Florida Cruise Ship Destination Port
The Florida Keys are an archipelago of about 1700 islands extending south and southwest of the Florida mainland.
ALL CLEAR for cruisers
ALL CLEAR for cruisers
Need to know
Hurricanes. Key West, FL is prone to hurricanes. Rainy season is from May to November, and periodic hurricanes between June and November.
In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane alert, a notice will be posted on Shipdetective's Weather Updates
Lower Keys Medical Center
5900 College Road , Stock Island
Divers suspecting decompression illness should seek medical attention immediately at one of the Keys hospitals The staff at these facilities know how to diagnose and treat the condition. If necessary, they will transfer patients to one of two decompression facilities in the Keys. The U.S. military operates a decompression chamber in Key West. The more-often used facility is located in the Upper Keys at Mariner's Hospital.
Visitors seeking transportation around Key West’s picturesque streets have a wide choice of vehicles ranging from comfortable old-style trolleys to Conch Cruiser bicycles. Thanks to an active tourist industry, getting around Key West is easy, informative and fun.
One of the most enjoyable and healthy ways to get around Key West is on foot. Since the entire island city is a mere four miles by two miles in size, walking is a wonderful way to sample its attractions and ambiance.
Take a Pedicab ride around town, or to the southernmost point and back.
Biking and Mopeds
Independent travelers can rent mopeds or Conch Cruiser bicycles with fat tires, locks and baskets at many hotel or resort properties and bike shops.
Transportation combines with entertainment aboard the Old Town Trolley fleet, designed to convey visitors around the island while offering narrated tours of the city’s points of interest. The entire island tour takes 90 minutes, carrying passengers past more than 100 points of interest including the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West Aquarium and Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
A single fare allows passengers to disembark at any or all stops and re-board later, giving them the opportunity to enjoy Key West’s many attractions at their own pace. Trolleys run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 365 days a year.
Leaves at 30-minute intervals from convenient Old Town and New Town boarding locations including:
Key West Welcome Center
Variety of hotel and resort properties.
The popular Conch Tour Train has been conducting tours and chugging about Key West since 1958. Its small, open, canvas-canopied cars are pulled by propane-powered simulated steam engines with smokestacks, whistles and bells to delight railroad buffs of all ages. 90-minute narrated tours that encompass Old Town, Duval Street, the Southernmost Point, Historic Seaport and other must-see sites.
Boarding at Mallory Square or Flagler Station in the Historic Seaport district for The Conch Tour Train operates from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 365 days a year.
The Bone Island Shuttle
A convenient transportation option for visitors who prefer not to drive around the island. A daily ticket allows people to travel between New Town locations and Mallory Square, Duval Street and the Historic Seaport. The shuttle buses stop every 30 minutes at Clinton Square from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, with stops at 14 Old Town and New Town hotels. Multiple-day passes are available.
Colorful two- and four-seater electric cars also are available for Key West visitors and residents to rent. The smile-inducing vehicles can be driven at street speed up to 25 mph and are allowed on virtually all Key West roadways except North Roosevelt Boulevard. Electric cars can be rented from Key West Cruisers at 500 Truman Ave. and at the corner of Caroline and Duval streets. Two-seater and four-seater cars are available for periods ranging from two hours to several days. Key West Cruisers provides pick-up and drop-off service for renters during business hours. A valid driver’s license is required to rent an electric car. For more information, call (305) 294-4724.
ReefMobile electric cars can be rented as well, from rental headquarters located at 501 Greene St. Two- and four-seater cars are available by the hour or by the day, and pick-up and drop-off service is provided. Call (305) 294-8656 for more information.
Taxis, city buses painted with island-themed designs by local artists, rental cars (even Hummer dune buggy rentals) and colorful Duval Street pedicabs are other readily available transportation options.
Multi-language visitor guides are available free by writing to Florida Keys & Key West Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 1147, Key West, FL 33041, U.S.A. Downloadable brochures and videos are available at the Florida Keys & Key West World Wide Web site at http://www.fla-keys.com.
ports > destinations > Key West
Key West, FL
|Port Info||Good to Know||Getting Around|
|Weather||Need to Know||Things to do|
From earliest days, Key West has drawn visitors from tourism, and today that is its biggest business. Millions of visitors from around the world travel here each year by plane, by cruise ship, or by car down the Overseas Highway to find paradise at the end of US1.
The Florida Keys are surrounded by coral reefs and navigating the area is treacherous. Wrecking and salvaging became the island's primary business between 1828 and 1850. Many cargo ships sank due to bad weather or bad navigating. During that time, Key West was considered the richest city, per capita, in the United States.
The island of Key West, known back in the day as Cayo Hueso (Bone Key), began to appear on European maps and charts of the Caribbean about a century after Ponce de Leon discovered Florida in the year 1513.
In 1815, Spain deeded the island to a loyal subject and St. Augustine native, Juan Pablo Salas. In 1819, all of Florida was ceded to the United States. Salas had made no improvements to the island of Key West and sold it to John Simonton, an American businessman, for $2,000.
Key West industries included fishing, turtling and salt manufacturing. From 1830 until the Civil War, Key West supplied much of the nation's salt, used largely for food preservation, which came from the surrounding salt waters. The demand for Key West salt quickly diminished when plentiful salt mines were discovered on the mainland.
Good to Know
The city of Key West, FL is the southernmost city in the United States and is located about 160 miles (130 miles as the crow flies) south of Miami and 94 miles from the nation of Cuba. The city encompasses Key West, the part of Stock Island north of U.S. 1, Sigsbee Park (originally known as Dredgers Key), Fleming Key, and Sunset Key (originally known as Tank Island).
