Some of the best things to do in Key West are free. Posing with the Southernmost Point buoy, anchored where Whitehead Street meets South Street, is one of them. Vividly highlighting the USA’s end, only 90 miles from Cuba, the Southernmost Point is a unique Florida Keys monument.
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Why visit the Southernmost Point
Erected in 1983, the Southernmost Point marks out the southernmost point of the continental USA. Or, well, that’s at least what the monument symbolizes.
Glance at an accurate map, Google Maps is your best friend, and you easily find Key West spots located further south: the Whitehead Spit, which isn’t publicly accessible, but also southern tips of Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
Adding some confusion to the story, many tourist maps of Key West are drawn in a way that the Southernmost Point buoy appears to be the actual southernmost point of the island and America.
But those map creators are missing the point. The Southernmost Point in Key West doesn’t have to be the actual southernmost point to be well worth a visit during your vacation.
Key West is — there’s no controversy about this — the southernmost connected point of the contiguous United States. The few locations some hundred feet south of the marker certainly don’t make this fact less inspirational.
What about the 90 miles to Cuba? Key West’s buoy famously has “90 miles to Cuba” written on it. This is an accurate but slightly rounded off number — it’s under 95 miles to Cuba, compared to 130 miles to Miami.
Tips for visiting the Southernmost Point
A few tips can make your visit to the Southernmost Point even better.
- Expect lines: The Southernmost Point is the ultimate Key West photo opportunity. Although fall is the best time to visit Key West to beat the crowds, visitors line up for pictures here from sunrise to sunset year round.
- Walk or bike: Because the Florida island is so compact, you easily get around Key West by foot or bike. With limited and expensive parking available, touring Key West by car adds seemingly unnecessary moments of stress.
- Feel butterflies: While visiting the southern end of Old Town, tick off the Butterfly Garden. If you look inviting, those majestic insects will land on you.
Things to do near the Southernmost Point
The fun things to do near the Southernmost Point are many. From butterflies and history to beaches and nightlife, Old Town of Key West is filled with attractions for every type of visitor.
- Key West Butterfly Garden: Walk among butterflies and learn everything there’s to know about them. Located just a few hundred feet away, this is a popular attraction that it’s incredibly easy to combine with the Southernmost Point.
- Hemingway Home: No Key West visit is complete without stopping by at the Ernest Hemingway Home. Indulge in the story of the master of narrative, or just cuddle with descendants of his cats.
- Key West Lighthouse: The best Key West views are to be had at Key West Lighthouse. First learn all the facts at the keeper’s quarters; then climb to the top to enjoy tropical surroundings from above.
- Mile Marker 0: Do you have a thing for iconic signs? Even though the Southernmost Point buoy is way more famous, the Mile Marker 0 on Whitehead Street is another fun photo opportunity.
- Sloppy Joe’s: On your Key West vacation, you can drink where Ernest Hemingway used to drink. Sloppy Joe’s is the perfect venue to celebrate that you’re at the Southernmost Point of the continental USA.
- Mallory Square: Sunset Celebration is a nightly happening on Mallory Square in Key West. Come to watch the most colorful of sunsets, enhanced by skillful street performers.
- Fort Zachary Taylor: Key West has beaches too. There are closer alternatives, but Fort Zachary Taylor offers an in particular appreciated setting for recharging time under the Florida Keys sun.
Distances from the Southernmost Point
|0.1 mi / 0.2 km
|0.3 mi / 0.5 km
|Key West Lighthouse
|0.3 mi / 0.5 km
|Mile Marker 0
|0.7 mi / 1.1 km
|1.1 mi / 1.8 km
|1.2 mi / 1.9 km
|Fort Zachary Taylor
|1.3 mi / 2.1 km
Where to stay near the Southernmost Point
Inviting Southernmost Point hotels let you bed down near the iconic buoy, which is anchored slightly away from Key West’s busy nightlife scene. This is an area to stay in Key West for visitors who want peace and quiet without giving up convenience.
Southernmost Point Guest House
Built in 1894, Southernmost Point Guest House is a historic place for a Key West getaway. Have a cooling drink on one of its shady porches; then walk over to the Southernmost Point buoy — 300 feet away.
Beware: If you don’t book this Southernmost Point hotel, you most likely will regret it when walking by. It’s that pretty!
Blue Marlin Motel
Blue Marlin is not one of those luxury hotels near the Southernmost Point. Instead, it’s a friendly Key West motel that takes pride in offering value on an otherwise often not so affordable Florida island.
Location wise, it’s just minutes by foot from Blue Marlin Motel to the Southernmost Point.
Southernmost Point FAQ
Key West’s Southernmost Point buoy is located at the intersection of Whitehead Street and South Street. This is at the southern end of the island of Key West, also known as the Atlantic side.
Marking the end of America, the Southernmost Point buoy is the ultimate Key West photo opportunity. From the vivid concrete buoy, it’s only 90 miles to Cuba.
The Butterfly Garden is a nearby Key West attraction for visitors of all ages. Deeper into the island, other top sights near the Southernmost Point include the Ernest Hemingway Home and Key West Lighthouse.