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Key West, Florida

 

Key West - a unique Florida vacation spot. Some people call it Margaritaville, after the Jimmy Buffet song. Some others call it way too crowded and commercialized. And some others simply call it paradise.

This is a city that buzzes with activity, yet is still on "Keys time" (the hustle and bustle is slower-paced). It's definitely a city of contrasts, this city at the very tip of the Florida Keys. It's actually closer to Cuba than it is to the Florida mainland!  It's just easier to get to the mainland because there are roads.

Still, this island in the sun is the prime tourist destination.  Even though it is a city of contrasts, it is also a destination that has something for just about everyone.

Key West Facts

Key West Sunset from a DockHere are a few Key West facts.

Key West is both a city and an island. At only 8 square miles total, it's on the small side. And it has to share space with the US Navy, too, so part of that eight square miles is off-limit.

If you wanted, you could walk around the island. But most of the action is in the Old Town area, so you don't have to walk far for entertainment of all kinds.

Key West got its name from the original Spanish "Cayo Hueso".  Eventually that pronunciation was corrupted to "Key West".  And just what does Cayo Hueso mean?  Get ready -- "Island of Bones".  (Hmmm, sounds just right for the ghost tours!)

You can get here from either the north (from Miami) or fly directly into the city.  If you want to explore some of the other Florida Keys, you will need a vehicle of some sort.

Once here, you may or may not need to rent a car if you are staying close to downtown.  If you're out on the fringes, a taxi might suffice. Plus, there are places to rent bicycles and mopeds, although you may be taking your life in your hands if you do. That's an exaggeration, but the main tourist areas do have narrow streets and lots of traffic, so be careful.

Hotels in Key West, Florida

You can find all kinds of hotels in Key West, Florida.

From ultra-ultra-deluxe to kind of budget, there is something for almost everyone. A word of warning, though -- hotels and resorts tends to be on the pricey side, unless you know exactly where to look. It can also depend on the time of year (hint - Summer is much more reasonably priced).

All kinds of lodgings are available, from luxurious resorts to bed and breakfasts and inns.  But here is something to be aware of -- all accommodations are generally quite a bit more expensive here. 

Key West, Dry TortugasNot that there aren't deals to be had, but you will have to really look for them (remember my previous hint about Summer being the least expensive time of year). 

In addition, there is an 11.5% bed tax on every room.

Accessible by Boat Only

  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Marquesas Keys

If you love the outdoors and have the dollars for the plane ride, these are two places you won't want to miss.  As you might guess, they are very secluded.

What is There to Do?

This is definitely a place that can keep you busy morning to noon, noon to night. Although it's not quite a city that never sleeps, there is usually some activity at any given time.

Key West, Duval StreetYou can wander Duval Street -- window shopping, people watching or stopping at one of the local watering holes like Sloppy Joe's.

What about taking a tour?  Maybe checking out some of the attractions?  Maybe take a sunset cruise or diving trip? Here's a list of things to do while here on vacation.

Want to soak up some sun?  Check out the great beaches -- you'll find lots to do on these stretches of sand.

Getting married?  Consider a lush, romantic, tropical honeymoon in Key West.

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