The Little White House
Image via Flickr by Sue Elias
President Harry Truman first visited the Little White House in 1946 for a weeklong vacation and returned here many times between the years 1946 and 1952. In this house, Truman met with officials to discuss the Marshall Plan, Civil Rights legislation, and much more. Over the years the building was also used by other presidents.
Today the Little White House is open to the public year-round. Tour guides bring you through the building and speak about President Truman’s visits here, U.S. Naval History in Key West, and the Cold War. During your visit, be sure to spend some time in the Botanical Gardens, which consists of an acre of local trees, plants, and flowers, surrounded by the original wrought iron fence from 1890. This portion of the tour is self-guided, so you can freely wander the grounds and enjoy the tropical foliage.
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Image via Flickr by karlnorling
Located in Old Town Key West, Ernest Hemingway’s former home is now a historic landmark and museum. Hemingway and his wife Pauline renovated the house and property in the 1930s, adding an in-ground swimming pool and beautiful gardens. Today, visitors can take tours of the house, which include lots of interesting stories about Hemingway’s experiences on the island.
The Museum is open all year, and tours are available between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. In addition to exploring the house and stunning gardens, you can also visit with the property’s many cats. Hemingway owned several cats, including Snow White, a six-toed cat. Many of Snow White’s descendants still live on the property today and are very popular with visitors.
If your time in Key West is limited, the Hemingway Home is definitely a must-see Key West attraction.
Key West Lighthouse Museum
Image via Flickr by TALMADGEBOYD
The Key West Lighthouse was built in 1825 so that commercial and naval ships could safely navigate the shallow waters and many reefs. The lighthouse was notable for hiring a woman as its keeper, which was very unusual at that time. Though the lighthouse has not been used to guide ships since 1969, it is a popular destination for visitors.
When you visit, you can climb 88 iron steps to the very top of the lighthouse and take in incredible views of Key West and the sea. You can also explore the grounds and check out the Keeper’s Quarters, where there is a collection of artifacts, maps, photos and belongings of the former lighthouse keepers. The Key West Lighthouse Museum is an opportunity to enjoy the amazing scenery and to learn about a way of life that is now abandoned.
Key West is a wonderful vacation destination, with beautiful beaches and a rich history. The island has a huge variety of activities and attractions and is a place that families, couples, and singles can all appreciate. For your next vacation, definitely consider planning a visit to Key West.