Key West, Florida

A- Overview:

Less than 90 miles from Cuba, less than 10 miles square in area, Key West is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the country. There’s more packed into this small island than one would think possible, and visitors to the Florida Keys are never disappointed. Key West has a busy central tourist district, but it also has plentiful quiet, palm-lined streets with beautiful Spanish style houses. While the numerous beaches and resorts are primary focal points, there are lots of other family activities on this tiny island to keep one busy.
Key West’s beaches lead visitors to clear blue waters that are perfect for swimming, jet skiing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Several luxury resorts offer first-class accommodations and activities for the whole family. Visitors can stay close to shore, or they can take advantage of the many glass-bottom boat tours. Many also hire boats to take them scuba diving in the world-famous reefs. The Key West Aquarium highlights the local marine life in dozens of hands-on activities for children.

The island itself boasts some remarkable attractions for the entire family, yet the island is small enough that visitors can see them all. The Ernest Hemmingway House was home to the famous author when he penned some of his best-known novels. The Audubon House is an authentic home from the 19th century, fully restored and remodeled; authentic antiques and paintings by famed naturalist John James Audubon can be found inside. The Key West Historic Tour traverses the island — be on the lookout for the best places to enjoy conch, the local specialty. The residents of Key West have devised innumerable ways of serving this sea creature, and all are worth at least a try.

While it is uncertain whether or not he ever sampled conch, President Truman often vacationed in a small house at the naval base located on Key West, and his reasons for visiting are the same as for today’s visitors: sunshine, relaxation, and beach. Truman’s hideaway is open for tours, adding one more item to the list of fun things to do in Key West. This small town is perfect for families looking for a great beach holiday in an interesting and manageable location.

B- City Information:
Key West City Facts

Population: 25,478

Elevation: 8 feet above sea level

Land Area: 5.9 square miles

Location: Located at the southernmost point of Florida in the Florida Keys. Key West is approximately 160 miles southwest of Miami on U.S. Highway 1

Time Zone: Eastern Time Zone (when it’s noon in Key West, it’s 11am in Chicago and 9am in Los Angeles). Key West observes Daylight Savings Time from April – October.

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
70.3
70.8
73.8
77.0
80.7
83.4
84.5
84.4
83.4
80.2
76.3
72.0

High temperature (°F)
75.3
75.9
78.8
81.9
85.4
88.1
89.4
89.5
88.2
84.7
80.6
76.7

Low temperature (°F)
65.2
65.7
68.8
72.1
75.9
78.7
79.6
79.2
78.5
75.7
71.9
67.3

Precipitation (in)
2.2
1.5
1.9
2.1
3.5
4.6
3.3
5.4
5.5
4.3
2.6
2.1

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precipitation
6
5
5
5
8
12
12
15
16
11
7
7

Wind speed (mph)
11.8
12.0
12.1
12.2
10.5
9.6
9.4
9.2
9.6
10.8
12.0
11.8

Morning humidity (%)
82
81
80
77
77
78
77
78
81
82
83
83

Afternoon humidity (%)
69
67
66
64
65
68
67
67
70
69
69
70

Sunshine (%)
74
77
82
84
82
76
77
76
72
71
71
70

Days clear of clouds
11
12
13
13
10
5
3
3
3
9
10
11

Partly cloudy days
11
10
11
11
13
14
16
17
15
13
11
11

Cloudy days
9
7
6
6
8
11
11
11
12
9
8
9

Snowfall (in)
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0

Local Seasons:

As one of the country’s best known leisure destinations, Key West has something taking place and a host of visitors every day of the year. Winter tends to be the busiest time as visitors from the northern cities escape the cold and snow for the warm, tropical breezes and sunshine of Key West, not to mention the nightlife. Winter temperatures reach the mid 70’s F during the day and only drop to the mid 60’s F at night, making this season ideal for any outdoor activity. Another very busy time of year is during Fantasy Fest. This world-renowned event takes place the last week in October and has become one of the most frequented events in the country. Spring and fall are quite pleasant and less crowded. Summer can be hot and humid and is less crowded, although all of the sites, attractions, and blue waters are open and available.

How to Get There:

By Air

Key West International Airport

3491 S Roosevelt Blvd.

Key West, FL 33040

305-296-7223

The airport is served by local and regional airlines.

Miami International Airport

Located approximately 160 miles from Key West

Miami, FL 33159

305 876-7000

The airport is served by many of the worldwide airlines as well as a variety of local and regional carriers. Rental cars are available to complete the journey to the Keys on US 1.

