Key West, the Towers and Beaches

A greetings from three girls in Key West!
Greetings from three girls in Key West!

Commence your day by embarking on a historical journey at the East Martello Tower and Museum, then allow the sun, sand, and sea at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park to reinvigorate your senses. Pack a picnic or partake in the local beachside cuisine, but don’t leave behind your bathing essentials and sun protection.

Key West’s historic guardians, two majestic towers dating back to the mid-1800s, adorn the southeast edge of the island, watching over the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled on South Roosevelt Boulevard, right by the entrance to Key West International Airport, you’ll find the East Martello Tower (open daily from 9.30 am-5 pm). This fortress, a brick-made relic from the Civil War era, resembles an inverted flower pot, its construction was never entirely fulfilled, nor was its purpose as an island defense ever realized.

It boasts a Corsican-inspired design, conceived to fend off coastal intruders.

The tower’s confines now house a museum that displays military uniforms and relics from the US battleship Maine, a victim of an explosion in Havana Harbor in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Climbing up a circular staircase in the fort’s central tower leads to a citadel, offering a breathtaking panorama of the island and its oceanic expanse. The fort, a prominent feature on the National Register of Historic Places, is a respected and much-visited landmark.

However, it’s the East Martello Historical Museum and Art Gallery that truly magnetizes the curious.

The responsibility of the Key West Art and Historical Society, this museum is home to riveting exhibits that delve into the histories of local native Indians, Key West’s once prosperous cigar and sponging trades, the Overseas Highway, and Cuban heritage.

The museum also showcases a horse-drawn hearse that carried fallen soldiers from the Spanish-American War, vintage plane tickets, and travel posters, all reminiscent of a time when Key West was a gateway to Havana vacations. Film memorabilia from the island’s Hollywood moments and a collection of books by many acclaimed writers who made Key West their creative sanctuary, further enrich the exhibits.

One exhibit that particularly stands out is a makeshift bamboo raft – its sail a humble tobacco sack – that Cuban refugees used for their perilous journey to Key West. With its 13 vaulted rooms perpetually cool and breezy, the museum reverberates with the soul-stirring echoes of the island’s illustrious past.

A Young Explorer Snorkeling in Key West's Crystal Clear Waters
A Young Explorer Snorkeling in Key West’s Crystal Clear Waters

KEYWEST FAQ: ANSWERS TO YOUR TRAVEL QUESTIONS

Key West watercraft, any good?

Absolutely! Key West watercraft are nimble and compact, ideal for adventuring through the shallow turquoise waters of the Florida Keys. To top it off, many of these vessels come outfitted with sun decks and bar areas, setting the stage for you to soak in breathtaking views and sunshine while cruising the seas.
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Key West sands, worth the hype?

Indeed, the sands of Key West are a charm. Picture white sandy shores meeting crystal clear blue waters, often dotted with few crowds. This tranquility makes them a haven to unwind while catching some sun rays. Private Sand Bar Cruise on a Tiki Bar Boat in Key West?

Where’s Key West hiding?

Key West takes pride in its location at the very southern tip of the United States. It’s nestled within the Florida Keys, a chain of isles extending from Miami into the Gulf of Mexico.

Does Key West rock an airport?

Yes, Key West boasts an airport of its own. Key West International Airport is situated on the island and offers a gateway to and from major American cities, as well as select international destinations. Do you need a transfer from the Key West International Airport? Check this!

Does Key West feature beaches?

Most definitely, Key West flaunts numerous beaches. The island is home to gems like Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach, and Fort Zachary Taylor Beach. These sandy stretches are idyllic spots to unwind, take a swim, or bask under the sun.
Smathers Beach in Key West

When does Key West turn into Fantasy Fest?

Key West Fantasy Fest, a yearly extravaganza, brings the island to life every October. With flamboyant costumes, vibrant street celebrations, and captivating drag performances, this event draws in globetrotters from across the globe.
Key West Fantasy Fest | Know more fantasyfest.com

KEYWEST’S TOP HOTEL DEALS: YOUR PERFECT STAY AWAITS



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When do hurricanes hit Key West?

