The Florida Keys


The Southernmost City
Key West, the southernmost city in the continental United States, is a tropical blend of beautiful waters, exotic foliage, wonderful restaurants and lodging facilities and history-enriched attractions and activities. Visitors & residents alike enjoy the Caribbean feel of this island nation called the Conch Republic.

 Situated only 90 miles from Cuba, is the nation's "Caribbean" island and is located in the lovely turquoise water between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The island is bathed in the warmth of a tropical sun, tempered by ocean breezes and the shade of lush, tropical foliage and is protected from the seas by the only barrier reef in North America. The reef provides divers and snorkelers with breathtaking sights of corals and a profusion of brilliantly colored tropical fish. Just beyond the reef runs the Gulf Stream, a powerful ocean current that is home to spectacular game fish.

Since its founding in 1822, Key West has gone through many phases, from pirates to poets, and carries the creative torch of such former residents as Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams.

The island's proximity to Cuba and the Caribbean has molded its history, and continues to influence its current culture. It has been host to New England sailors, Spanish conquistadors, Bahamian salvagers, and Cuban shipwrights. History buffs can spend countless hours learning about the island where real estate titles issue from the King of Spain, unique architecture that dates back to the mid-eighteen hundreds, and Civil and Spanish American war memorabilia abound.

The climate, architecture, and relaxed atmosphere of this little island have made it a magnet for artists of all types. Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams and Larry Shames are just a few of the writers that have called Key West home, and the island is still home to more than its share of well-known writers. Art galleries are plentiful in these few square miles, and they are filled with the works of well renowned local, national, and international artists. With three performing arts theaters, a symphony, and a hugely successful annual literary seminar, there is plenty to keep the patrons of the arts busy.

But Key West is not just a great place to visit; it is a fabulous place to live. President Harry Truman, relaxing in his "winter White House", once wrote, "I've a notion to move the capital to Key West and just stay." Many agree... The island, being only a few square miles, has a small town atmosphere with a cosmopolitan flair. Diverse from its inception, Key West was established by a mix of English, Bahamian, Spanish and Cuban settlers. The island population of approximately 28,000 year-round residents continues to support diversity through its live-and-let-live attitude.

Residents of Key West are very proud of their small city, and work together to ensure that we retain a high quality of life. Currently the Mayor is running a campaign to make Key West the "cleanest little city in America". Through this campaign government and citizens are working together to improve the infrastructure and the appearance of the island. The island boasts one of the largest historic districts in the United States. Monroe County, the City of Key West, and the residents of the island are steadily restoring the public and private buildings with meticulous detail.

The residents of Key West are resolute in their conviction to maintain and improve the high quality of their island life, and are generous in their support. From donating time to mentor the island's youth, or clean and beautify the city, to donating funds to support the arts, sponsor our youth's extensive athletic leagues and facilities, or help those in need, the citizens rally to the cause.

For many, Key West is truly a paradise.

About The Keys
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