Travel Destinations: Key West, Florida

Are you a travel enthusiast? I love to travel. There are still dozens of places on my bucket list yet to visit. But one I recently crossed off was Key West, Florida. I just got back early April and it was everything I had hoped for in a travel destination. It’s much more accessible than the popular Caribbean island destinations. It has the feel of the Caribbean although technically it is not in the Caribbean.

Since cruising has gained popularity, Key West has become very crowded. But most of the cruise tourists tend to stick close to the dock and the touristy areas. There were some interesting things to see there too, such as Mel Fisher’s Museum. (He salvaged the Spanish galleon, the Atocha, a number of years back, and has a wonderful display of the bounty he hauled up – jewels, gold bars and doubloons, guns and cannons. You name it.

There’s this eating establishment called Louie’s Back Yard. It’s a great place to eat, or sip a Mojito under the shade of a giant Banyan tree. Great atmosphere. For history buffs Key West has two major offerings: one is the Harry Truman Winter White House. It is much the same as when the president and first lady – Harry and Bess –sought out it out as a private retreat. Then there is the Hemingway House.

Ernest Hemingway was very fond of Key West and his house is open for tours. It’s a bit pricey, but I figured I’m only going to be here once. Why miss it? Interesting fact is it’s still inhabited by the offspring of cats Ernest himself had owned. (It’s also inhabited, some say, by a ghost. Personally, I don’t buy into that kind of phenomenon, and I certainly had no “encounters” during my tour, but it’s an interesting tidbit, in case someone out there is interested.)

There are old cemeteries to explore. (Given the long history of Key West, you can imagine how old some of those gravestones are!) I actually found that fascinating, but not everyone would share that opinion. If you don’t, there are also some great restaurants, and these quaint little trolleys all over town to get you there. Don’t confuse them with the cruise ships’ excursion trolleys, which are off limits to non-cruisers. It’s a small island so everything is pretty much within walking distance if you’re inclined. (I took the trolley.)

Key West is the southernmost point of the United States, and, as part of the United States, it allows for long distant cell phone calls without roaming charges. Good to know. There’s a gorgeous lighthouse there that offers a spectacular view from the top! There are also lots of statues around town that make for great photo ops. And the Butterfly Conservatory is a must!

I stayed there a week and never ran out of things to do. Like I said, I like to travel and were it not for the bucket list, I think my next trip would be back to Key West!

Enjoy more holiday advice here in our guide and travel tips for warm weather

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