Family Vacations: Key West

By: the Editors of Mobil Travel Guide

The Key West Lighthouse, built in 1847,offers spectacular views. See morepictures of Florida vacation destinations.

Key West, Florida, has long been famous as one of America's top destinations for fun-and-sun vacations. Key West has retained its charm, remoteness, intriguing history, natural beauty and idyllic weather (once the hurricane season subsides), since the 1920s. About the same number of people live there now as then. Its small town feeling exudes all the characteristics necessary to lure visitors back every year.

Located at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys, Key West's average temperature is a temperate 77.8 degrees. Storms aside, Key West has few highs or lows -- just steady sunshine, perfect for relaxing on the beach to soak up some sun. A daily treat, Key West's Mallory Square hosts the Sunset Celebration each evening, with food vendors, fire-eaters, tightrope walkers, and arts and crafts exhibits.

Key West, which has also been called "Margaritaville" or the "Conch Republic," didn't always have a reputation for laid-back sun and fun. The name "Key West" is in fact a corruption of Cayo Hueso, meaning "Island of Bones." This haunting name was bestowed by early Spanish explorers impressed by the human remains left on the beach. Key West has become known for its most famous visitors, including artists Winslow Homer and John James Audubon, actor Cary Grant, President Harry Truman and novelist Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway wrote many of his best works while on the island, and today Hemingway House is Key West's top tourist attraction.


Key West Information

Address: Lower Keys and Big Pine Chamber of Commerce

31020 Overseas Hwy., Big Pine Key, FL

Telephone: 305/872-2411, 800/872-3722


To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Florida State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Florida, as well as other recreational activities.