Finally I’m sharing my travel tips and pics for America, from New York, Boston, Philly and Chicago to, finally, Miami. One of my favourite Miami activities was a day trip to the Florida Keys 🏝️🗾. This is my last America-related travel post (until the next trip!) with what to see, do and eat in Key West.
Florida Keys is an archipelago off the south coast of Florida. The largest, remotest island, Key West, contains the southernmost point of the United States and may possibly be a separate nation altogether (more later!). The Keys are connected by a single road running through the smaller islands and over the sea via the Seven Mile Bridge. Pictures taken from the air suggest an amazing drive through a tropical paradise, but the journey to Key West is rather less interesting when seen from the inside of a bus …
The town of Key West has a rustic, tropical, slightly Caribbean feel (we’re constantly reminded we’re only 90 miles away from Cuba!): all painted wooden signs, pastel-coloured houses with peeling slatted wood cladding, and tons of palm trees.
At times the old-timey beach aesthetic feels a little manufactured.
But it’s cute all the same.
And has beautiful views over the turquoise sea, if you can get a clear shot between passing cruise ships …
On display outside the town’s Maritime Museum is another reminder of the Cuban refugee situation: a makeshift boat comprising twelve large cans welded to a metal frame and powered by a van engine, no doubt overloaded with people trying to reach the closest part of Florida they could. Anyone who reached the shore was allowed to apply for US residency, but boats intercepted at sea were sent back to Cuba. It seems a miracle that this boat could have got anywhere, let alone 90 miles under a blazing sun.
What to do
- Harry Truman’s Little White House: President Truman was prescribed a tropical climate for his health issues, and ran the country from here at intervals
- Ernest Hemingway’s House: the famous author lived here for 10 years, and now the 40-odd feline descendants of his six-toed pet cat occupy the grounds
- Key West Lighthouse:
What to eat
When you’ve had your fill of history and outlet shopping you can try the local delicacies: key lime pie and conch fritters! Key lime pie is made with key limes (they’re not actually limes!), so named because the fruit was naturalised in the Keys after being brought there by Spanish colonisers. Conch shells are another emblem of the Keys, as you’ll know if you’ve ever heard of the Conch Republic.
I can’t tell if this self-declared seceded state comprising the island of Key West is for real or not – but it’s an appropriate note on which to end my visit to this fun, quirky, tropical toy town.