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Small in Size, Key West Florida
Packs a Larger Than Life Punch

Key West Florida, originally known as Cayo Hueso, is the beginning, or the end of the amazing Overseas Highway.

If your Florida Keys travel has taken you the length of these islands over the Overseas Highway, it's been a spectacular journey.

No doubt you've snorkeled or dived Key Largo, and spent time in Marathon Florida and Islamorada fishing.

Perhaps you've played on one of America's most beautiful beaches at Bahia Honda State Park.

You've also undoubtedly seen, and successfully dodged the tiny Key Deer at Big Pine Key.

To get to Cayo Hueso, you've crossed 42 bridges and 32 islands to start your exciting Key West Florida vacation in one of the most exotic cities.

Now that you've reached your final Florida Keys destination, you're about to discover what sets this intriguing island apart. Why it's so different from any place else in the Florida Keys - or elsewhere for that matter.

You'll also want to check the local weather conditions. You can get current Key West weather, short term weather forecasts, hazardous and marine weather forecasts all through this National Weather Service link.

Old And New Seven Mile Bridge Takes You South To The Conch Republic
www.byways.org




Key West Discounts And Coupons

Key West vacations are synonymous with tropical fun. You'll find that there's so many fun things to see and do, but trying to do them all can become expensive.

To help you get as much mileage out of your dollar bills as possible, you'll want to take advantage of Key West coupons and cheap Florida Keys discounts when you can.

This large national company specializes in providing Florida Keys discounts on popular Key West events and attractions. They have many of the activities you'll be doing while you're in the Conch Republic, but if you purchase the tickets through them you'll also save money.




BUY NOW AND SAVE!
Check Out ALL Key West Attractions
For Savings!


Just some of the fun things they have discounts for include dolphin watch and snorkel trips, the ferry ride to the Dry Tortugas National Park, fishing and diving charters, discounts to the Ernest Hemingway House, the Truman Little White House, Key West trolley tours and more.

In fact, there's so much more to do that you can even include the long litany of Key West ghosts in your Key West vacation itinerary, and get a discount on a ghost tour!


Front Street Train Depot for Conch Tour Train


Front Street Train Depot Is A Popular Old Town Rendezvous Point


You'll also want to take advantage of discounts on the two big expenses when it comes to vacations lodging and airfare.

You'll want to check out our main Key West lodging page which also covers the Lower Keys. You can see the different types of accommodation choices. Plus if you're more interested in a resort over a motel, click on resorts and you'll see all the different Lower Keys and Key West resorts.

Any that interest you, simply click on their name for further information plus you can use the handy widget which lets you price check all the Florida Keys lodging rates with dates. If you have the flexibility to play around with your Florida Keys travel dates, you can often get cheaper rates.

Here's another company that has discounts on airfare, Key West car rental, lodging and Florida Keys all inclusive vacation packages. They can save you up to 65% on all flights.

You'll also want to check out these other discounted offers. The Days Inn has a "Stay 3 Nights at the Days Inn and save 20%" special you'll want to investigate. Certain restriction may apply so check when you inquire about the special.

As part of a large national chain, the Travelodge also has a discount program that will save you money on lodging and airfare. It's their earn free nights or flights with Travelodge when you join Wyndham Rewards and book your stays at Travelodge.com program that is worth further investigation.
Key West Vacation Packages!

Southwest Airlines also now services the island and they're known for their affordable rates and reliable service.

They also run different Key West vacation packages with participating resorts and hotels. This make their offers well worth checking into.





Florida Keys Travel And
The Conch Republic

You may have arrived on a Key West cruise ship. This is one of the more popular port o' call destinations with the cruise line industry and if this is your first visit to this amazing Florida Keys city, you're about to find out why!

If you arrived by plane at the Key West airport, you've missed some very spectacular scenery, but you also got here quicker! Now it's just a question of how mobile you want to be, so you can take in as many Key West events and attractions as possible.


