Sightseeing Activities in
This landmark is just 90 miles from Cuba.
For a town whose major activity for many
is slowly stepping out of their room and heading down to the nearest
air-conditioned pub on Duval Street, Key West still has plenty of activities
to stir a person's adventurous soul.
Not surprisingly, water sports are abundant. Fishing, diving, snorkeling,
jet skiing, parasailing, boat rides and swimming are everywhere.
It's a small drive or ride back toward the mainland, but snorkeling
or diving is excellent at Looe Key or Big Pine Key (the
latter at MM30). Excursions are also available closer to home base.
For a place surrounded by water, one would think Key West would be
covered in sand, but it has only three beaches, the best of which is
Smathers Beach near the airport.
South Beach and Dog Beach are located next to each other
near the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States,
a must-stop in its own right. This is the very end of U.S. Highway 1,
which begins more than 1,000 miles to the north in Maine and is as close
as one can get to Cuba without actually going there (it's a mere 90
miles away). A giant land marker is positioned at the end of the road
and is the most photographed place on Key West. This being Key West,
several souvenir barons sell everything from conch shells to the ever-present
The Dry Tortugas is America's' most inaccessible National Park
70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. Once there, it offers
white-sand beaches, excellent snorkeling, bird watching and a tour of
a fort (though who would attack such a remote outpost is a mystery to
us). One can ride a ferry (294-7009) or even in a seaplane (294-0709).
If you are into biplane rides, look up Fred Cabanas.
You'll see him buzzing over Key West all day. Fred made his way into
local legend a few years back when he himself was buzzed by a Cuban
military pilot who escaped to Key West in one of Castro's fighter jets.
Key West was originally put on the international map by one of American's
greatest writers, Ernest Hemmingway. The Hemmingway House Museum
(Oliva Street, about halfway down Duval) offers tours ($7). The big
attraction here are the many cats that have a run of the place.
Figuring if it's good enough for Hemmingway then it's certainly good
enough for a president, Harry Truman slipped down here to escape the
rigors of Washington during his tenure at the top. The Truman Little
White House (11 Front St.) is listed on the National Register of
Historic Places and also offers tours and has a Presidential gift shop.
It's a bit touristy, but the Conch Train is an effortless way
to get a guided tour of the island without having to stnad up. Trolly
tours are also available.
Some of the more unique adventures include the Key West Ghost Tour
(294-9255) and the Key West Cemetery Tour (294-8380).
Key West also has a lighthouse worth visiting, an aquarium,
a Shipwreck Museum, skydiving and more.
Pamphlets on these and other Key West adventures are readily available
at all hotels and motels.
Then again, one can choose to do nothing except order another drink
with a promise that "I'll do it tomorrow."
stop on the Party Bus: PubGrub