Key West is an island in the Straits of Florida, located at the southernmost point of the United States. It is a perfect destination for those who want to experience a tropical paradise with sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of sunshine. I have visited Miami a couple of times but never Key West, so I planned a trip to visit the Florida Keys. It was one of the best trips I had, pleasant, adventurous, exciting, calm, and relaxing. It was a complete vacation. Key West should be your next vacation destination, and I am sure you are going to enjoy it.
Geography and Climate
Key West is a small island, only about four miles long and two miles wide, located approximately 90 miles north of Cuba. The island is part of the Florida Keys archipelago, which stretches about 120 miles from Key Largo to Key West. The island is connected to the mainland by a series of bridges, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge.
Key West has a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 77°F (25°C) year-round. The island experiences two seasons: the wet season and the dry season. The wet season lasts from May to October, and the dry season lasts from November to April. The island receives an average of 39 inches of rainfall per year, with the majority of it falling during the wet season. Hurricanes are a potential threat to the island from June to November.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Key West is from November to April, during the dry season. The weather is mild and pleasant, and there are many events and festivals on the island during this time. The peak season is from December to March, so visitors should book their accommodation in advance. The wet season, from May to October, can be hot and humid, with occasional thunderstorms and hurricanes.
I visited the second week of March and it was not too crowded but the temperature was already in the 80s, and I felt a little too hot with all humidity. But it was very good early mornings and so beautiful to experience the cool breeze at the shore.
How to Get to Key West
Key West is accessible by air, land, and sea. Traveling by Air will be the fastest way to reach depending on where you are flying from. But if you want to enjoy the scenic views of the ocean driving or cruising is the best option.
Visitors can drive to Key West from Miami or other cities in Florida via the Overseas Highway, a scenic drive that crosses many bridges and offers breathtaking views of the ocean. I drove from Miami and it was an amazing drive. It is a single road for the most part which will cause delays based on other drivers, any accidents, or even road work. I got delayed by 1.5 hours due to road work. But the drive was so beautiful while crossing the bridges and while passing between endless water on both sides.
Key West International Airport is the main airport on the island, with daily flights from major cities in the United States. Visitors can also fly into Miami International Airport and take a shuttle or rent a car to drive there. There are many other tour packages that originate from Miami if you like to cover everything in a day. Taking a ferry from Fort Myers or Marco Island to Key West is another option. The ferry ride takes about three hours and offers beautiful views of the ocean.
Where to Stay
Key West has many accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses. And it is expensive to stay in a decent hotel during peak seasons, if you are open to a dorm or shared accommodation you can find many reasonable options.
I stayed in Heron House Court which was a good place with the best friendly staff and all amenities. If you like to stay on the water, there are many options to rent boats and even a floating houseboat from Airbnb.
Things to Do
Key West offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. It is surrounded by water bodies so obvious activities will be waterborne. It is famous for its water sports activities. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and jet skiing in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island. You can tours for dolphin watching, sunset view on the sea and so on.
If you want to enjoy the sunset from shore, every evening, locals and tourists gather at Mallory Square to watch the sunset and enjoy live music, street performers, and food vendors. It’s a perfect place to unwind and soak up the island’s laid-back vibe.
There are a number of beaches to visit but Smathers Beach is the largest beach on the island, with a long stretch of white sand and crystal-clear water. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Just lay on the shore relaxing.
On land, located just a few blocks from Duval Street, the Southernmost Point Buoy is a must-visit attraction. It marks the southernmost point of the continental United States and is a popular spot for taking photos. Early mornings will be a good time to visit Southernmost Point to avoid long lines to take pics. Hemingway’s home is another place to visit, that is where Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West for more than ten years, and his house is now a museum open to the public. Visitors can see his writing studio, the pool where he used to swim, and the descendants of his six-toed cats.
The Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum is a historic lighthouse that was built in 1825. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the panoramic views of the island. The museum also showcases the history of the lighthouse and its keepers.
You can rent a bicycle and ride from place to place covering the whole island. Best way to experience the locality of Key West and burn some calories.
The best activity I experienced was Sky Diving, it was my first skydiving and it was an amazing experience. Skydive Key West is located about 16 miles from Key West Island, in Summerland Key. It is an amazing experience with a free fall from 10,000 ft and landing by parachute from 5,000 ft. The experience of free fall, and the view of the ocean, and islands is superb.
Check out this SkyDive to book your next adventure.
Food and Drink
Key West is a great place to enjoy some delicious food and drinks. If you love Cuban and Seafood it is the place. I am a vegetarian so didn’t experience any seafood but enjoyed some Cuban food and sandwiches. I wanted to try Key Lime pie but ended up with Key Lime Cheesecake which was delicious too. If you want to taste and enjoy Cuban coffee like Con Leche or Cortado, you have many good places. I am a coffee person and I enjoyed that strong dose of Cortado.
You can find many good restaurants and bars on Duval Street. If you like to enjoy some live music along with a Sunset view Mallory Square is the place to enjoy the evening dinner.
Conclusion: Why Key West Should be Your Next Vacation Destination
Key West is a unique and beautiful destination that offers something for everyone. From its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches to its historic sites and vibrant nightlife, the island has plenty to offer. Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore the island’s history and culture, or enjoy the nightlife, it is the perfect destination. So pack your bags and head to Key West for your next vacation.