Cruise Ships Docked at Mallory Square

You'll find that many of the events and attractions are within close proximity of each other, so walking's not a problem. However, there are some interesting spots located further out from Old Town Key West. If you have some form of transportation you'll be more inclined to visit these as well.

You can get Florida car rentals at the airport. There are two Florida Keys Car Rental at the airport located at 3495 S. Roosevelt Blvd.  There numbers are 305-296-8744, and 305-296-9921.

Offsite at 2516 N. Roosevelt Blvd you'll find 3 other Florida Keys car rentals companies:  Enterprise Rent-a-Car at 305-292-0220, Alamo Rent a Car at 888-826-6893, and National Car Rental at 888-826-6890.

The City itself is basically divided into two, unequal portions. The larger, eastern section is referred to as New Town. If you're coming by car, this will be your first glimpse of the city. This is the grocery shopping, regular retail, traditional business, "where most people live" section of town.

The smaller, western section is Old Town. This is the historic district where the majority of everything you'll want to see and do is located. 

Since everything's conveniently located in this small but congested Conch Republic area, renting something a bit different to keep you mobile would be fun. 

Adventure Scooter, Electric Car, and Harley Rentals at 305-293-8883, can have you being eco-friendly or ultra cool as you cruise around town. They're located at 142 Simonton Street.


US Highway 1 Ends in Key West FL at Whitehead and Fleming




Conch Republic History

In April, 1982, with typical Conch Republic flair and lighthearted levity, this city and the rest of the Florida Keys seceded from the United States for one minute. Their act of protest was against the Federal government's blockade outside Florida City at the far north end of the Keys. 

In an attempt to stop illegal immigration, the government had instituted an enforced measure requiring anyone coming up from the Florida Keys to prove U.S. citizenship. For the residing Conchs this was an insult. US Highway 1 was their only way in and out of the Keys. Their 'staged secession' made a very effective, albeit humorous point.

Key West Conch Republic Flag Proudly Flies Over All
Flag of the Conch Republic (Key West, Florida)
www.wikipedia.org, Photo credit Jmckean

Held every April, the 10 day Conch Republic Independence Celebration continues the festivities in typical Conch Republic fashion. 

All sorts of fun, and wacky parties and events are planned, from battle re-enactments to the world's longest parade. After all, the parade does travel down Duval St which is barely a mile in length from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico!

This 2014 Key West event kicks off April 18th at 7:00 pm at the Schooner Wharf Bar at Seaport Village and runs for 10 days of wild, crazy fun.  For more information on activities and events call 305-296-0213.


Schooner Wharf Bar at Seaport Harbor Walk
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection


Typical of the Conch Republic Key West history is filled with anecdotes from wild and exotic pirate lore, to scary ghost stories. It also happens to be one of the 10 most haunted places in the United States. Ghoulish stories abound with tales of dread and sorrow. Be careful where you sleep at night. Your room may be one of the many places frequented by the spirits from beyond. 

The haunted activities at night however, often pale in comparison to the daytime activities. For a place possessing a casual, island charm - it's the boisterous, carnival-like bravado of the city that draws the crowds.




The Conch Republic Is The Party Town

This is a party town, and pretty much anything goes. The Fantasy Fest celebration was originally designed to be an event catering to it's strong gay and lesbian culture, but has evolved to include people of all orientations. 

The Key West Fantasy Fest wouldn't be as wild, zany or sexy if it weren't for all the great Fantasy Fest costumes. It's almost unheard of to plan on attending this adult festival without at least 1 or 2 provocative Fantasy Fest costumes to wear.  

You'll want to make sure you have at least several costumes so you can attend the various parties, such as the very popular Sloppy Joe's Toga Party.

Not only does wearing costumes make it possible for you to attend a party, it also makes you feel like you're part of the crowd, instead of just a bystander. This is your chance to look and feel sexy, so don't miss out on getting your costumes for Fantasy Fest today!




