This small, flat, attractive island, which measures only 4 mls by 1½ mls, has a pleasant, laid-back atmosphere that has made it a firm favourite with writers, ageing hippies, would-be artists, sun-worshippers, gays and tourists alike.
The Old Town, half rough seaport, half village, is characterised by pastel-hued, Caribbean-style houses; many of its historical attractions can be found in Whitehead Street, where Hemingway made his home. The restaurants and night-time revelry of the Old Town are the real draw.
Cruise ships deposit thousands of passengers daily at the Cruise Ship Docks, yards from Old Town's Mallory Square.
The area is best suited to those wanting to cut loose, be lazy and bar hop, it therefore attracts a youngish, lively crowd. Better for singles and couples than it is for families with young children.
Accommodation here offers a wide range and choice. There is a cluster of large, more expensive, well-equipped hotels at the south end of the island and also around the historic seaport; a string of small motel-like properties on the bay side along the main road; a few resort-hotels/apartments close to the airport. The charming, more historical B&B properties are in the Old Town. Some properties have small sandy, man-made beaches.
Key West is off the southern tip of Florida State, 90 mls N of Cuba, 150 mls SW of Miami by road which can take 4 hrs or more; however, a flight from Miami lasts about 45 mins. It is at the end of a long string of small, low-lying coral Keys (or cays) connected to each other by US Route 1. Southernmost point of the continental United States.