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This strip of sand is one of the best-known beaches in Key West. Named after a former governor, it is just west of the airport and, at two miles long, it is the island's longest strip of sand. This beach is an excellent choice if you have children. With plenty of parking, restrooms, concession stands, chair rentals, picnic tables, watersport rentals and more, everything you need to have a great day in the sun is right at hand. The beach was hit hard by a hurricane in 1998, but it has recovered well and is flourishing once again.
It may sound morbid to go strolling through cemeteries, but Key West City Cemetery is also a historical landmark. Established in 1847 and covering nearly 20 acres, the cemetery includes the graves of sailors killed in the sinking of the USS Maine in 1898. You will see unique headstones, like a ship's mast or the famous one reading, "I told you I was sick." Admission is free to tour the site on your own.
Located right in the middle of crowded Old Town Key West, this place is an "island in the stream." Owner Nancy Forrester has somehow managed to face down the pressure of development and the tree-tearing fury of hurricanes in order to keep this 30-year-old garden pristine and magnificent. Here you will see the tropics in all its foliage glory with exotics such as orchids nestling in branches, huge ferns, bromeliads, red ginger, pink heliconias and a "sunburn" gumbo-limbo tree. Bring a picnic lunch and tour the onsite art gallery, as well. Admission is USD6.
If you're a fan of the delicate winged creatures, then this is definitely the place for you. The Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, which treats visitors to amazing sights and smells of mother earth, has a climate controlled enclosure for about 60 species of butterflies. The colors, size, shape, history and lifespan can be studied at the Learning Center - a great experience for children and adults alike. The gallery and gift shop have lots more in store.
The Hemingway Home & Museum was the residence of the renowned author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was known both for his grander-than-life personality and his amazing writing, including the books The Sun Also Rises and Farewell to Arms. The rooms and the collections on display give you an insight into the life of this famous writer. Keep a look out for the museum's many polydactyl (six-toed) cats that are rumored to be descendants of Hemingway's pet cat Snow White.
A non-profit organization founded in 1949, it comprises of the Fort East Martello Museum and Gardens, the Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum, and the Museum of Art and History at the Custom House. The exhibitions running at the moment are Vera Vaseks' glass sculptors and Dale Dapkins' abstract art. The museum also rents out its property for weddings and other events. This is a beautiful area just to stroll through, even if you don't catch an exhibition.
Anyone who enjoys tales about pirates and buried treasure will appreciate this small museum. Named for a local salvager who found sunken treasure aboard a wrecked Spanish galleon, the museum currently houses a collection of these treasures, including doubloons, solid gold bars and four sunken ships from as far back as 1560. The museum also shows a film on Mr. Fisher that describes his 1985 discovery.
Liberty, one of several tall-masted ships in Key West, is an 80-foot schooner that sails daily. A second ship, the Liberty Clipper, is a 125-foot skimmer that sails the sea and offers barbecue cruises with live music. There's nothing like an adventure on a sailing ship. Both are available for charters, for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries or any special occasions, as well as for business meetings for up to 125 people.
Before tourism became Key West's major source of income,'wreckers' earned their living by salvaging what they could from ships wrecked on the reefs. At the Key West Shipwreck Historeum, you can learn about the 'wreckers' and see jewelry, china, house wares and other artifacts from the Isaac Allerton, which sank in 1856. An observation tower offers a great view.
Built in 1845 and occupied by Yankee forces in 1861, the fort was finally completed in 1866. Now a National Historic Landmark, the fort offers tours to visitors. In January the park hosts the annual Sculpture Key West; if you're here in February, you'll be treated to Civil War Days. The west side of the State Park is ideal for fishing and snorkeling. In addition, the park also provides tables and grills for a picnic.
A tropical forest at your disposal ... butterflies, birds, turtles, frogs, hummingbirds, native fragrant plants, tropical spices and herbs, geckos, anoles and dragonflies are a common sight. This botanical garden shows visitors the importance of biodiversity. Suggested donations range from $2 to $4. Children under 12 accompanied by an adult can enter free.