USA – The Florida Keys II: Bahia Honda Beach & Key West

The Keys in southern Florida are the end of the United States. To be more specific Key West on the western tip of The Keys. I wrote before about the eastern part of The Keys. Other points of interest are the Small White House and the Hemmingway House. I take you there and also to the Bahia Honda Beach, the most beautiful beach in the United States.

Key West

Key West is the most southern city of the United States. I stayed a night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, formerly the La Concha Hotel. A hotel with a history where also Tennessee Williams wrote some of his books. The hotel is central located and everything is within walking distance. As I arrived in the evening I just had the first part of the next day to explore town. The weather was not good to go out on the ocean anyway. Most activities are on the ocean so I could just explore town. Just a 5 minute walk down the road is the Hardrock Cafe where I had a nice steak for dinner. I decided to go out for breakfast in the morning and then continue onwards to the Little White House. Not far from there is the old lighthouse which is worth a visit for sure. This first lighthouse was destroyed in the hurricane of 1846. The current lighthouse was completed in 1848 and levelled up in 1894. It served as the lighthouse of Key West until 1969. It’s possible to visit the lighthouse and the museum.

Not far down the road from the lighthouse is the Hemingway Estate which is a must see if you are in Key West. The most southern point is a 10 minute walk further south. This point, of course, cannot be skipped. Even the Chinese have discovered this monument as you can see in the photo below. I think by having done this walk I have seen most if not all of Key West, at least the important historical things. Just before I went back to the hotel for check-out I visited the oldest remaining house of Key West which was just across the crossing. Not big, and free to enter, but nice to have a quick look. I would love to return and make a tour to Dry Tortugas Island, but it must be nice weather then. It’s a nice city with a great atmosphere to spend a day more I guess, but I didn’t have the time this time.

The Little White House

The Little White House or also called the Harry S. Truman Little White House was the winter residence of President Harry S. Truman. Originally the house was built for a naval commander at the end of the 19th century on a naval base. The land behind the house is all reclaimed land as it was on the shore in those times. It was a house for two families: the base commandant and for the paymaster. The house was used as naval headquarters exclusively until 1946 when Harry S. Truman arrived. He was commanded by his doctor to go somewhere warm. In Key West it’s always warm so a perfect place for him to go unwind. Over time he spends a total of 175 days there and signed a lot of important documents. After him also other presidents visited but not as much as Harry S. Truman visited the Little White House. In 1976 the naval headquarters got closed down and after a renovation the house opened to the public in the early 90’s. The Little White House can only be visited on a guided tour where you will learn all the details of it and the life of Harry S. Truman. Unfortunately it’s not allowed to make photos inside which I do not like. Photos without flash should be allowed anywhere to spread the history to others. Maybe this will change, but I do recommend visiting and imprinting the images in your memory.

Hemingway House

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an important writer and journalist in American history. He influenced the modern literature of the 20th century. He lived in various places including Cuba but it was in Key West where he wrote his most important works. His house in Key West is now the Ernest Hemingway House & Museum. I’m allergic to cats so I was a bit hesitated to visit as there are many cats in and around the house. They are descendants of the cats of Hemingway. The house is open for visitors and here you are allowed to take pictures, a good thing! There are two levels which can be visited both with a marked route through the house. You will see the living area, bedrooms, working area, kitchen and bathroom all in original state. Do not forget to visit the small garage with the caretaker’s room above it just behind the house. Around the house you find a beautiful garden with all kinds of exotic plants Hemingway brought back from Cuba. It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into details of Hemingway’s live but one thing is for sure that he played an important role in modern American literature.

Bahia Honda Beach

Bahia Honda Beach is located on one of the keys bearing the same name. Its home to one of the most beautiful beaches of the United States mainland. Bahia Honda Beach is a national park and home to rare species of birds and plants. The waters around it are a perfect spot to go (scuba) diving but during my visit there was too much wind which made the waters murky. I walked a bit the trails over the Bahia Honda Key but didn’t change to my swimming outfit. It was sunny and hot but the wind just made it unpleasant. Having in mind that I would have a long drive ahead all the way to Sanibel Island made me decide to just leave Bahia Honda Beach behind. I would love to come back one day with clear waters and no wind to have a BBQ or camp overnight.

It was already late afternoon when I left Bahia Honda Beach and Key West behind me. The drive all the way back over the Seven Mile Bridge and The Keys took me two hours. From there it was just over two more hours to Sanibel Island. I admit that I did speed a bit. The next day I would go explore this beautiful island full of nature, beaches and activities. It was late evening when I arrived to the Holiday Inn Resort Sanibel Island and went to bed without having a good dinner. It was halfway my South Florida road trip and two more days to go before ending in Miami.

Did you visit this place or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!

Gallery Key West & Bahia Honda Beach

Check the gallery for more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.

GPS Track Key West & Bahia Honda Beach

During my trips I make GPS tracks (sometimes they do not show, click download to open in Google maps). Feel free to download them and see how we moved around and see the time frames at the various places. Hope these maps are of help for you when planning your trips.

 

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