By Tamara Camden
Key West is a great escape for those who want to experience that island “ting”, but with the modern American conveniences. Key West is known for international tourism, to include the snowbirds from the Northern US & Canada, Europeans, Asians, and even Northern Floridians who want to leave the hustle of city life behind.
Although Key West is in the United States, it is often referred to as the “Conch Republic”, and the laid back attitude here makes you feel like you are in another country. Many Key Westers are known to be “quirky” and “friendly”, which makes up the charm of the city. Many artisans make their home here, and you’ll see delightfully painted bicycles, cars, and other island crafts around you. Key West is a pet-friendly town, too, and you’ll see chickens freely roam the streets.
Key West is the Southernmost city in the United States, and actually is closer to Cuba (90 miles), than it is to the Florida mainland. Key West is an island approximately 4 x 2 miles wide and is the last of the 100-mile-long chain of islands that connect all of the Florida Keys by bridges. There is only one road to and from Key West, (Highway US-1). This road travels from Key West up all the Florida Keys to the mainland to the city of Homestead, Florida.
The population of Key West is around 26,000 people, but the city average’s about 18,000 visitors daily. Key West has lovely historic homes in Old Town, and lovely pastel colored homes throughout the New Town area. Because of the limited availability of land and year-round sunny weather, real estate prices in Key West are some of the highest in the country.
Tourism is the primary business interest here. Downtown, Duval Street is world famous. Many tourists will experience the “Duval Crawl” by visiting the numerous souvenir shops, restaurants and bars located on this street.
Key West has more to offer than just bars. Take a tour on the famous “Conch Train.” This tour is a “MUST DO” if you want an overall view of the island, and to get tips on famous spots. The conductors are great at explaining the history of Key West.Key West Conch Tour Train Sightseeing Trips
Other attractions include the Ernest Hemingway House (where many live 6-toed cats reside); the Key West Aquarium, the Custom Art House, Mel Fisher’s Maritime Museum, the Shipwreck Historeum, the Lighthouse, The Harry Truman Little White House, the Southernmost House, Pirate Soul Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, Ghost Tours, Glass Bottom boat tours, and more. You can also book a boat or seaplane for a day-trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park which takes you to a natural beautiful island about 70 miles west of Key West.Seaplane charters carry sightseeers from Key West to the Dry Tortugas in about 45 minutes.
Key West also has a few beautiful beaches to enjoy: Ft. Zachary Taylor Park, Smathers, Higgs, and South Beach. Each beach may offer it’s own particular services such as kayak rentals, jet ski rentals, and parasailing.
Article provided by Tamara Camden, of Key West, Florida Keys, Florida & Bahamas vacation rentals; and Eluthera Bahamas Vacation Rentals from Articlesbase.