Considered to be the southernmost city in the continental United States, Key West is a city that is located within an island chain known as the Florida Keys. Interestingly enough, this community was relatively isolated until the introduction of a railway line in 1912. Now, Key West is by far one of the most sought-after tourist destinations on the planet.
The Best Time to Visit Key West
As with many cities in southern Florida, it is best to visit Key West between the months of January and July. Not only will visitors be able to avoid the throngs of tourists often present during the holiday season, but much of the inclement weather is not yet active. As hurricane season begins in late July, it is wise to avoid the late summer and early autumn. Flights will likewise be cheaper during the winter and spring.
The major airport to access this city is simply known as Key West International Airport (EYW). The top three airlines (according to online bookings) are Jet Blue, US Airways and American Airlines. Non-stop flights between New York City and Key West will generally take between 4.5 and 5 hours depending upon the route and existing weather conditions. The two most common airports to depart from in New York are John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia International Airport (LGA). Please note that flights with layovers will naturally take considerably longer.
Accommodations in Key West
As should be guessed, there are various types of accommodations which are available to visitors. Larger hotel chains such as Marriott and the Hyatt Regency are some of the most common while there are numerous other budget locations for those who are concerned about spending too much money. Due to the proximity to the beach, bungalows and cottage rentals are two popular options to consider. For those passing through, many motels are located within downtown Key West. Campgrounds are a final possibility during nearly any time of the year thanks to an agreeable climate.
The Top Things to do in Key West
Key West offers a host of truly unique attractions which should not be missed. As there are so many to choose from, let us take a look at three of the most interesting and engaging.
We should first consider that Key West and the surrounding areas display some of the most breathtaking and pristine beaches known to man. An example of this can be seen in Smathers Beach. This stretch of sand is nearly one mile long and is thought to be perfect for those who wish to escape the masses of tourists. Other notable areas include Bahia Honda State Park, Dry Tortugas Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Note that some of these beaches will require the use of public transportation or a car to visit (for example, Bahia Honda State Park is approximately 40 minutes from Key West).
Key West is also home to some beautiful displays of nature. Tourists will often choose to visit nearby Key West Nature Preserve. This oceanfront property was private at one time and now it has been transformed into a public park. Guided tours are available although others can simply choose to take a leisurely walk to fully appreciate the flora and fauna here. Some interesting species include the lizard butterfly and a host of different snakes.
The city itself if home to a number of historic locations that are worth examining. Spots such as Hemingway House, Mallory Square, Duval Street and the seaport will all offer an interesting glimpse into the past and more tranquil times. These can be visited on foot while there is also a sightseeing tour known as the Conch Tour Train. Daily excursions are available although it is wise to book in advance; the train can quickly run out of spaces during busier times of the year. After seeing these wonderful examples of classical Americana, visitors can always relax at the seaport and partake in a tasty cocktail or an early evening dinner.