By Car:

Key West is easily accessible via U.S. Highway 1 from the north. As the southernmost city in Florida, there is one road in and one road out, and U.S. 1 is that road.

By Train

Bus service is provided by Amtrak into Miami where the nearest Amtrak station is located.

800-USA-RAIL

By Bus

Greyhound

3535 S Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West Airport
Key West, FL 33040

305- 296-9072

Ground Transportation:

Most of the major car rental companies as well as taxi and limousine service is available at both airports as well as throughout the town.

How to Get Around:

Many of the most frequented sites and attractions are located on or near Duval Street in downtown Key West. The streets are narrow in this area and the best way to get around is by walking or with a bicycle. Bicycle rentals are readily available. A car is also handy for any side trips the visitor might wish to take.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday in January

President’ Day, the third Monday in February

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May

Independence Day, July 4

Labor Day, the first Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve, December 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Hemingway House
907 Whitehead Street
305-294-1575
This National Historic Landmark is the place where Hemingway actually penned several of his novels. The house itself is lovely, as are the dozens of cats that make it their home.

Bahama Village Neighborhood
West of the Lighthouse Museum and Whitehead St.
This engaging Bahamian and Afro-Cuban neighborhood remains relatively untouched by modern tourism off the “beaten path.” Highlights include authentic eateries and a laid-back attitude.

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society Museum
200 Greene Street
305-294-2633
Visitors will be dazzled by the rich booty from local treasure hunter Mel Fisher’s richest find, the Spanish ship Nuestra Senora de Atocha.

Key West Cemetery
The gate at Margaret and Angela Streets
305-292-8170
Guided tours explain the raised coffins, witty tombstone inscriptions and general history of this Key West landmark.

Audubon House and Tropical Gardens
205 Whitehead Street
305-294-2116
This lovingly restored 19th-century home features exotic period gardens, authentic antiques and original engravings by John James Audubon.

Key West Aquarium
Historic Mallory Square
305-296-2051
At the Key West Aquarium, visitors of all ages will enjoy up close and personal encounters with the sealife. Go on daily guided tours, the shark, turtle and stingray feedings and the always exciting shark pettings. At the Touch Tank, guests can meet conchs, horseshoe and hermit crabs, sea urchins and sea cucumbers “face to face”.

Conch Tour Train
Mallory Square/Roosevelt Blvd.
305-294-5161
This tour vehicle looks like an old train, and it takes visitors all over the island for a look at the most interesting spots in Key West. This tour is a must for families who want a great introduction to the most popular parts of the island.

Mallory Square
A major center of activity in Key West, Mallory Square features Mallory Market, the Shell Warehouse, the Key West Sponge Market, Bird in Hand, Caribbean Cargo, the Conch Store, and the Key West Aquarium. Other stores and shops offer local products, including dozens of varieties of conch, Key West’s favorite dish.

Key West Shipwreck Historeum
Historic Mallory Square
305-292-8990
This museum presents the treasure and artifacts from several ships that have wrecked near Key West during the last 150 years. The Historeum also has recreations of Key West life in the 19th century.

Duval Street
The main tourist spot on the island, Duval Street features shops, boutiques, bar and restaurants. This street is the center of the island’s impressive and sometimes wild night life.

The Wrecker’s Museum and Oldest House in Key West
322 Duval St
This museum describes the lives of the wreckers, uninsured heroes who risked all to save cargoes, ships and lives. The museum is located in the oldest house in town which was owned by Captain Watlington, a wrecker who lived here from the 1830s.

The San Carlos Institute
516 Duval St
Since it opened in 1871, the Institute has played an important role in the lives of Cuban immigrants and exiles. Financed by a grant from a former Cuban government, the present building dates from 1924 and holds an interesting account of the Cuban presence in Key West and throughout the US.

The Southernmost Point in America
The southernmost point in Key West, and consequently in the continental US, is at the intersection of Whitehead and South streets; a buoy marks the spot.

Key West Ghost Tours
305-294-9255
P.O. Box 4766
These evening tours are a lantern-lit one mile stroll through the shadowy streets and lonely lanes of Key West’s Old Town. During the easy-paced hour and a half walk, visitors discover the dwelling places of ghosts and ghouls and learn their stories.

Key West Golf Club
305-294-5232
6450 E. College Road
Golf legend Rees Jones masterfully designed this public 18 hole, 6,500-yard course to be a challenge to players of all abilities.

