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Key West, FL Destination Guide

Trailing off the mainland like a fluttering kite tail, the celebrated Florida Keys are both unmistakably American and blissfully tropical - our own version of the easygoing, laid-back Caribbean. Land and water interweave for 155 miles to create a one-of-a-kind vacation of romance, history, adventure, and good old-fashioned party fun. Without a doubt, the Keys have the best diving, snorkeling, fishing, and boating in the continental US.

At the tail's end, you find yourself in Key West, where the wild, weird, and infamous nightlife is a big part of what makes Key West, Key West. The Conch Republic is a land of hammocks, palm trees, and frozen margaritas that's missing nothing but you!

Dining

The restaurants in the Florida Keys are known for their fresh local seafood and island atmosphere, in every setting from extreme-no frills to elegance. There are lots of open-air restaurants, and many eateries have live music and entertainment. They can also have a long history and a story to tell, which is usually pretty colorful. Enjoy the local flavor of the restaurants by trying several different styles and, at least once, belly up to the bar and hang with the locals. Don't leave without trying the conch fritters!

Gourmet: Benihana Steaks & Seafood was voted America's Most Popular Full-Service Restaurant. In Key West, you can add a view of the ocean to the culinary delights while your personal chef artistically prepares your meal of fine steaks, shrimp, lobster, and chicken right at your table! South Roosevelt Blvd, Key West

Highly Recommended: La Trattoria earned the ultimate compliment by becoming famous by "word of mouth"- it has repeatedly won the Key West People's Choice Awards! It's a European bistro with tawny walls, art and antiques, soft lighting, picture windows, and a tenor gently singing throughout the dinner service. 524 Duval Street, Key West

Local Flair: The Half Shell Raw Bar looks like an abandoned shack, but it's the perfect water-front setting to enjoy the Keys' freshest seafood. 231 Margaret Street, Key West

 

Romantic: Café des Artistes is a singular Tropical-French restaurant specializing in fresh local seafood, lobster, and steak and its sultry atmosphere is popular with couples in the mood for romance. 1007 Simonton Street, Key West.

Nightlife

As you'd expect, Key West's "anything goes" attitude reflects much of the island's nightlife. Most bars ooze an affable, rarin'-to-go atmosphere and are frequently open until 4am. Depending on the bar, you'll find everything from tall-taling locals to tipsy tourists, and live country, folk, and rock music. The mainstream bars are clustered at the northern end of Duval Street, easy to hop around. Much of Key West's best nightlife, though, revolves around its restaurants. Cover charges are rare, so start at Truman Street and work your way up Duval through the real-life Margaritaville!

Captain Tony's Saloon: A noted hangout of Hemingway's, this rustic saloon hosts live hard rock and, rumor has it, a ghost in the billiard room. Key West

Bull & Whistle Bar: This last of the old-time open-air bars of Duval Street is the scene of live nightly music by the best local musicians. Key West

Margaritaville: Jimmy Buffet, owner and Florida legend, sometimes shows up to join the bands on stage for a song or two! Key West

Green Parrot Bar: This landmark has been drawing locals since 1890 with its pool tables, dart board, pinball machine, and live music on weekends. Key West

Weather in Key West, FL

The weather is beautiful all year, so there is no climate-centered "best time." Vacationers come to escape winter snows and to get away from the routine during summer vacation, so seasons also don't mark a specific high or low season. Yet, you can expect slightly smaller crowds in January and September, and the biggest crowds during December through March, any holiday, and Spring Break.

Isolated as it is between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, nature's own air conditioning of cool breezes sweeping off the ocean waves keeps Key West's climate surprisingly temperate. There are only two distinguishable seasons, "Dry" and "Wet." Wet season comes during the summer months, with showers mostly a brief afternoon downpour that is immediately followed by bright sunshine. Winter is the Dry season, and sometimes nights get cool enough for a light sweater. The heart of hurricane season lasts from late August to early November, though strikes are rare and there is plenty of advance notice to prepare. When threatened by a hurricane strike, one should expect a 2-day displacement from evacuation to safe return.

Days average 81 degrees.
Nights average 73 degrees.

Tipping in Key West, FL

Tipping in Key West is the same as all other major US cities.

Wedding Requirements for Key West, FL

Same requirements as all US cities.

Airport Information for Key West, FL

Approximate Air Travel Time

New York City 4 hrs
Miami 1 hr
Philadelphia 3.75 hrs
Boston 4.25 hrs
Los Angeles 5.5 hrs
Chicago 3.75 hrs
Dallas-Fort Worth 4 hrs
San Francisco 6 hrs

Rental Cars in Key West, FL

All major rental car agencies serve Key West.