Key West lies within the hurricane zone, the season stretching from June to November. While the latter part of the season, especially September and October, is most active, hurricanes can occur during other months too.

What’s the Key West vibe?

Key West, a city in the Florida Keys, is renowned for its chilled-out ambiance, vibrant history, and stunning beaches. A buzzing tourist spot, it is famous for its plethora of bars, eateries, and shopping havens.
Key West Downtown

What makes Key West a standout?

Key West’s distinct charm lies in its relaxed vibe, vibrant history, and stunning beaches. Its vibrant nightlife with numerous bars, dining spots, and shopping venues adds to its allure. Often referred to as the “Conch Republic”, Key West is a favorite among travelers.

How distant is Key West from Miami?

Key West is approximately a 150-mile journey from Miami. The road trip from Miami to Key West can be covered in about 3 hours.

Why is Key West named so?

The moniker “Key West” traces its roots back to the Spanish term “cayo” which translates to “key”. Initially named “Cayo Hueso” or “Bone Key”, it was anglicized to “Key West” in the early 19th century.

KEYWEST’S TOP HOTELS: A GUIDE

Here’s a list of 5 beachfront accommodations in Key West:

Sure, here are the descriptions of 5 Key West hotels with a beach, along with a review and contact information for each:

The Perry Hotel
Perry Hotel in Key WestPerry Hotel in Key West

Address: 700 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-8888 – Property highlights: 4-Star Hotel. Enjoy on-site amenities including two waterfront pools, direct marina access to water activities, complimentary shuttle service to Old Town, on-site parking and WiFi.

Review:  Dive into sophistication at The Perry Hotel. Nestled in the throbbing heart of downtown, this swanky place offers more than just a stay – it’s an experience. Luxurious rooms to crash, a rooftop pool for a refreshing dip, a spa for unwinding, and a fitness center to pump some iron. The cherry on top? A warm, ever-helpful staff!

Pier House Resort & Spa
Pier House Resort & Spa_Pier House Resort & Spa

Address: One Duval Street, Downtown Key West, Key West, FL 33040,
Phone:  (305) 296-4600 –  Property highlights: 4-Star Hotel with Private Beach and Spa at 1-minute walk from Duval Street entertainment district. Experience waterfront views from the outdoor pool or stay indoors and relax with massages and body rituals at the on-site spa. For added wellness, visit the on-site fitness centre.

Review:  This pad is pure dynamite! Scored a street-side spot, yet the vibe felt all exclusive and tucked away. The private sandy oasis? An absolute gem – honestly, it was a total game-changer. We practically ditched the pool and got hooked on the waves instead. Is the chow scene on-site? Top-notch. Plus, the crew here deserves a big round of applause! Hats off to Michal, the beach maestro, and to all those hustling beach servers. They are the real deal!

Key West Marriott Beach Resort
Key West Marriott Beach Resort in Key West

Address: 3841 North Roosevelt Boulevard, Key West
Phone: (305) 296-3500 – Property highlights:  4-Star Hotel with a Private Sandy Beach and a Pool with Gulf of Mexico views.
Key West Airport is less than 2 km away. Nearby activities include the Key West Golf Club, biking and jogging trails, and several water sports. Private indoor parking with valet service is available on-site.

Review:  There’s family-friendly, and then there’s Key West Marriott Beach Resort. This beachside beauty isn’t just a place to stay – it’s a playground with a pool, water park, and fitness center. Roomy and chic quarters await, as does a staff that greets you with smiles. And, its location? Absolutely prime!

Which Key West island tops the list?

Choosing the “best” Key West island can be subjective as each one offers its unique allure and attractions. However, popular choices include Key West, Marathon, Islamorada, Big Pine Key, and Little Torch Key. Ultimately, your choice of island would depend on personal preference and interests.

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