Ever since Henry Flager fell in love with the Lower Keys, and especially Key West, savvy tourists have enjoyed this remote and beautiful corner of the world for its pristine waters, wildlife, and boating and fishing opportunities. However, nature lovers are not the only ones who enjoy Key West, as it also features a million things to do, by day as well as by night.
As a carefully-groomed tourist and resort destination, little Key West probably packs more entertainment possibilities per square foot than even Las Vegas—but without the casinos.
Key West Aquarium
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|Built between 1932 and 1934, the Key West Aquarium is one of Florida's oldest aquariums.|
What kid (whether child or young-at-heart) doesn't want to touch conches, sea cucumbers, crabs, or sharks? (Without harm to either the kid or the creature, of course!) At Key West Aquarium, that's just one of the fun things to do and see.
Bahia Honda State Park
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|The 2.5-mile natural, white sand beach was rated the #1 beach in 1992 in the United States, the first Florida beach to be so honored.|
As wonderful as Key West is for its scenic beaches, the fact is that sandy beaches are very rare among coral reef islands. However, just 36 miles up the Overseas Highway, is Bahia Honda Key, which has a most excellent white sand beach, as well as trails, flowering plants and trees, and more.
Visit the Dry Tortugas
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|These remote keys have a history of sea turtles, sunken treasures, and one of the world's largest coastal brick fortresses. But you can't get there by car.|
Juan Ponce de Leon first stumbled upon this stretch of islands in 1513, back when they were nothing more than clusters of coral inhabited by sea turtles. Upon his discovery, de Leon named the islands "Las Tortugas" (meaning "the turtles"), and is said to have subsisted off 160 of these very animals while on his journey through the high seas.
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
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|Once the home of the great writer; now the home of the descendents of his polydactylic cats.|
This was the home of Ernest Hemingway from 1931 to 1939, although he retained title to the home until he died. It is now a private, for-profit landmark and tourist attraction, now populated by six- and seven-toed cats that are descendants of Hemingway's polydactylic cats.
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|It's easy and inexpensive to rent a kayak, or to go kayaking with a tour. Many such trips include snorkeling. Other opportunities range from renting a canoe to enjoy dinner on a sunset cruise.|
Key West is a small island, surrounded by even smaller, uninhabited islands. Renting a sea kayak, paddleboard, jet ski or canoe are four ways to explore them at your whim. Or, if you prefer guidance, kayaking and paddleboard tours are available. There are also many reefs to be explored in the area, both for solo exploration and as part of a guided tour.
Monroe County Sheriff's Animal Farm
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|Caged people care for caged animals. It's a match made in prison reform heaven.|
The Monroe County Sheriff's Animal Farm, open just twice a month, is a petting zoo especially designed for children and adults of all ages. Monroe County contains all the keys from Largo to West. The Monroe County Sheriff's complex is located on Stock Island (once called Cow Key), the first key up from Key West. The park was started in 1994 in an open area underneath the jail facility. The Stock Island Detention Center was built to withstand a Category Five Hurricane, and is built on stilts, about 11 feet above the ground. Underneath the building is employee parking, and a secure fenced area used for the evacuation of inmates in the case of a fire. It was in this evacuation area, initially a graveled area not used for anything else, that the farm was started.
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|Ernest Hemmingway's famed hangout and inventors of the beef-and-BBQ meal.|
Sloppy Joe's Bar is a historic American bar in Key West, Florida. It is now located on the north side of Duval Street at the corner of Greene Street, (201 Duval Street). Founded on December 5, 1933, the bar's most famous patrons were Ernest Hemingway and the infamous rum runner Habana Joe. The original location at the time Hemingway frequented Sloppy Joe's is a few doors down to the west, just off Duval Street, at 428 Greene Street, and is now called "Captain Tony's Saloon".
West Martello Tower
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|The West Martello Tower (also known as the Key West Garden Club) is a historic martello tower in Key West. On June 24, 1976, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.|
West Martello Tower, also known as the Key West Garden Club, is one of the island's last remaining free tourist attractions. Plants are donated and maintained by members and volunteers. In addition to simply emjoying the gardens and old mini-fort, West Martello Tower provides educational opportunities for the community relating to tropical gardening and to the tower, a National Historic site where the Club is located.