On April 23, 1982, Key West briefly succeeded from the United States and formed the independent Conch Republic. The bold action was prompted by a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint set up at the entrance to the Florida Keys so agents could search cars for contraband. It virtually stopped traffic on the only road into and out of the island chain, angering residents and visitors.
Residents declared war on the mother country, pelted a federal agent with stale Cuban bread and, after 60 seconds, surrendered and requested $1 billion in foreign aid. The foreign aid never materialized, but the Border Patrol checkpoint was quickly removed.
Every year, the City of Key West holds a celebration to honor the event.
Port of Entry
Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5)
Eastern Daylight Time (UTC - 4) March - Nov
24.59° N. 81.78° W.
Water: 85 º Summer - 72º Winter
Air: 88º Summer - 77º Winter
Things to do and see
List of Services in Key West (PDF map)
Duval Street is a famous downtown commercial zoned street running north and south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Duval Street is the location of many famous restaurants and bars, including Sloppy Joe's, The Bull and Whistle, Rick's Cafe and Irish Kevin's bar. It is named for William Pope Duval, the first territorial governor of Florida.
It is located on the waterfront in Key West's historic Old Town, adjacent to the cruise ship port. It is located just west of the northern end of Duval Street, facing the Gulf of Mexico. It runs the entire length of Wall Street.
We found the shopping to be quite good. Selection was great and prices comparable to duty free prices in the Western Caribbean.
lloydstropicalbiketour.com, 305-294-1882. A two-hour tour of Key West's back streets covers about 5 miles.
Dry Tortugas National Park & Fort Jefferson
Almost 70 miles (112.9 km) west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters, they make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past. Website
One of the most important fortresses of its time. Originally positioned 1200 feet off shore from Key West, it was built as part of the Third System of fortifications to defend Key West Harbor. Construction of the fort began in 1845. The structure was named for President Zachary Taylor by General Order No. 38, dated November 4, 1850.
Little White House Harry Truman's Key West home.
A favorite of locals. Nice sandy beach with shallow waters and a concrete pier. No restrooms or facilities. Located at the end of Duval Street (Atlantic Side).
Wide sandy beach with long wooden pier. Restroom facilities, covered picnic tables, full service restaurant, playground, chair rentals, rafts and water sports rentals. Located at the end of Reynold's Street.
Soft sand and natural vegetation. Wheelchair accessible. Restrooms within walking distance. Picnic tables. Located on White Street (Atlantic side).
Half mile stretch of sandy man-made beach. Restrooms, ample parking, concession stands, chair rentals, bike paths, picnic tables, volleyball nets, water sports rentals. Located on south Roosevelt Blvd.
65-foot-long Joe’s Tug, which rests upright on the bottom in 65 feet of water surrounded by coral formations.
While not a local dive site, the Atocha was discovered by treasure hunter Mel Fisher in the waters off Key West. With so rich a wreck nearby, its hard to dive these waters without wondering what bit of history or bounty might be concealed beneath the convoluted corals and vast reef structures.
The Cayman Salvor
This 180-foot. steel hulled buoy tender, also known as the Cayman Salvager, was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef in 1985. She now sits upright with cavernous open holds providing refuge for baitfish and grunts, as well as a resident jewfish and green moray eel.
Nine Foot Stake
This patch reef in 10 to 25 feet, is perfect for either scuba or snorkel exploration and is noted for beautiful concentrations of soft corals and juvenile marine life.
Here, unusual coral caves and dramatic overhangs provide refuge for both lobster and grouper, while pelagic life frequently parades in the blue water to seaward.
One of the many popular reef destinations off Key West. This islet, marked by a large iron lighthouse delights both snorkelers and scuba divers with an abundance and variety of coral and marine life. With over ten miles of coral reefs of varying depths. Sand Key offers visitors endless opportunities to enjoy some of the best diving in the Caribbean!
One of the highlights of this lovely reef is the remains of a pair of coral encrusted anchors lost from 18th century sailing vessels.
A former destroyer escort broken into two sections that sit 200 yards apart in 28 feet of water.
Conch Republic Independence Celebration
Annual April event. Activities ranging from a wacky bed race to a lighthearted sea battle featuring tall ships, the Conch Republic's 10-day birthday party showcases the independent and eccentric spirit that characterizes the Florida Keys. 2012 Event Date: 3/20 - 4/29. Website
Taste of Key West
Scores of area restaurants present mouthwatering samples of their cuisine to benefit AIDS Help Inc. The culinary celebration takes place at the Truman Waterfront overlooking Key West Harbor. Annual April event.
The celebration of the legendary author’s work and lifestyle features literary readings, a theatrical premiere, short story competition, fishing tournament and Sloppy Joe’s Look-Alike Contest. Annual July event.
This outrageous, 10-day celebration features costume competitions, promenades, street fairs and a grand parade with marching groups and lavish floats. October annual event. Website
The uninhibited extravaganza entices attendees to abandon real-world cares for a fantasy escape on America's southernmost island. The festival offers more than 40 masquerade balls, costume contests and celebrations, culminating in a dazzling parade of large-scale floats and costumed marching groups.
Key West Food and Wine Festival
Annual January Event http://www.keywestfoodandwinefestival.com/
Tastes, sights and sounds of the Caribbean in Bahama Village, located at Duval and Petronia streets. Family friendly street party. Usually takes place in October around Fantasy Fest time. Website
Pirates in Paradise Festival
Featuring events for kids and adults alike, including a plank-walking contest, pirate sails, and themed parties. Annual November event.
For more information about this and other celebrations in the Key West area, visit www.fla-keys.com