Top reasons to visit Key West

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  • Post last modified:February 12, 2024
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The warm weather is just one of the numerous reasons to visit Key West. Many visitors first travel to Key West for the weather, but come back for everything else there is to like about the South Florida island.

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1. Endless summer

The warm tropical climate defines Key West. You can visit Key West and enjoy warm temperatures while most other parts of North America are freezing.

Key West is known for its endless summer.

In January, which is the coldest month of the year, the daily average maximum temperature is 75 °F (24 °C). Even at night in January, the temperature on average only drops to 65 °F (18 °C).

That doesn’t sound too cold, does it?

Palm tree bending over white Key West beach lapped by blue water
Endless Key West summer.

2. Perfect holiday size

With all the fun things to do in Key West, it’s easy to believe that the island is rather big. But Key West is, in fact, just roughly 2 miles wide (3.2 km) and 4 miles (6.4 km) long.

Isn’t that perfect for a relaxing holiday? With such a manageable size you can focus more on relaxing, and less on getting to and from places.

If you stay in Old Town, you have most places of interest within walking distance. And if you don’t want to walk, the Conch Tour Train happily takes visitors around town.

The Conch Tour Train traveling along Duval Street in Key West
The Conch Tour arriving in Key West.

3. It’s always 5 PM

In Key West, it’s always a good time to enjoy yourself. So far south, at the southernmost point of the continental USA, all world problems feel far, far away.

This laid-back vibe is a much appreciated part of Key West life. And when the bartender pours you a tropical drink, it’s hard to argue with the fact that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.

Person holding an orange drink with a straw and slice of grapefruit across the backdrop of crashing waves
It’s always 5 PM somewhere.

4. Duval Street liveliness

Duval Street, the hub of Key West, is full of good places to eat and drink. Especially if you like liveliness, Duval Street is one of the best reasons to visit Key West. Here something fun always is going on.

Duval is lined by quirky establishments, but the most iconic one must be Sloppy Joe’s Bar. It used to be Hemingway’s watering hole and has been on the very same spot since 1937.

5. Whitehead Street peace

Just a street from Duval Street, the much quieter Whitehead Street enchant visitors with its peaceful vibe. It’s the quiet neighbor who is less intense, but at least as enjoyable.

On Whitehead Street, you find one famous attraction after another. Take in the Southernmost Point, Key West Lighthouse, Ernest Hemingway Home and Mile Marker Zero.

White Key West lighthouse rising up amid green trees behind a white picket fence
The lighthouse on Whitehead Street.

6. Unique quirkiness

Key West boasts a cherished quirky vibe. In Key West it’s good to be different, and being who you really are is encouraged.

The Key West quirkiness is, in fact, not even distinguished by life or death. It’s something that you take with you to the grave. On a headstone in the cemetery, the text quirkily says: “I told you I was sick”.

And some of the most famous residents in Key West are its six-toed cats, descendants to a cat of Hemingway’s. You find these quirky Key West locals all over the historic Hemingway property.

Cat lying on Ernest Hemingway's Key West bed
Hemingway cat.

7. Even getting to Key West is beautiful

It’s not about the destination, but the journey. Although it might be an overused expression, driving to Key West is a unique experience.

The Overseas Highway takes you from key to key all the way from the Florida mainland to Key West. An especially iconic stretch is the Seven Mile Bridge, which beautifully connects Knight’s Key to Little Duck Key.

But the jaw-dropping bridge is just one of many scenic parts of the Overseas Highway. In total, the bucket list Florida Keys highway is 113 miles (182 km) long.

Aerial view of iconic Seven Mile Bridge spanning the clear blue waters of the Florida Keys
The road leading to Key West.

Trip info: Yes, the Overseas Highway is a great reason to visit Key West. But if you’re planning on taking the remarkable drive, check out our Miami to Key West road trip itinerary to make the most of it.

8. Key West’s Sunset Celebration

Sunsets in Key West are special and deliver the most spectacular show. At Mallory Square the cozy Sunset Celebration takes place each evening.

By celebrating every day, you don’t take the joys of life for granted. And if you have seen a Mallory Square sunset, you know that they are a great reason to visit Key West.

Boat traveling into a red sunset in the waters off Key West
Sunset in Key West.

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