Amazing vacation rentals await you in beautiful Key West, FL! The southernmost point in the country, Key West is famous for its glorious watersports, its gorgeous beaches, and its historic sites. Abounding with free-spirited vitality and laid-back charm, Key West is one of the most unique vacation destinations in the United States. Known for its quirky fun atmosphere, amazing climate, and scenic waters, this tiny island has been welcoming vacationers for over two centuries.
The history of Key West as a vacation destination dates back to the time when several famous writers including Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, and Tennessee Williams called the island home. To list a few facts about Key West, this island in the Straits of Florida is at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. About four miles long and one mile wide, the island has a total land mass of 4.2 square miles. In the late 1950s, many of the large salt ponds on the eastern side were filled in, nearly doubling the original land mass of the island.
Since its earliest days, Key West has been all about rejuvenation—everything about Key West has always been about finding and reinventing one’s self. For a majority of vacationers, the water and the glorious sunsets are the biggest draws. For most others, it’s all about the history and architecture of the island. And the rest are attracted by the island’s bohemian and tolerant atmosphere. As you must have figured out by now, there’s something for everyone vacationing in Key West—and we have the perfect vacation rental option for you. But before we talk about our fantastic rental choices, let’s first check out some of the things you can see and do in Key West if you plan to vacation there.
As Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States, any visit to the island demands the recognition of this distinctive geographical fact. You have to have your photo taken next to the large painted cement buoy that sits on the corner of Whitehead Street and South Street, where the marker points out that Cuba is a mere 90 miles due south. The next most important thing you have to do in Key West is join the daily Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square—when the sun sets, it displays a deeply-hued color show across the sky, and few places in the world can rival the sheer brilliance and majesty of the sunset here. The Sunset Celebration features flame-tossing jugglers, sword swallowers, tightrope walkers, and bird shows—why not enjoy yourself at this carnival atmosphere?
Six miles offshore of Key West lies the world’s third-largest living coral reef—a place abounding with schools of fish, nimble stingrays, vibrant sea fans, and colorful corals. Whether you are a scuba diver or a snorkeler, you have to head out for an excursion around Sand Key Lighthouse Reef, a 10-mile reef system that features coral formations of varying depths. With numerous wreck sites, Key West is also an excellent location for wreck diving.
If you really want to get away from it all on your vacation, why not visit the Dry Tortugas islands? Located 70 miles west of Key West, these islands don’t have any phone signal, so you really have no distractions from your vacation. The first thing you will see there is Fort Jefferson, a huge Civil War brick fort that once guarded the Gulf of Mexico. Check out the fascinating history of the fort, and enjoy the pristine scenic views and the gorgeous sandy beaches—and indulge in some snorkeling to admire the coral formations, loggerhead turtles, and French angel fish. Key West is an angler’s paradise, being one of the most diverse fisheries in the world. Come here for a chance to hook a hundred different species of fish, including bonefish, tarpon, marlin, sailfish, grouper, snapper, wahoo, kingfish, tuna, mahi-mahi, barracuda, jacks, and even sharks. All you have to do is choose between deep sea fishing, light tackle offshore fishing, flats fishing, and fishing in the backcountry. Backcountry fishing in Key West is all about unspoiled nature—miles upon miles of remote, calm waters. Whether you are an explorer, an environmentalist, or a sportsman, an introduction to backcountry fishing will hook you for life.
From the very busy Smathers Beach with its volleyball games and watersports, to the much quieter beach at Fort Zachary Taylor, Key West’s beaches are a delight. Why not take a tour around the island aboard a waverunner or jet ski? See the beauty of Key West on an exhilarating parasailing adventure—tether yourself to a parachute and rise up 600 feet to see miles of crystal blue sea all around you. Those looking for something less adventurous may want to opt for a ride on one of the glass-bottom boats that can show you the wonders of the reef without getting your feet wet. You can even take a kayak and have a close encounter with a dolphin!
For a more land-based exploration, take a bicycle ride around the historic district known as Old Town. Try and take in a few of the island’s museums—learn about treasure hunting at the Mel Fisher Museum, or about shipwrecking at the Shipwreck Historeum. Visit the Southernmost House & Museum, which houses an impressive collection of documents, many signed by presidents of the United States. And don’t forget to check out the former residence of the celebrated American novelist Ernest Hemingway—the grand home where he wrote many of his most famous works.
For the nature lover, Key West’s Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a major draw—the large glass atrium here is filled with lush tropical vegetation, tropical birds, and more than fifty types of colorful and exotic butterflies. Check out the 8.5-acre Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, which is filled with plants and trees native to this tropical habitat. The fresh water lake here is a popular place for local and migratory birds—and you can see herons, egrets, and fresh-water turtles here. Also worth a visit is the Key West Aquarium, which counts shark feeding, touch tank, and sting ray exhibits as its star attractions.
Surrounded as it is by a warm, calm, clear, aqua-blue ocean brimming with sea life and beauty, it’s no wonder that Key West is at the top of many traveler’s lists. Come immerse yourself in the uniqueness around the Florida Keys—and leave with an appreciation of why Key West is such a magical vacation destination. Our many Key West vacation rental properties will take your breath away – reserve one today here!