport and Harbor Walk is a popular tourist destination located on Key West Bight Marina. It is home to many activities, attractions, restaurants, and shops. The historic seaport, also known as the Inner Harbor or as Key West Bight, has been the thriving center of Key West’s cultural and economic life for nearly 200 years. Fishing boats and coastal shipping boats used the seaport until the early 1990s.
Today, visitors can walk along Harbor Walk where there are several waterfront restaurants serving fresh seafood. They can also enjoy dolphin watching, snorkeling, and scuba diving trips on catamarans, sailboats, and yachts. Jet skiing, kayaking, and parasailing are also quite popular.