Little White House
(305)294-9911
111 Front St. (Truman Annex)
This house was President Harry Truman’s favorite vacation spot while he was President. The inside is relatively unchanged from the late 1940’s and features interesting Truman memorabilia.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum!
(305) 293-9686
527 Duval Street
Experience “The Most Unusual Museum in the World” with over 10,000 square feet of 1,500 exhibits in 14 galleries on three levels.

Schooner Western Union
305-292-1766
Docked at Schooner Wharf 202 William Street
Sail into history aboard the 130′ schooner Western Union, the last tall ship built in Key West in 1939. It’s available for day sails, sunset and starlight cruises, private charters and other seafaring adventures.

Schooner Wolf
305-296-9694
201 William Street
The 74′ Schooner Wolf is the flagship of the Conch Republic. Patterened after the blockade runners which plied the Florida Straits in the 19th Century, the 74′ topsail Wolf is Coast Guard certified for 44 passengers and offers daily day sails, sunset and starlight cruises.

Curry Mansion Museum
(305) 294-5349
511 Caroline St.
Visitors are encouraged to browse through this 25-room Victorian Masterpiece, considered by some to be the most beautiful home in Key West.

Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip aboard the Sunny Days
305-296-5556
Located at the end of Elizabeth and Greene Streets
70 miles west of Key West are the islands and waters of the Dry Tortugas National Park. This park features some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world.

Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry
305-294-7009
Key West Seaport, 240 Margaret Street
Civil War history comes alive aboard this 100-foot catamaran that takes visitors to the Park and Fort Jefferson.

Key West Lighthouse Museum
938 Whitehead Street
(305)294-0012
Visitors to Key West’s famous landmark lighthouse learn how the lighthouse lit the way for ships and travelers to the islands for years. The interior is filled with the history of the island.

East Martello Museum
3501 Roosevelt Boulevard
(305) 296-3913
This museum is both an art gallery and a museum of history. The Civil War and its effect on Key West figure prominently in the museum exhibits.

Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House
Located On Historic Front Street in Old Town Key West
(305) 295-6616
This museum is located in the original Key West Custom House. It features work by local artists and as well as other works that portray the beautiful Key West landscapes.

Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden
1 Free School Lane
305-294-0015
Key West’s “rain forests” is a world-class collection of rare and beautiful tropical plants and antique botanical prints. The Secret Garden is a great place to relax awhile from the hubbub of downtown.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Hemingway House
907 Whitehead Street
305-294-1575
This National Historic Landmark is the place where Hemingway actually penned several of his novels. The house itself is lovely, as are the dozens of cats that make it their home.

Bahama Village Neighborhood
West of the Lighthouse Museum and Whitehead St.
This engaging Bahamian and Afro-Cuban neighborhood remains relatively untouched by modern tourism off the “beaten path.” Highlights include authentic eateries and a laid-back attitude.

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society Museum
200 Greene Street
305-294-2633
Visitors will be dazzled by the rich booty from local treasure hunter Mel Fisher’s richest find, the Spanish ship Nuestra Senora de Atocha.

Audubon House and Tropical Gardens
205 Whitehead Street
305-294-2116
This lovingly restored 19th-century home features exotic period gardens, authentic antiques and original engravings by John James Audubon.

Key West Aquarium
Historic Mallory Square
305-296-2051
At the Key West Aquarium, visitors of all ages will enjoy up close and personal encounters with the sealife. Go on daily guided tours, the shark, turtle and stingray feedings and the always exciting shark pettings. At the Touch Tank, guests can meet conchs, horseshoe and hermit crabs, sea urchins and sea cucumbers “face to face”.

Conch Tour Train
Mallory Square or Roosevelt Blvd.
305-294-5161
This tour vehicle looks like an old train, and it takes visitors all over the island for a look at the most interesting spots in Key West. This tour is a must for families who want a great introduction to the most popular parts of the island.

Mallory Square
A major center of activity in Key West, Mallory Square features Mallory Market, the Shell Warehouse, the Key West Sponge Market, Bird in Hand, Caribbean Cargo, the Conch Store, and the Key West Aquarium. Other stores and shops offer local products, including dozens of varieties of conch, Key West’s favorite dish.

Key West Shipwreck Historeum
Historic Mallory Square
305-292-8990
This museum presents the treasure and artifacts from several ships that have wrecked near Key West during the last 150 years. The Historeum also has recreations of Key West life in the 19th century.

The Wrecker’s Museum and Oldest House in Key West
322 Duval St
This museum describes the lives of the wreckers, uninsured heroes who risked all to save cargoes, ships and lives. The museum is located in the oldest house in town which was owned by Captain Watlington, a wrecker who lived here from the 1830s.

