Key West Travel Guide

The historic island city of Key West lies on the tip of the Florida Keys between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Its location makes it the gateway to the Caribbean, and its close proximity to Cuba means trips to Key West can easily include an island hop to explore Havana.

Also known as 'The Conch Republic' (a name it chose as part of a mock secession from the US 1982), Key West has a distinct Caribbean flavour that shows through the streets of its old quarter, which are lined with palms and pastel-painted, wooden colonial 'gingerbread' houses. The destination's legacy also includes having been the favoured holiday haunt of notable Americans such as the literary titan, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, who was one of the foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama, and the 33rd president of the United States, Harry Truman. This is because of its relaxed atmosphere, colourful neighbourhoods, legendary bars and restaurants, offshore fishing opportunities, and lively nightlife. The city hosts innumerable pageants, parades and festivals, as well, and has an active theatre culture and several heritage museums. The streets of Key West are attractions by themselves, as buskers provide impromptu entertainment outside stores and sidewalk cafes. Visitors on holiday here flock to 'The Bight' (the old harbour) to arrange sea trips for fishing, snorkelling or diving. Nightlife in Key West typically starts with sunset drinks on the Mallory Dock, before moving on to areas such as Bahama Village and Duval Street.