Key West is where the eccentric go for a suntan and a piña colada. The island at the end of the road – the road being the Overseas Highway, which extends 127.5 miles from Homestead, Florida to Key West – has long been a haven for artists, the LGBT community and mainland exiles.
The island and the town of Key West are the same entity. The east side is a modern area of malls and gas stations. It's the western, historic side of town that draws the visitors. They walk, bike and scooter past historical Caribbean homes sweating under palm trees, the most famous being Ernest Hemingway's old mansion. Shop or party along Duval Street – art galleries and gay clubs cluster at the southern end, while t-shirt shops and frat boy bars anchor the north.
Sunsets at Mallory Square, which feature street performers of all stripes, are not to be missed. Neither are the other Florida Keys – there are over 100 islands to explore between Key West and the mainland.