If you only have a few hours or one day – here’s a quicky Key West tour…
When you drive onto Key West on US1, take a left and drive on A1A instead of US1 or down the middle. Its a prettier drive. You see the cute tiny airport, Smathers beach, the sea wall, and the Fort East Martello. Now you need to find parking. (This is the hardest part of your night.) I recommend the post office on Eaton St & Whitehead St. It’s not free. But it’s a great central location. I also like how many beautiful Roosters are hanging out the post office property. Seriously there’s like 25-30 roosters walking around and crowing.
Head West on Eaton St and take a stroll through the posh and exclusive “Truman Annex” neighborhood. Its open to the public during the day and you can visit the Harry S. Truman Little White House, this was the presidents winter home. (It is beautifully preserved.)
Walk north through that neighborhood, on “Front St” and it will lead you to the Museums. The Key West Museum of Art & History, Key West Shipwreck Museum, & Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. If you are stopping by afterhours, they still have some interesting art and exhibits on the street to glance at. Take a left and walk towards the water. This area is so cute and quintessential Key West. The Marina docks tiny boats, mid size sailboats, yachts that you could only dream of, and of course the giant Cruise ships. Its a beautiful sight all throughout the marina. Keep walking to the right (or east) and you will hit the famous Mallory Square. There is shopping, street performers, the best conch fritter guy, and the best Sunset spot in all of Key West.
( This guy has been and always will be the best and my favorite place for conch fritters. His homemade cocktail and spicy mustard are great! When the fritters are cooked and ready, he blows a conch shell that echoes throughout all of Mallory Square! Its so neat!)
Explore all the corners of Mallory Square because there is alot of unique things and people to look at. At the end of Mallory Square, hang a right at the pier, you will find the famous Duval St. Walk down this street to find anything and everything you could imagine. The best FOOD, cute stores, touristy t-shirts, tattoo parlors, Drag Shows, & local art. Its a little overwhelming, but worth it!
Hungry yet? This is what we did, on Duval, we stopped at every restaurant/stand that we thought looked good, ordered one thing off the menu and kept it moving! Also, If you need a great “pick me up” try out the Key West Cuban Coffee Shop on the corner of Duval st and Truman st. They make a mean Colada!
Disclaimer : Do NOT leave Key West before tasting some good Conch Fritters and Key Lime Pie!
Once you hit Olivia St, take a right and walk southeast down WhiteHead St. This is where the gorgeous Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is located. He lived here for 11 years and had this to say about Key West, “It’s the best place I’ve ever been anytime, anywhere, flowers, tamarind trees, guava trees, coconut palms.” Ah, Ernest, what a way with words. He’s one of my favorite writers.
Continue on WhiteHead St and you will see the Key West Historical Lighthouse. At the very end of WhiteHead St is the ever-photographed “Southernmost Point of the Continental US”.
Head back up WhiteHead st, its a lovely view and 15 minute walk back to Eaton St where the Post Office Parking is.
Before we left, we visited Key West Gospel Chapel. This is a special place to me because as a kid, a few times a year my family would stay here for the weekend and my dad would preach on Sunday mornings.
It holds a special place in my heart. (And it still smells the same.☺️)
?That’s how you do Key West!?