You'll also want to know what's planned for this years wild party! The Fantasy Fest Schedule of Events is broken down by day and includes the events that occur over the 10 days of non-stop ribald fun.  Coinciding with Halloween, Fantasy Fest is more like Mardi Gras on bacchanalian steroids that kicks off with Goombay at Bahama Village.

The many events of the festival, including the much anticipated Fantasy Fest parade, exemplify the city's flamboyant free spirit, and its tolerance for all. 


Beetlejuice Goes to Key West Fantasy Fest
Photo Courtesy of Roy Llowarch on Flickr


It's the Fantasy Fest Masquerade Balls however, that allow the party goers to really show off their talent and wares. The Masquerade Balls cover themes from the Pet Masquerade Ball to the Headdress Ball.

This City is a blend of old world charm meshing perfectly with new world wacky. It's wild. It's fun. It's breathtakingly beautiful.

A precursor in some ways to the festivities of Fantasy Fest is the popular Phil Peterson's Poker Run.  This anticipated event is held the third weekend of September and draws bikers from all over the world.  They converge on this tiny town for 3 days of partying, and a variety of biker themed events.

The Poker Run culminates with the top 10 hands playing one hand of Texas Hold 'Em.  The winner riding off with either a new Harley-Davidson or a tidy prize cash. 




Touring Old Town Key West Florida

We've found our Key West vacations to be some of our most favorite. We're also continually amazed at how busy, even downright hectic Old Town can be.  Unless you visit in the summer months, which are quieter - you can expect lots of people, lots of noise, lots of activity, and absolutely no parking.

Walking anywhere, especially the older Historic District of Old Town, makes the most sense. Parking can be a nightmare. In fact you can spend more time trying to find a parking spot then if you'd just walked there in the first place. You'll also save yourself a brain embolism, as it can be terribly frustrating trying to find a place, just any place - to park.


Key West Architecture is a blend of styles including Victorian, Bahamian and Conch


Key West Is Known For It's Unusual Architecture


The architecture of the many old and gracious homes is magnificent. Whether the home is large, or small, their stature appears more stately, set against the backdrop of the city's tropical vegetation.

Bougainvillea branches, laden with vibrant splashes of red, bronze and pink, splash and spill over brick walls. Palm and banana trees, giant birds of paradise, and tall philodendrons grace courtyards, allowing the occasional inside glimpse to a passerby. The ocean air is heavy with the abundant perfume of the many exotic plants. 



Bougainvillea and Tropical Foliage Spill Onto Streets in Key West Florida

Strolling the often narrow streets of Old Town can transport you back in time. On Front Street, at the northwest end of the island, not far from Mallory Square, you'll pass the beautiful grounds of the Little White House, the occasional winter home of President Truman.

Intersecting with Whitehead Street, and walking a few blocks south, you'll pass the home Ernest Hemingway lived in during the 1930's. If you're watchful, you may even spot one of the many 6-toed cats living on the premises. Some are direct descendants of Hemingway's beloved Snowball.

Whitehead, like Duval Street and Simonton run on a somewhat NW / SE line. These three old, beautiful streets are filled with fascinating homes, charming beds and breakfasts, museums, and quaint shops.



Southernmost Point Buoy Marker Is 90 Miles From Cuba


These streets channel you southeast, 15 blocks or so, from the hustle and bustle of Mallory Square Key West, to the Southernmost Point and the Southernmost House in the continental United States. At this point you're closer to Cuba at 90 miles, then you are to Miami at about 160 miles.

Since this is a small but very congested area loaded with so many Key West attractions and things to do, you should make sure you have a Key West map so you don't miss out on some of the better venues.

Getting your map from Amazon.com in advance will save you from having to hunt for either a free 'map' or a detailed Key West map once you're here.  

The free version is sketchy in terms of all the Key West things to do, and a store bought one will undoubtedly be more expensive than getting one now from Amazon.com. 

Below, I've included links for a Key West map, a Florida Keys map and also a Florida map.  Depending on where your Florida Keys vacation takes you, you'll be able to quickly see how to get everywhere you want, not miss anything, and save some time and money in the process!





