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Unique Things to Do in Key West
  red sepertor  
Key West is a one-of-a-kind place; from its history and culture to its beaches and nightlife. As a subtropical island 150 miles south of mainland Miami, Florida, it's the closest thing you'll get to the Caribbean in the United States. Yet despite its American and Caribbean influences, Key West manages to maintain its own unique identity. The island was shaped by pioneering people - artists, writers, free spirits, explorers - who have called Key West home through the ages. For a completely different vacation experience, read on for the most unique things to do in Key West that you simply can't do anywhere else.

Visit a Former President's Little White House
There are only so many destinations in the United States where you can visit a presidential Little White House. Key West happens to have a rather spectacular and storied one with the Harry S. Truman Little White House. Occupying a former naval station overlooking the Key West Channel, the Truman Little White House is situated on a vast and lush manicured lawn. For history buffs, learn all about Truman's time in Key West with a tour of the home featuring presidential artifacts and antique furniture from the 1950s. And for those interested in learning more about Key West's tropical landscaping, embark on a tour of the botanical gardens.

Truman Little White House

Step Inside Hemingway's Writing Studio

Ernest Hemingway spent most of the 1930s in Key West with his second wife, Pauline. His Key West years happened to be his most prolific writing time, finishing A Farewell to Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls and To Have and Have Not, amongst other novels. Today, the home he occupied on Whitehead Street is a museum where visitors can step inside his writing studio and encounter descendants of his beloved six-toed cat, Snowball. A guided tour of the home is highly recommended to hear little known stories of the writer's time on the island.

Spy Jimmy Buffet's Recording Studio

Jimmy Buffet is another legendary Key West figure. The singer-songwriter spent the 1970s in Key West penning such hits as Margaritaville, Cheeseburger in Paradise and Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude. His music is the unofficial soundtrack of the island and it paints an accurate picture of the Key West lifestyle. Skip the obvious tourist attractions dedicated to the famed artist and instead look for Buffet's old recording studio in a nondescript white concrete building at the Historic Seaport. Other artists, including Kenny Chesney, Billy Corgan and Courtney Love have recorded records there, as well.

Chow Down on Authentic Cuban Food

Only 90 miles to Cuba, delicious Cuban cuisine has definitely made its way to the shores of Key West. From strong and sweet café con leche to hearty and robust ropa vieja with yellow rice, black beans and sweet plantains, Key West is definitely the place to score authentic Cuban food. Look no further than El Meson de Pepe, located directly in Mallory Square. Enjoy a classic Cuban mix sandwich, mojitos and other Cuban specialties at this family-owned restaurant.

El Meson de Pepe Cuban Sandwich

Feast on Freshly Caught Seafood

Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Key West's waters are a source of outrageously fresh seafood. Amongst the fruits of the sea that you'll find are spiny lobster, stone crabs, Key West pink shrimp, hogfish, conch, snapper, mahi-mahi and grouper. The list, and your appetite, will go on and on. There are many Key West restaurants offering both creative and classic preparations of these tasty morsels.

Snap Away at the Southernmost Photo Opps

Key West's unique position as the southernmost city in the continental United States makes for a fun tourist attraction with endless opportunities to snap away on your camera. Travelers looking for one-of-a-kind photos to add to their vacation scrapbook should make a beeline to the Southernmost Point and take a picture by the buoy with "90 Miles to Cuba" scrawled on it. At Whitehead and Fleming Street, you can also take a picture by the Mile Marker 0 sign. These are sights you won't see anywhere else!

Snorkel the Third Largest Barrier Reef in the World

Key West is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world, behind only Belize and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It's also the only living coral reef in North America, so snorkeling around this location is a completely unique thing to do. Set sail with Fury Water Adventures on one of its snorkel trips to discover colorful coral, tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays and sharks.

Fury Water Adventures Catamaran

Pet a Nurse Shark's Tail

And speaking of sharks, you can get up close and personal with these apex predators at the Key West Aquarium. Plan your tour around their feeding time and you'll have a whole new appreciation for these fearsome creatures. After the guides feed the variety of sharks that call the aquarium home, visitors have the opportunity to pet a juvenile nurse shark on the tail. The Key West Aquarium is a great place to learn more about the unique ecosystem surrounding the island.

Visit a National Park 70 miles Offshore

The Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson are located 70 miles west of Key West, making it one of the most remote and unique national parks in the country. The Yankee Freedom III Ferry will whisk you to this unspoiled cluster of islands located in the Gulf of Mexico for both daytrips and overnight camping experiences. You'll tour the Civil War era Fort Jefferson and snorkel in the middle of the sea for an absolutely unique experience off the coast of Key West.

Dry Tortugas Yankee Freedom

Mile 0 Fest

Mile 0 Fest is a new music festival that takes place during winter at the Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater. If you're traveling to Key West in February or are considering a winter escape south, this is a "Must-See" event, especially for fans of the Red Dirt & Americana scene. The main stages of the festival are located right off of Duval, but throghout the weekend you can catch sporadic acoustic sets at multiple theaters and bars.

Key West Mile 0 Fest
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Truman Little White House
111 Front Street - Key West, FL
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