Travel + Leisure Staff
November 15, 2017

Located off the tip of Florida, this city marks the southernmost point in the continental U.S. But that certainly isn’t the only draw for this bustling seaside town. From the beautiful, pastel-hued homes to the spirited nightlife and the town’s close proximity (just 90 miles) to Cuba, Key West is one of the most popular beach destinations in the United States.

While visiting, be sure to make time for evening bar hopping. Check out the landmark venues along Duval Street and the surrounding neighborhood. An especially iconic spot that you can’t miss is the famed Captain Tony’s Saloon that served the likes of Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Jimmy Buffett.

And speaking of Hemingway, a trip to Key West is a popular pilgrimage for fans of the great American novelist. Check out the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Old Town Key West for a deep look at the author and Nobel Prize winner’s compelling life history.

Related: Where to Stay in the Florida Keys

A vacation to Key West wouldn’t be right without a serving (or two, or three) of the destination’s famous dessert, Key lime pie. Made from the local citrus fruits, the official state dessert was first whipped up by a famous ship salvager’s cook in the late 19th century. Because it’s featured on almost every restaurant menu in Key West, it won’t be hard to find.

Before you depart, take advantage of Key West’s breathtaking views at golden hour. Head to Mallory Square any night of the week for the sunset celebration, where you’ll find live music, and street performers. If you want a more grand party, join a local charter boat for a sunset cruise right off the coast.

Key West sustained damage during Hurricane Irma, but was quick to bounce back after the storm. “Being a tourist-based economy,” explained Key West Mayor Craig Cates in a statement, “We need our visitors to come to town.”

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