Get Your Florida, Florida Keys
And Key West Maps From Amazon.com
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The Different Key West Tours

Depending on where you start out, and where you want to go, the walking distances are not particularly trying. Key West FL weather can often be hot and humid, so if you're not up to a stroll, there are several trolleys to transport you around the area.

Trolley rides let you get on and off as you please, for sightseeing along the way. You're also treated to a narrated tour while you ride. Nothing makes sightseeing more interesting, then an historic anecdote to bring it all into perspective.

Old Town Trolley Tours is the oldest in the city and they're located at 1 Whitehead Street, in Mallory Square. If you've never been to this City, this is the perfect way to get a good overview of Old Town.

They cover over 100 points of interest during the 90 minute narrated tour. You have the option of riding for the whole duration, or taking advantage of their convenient hop on - hop off service.

If you do this you can stop at places that catch your interest. When you've finished exploring that area or attraction, you can then get on the next tour when it comes by, and continue on until something else interests you.


Sailboat Sails Against The Setting Key West Sun


Sailboat Cruises are Popular During the Nightly Sunset Celebration
Photo Courtesy of facebook.com/jlackphotography


The tickets are good for the whole day from 9:00 am until the last boarding call at 4:30 pm. The company is also so confident of their services, that they offer a full 100% money back guarantee.

You can purchase your tickets at any of their ticket wickets or you can avoid standing in line and save money on the purchase price by picking up your Old Town Trolley e-tickets online.

Old Town Trolley Tours also participate in several combination packages which add even greater value to your Florida Keys vacation. One of the popular packages is Old Town Trolley Tours and the beautiful Ernest Hemingway home and gardens. With any combination package you'll save money over buying the tickets individually. Add in buying them online in advance and you save even more.

Another fun combination package that gets you out on the water and doing something a bit different is the Old Town Trolley and Glassbottom Boat Sunset Cruise. This 2 hour boat ride gives you a chance to not only view the famous Key West sunsets from the vantage point of the water, but also gives you an opportunity to see the amazing underwater world of the Florida Keys.

Tropical fish dart in and around the brightly colored coral reefs. Large game fish swim beneath you, giving you a close up glimpse of the magical wonders living in the sea. Guests are also treated to complimentary champagne and sodas during the trip. You also can stay in the climate controlled cabin, or relax on the deck while enjoying the fresh ocean air.

With this combo there's quite a significant savings purchasing your tickets online.

Another local icon is the Conch Tour Train, located at 303 Front Street in Mallory Square. This is another fun way to get around town and the 90 minute tour gives you an informative overview of the highlights that constitute Old Town.

Through Trusted Tours you can save money by purchasing your Conch Tour Train e-tickets in advance.


Key West Aquarium Near Mallory Square


Key West Florida is full of things to see and do, on land and on sea. Whether you're on a boat ride out to Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas National Park, taking in the beauty of the nightly Sunset Celebration, or simply visiting one of the many museums, each day will be pleasure packed. 

There are so many different events and attractions that you'll have a hard time fitting them all in.

You'll find that the city's museum themes range from the nautical to the botanical. From historical to military. There's something for everyone, even the children. The Aquarium and Ripley's Believe It or Not! are great places to go, if you're traveling with the family.




Most places of interest are scattered around the west end of the island, but one popular attraction is accessible only by the Dry Tortugas National Park ferry. This is Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park. Fort Jefferson ferries run all year long and depart from 240 Margaret Street.

A Dry Tortugas trip is a full day Florida Keys event that's worth every second you're gone. Plus when you're at the Dry Tortugas National Park, you can spend time exploring not just Fort Jefferson, but enjoy snorkeling in the Florida Keys crystal clear water.


Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is One of the City's Best Museums


Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum located at 200 Greene Street is another definite must see. On display are interesting and precious artifacts from 2 Spanish galleons sunk off the coast in 1622. The valuable finds include a 77.76 uncut hexagonal emerald, and a 7 pound gold chain.



