Key West – End of the Rainbow

Picture of Frank Neumann

General Key West:

ParadeKey West or Conch Island as it is called by the locals with pleasure is the southernmost island of the Florida Keys and the southernmost point of the mainland of the USA. From Miami it is about 3 hours by car (250 km) via “US 1” to the island. The route over the Florida Keys is very impressive and picturesque. The island itself offers pure summer all year round. An average annual temperature of 28 degrees and the flair of the island also ensure this. Conspicuously casual and unconventional, the inhabitants present themselves to the tourists.

Tolerance is writ large and the laws of the USA are interpreted relatively generously. Homosexuals from all over the U.S. and the world see the island as a place of pilgrimage. Thus, the annual “Drag Queen Race” is one of the highlights in the calendar of events. Actually, there is always a party. Whether in the countless bars and pubs or on the street. The people in Key West always find a reason.


Flag Key WestIn 1982, there was a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway No. 1. This was established to identify illegal immigrants. Since Highway No. 1 (Overseas Highway) is the only connection from the mainland to Key West and many tourists come to Key West, there were traffic jams on the highway for hours. Soon thereafter, many tourists canceled your bookings because they did not want to face the aggravated arrival.

Key West, however, is dependent on these tourists and so the city government of Key West sued for omission of this control point. Since this complaint was rejected, Key West explained itself on 23.April 1982 as independent and called itself Conch Republic (Conch is English. for fencer snail). As if that were not enough, they declared war on the USA. 60 seconds later, however, they surrendered unconditionally. A goal was it the USA to move the island to give financial construction aid.


Hotel recommendations:

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Grand Key

Hilton Key WestThe Double Tree Resort is a very good middle class hotel. With a small pool and nice rooms.
The hotel is relatively small by American standards and is located on the outskirts of Key West. This is also the mako of the hotel. To the historic Old Town or Down Town it is a very good walk.

To go downtown by car makes no sense in Key West. On the one hand, there are no free parking spaces, on the other hand, you would also have to do without the one or the other mojito.

The hotel offers a free shuttle service to the center. Unfortunately, the last shuttle goes back already 23 clock and there begins in Key West actually only the nightlife. So either you end the evening relatively early or you try to grab a cab. What is not so easy. Of course, you could also make yourself on foot on the way.
The room rates are between 120 and 170 euros excl. breakfast. Selbiges strikes again with 15 euro to book. But there are enough small Diners in the city.


Hilton Hotel Grand Key

3990 S Roosevelt Blvd
Key West, FL 33040
P: 305-293-1818
F: 305.933.6560

Hilton Pool Key West

Casa Marina Key West Resort by Waldorf Astoria

Casa MarinaThe Casa Marina is rather a high-priced hotel of the Waldorf Astoria chain. Unfortunately, I can’t say much good about this hotel. The staff was very arrogant, the rooms for these prices small and musty.
As always, they tried to “force” us with one of the worst rooms to an upgrade which we also booked. Thus we had at least a balcony and saw the sea.The first room gave us a unique view of the waste containers and air conditioning units of the hotel.

The room prices are in no way justified. The location is indeed dreamlike, directly on the beach and relatively close to the Most Southern Point (ton), at the end of Duvalstreet. Ultimately, however, more was advertised and promised here with the brand than the hotel could hold.
The room rates start here at 250 euros.
This hotel I can not really recommend!


Casa Marina

1500 Reynolds St
Key West, FL 33040
P: 305-296-3535

Casa Marina Pool

Southern Most Beach Resort

Southern most pointThe Southern Most Beach Resort surprised me very positively. It is a 3 part hotel complex. There are hotel rooms as well as a motel style part where you can drive your car right up to your room. The rooms were very high quality furnishings and the location even more exposed than that of the “Casa Marina”.

You live directly at the Southern Most Point (ton is about 50m away) directly in Duval Street, which is the main street of the island. The possibility of parking his car directly at the room also opens the possibility to spontaneously visit another island of the Keys. If one wants into the turmoil one falls quasi from the door directly into it.

But no fear nocturnal noise nuisances one does not need to fear. The room prices vary here also very much. Depending on the season. We have paid in September also proud 140 euros p.p./overnight. But of all 3 hotels I would take this again.


Southern Most
Beach Resort

1319 Duval St,
Key West, FL 33040
P: 305-296-6577

Southern Most Beach Pool


Highway 1Of course, the first thing to mention is Southern Most Point. The famous buoy which is only 90 miles away from Cuba. If you don’t want to waste time you should visit it either early in the morning or in the evening. During the day there are rather long queues at the barrel.Barrel
Another sight of Key West is the “Fort Zachary” in the Historic State Park of the island. The fort was an important U.S. military base in the late 19th century. However, it was never involved in real combat operations.Today, the fort is open to visitors to the island.

Duval Street is the real heart of Key West. It crosses the island from the north to the south coast. In the Duval Street are countless bars and restaurants such as the “Sloopy Joe’s” in which Ernest Hemingway during his time on the island should have drunk probably one or the other Mojito.

Bad tongues speak even of the fact that his novels are to have originated exclusively under the influence of this drink. Furthermore, you can find “Rick’s Cafe” and the “Bull & Whistle”.

But the “Sloopy Joe’s” is not really good in terms of price-performance ratio. Since it is the most famous bar in Key West, you can almost talk about tourist pub. Here you are better off in the “Wild Hog”. Live music is played almost everywhere. As a recommendation for a delicious breakfast I would like to recommend the “Banana Cafe” at 1215 Duval Street. Fresh croissants, delicious coffee and everything else that the breakfast heart desires.

sundownAt the end of Duval Street you land on the “Mellory Square”. A square directly at the cruise port. Here locals and tourists celebrate the sunset every evening. This party on the Gulf of Mexico provides an impressive spectacle every evening when the sun sinks into the sea between Sunset Key and Wisteria Island.

We were able to inhabit this spectacle once from Mellory Square and once from the catamaran. Of course, it is seen from the boat even more beautiful to look at. The third time, unfortunately, a small hurricane made us a line through the bill. Fortunately, this only grazed the island.


Even President Truman chose Key West as his winter residence. So you can also find the “Little White House” in Front Street.
Another specialty of the Keys, which you should definitely try, is the “Key Lime Pie”. For the some surely something too sweet, there is however also a more tart variant of this local cake.

For super great beaches Key West is however less known. So who thinks here a few beautiful days on the beach to spend is rather ill advised. Although there is here and there a small public beach, such as behind the “Fort Zachary” and also most hotels, which are located directly on the sea have created a small sandy beach artificially. But for swimming you should really go to another island on the Keys. For example “Bahia Honda”


I hope I could give you a small impression of this beautiful island and move one or the other to visit the Keys themselves once. If you have any questions, just write to me at Contact or leave a comment under this blog.
You can also find a post about Miami. In the future, contributions to the following cities in Florida will follow:

  • Naples
  • Clearwater / Tamba
  • Orlando
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Cape Canaveral – Kennedy Space Center