Little White House
(305)294-9911
111 Front St. (Truman Annex)
This house was President Harry Truman’s favorite vacation spot while he was President. The inside is relatively unchanged from the late 1940’s and features interesting Truman memorabilia.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum!
(305) 293-9686
527 Duval Street
Experience “The Most Unusual Museum in the World” with over 10,000 square feet of 1,500 exhibits in 14 galleries on three levels.

Schooner Western Union
305-292-1766
Docked at Schooner Wharf 202 William Street
Sail into history aboard the 130′ schooner Western Union, the last tall ship built in Key West in 1939. It’s available for day sails, sunset and starlight cruises, private charters and other seafaring adventures.

Schooner Wolf
305-296-9694
201 William Street
The 74′ Schooner Wolf is the flagship of the Conch Republic. Patterened after the blockade runners which plied the Florida Straits in the 19th Century, the 74′ topsail Wolf is Coast Guard certified for 44 passengers and offers daily day sails, sunset and starlight cruises.

Curry Mansion Museum
(305) 294-5349
511 Caroline St.
Visitors are encouraged to browse through this 25-room Victorian Masterpiece, considered by some to be the most beautiful home in Key West.

Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip aboard the Sunny Days
305-296-5556
Located at the end of Elizabeth and Greene Streets
70 miles west of Key West are the islands and waters of the Dry Tortugas National Park. This park features some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world.

Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry
305-294-7009
Key West Seaport, 240 Margaret Street
Civil War history comes alive aboard this 100-foot catamaran that takes visitors to the Park and Fort Jefferson.

Key West Lighthouse Museum
938 Whitehead Street
(305) 294-0012
Visitors to Key West’s famous landmark lighthouse learn how the lighthouse lit the way for ships and travelers to the islands for years. The interior is filled with the history of the island.

East Martello Museum
3501 Roosevelt Boulevard
(305) 296-3913
This museum is both an art gallery and a museum of history. The Civil War and its effect on Key West figure prominently in the museum exhibits.

Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House
Located On Historic Front Street in Old Town Key West
(305) 295-6616
This museum is located in the original Key West Custom House. It features work by local artists and as well as other works that portray the beautiful Key West landscapes.

Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden
1 Free School Lane
305-294-0015
Key West’s “rain forests” is a world-class collection of rare and beautiful tropical plants and antique botanical prints. The Secret Garden is a great place to relax awhile from the hubbub of downtown.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

Plena Libre

Held in early January

Location: East Martello

305-292-4646

Admission Charged

Put on your dancing shoes! The rhythms, sounds and island soul shake the town during the Founders Plena Libre outdoor festival at East Martello.

Sculpture Key West

Held mid January – late March

Location: Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

305-295-3800

Sculpture Key West is an annual exhibition of contemporary outdoor sculpture that takes place every winter at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West.

February

Founders Society Annual Anniversary Gala

Held in early February

Location: Key West

305-292-4646

Join the Founders Society as it celebrates its anniversary of bringing quality music, dance and theater to the Key West stage.

May

Key West Songwriters Festival

Held in mid May

Location: Key West

305-296-4222

Showcases some of America’s foremost performing songwriters, staged in audience-friendly island settings.

Dolphin Masters Invitational

Held in late May

Location: Key West

305-296-7511

Annual fishing tournament with a large purse.

June

Tavernier Creek Marina Dolphin Rodeo

Held in early June

Location: Key West

305-852-5854

Amateur Tournament Cash Prizes with a Jr. Angler Division

Pridefest Key West

Held early – mid June

Location: Key West

305-292-3222
Event honoring diversity, openness and freedom in the city that is consistently recognized as one of the world’s top gay and lesbian vacation destinations.

Cuban American Heritage Festival

Held in mid June

Location: Key West

305-295-9665

Showcases the culture and customs Cubans brought to Key West.

Key West Gator Club Dolphin Derby

Held in late June

Location: Key West

305-296-7511
Event raises money for college scholarships.

July

Lower Keys Permit All-Tackle Tournament

Held early – mid July

Location: Islamorada

305-664-2444

All-release tournament featuring trophies and prizes in fly, spin and artificial categories.

Geiger Key Dolphin Tournament

Held in mid July

Location: Key West

305-296-3553
Modified release with four categories: combined weight, bull, cow and junior.

Hemingway Days Festival

Held in mid – late July

Location: Key West
Annual celebration of the legendary author’s work and lifestyle highlighted by the Sloppy Joe’s Look-Alike Contest.

Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament

Held in mid – late July

Location: Key West

305-292-2710
Catch-and-release tournament held in conjunction with Key West’s annual Hemingway Days Festival.

