Lay Back and Relax in Key West
By Deanna Destito
Key West, a tiny island in the Florida Keys and the southernmost point in the United States, is known for its laidback vibe and scenic, tropical atmosphere.
Just a short drive from Miami, Key West is a treasure for all who visit.
Writers, artists, and other dreamers seek out Key West’s relaxed vibe to find their inspiration and unwind from the day-to-day grind.
The city is overflowing with tropical sensations such as the lush greenery everywhere you turn and gorgeous turquoise waters surrounding it.
Always happy, locals and visitors alike know they can be themselves here and enjoy every moment.
Key West has seen its share of famous visitors, beginning as early as 1521 when Ponce de Leon explored the area.
The island serves up large doses of intrigue – Southern charm, an undisturbed way of life in a peaceful atmosphere, and a pinch of Caribbean flavor.
It is no wonder that many famous people decided to vacation here, eventually turning Key West into their permanent home or a favorite getaway from the freezing winter.
Key West was established as a city in 1822 and over the years it has been a welcoming home for pirates, writers, poets, and pundits.
Modern day regulars have included Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and many more.
President Harry Truman once shared how impressed he was by the island, making jokes that he would relocate the nation’s capital here and just stay.
Historical landmarks transport travelers back in time, introducing them to the lives of renowned figures and events.
The area is also part of the micronation known as The Conch Republic.
On April 23, 1982 the Florida Keys seceded from the USA in protest of a border patrol blockade on Highway 1 that isolated the citizens of the Keys from the mainland and cut them off from the rest of the country, effectively forcing them to prove their citizenship to enter the Florida mainland.
As a response to the injustice, the Keys declared their status as an independent nation, with residents holding dual citizenship as both Americans and Conchs.
There’s much to do in Key West, no matter your taste in vacation. Fancy restaurants offer visitors fresh seafood after a long day sightseeing.
A wide array of lodgings will give you the chance to choose what best fits your vacation plans, from exquisite hotels and well-appointed waterfront resorts, to guesthouses or quaint bed and breakfasts nestled away on a lane in Old Town Key West.
Key West dazzles with its endless options for fun and outdoor opportunities. Top-notch fishing brings enthusiastic anglers from all over the world, with both shallow-water fishing and the azure sea, just beyond the coral reef barrier.
The shallow flats are plentiful with bonefish, permit, tarpon, and barracuda, while the waters offshore are excellent for tuna, sailfish, wahoo, marlin, snapper, and gro azure port fishing.
Adrenaline seekers can indulge in parasailing, jet skiing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, while those who are not that keen on extreme sports can take dolphin watching tours, a glass-bottom boat tour, or a relaxing romantic cruise at sunset.
Key West is a wonderful place to enter the magical world of diving and snorkeling since some fish species and coral can only be seen here in North America’s only coral reef.
The tourists flocking to the town exceed one million annually, and the majority of them would love to come back again for more of the sunny paradise.
Key West is blessed with an enviable spectrum of tourist attractions, from shipwreck treasures and fictional heroes’ shelters, to Victorian-style architecture and gardens bathed in bright colors.
Mallory Square is the traditional place to say goodbye to the sun every evening – the vendors, street artists, and performers make for a lively experience.
One of the best things about Key West is that it is a year-round tourist destination and no matter which season you decide to visit the island, you can expect numerous cultural events and festivals.
Among the most popular celebrations are Florida Keys fishing tournaments, celebration of the Conch Republic’s Independence, and Fantasy Fest featuring mer-folk, titanic twirling headdresses, and dancing schools of fish.