Delve deep into the marine blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and learn about out underwater counterparts, albeit virtually. This spectacular discovery center located at the edge of the land in Key West takes visitors on a fascinating journey where they can explore the mysterious ecosystem of the Everglades, marvel at the world's only underwater ocean laboratory, participate in exciting virtual dives that take them 1,600 feet (487.68 meters) under the sea, admire the Living Reef exhibit with actual corals and fish, and get questions answered by expert marine biologists. The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center also conducts group visits, and admission to the center is free.
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.
Nestled in the recesses of the historic Old Town, the Little White House is a startling canopy of pristine white, which lends deep insights into the Truman Presidency. Formerly a naval base which served as the White House of America for the winter session until 1952 , this site is more like a breathing museum entrenched in a long-standing military history. To this day, functions, meetings and private events are held here, whereas elaborate tours unfold layers of the house's presidential and political history. Part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, this white-washed house yet retains some of its ancient features like well-furnished spaces including bedrooms and dining halls, treasured documents and opulent furniture. Harry S. Truman Little White House is an integral edifice etched on the pages of America's political history.
This well-run local museum displays artifacts that represent the history of the Keys. Model ships, diver's equipment and other nautical themed items are exhibited. Displays include the daily life of the Keys' previous inhabitants. Located in an old fort, the museum features a lookout tower from which visitors can view the island below and the surrounding ocean.
Opened in 1934, this educational and entertaining aquarium features diverse exhibits on sea life in the area and live demonstrations. Wander among the many varieties of marine life or take a guided tour. One of the major attractions of the aquarium includes daily feedings of shark and fish. Children usually enjoy the touching area, where visitors can touch marine creatures in shallow pools.
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.
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.
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.
Before you head back home, be sure to make your way to the corner of Whitehead and South streets. Why? Because geographically it is the southernmost point of the United States. You'll know you're in the right spot by the posted sign proclaiming the site's fame, and by the street vendors selling souvenirs and conch shells. Believe it or not, standing here you are closer to Cuba than Miami; from here, it is 150 miles north to Miami and only 90 miles south to Cuba. If you are so inclined, hang out until the evening, as this is also a great place to watch the sun set.