How to Travel to Key West: A Guide to the Southernmost Point
Key West, Florida, is a tropical paradise known for its vibrant culture, stunning sunsets, and laid-back atmosphere. Located at the southernmost point of the United States, this small island offers a unique blend of history, nature, and relaxation. If you’re planning a trip to Key West, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get there and make the most of your visit.
Key West International Airport (EYW) is the most convenient option for travelers flying in from other parts of the country. It offers direct flights from major cities such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, and Tampa. From the airport, you can easily reach downtown Key West by taxi, shuttle service, or rental car.
If you prefer driving to Key West, you can take the scenic Overseas Highway (U.S. Route 1) from mainland Florida. The drive offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the opportunity to visit other picturesque islands along the way. Keep in mind that parking can be limited and expensive in downtown Key West, so it’s advisable to park your car at your accommodation and explore the island by foot, bike, or scooter.
Several bus services provide transportation to Key West from various cities in Florida. The most popular option is the Key West Express, a high-speed ferry that operates from Fort Myers and Marco Island. This four-hour journey offers a unique experience with onboard amenities such as a sundeck, bar, and snacks.
By Cruise Ship:
Key West is a popular port of call for many cruise lines, making it an ideal destination for those who want to combine their visit with other Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico destinations. The Key West cruise port is located near Mallory Square, where you’ll find an array of shops, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance.
Once you arrive in Key West, there are plenty of activities and attractions to explore. From visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum to strolling along Duval Street, here are answers to some common questions travelers may have:
1. What is the best time to visit Key West?
Key West enjoys a tropical climate year-round, but the peak tourist season is from December to April when the weather is mild and dry. However, visiting during the off-peak season (May to November) can offer more affordable prices and fewer crowds.
2. How many days should I spend in Key West?
Depending on your interests, spending three to five days in Key West is usually sufficient to explore the main attractions, soak up the sun, and enjoy the local cuisine.
3. Are there any beaches in Key West?
While Key West is not known for its wide sandy beaches, you can still find beautiful spots to relax and swim. Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park are popular choices among visitors.
4. What is the best way to get around Key West?
Key West is a small island, and most of the popular attractions are within walking distance. However, you can also rent a bike, scooter, or electric car to explore the island at your own pace.
5. Can I go snorkeling or scuba diving in Key West?
Yes, Key West is a fantastic destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. The nearby coral reefs offer a vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and marine life.
6. Are there any water sports activities available in Key West?
Absolutely! Key West is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. You can enjoy jet skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, parasailing, and even take sunset cruises.
7. What are some must-visit attractions in Key West?
Apart from the famous landmarks like the Southernmost Point Buoy and Mallory Square, make sure to visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
8. Is it worth taking a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park?
Definitely! Dry Tortugas is a remote and pristine national park located 70 miles west of Key West. It’s home to Fort Jefferson, coral reefs, and crystal-clear waters, making it a must-see for nature lovers.
9. What are the best places to eat in Key West?
Key West offers a vibrant culinary scene with a variety of restaurants serving fresh seafood, Cuban cuisine, and international flavors. Some popular choices include Blue Heaven, Santiago’s Bodega, and El Meson de Pepe.
10. Can I visit the Hemingway House in Key West?
Yes, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a top attraction in Key West. You can tour the author’s former residence, learn about his life, and meet the famous six-toed cats that roam the property.
11. Are there any nightclubs or bars in Key West?
Key West is famous for its lively nightlife. Duval Street is lined with bars, clubs, and live music venues, offering a vibrant atmosphere for those looking to dance the night away.
12. What is the best way to experience Key West’s famous sunset?
Head to Mallory Square, where locals and visitors gather every evening to witness the breathtaking sunset. Street performers, food vendors, and live music create a festive atmosphere.
13. Can I take a day trip to Cuba from Key West?
While it is technically possible to take a day trip to Cuba from Key West, the process involves specific requirements and paperwork due to travel restrictions. It’s advisable to consult with a travel agency or research the current regulations before planning such a trip.
Key West is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a taste of its unique culture, this charming island will surely leave you with unforgettable memories. So pack your bags, embrace the island spirit, and get ready to explore the southernmost point of the United States.