Key West Overview
Key West Quick Facts
A Traveler's Guide to Key WestKey West is a city that is located on an island to the south of the mainland of the US state of Florida. Florida is the most southeastern state in the United States and is bordered by water on three sides; the Gulf of Mexico to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Key West is in the county limits of Monroe County. The island is only four miles long and two miles wide at its widest point. English is the primary spoken and written language of Key West.
The island was first settled by Spanish explorers in the mid 18th century. It was originally named Cayo Hueso which means "Island of Bones" in Spanish. Many believe this is because when the Spanish arrived they found the bones of hundreds of people scattered all over the island. These remains may have been from native wars or plagues. Eventually the state of Florida passed to Britain and then to the United States. The primary industries of the island in the early days were fishing and salt production. There were substantial salt deposits on parts of the island and salt was exported from Key West all over the states. The shipping, military, and tourism industries have become very important to Key West in recent years.
Key West has a humid subtropical climate, which means hot summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures can reach into the 90's Fahrenheit from time to time but winter temperatures rarely dip below 40. Rainfall occurs year round, but it occurs most heavily during the summer months of June through August. The city is vulnerable to hurricanes that frequently pass through the Caribbean and over the Florida peninsula.
One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Southernmost Point. This marker sits on the southernmost point in the continental United States. The marker is a retired buoy that has been painted with the words "Southernmost Point". It is one of the most photographed spots on the island.
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