Exploring Key West

Unlock the rich history and culture of Key West, Florida, on your next cruise to the Conch Republic.
Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park offers cruisers animal-life encounters above and below the water. [sailingaway]/stock.adobe.com

There is far more to Key West than pub crawls on Duval Street and the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square. Soak in the Conch Republic’s year-round sunshine while exploring its beautiful beaches, outstanding restaurants, and noteworthy cultural and historic landmarks.

Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum

Ernest Hemingway’s legacy looms large on Key West. The renowned author resided for most of the 1930s in this refined two-story home and estate, built in 1851 and remodeled by Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline, to include an extravagant in-ground swimming pool rimmed by lush gardens. Now a National Historic Landmark, the property is open every day of the year for self-guided and guided tours of memorabilia- and cat-filled rooms (nearly 60 six-toed cats reside here) and the studio where Hemingway wrote portions of “A Farewell to Arms” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

There’s something for everyone at this 87-acre state park. Its gorgeous beach is considered one of the island’s best, with a café, and chair and umbrella rentals. The marine life attracts snorkelers and anglers. Scout for iguanas and birds along the nature trails. Guided tours at the namesake Fort Zachary Taylor, a National Historic Landmark, recall its role in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. The fort is also a popular spot to catch the legendary Key West sunsets.

Harry Truman’s Little White House

Florida’s only presidential museum, this former naval officer residence on Front Street served as the Winter White House for President Harry Truman. The 33rd president spent 175 days in residence, savoring some sunny rest and relaxation amid the immense pressures of the executive office. While Truman’s name graces the house’s marquee, five other presidents and other luminaries have stayed here as well. Thomas Edison lived here during World War I while researching depth charges for the US Navy; President Dwight D. Eisenhower recuperated here after a heart attack in 1956; President John F. Kennedy hosted the British prime minister here during the Bay of Pigs incident. An hour-long guided tour walks visitors through the house’s 124-year history and its presidential pedigree.

Blue Heaven

You don’t need a reason to dine at the iconic Blue Heaven, but there are several compelling ones to pick from: colorful Key West history, live music, a fun and funky atmosphere, delicious Caribbean and Creole cuisine, and the eatery’s famous Key lime pie.


Accessible only by boat, Latitudes on Sunset Key is arguably the ultimate romantic fine-dining destination in the Conch Republic. You’ll need to book reservations several weeks in advance to enjoy its solid wine list paired with a local surf-and-turf menu.

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