All Women's Talk

7 Places to Visit in Key West ...

By Neecey

The most southerly point of the continental USA (despite being a chain of small islands), the Florida Keys are a dream destination and also quite surreal. Whatever conceptions you might have about the USA or Americans does not apply here and certainly not to the largest island – Key West. Key West is eccentric and almost surreal but beautiful and romantic too. Key West revels in non-conformity yet embraces its tropical gorgeousness. And as to me, this location is indelibly associated with Ernest Hemingway, let’s start there:

1 The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum One of the most popular places to visit in Key West, this museum is more renowned, perhaps, for its cats than for its namesake. The US National Historic Landmark where the famous author Ernest Hemmingway once lived, wrote, and cared for Snow White, his 6-toed cat, is now home to about 50 descendants of that cat, most of them with the characteristic 6 toes. Enjoy a guided tour of the home as well as a walk around the gardens; a special treat during summer when the flowers are in bloom.

2 Take a Tour on the Old Town Trolley

Take a Tour on the Old Town Trolley This relaxing tour will take you to over 100 points of interest and offers 12 stops in a short 90 minutes. If you get off to visit something, the next trolley will be around in a half hour to continue the tour. Not only will you see many of the town’s interesting attractions but you get an hour and a half comedy routine by the entertaining trolley drivers!

3 Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park This stop is a nice mix of history and fun. You can relax in the sunshine, swim in the clear blue ocean water, fish, snorkel, raft, hike, and hang around for the stunning orange sunset. Take a guided tour of the Civil War fort or opt for a self-guided tour, where you’ll see cannons built right into the walls and piles of cannon balls throughout the fort. Enjoy lunch at the fort by dropping in at the Cayo Hueso or bring your own and lunch at one of several picnic tables and grills scattered throughout the park.

4 Explore the Mangrove Forests

Explore the Mangrove Forests For nature lovers, a visit to the mangrove forests is a must. This water-bound world offers a view only accessible with watercraft of some kind, such a boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboard. Take a guided tour through the canals and mazes of the forest, viewing diverse wildlife such as nurse sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, deer, egrets, turtles, eagles and frogs, to name a few. Tour guides are well versed in the ecosystem and will happily answer questions.

5 Stroll down Duval Street

Stroll down Duval Street In the heart of Key West lies Duvall Street, a lively area full of shopping, dining, and nightlife. Enjoy shopping and gallery-hopping by day, stop in for dinner at the Hog’s Breath for one of their famous burgers, and then stay till dusk to see the street come alive with light and a carnival-like atmosphere.

6 Key West City Cemetery

Key West City Cemetery Now, a cemetery seems like anything but a great tourist stop, but Key West Cemetery isn’t a typical cemetery. This one comes with a pamphlet that includes a map to some of the more historical and unusual headstones. For example, there’s the stone that is engraved with , “I told you I was sick,” there’s Florida’s first millionaire, one shaped like the mast of a ship, and many with unusual sayings engraved on them. For an extra bit of fun, the cemetery usually has huge lizards that roam the grounds and often sun themselves on the stones.

7 Eaton Street Seafood Market

Eaton Street Seafood Market In the heart of historical Old Town Key West lies this fish market stocked by the catch of local fishermen (or fisherpeople). It may appear small and unassuming but the flavor of the seafood can’t be beat. Eat right on site; they offer yummy selections such as crab cake sandwiches and lobster rolls. If you have access to a grill, pick up some fresh fish to bring back home, the flavor can’t be beat.

Sadly, I’ve yet to get to visit Key West but it’s creeping up my bucket list. Is it in your bucket?

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