June 27, 2009
Where can you find a conch train, conch fritters, and conch shells (pronounced “konk”)? They’re all located in the same two-by-four-mile island community of Key West. If you’re thinking of flying south this summer, consider going all the way—to the southernmost point of the Sunshine State.
It’s true- touristy Key West is overflowing with beaches, bars and boutiques, but this remarkable port city also offers plenty of other fun-in-the-sun options—city tours, historic homes, museums, and of course, authentic key lime pie and plenty of fresh seafood. It’s easy to get acquainted with Old Town Key West’s real character, because much of its entertaining history and highlights are within walking distance of each other.
Conch Tour Train
Does riding an open-air train through the charming streets of Old Town while listening to stories of bone-bleaching Indians, Spanish explorers, and cigar barons sound like your idea of exploring? Want to get to know characters like John James Audubon, Ernest Hemingway, and Henry Flagler? Take the 75-minute Conch Tour Train—it’s one of Key West’s most popular attractions and for good reason. To say it’s fully narrated is an understatement. Knowledgeable train drivers expertly tell the tales and lively legends of Key West as the train passes more than 100 points of interest. Learn what gingerbread has to do with architecture and which former president wanted to move the U.S. capital to Key West. The Conch Tour Train is truly a “train ride through time” and the most economical and enjoyable way to get an overview of the sites and history of Key West. Thanks to the Key West tour, you’ll know where all the best museums and historic homes are located and can visit them at your leisure.
Free Entertainment at Mallory Square
Best known as the place “where the sun sets and the fun begins” Mallory Square—the center of Key West’s historic waterfront—really comes to life at the end of each day. Locals, tourists, street entertainers, musicians, and pelicans alike gather at the end of the pier for the fun and free Sunset Celebration. Watch flame-tossing jugglers, sword swallowers, and get serenaded by assorted minstrels. Skip pricey dinners and snack on fried conch fritters and key lime pie instead—sold right on the pier. No fancy restaurant offers a better seat for watching the sun sink into the horizon!