Boating in Key WestAbout Key West
Funky, surprisingly sophisticated, and utterly low-key, Key West is at the extreme southeast end of the United States—so extreme, in fact, that it’s closer mile-wise to Cuba than to mainland Florida. Beyond that, the only thing extreme about it is how extremely delightful it is. Traditional Conch-style cottages and thatched roof open-air bars share street space with excellent boutiques and fine dining restaurants. Tie up, rent a bike, and follow your whims.Wherever you end up you won’t be disappointed.
What to do
Tour Papa’s Old Key West residence—and glimpse his fantastic study—at the Ernest Hemingway House, now home to more than 60 cats descended from Hemingway’s own felines
The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is a haven with more than 50 different species of the winged creatures
Grow your beard for the Annual Hemingway Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar (held in July)
Fantasy Fest is the partying town’s ultimate party: extravagant costumes and debauchery galore (held in late October October)
Key West Food & Wine Festival (held in late January) - It hasn’t been around as long as some of the other great South Florida cultural events, but what the Key West Food & Wine Festival lacks in history, it makes up for in funky fun. It is Key West, after all. Now in its third year, the festival provides some structure to the rich and diverse food-and-drink scene Key West is known for, even away from Duval Street. The event kicks off at sunset on the 26th and features a multitude of wine and food seminars, chances to eat fresh seafood, and the only-in-Key West January weather. For information on how to party the Heming-way, visit keywestfoodandwinefestival.com.
This island paradise borders the third-largest barrier reef in the world, and it is also home to the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a 522-foot vessel that’s been sunk and turned into an artificial reef. More than 100 species of fish—including parrotfish, yellow and blue tangs, barracuda, snapper,mackerel, and hogfish—have taken up residency in the submerged ship, which sits upright approximately seven miles off Key West in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
At Ten-Fathom Ledge, dramatic caves and overhangs provide refuge for grouper and lobster while pelagic inhabitants parade in the blue water. One of the area’s most popular offshore reef destinations, Sand Key, is an islet marked by a large iron lighthouse and 10 miles of coral at varying depths.
Where to Eat
Sarabeth’s (305-293-8181, sarabethskeywest.com) of NYC fame - great for brunch.
Cafe Sole (305-294-0230, cafesole.com) combines French cuisine with fresh locally caught seafood.
Pepe’s (305-294-7192, pepescafe.net), the oldest bar in town.
Salute (305-292-1117, saluteonthebeach.com), to watch the sunset on the beach.