By Gary Thompson Submitted On May 21, 2007
If you are looking for a vacation that you will never forget you must consider Key West, Florida. The island of Key West sits at the tip of America, but the beginning of Caribbean adventure. In the past few decades Key West has reinvented itself over and over as a tourist hot spot, but the heart of Key West hasn’t changed, and that’s the real draw to this island destination. When you visit The Florida Keys and Key West there are several things you must do and see.
The most intriguing thing about Key West is the combination of multiple cultures that have shaped the island. Even if you took away all the water activities you would still have one of the most distinctive and charming cities in the United States. Cuban, Southern, African, Caribbean, and a dozen other cultures have all contributed to the unique architecture that defines the city. To get the most out of Key West make sure to spend a few hours simply walking the beautiful streets. Early morning is the best time to experience the town.
Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West for about a decade in the 1930s and worked on two of his most famous novels while living in a two story home on Whitehead Street. Today, the home is open to visitors. You can tour the house and grounds and visit with the descendants of Hemingway’s six-toed cats. For book and history lovers this is a must see home. There is a contest for look a like Hemingways. It takes place at Sloppy Joe’s on Deval St. Sloppy Joe’s even has a Live Web Cam so you can watch the action.
After you have soaked the culture in it’s time to get soaked in the water. Key West sits between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean creating every water sport opportunity imaginable. The Florida Keys have world class scuba diving, fishing, and boating. If you love the sun, and you love being on the water you will love Key West. A snorkeling trip combined with a sunset sail is highly recommended. Other fun things to do on the water are kayak tours and dolphin watching adventures.
A few hours in the sun and on the water will really kick up your appetite, but there’s no need to worry because Key West is known around the world for great dining. From simple restaurants to fine dining, with ocean views, Key West has it. Make sure to try the key lime pie. Which key lime pie is the best? There are many opinions, but the best way to find out is to test them all yourself. Some restaurants may require a reservation during busy times, so make sure to call ahead first.
You cannot miss the sunset celebration at Mallory Square. This event happens every night, except during bad weather, at the end of Duval Street on Mallory Square. Here you can watch performers doing everything from cat tricks to playing music. This is also a great place to buy unique art, photography, and other treasures from your Key West vacation.
Key West ghost tours are a great way to begin a fun night. You can learn the odd history of the island while getting a little spooked along the way. Bring your camera because you never know what you are going see. Or maybe you won’t see anything at all, but you can be sure that something sees you.
Before leaving the island you will have to hit Duval Street for world class shopping. From popular clothing stores to unique head shops Duval shopping has something for everyone. You can buy a t-shirt, or forget the shirt and get your body painted. Key West also hosts some wonderful art shops where you can find something of quality to remember your trip to the island forever.
Duval Street may have some great shopping, but it’s known around the world as a top partying district. Each year Key West hosts the Fantasy Fest celebration where anything can, and does, happen. The party, of course, isn’t limited to just the Fantasy Festival. It is a daily event. Duval Street is also known as the Duval Crawl. If you try to drink at all the bars and clubs on Duval Street will you learn where this name came from.
There is more to do in Key West and the Florida Keys than most can do in a single vacation. It is a place that will capture your heart and bring you back time and time again. It is a place where memories are made that will provide you with years of mental escapes from the realities of daily life. Escape to Key West, Florida and see why it is the perfect American vacation.
Scott Thompson enjoys travel and writing about his travels in pieces like this Key West vacation [http://www.Key-West-USA.com] article.
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