Reef Awareness Week

Held in late July

Location: Key West

305-294-3100
Spearheaded by the organization Reef Relief, the weeklong event showcases North America’s only living coral barrier reef with activities for all ages.

August

Key West Summer Food & Wine Festival

Held in early August

Location: Key West

305-296-6909

Showcases the talents of Key West’s master chefs as well as the quality and diversity of the island’s culinary offerings.

Key West Fishing Tournament’s Swordfish Tournament

Held in early August

Location: Key West

305-295-6601

Key West Fishing Tournament’s Flats S.L.A.M. Tournament

Held in mid – late August

Location: Key West

305-295-6601
Anglers receive citations noting their catches and qualify for a variety of trophies.

September

Women Fest

Held in early September

Location: Key West

305-296-2491
A lesbian-oriented festival of art shows, sailing and snorkeling, comedy performances and other activities.

Annual Key West Poker Run

Held in mid September

Location: Key West

305-292-1170
Motorcycles cruise from Miami to Key West to raise funds for local charities.

October

Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival

Held in early October

Location: Marathon and Lower Keys

305-743-3900
A celebration of the natural wonders of Florida wildlife at the peak of the fall birding season. Presentations and field trips focus on education.

Goombay Festival

Held mid – late October

Location: Key West’s Bahama Village

305-747-4544
Two-day street fair in Key West’s historic Bahama Village.

Fantasy Fest

Held in late October

Location: All of Key West

Each year there is a different theme for this costumed, fun-filled event. Come enjoy the costume competitions, grand parade and wacky sights and sounds.

November

Key West Old Island Days

Held in early November

Location: Key West

305-294-9501
Events include an art festival, crafts show, conch shell blowing contest and house and garden tours celebrating Key West culture and history.

Key West Offshore World Championship

Held in early November

Location: Key West

305-296-6166
High-speed powerboats continue Key West’s longstanding tradition.

Annual Talent Show

Held in mid November

Location: Tennessee Williams Theatre
305-292-4646
The Founders annual talent show is a dream come true for many of the talented community performers. Watch as rising stars, both young and old, perform everything from show tunes to modern dance routines, rock n’ rock, hip hop and magic tricks before a captivated crowd and prestigious panel of local celebrity judges.

Pirates in Paradise

Held late November – early December

Location: Key West

305-296-9653
Historic Seaport and other venues throughout Key West are transformed into a pirates’ stronghold with mock sea battles, a thieves’ market featuring arts, crafts and more.

December

Key West Holiday Parade

Held in early December

Location: Old Town

305-292-8101
Family-friendly parade through Old Town celebrating the holiday season.

Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament

Held in early December

Location: Islamorada

305-664-4735
First leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship.

Key West Lighted Boat Parade

Held in mid December

Location: Key West Harbor

305-292-3773
Event features decorated and lighted boats cruising through Key West Harbor and the waters of the Historic Seaport.

New Year’s Eve Key West Celebration

Held on New Year’s Eve

Location: Various locations in Key West

305-292-9520

Southernmost City celebrates New Year’s Eve with conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, “wench” drop at Schooner Wharf Bar, and red high heel drop with drag queen Sushi at Bourbon Street Pub/ New Orleans House.

Arts & Entertainment

Tennessee Williams Theatre
Performing Arts Centers for Key West
5901 College Road

Key West, FL 33040
305-296-1520

Call for performance schedule

Key West Pops Orchestra

Key West, FL 33041

305-293-7658

Call for performance schedule

The Key West Pops Orchestra has three concerts per season filled with Pops music, Opera, and Broadway favorites to enrich the cultural performance of the Florida Keys residents.

The Waterfront Playhouse

310 Wall St.

Key West, FL 33041

305-294-5015

Call for performance schedule

The Key West Players have been presenting the magic of live theatre for over 65 years!

Key West Symphony Orchestra

1025 White St

Key West, FL 33041
305-292-1774

The Key West Symphony is proud to be the center of cultural activities on beautiful Key West. Only in Key West can you swim with a whale in the morning and conduct the great masters that evening.

The Red Barn Theatre
319 Duval Street, Rear

Key West, FL 33040
305-296-9911

Enjoy great live theater productions at the Red Barn Theatre in Key West, Florida. See live comedy, drama, musical theater, and cabaret shows in an intimate small theater. Great stage shows featuring the finest professional actors, dancers, singers and directors from Key West’s own famous arts community, as well as visiting stars. Enjoy fabulous theatrical entertainment in a unique, casual, romantic Island setting.