Known for warm beaches and eccentric residents with a live-in-the-moment philosophy, Key West offers a relaxed yet unexpected seaside adventure. Do as the residents (known as Conchs) do and see where that free spirit might take you. Perhaps you'll end up at the aquarium, at a Duval Street bar, in a Mallory Square shop or even touring Ernest Hemingway's old home. continue»
See all Top Things to Do in Key West»
See the Best Hotels in Key West»
The best time to visit Key West is between March and May. The winter crowds will taper off, the hotel rates become reasonable, and the weather is remarkably similar to winter's blissful 70s and 80s. Speaking of winter -- that season is the island's busiest and priciest. The rainy and humid summer months see the fewest tourists but the best hotel rates. The trade-off might be worth it, but you are still gambling against hurricane season (June to November). Also, beware that rates will surge during special events like PrideFest Key West and Fantasy Fest Carnival.Best Times to Visit Key West»
Key West Neighborhoods
Key West is a small island -- about seven square miles -- located at the westernmost tip of the Florida Keys chain. It's connected to the Florida peninsula by U.S. Highway 1, also known as the Overseas Highway.
The western half, Old Town, is the most tourist-friendly, as the streets are lined with the best hotels and restaurants. It's also home to most of the attractions, including Mallory Square and the beaches of Fort Zachary Taylor, as well as Duval Street, which runs north to south through the middle of the district. Go off the beaten path with a stop by Bahama Village, located east of Duval. The small community has resisted change over the years; lizards, chickens and other wildlife still roam freely.
The eastern half of the island is mainly residential and does not contain much that would interest visitors, experts say. However, it does contain the majority of the island's chain hotels and fast food restaurants.
The Florida Keys' crime rate is low. But you should still use common sense when exploring Key West, especially at night and around hectic Duval Street. Be cautious if you go into the water as well; be sure to heed all flags and warning from authorities. Writers also say that you should take care when bicycling through the streets: You're required to use bike lights at night.
The best way to get around tiny Key West is on foot; that way, you can take advantage of the fresh air as you move from place to place. Mopeds and bicycles are also popular, though they can be dangerous. Taxis are available on the street (as well as in front of the Key West International Airport (EYW) in the middle of the island), plus the Key West Department of Transportation operates public bus routes around the island. Very few people drive around the island, but making the scenic three-hour jaunt from Miami is a popular way to arrive in Key West.Getting Around Key West»