Fun Facts About Florida Key West

Key West is without a doubt the top priority Key to visit when checking out the Florida Keys. This is where all the action happens. And interestingly enough, the action has been taking place here for over 500 years.

key west - the conch republic

We had the joy to learn all the cool facts and info  first hand during our bike tour of Key West – which is highly recommended!

Key West, Florida- Bike Tour

Fun Facts About Florida Key West

  • There are 42 bridges that connect Key West to the mainland of Florida.

bridges of the florida keys

  • The third largest coral reef in the world is off the coast of Key West.

  • All of the sand on the beaches of Key West were shipped in from the Caribbean.

  • Because it can be accessed by land Key West is known as the Southernmost city in the country. It is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami.

Key West, Florida- Bike Tour - most southernmost point in US

  • People born in Key West are called Conchs.

  • There are three Civil War forts located on Key West.

  • Key West has the highest average temperature in the United States. It is the only city in the country that never gets frost.

  • Key West was home to: the writer Ernest Hemingway, treasure hunter Mel Fisher, baseball player Boog Powell and many other well known figures.

  • Hemingway House was the first home in Key West to boast such luxuries as running water and a swimming pool.

  • Hemingway house is home to more than 60 six-toed cats that are direct descendants of a six-toed cat given to Hemingway by a friend.

  • The Naval Air Station in Key West takes up most of the island.  It was selected because flight conditions are better in the Florida Keys than anywhere else in the US.

  • The original name for Key West was Cayo Hueso meaning: Island of Bones.

  • Duval Street in Key West is known as the longest street in the world, because it runs from coast to coast.

duval street key west

Historic Facts of Key West

  • In Pre-Columbian times Key West was inhabited by the Calusa people.

  • In 1521 Ponce de Leon became the first European to visit Key West. He found it by mistake while looking for the fountain of youth. Instead a small Spanish colony of fishermen was established here. Fishing remained one of the principal activities of the place and is now one of its main attractions.

  • Florida returned to Spanish control 20 years later.

  • 1763 was the year when Great Britain took control of Florida and the Spanish and Native Americans inhabiting the Key West area were moved to Havana

  • In 1821 Key West was sold to businessman John Simonton for $2,000

  • The pirates using them as a base were chased away by a fledgling U.S. Navy pirate fleet established here in 1822.

  • Commodore David Porter of the United States Navy took charge of Key West in 1823 as military dictator under martial law to establish a naval base on the island.

  • In the 1830’s Key West was the wealthiest city per capita in the United States thanks to treasure retrieval from shipwrecks off the coast.

  • Back in 1889, Key West was the biggest city in Florida.

  • In 1912 the railroad bridges were finally completed. There was now a connection between the keys and mainland.

  • The first international flight left from Key West. In 1927, the Pan American airlines flew a plane from Key West to Havana Cuba.

  • In 1935 a hurricane destroyed many of the railroad bridges.They weren’t reconstructed until 3 years later.

  • During the 80’s, the Florida Keys briefly declared independence from the US as a protest over a US border patrol blockade.

Festivals and Events on Key West

  • Fantasy Fest – October

  • Key West Food & Wine Festival January 22 – 26

  • Goombay Festival – June 1 to 3

  • Key West “Bight” Before Christmas – Right after Thanksgiving.

  • Hemingway Days Festival – July


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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

2 Responses to Fun Facts About Florida Key West

  1. Alisha says:

    I think you need an assistant to travel for you now. That would be me.😁

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