Key West Lighthouse & Museum, Key West (must see)
During the mid-1800s, Key West was the busiest port in Florida and one of the busiest in the entire United States. The lighthouse played an important role in the history of the city, as it helped guide ships through the treacherous waters surrounding the island.
After the Coast Guard decommissioned the Key West Light in 1969, it was handed over to Monroe County, which in turn leased it to the Key West Arts and Historical Society. The latter operates the lighthouse and its associated buildings as the Key West Light House and Keeper's Quarters Museum.
If you can fend off the claustrophobia and don't mind heights, you can climb 88 tiny and constricting steps to the top of this historic building to see the old lantern and enjoy panoramic views of the entire island/key and the surrounding ocean. Along the way up, there are three small landings you can stop on and rest if you need to.
The museum features exhibits that showcase the history of the structure, the people who operated it, and the maritime history of Key West. Visitors can explore the collection of navigational tools, historical photographs, and displays about the area's shipwrecks and salvaging industry.
Also, near the tower, you can see an interesting banyan tree that seems to have been planted when the lighthouse was built.
Climbing the stairs up might get a bit challenging if you're not in sneakers, so it might be a good idea to swap the flip-flops if you do the climb.
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Key West. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Key West Lighthouse & Museum on Map
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Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
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