Key West in Florida is considered to be the southernmost city in the continental United States and is famous for its idyllic climate and a laid-back atmosphere that has long attracted artists and rebels, including Ernest Hemmingway. Part of the city's unique vibe is rooted in its geographical position, the island is barely connected to the United States and is actually closer to Cuba than the rest of the States. Visitors can stroll along the palm-lined streets and discover the city's charming architecture or simply relax in the sunshine at one of the many local beaches. Once the sun sets the city moves to an entirely different beat, the streets fill with partiers visiting the many cafes, bars, and world-class restaurants.
A visit to Duval Street is essential for all tourists, one of the most energetic strips of shops, bars and cafes in the United States. Although the city is known for its vibrant nightlife and blue skies, the island is also famous for its diverse range of outdoor activities including diving, fishing and golf. In fact, some of the island's most popular tourist activities are set in nearby crystal clear waters, including dolphin encounters, kayaking and snorkeling. Visitors are also encouraged to rent a boat at Key West marina so they can explore the surrounding area in their own time. For those interested in the life and times of the island's most famous former resident, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a spectacular Spanish colonial structure where the legendary writer lived from 1931 to 1940.
Best Time to Fly to Key West
The vast majority of tourists that flood onto the island come during the peak season of December to February. Those hoping to escape harsh weather are drawn to Florida's mild climate and party atmosphere, but don't expect to find reasonably priced accommodation. The best time to visit the island is between March and May when the winter crowds taper-off and the local accommodation rates become reasonable. During the spring to early summer season the climate is still quite mild and you are likely to escape the threat of hurricanes or other inclement weather. If you are willing to take a gamble, the rainy summer months (June to August) see the fewest tourists and the hotel rates are at their lowest.
Getting around Key West
Visitors should be aware that parking can be difficult to find and is quite expensive, the locals prefer to cycle around the narrow city streets or use a convenient scooter or golf cart.