6. Florida Keys: Self-Guided Walking Tour
Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app. This serves as your personal tour guide, narrated tour, and map, all rolled into one. Once downloaded, your tour begins at the intersection of Duval Street and South Street. From there, unearth the island’s wild history and hear about the fights over its ownership, including how a Spanish naval officer sold the island to two people at the same time! As you keep walking, learn about the wreckers who once salvaged materials from destroyed ships! Then meet some of Key West’s literary legends, including larger-than-life Ernest Hemingway. Pay a visit to the Hemingway Home and Museum and learn how he left his mark on the island. Next, you’ll go back to 1886 and revisit the infamous Great Fire. Unearth the devastation and the possible arson behind the tragedy. Then get to know Henry Flagler. Hear how he fought to connect the Florida mainland with Key West by rail and learn about the challenges he overcame in the process! You’ll also get the story behind the hurricane that ultimately destroyed his railroad. On another wild note, you’ll discover the famed pirates who terrorized the area and seized riches. Meet Black Caesar and separate fact from fiction. Up next, stop by Harry Truman’s “little” White House and find out which other presidents spent time here. After that, stop at the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens. Dig into the house’s history and meet Captain John Geiger, whose family occupied it for four generations! Learn about the efforts to restore the home and how this movement helped create the Key West you see today! Your journey then takes you to Clinton Square, which features monuments that pay tribute to both Union and Confederate soldiers and highlights Key West’s complicated history. Next is Mallory Square. If you’re there at the right time, take part in the famed Sunset Celebration, featuring music, vendors, and other entertainment. Learn how playwright Tennessee Williams started this beloved ritual with a bottle of gin! Walk on to Duval Street, the heart of Key West. Take in some of the many bars and shopping options, including the famous saloon where Hemingway once tossed a few back! Then take a spooky turn at a haunted Hard Rock Cafe. Hear the ghost story that distinguishes this cafe from the others! Next, pass by La Concha Key West, the hotel where Tennessee Williams finished his famed play, A Streetcar Named Desire. As the journey winds down, hear about Mel Fisher and the greatest underwater treasure find of all time! After that, maybe enjoy a cup of Key West’s rich Cuban coffee or delicious key lime pie. Next is the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, featuring over 50 butterfly species for the insect-inclined. Your tour concludes here.