BUY NOW AND SAVE!
Check Out ALL Key West Attractions
For Savings!

Over and above these types of tours, there are also the eco tours which offer a variety of educational activities suitable for the whole family.

These ecotours range from dolphin encounters, to kayak tours. There are shark adventure excursions, paddle boarding tours, scuba and snorkeling tours, glass bottom boat tours and more.

Whether you're interested in the Key West eco tours or the eco tours offered in the Lower Keys there's a host of ecotourism activities for you to enjoy.

Other educational vacational style activities revolve around a major buzzword "voluntourism". Increasingly popular as the way to spend a vacation, voluntourism opportunities abound.

Numerous conservation focused organizations offer a variety of ways those on a vacation in the Florida Keys can participate.

The premise of voluntourism is that through participation those not normally involved in these organizations can make even a temporary difference.

The conservation organization gains needed resources, the focus of the organization, whether coral reefs, sea turtles or dolphins benefit, and the voluntourism participant benefits. All in all, these programs end up being a win-win situation for everyone.




Eat, Drink and Sleep in the Conch Republic

You'll also find that the Old Town has more then its' share of quality Florida Keys restaurants, and even more then its' fair share of bars. Doing the Duval Crawl is easy and is why they say you can drink like Hemingway when you're here. 

Key West bars are also geared up to meet your every whim and fancy. They open early, and close in the weest, longest hours of the morning. They also offer a variety of secondary activities for the imbiber.

One popular, if not unusual drinking spot, is the Bull and Whistle Stop. The open air main level gives you the perfect opportunity to imbibe while listening to live music. The second floor has balconies where you can sit, or you go inside and play a round of pool.

The top floor is what adds the 'unusual' to the Bull and Whistle Stop. The Garden of Eden Key West is true to its' name and clothing is optional. A not surprising feature considering you're in the city of 'pretty much anything goes' and the heart of Conch Republic attitude.


Historic Bull and Whistle Stop with Garden of Eden on Top Floor


For Key West Florida vacations, you have a large selection of Conch Republic accommodations to choose from.

One place worth staying at is La Concha Hotel Key West at 430 Duval Street. Resorts in Key West don't get any better than this. Perhaps that's why Tennessee Williams chose to finish his iconic novel, A Streetcar Named Desire here. Or why Ernest Hemingway opted to stayed so many times.

Like the La Concha Hotel, there are many hotels located in Old Town. The convenience of being close to all the major events and attractions, restaurants and bars are important for their guests.

However, unlike many of the other hotels here, La Concha has a particularly fascinating feature. Not only is this 4 star hotel loaded with history and amenities, it's also haunted. Perhaps that's why those who have passed on, refuse to go. It's just too nice of a place to leave.

This Key West hotel also has a Florida Keys vacation package to suit your every desire. They range from wedding packages, to snorkeling packages, adventure packages to sailing packages.


Crowne Plaza La Concha Key West

Key West Crowne Plaza La Concha With Popular Bo's Fish Wagon in View
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection


If you're a camper or RV'er, there's also several campgrounds in the City, or the immediate vicinity, worth your consideration.

The combination of proximity to water, lush tropical landscaping, and numerous amenities and activities, will make a stay at any of these Florida Keys RV parks memorable.





Welcome to Key West sign


Welcome To Paradise!

A visit to the warm, anything goes, rather rambunctious Conch Republic is certain to supply you with an abundance of Florida Keys vacation memories.

You'll quickly discover that the Conch Republic is a destination like no other. It's vibrant. It's flamboyant. It's a community of people drawn together from all over the world. In fact, the city's motto espouses their strong belief of unity and acceptance...

All People Are Created Equal Members of One Human Family

For Key Westers this is not just a slogan, it's a way of life. You'll feel the embrace of the city, and the warmth of her people. This is part of the area's allure, and the reason you'll want to return again and again to this special corner of paradise. When it comes to Key West vacations, soon is not enough.

Welcome to Key West!









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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040