Harry S. Truman Little White House#5 in Best Things To Do in Key West
The Little White House was originally built in 1890 as naval command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. In 1946, President Harry Truman used this house as his winter vacation home and because he spent so many working vacations here, it became known as the Little White House. The name is fitting: Since Truman's days, many other presidents have also vacationed here, including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Today, the Little White House has been restored and turned into a museum. Exhibits document Key West's role in naval conflicts, as well as the house's history – the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine were both discussed here.
Recent travelers highly recommend a visit to the Little White House, especially for self-identified history buffs. The guides and exhibits both earn high marks from reviewers. The only gripe among recent visitors concerned the admission cost, which some felt was too high for the experience.
Guided house tours are included in the admission price, which costs $21.45 for adults and $10.75 for kids ages 5 to 12. Children 4 and younger enter for free. Tours, which are around 45 to 55 minutes long, are offered about every 20 minutes from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. You can save a little more than a $1 on each admission by purchasing your tickets on the venue's website. The house is located on the western coast of Key West, just south of Mallory Square and about half a mile north of Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. If you're arriving by car, you can pay to park at the nearby Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina or for free one block east on Whitehead Street. Additional on-site amenities include restrooms and a gift shop.
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#1 Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
For the cleanest beach and best waters in Key West, you should head for the westernmost point of the island to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. There, you can sunbathe, hike, bike, fish and get a dose of history all in one place. Recent visitors favor this shoreline over Smathers Beach (the water is clearer, making it an ideal snorkeling spot), but travelers also warn that the sand is not soft and that beach shoes are needed to traverse the rocky terrain safely. While the beach might not be as powdery soft as some other Florida beaches, it does offer some great snorkeling opportunities, according to recent visitors. Along with your snorkel gear, pack some grilling food and charcoal: This beach has plenty of barbecue grills and rental equipment.
If you get tired of hanging out beachside, stop by the historic fort located within the park. The fort was built in mid-1800s and was used during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Guided tours are offered twice a day.
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