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Key West, the Conch Republic

Updated on October 2, 2014

Pictures of Key West with Conch Republic Information and Gifts

Pictures of Key West are pictures of a very special place! It's the capital of the Conch Republic, and full of fun, friendly, and quirky people, places, and things.

Whether you're cruising tothere for a day, or driving down for a longer visit, you're sure to enjoy these pictures of Key West, a story about the Conch Republic, gift ideas, and fun facts. For my competitive spirited visitors, there's even a Key West Quiz near the end.

View of the Green Parrot Bar

(photo- my own, all rights reserved)

Even if getting to The Conch Republic is still on your bucket list, this page is sure to interest you... It will show you the famous Seven Mile Bridge on the Overseas Highway and introduce you to an endangered species of deer along the way.

Start off by enjoying some wonderful pictures, and voting for your favorite. Then, all the other things I mentioned, and more, are in store for you here.

Have You Visited or Lived There? - (a poll)

Have You Been to, or lived in Key West?

See results

Beautiful Sunset

Life in Key West is different than any place else on earth. It's laid back and decidely quirky. Folks there really LIVE life, party like crazy, and celebrate things some of us simply take for granted.

One thing that is celebrated on a regular basis in this southernmost city is the sunset. And sunsets there really are something to celebrate. Here's a picture of one.

In fact a stunning image of one of those famous sunsets was the clear winner in our last 'pick your favorite image' poll.

So, here is is again, along with four more. Will the sunset win out again? Only time will tell.

Key West Sunset


Early Morning at Smathers Beach

Frin WikiMedia commons, CC
Frin WikiMedia commons, CC | Source

Old Duval Street

Vintage Street Scene of the southernmost city in the continental U.S. (This print is available at AllPosters.  Click the link for info on sizes, etc.)
Vintage Street Scene of the southernmost city in the continental U.S. (This print is available at AllPosters. Click the link for info on sizes, etc.) | Source

Pan american Airways Office

The first scheduled official intiernational flights from the United States took off from Key West in 1927. (CC via WikiMedia commons)
The first scheduled official intiernational flights from the United States took off from Key West in 1927. (CC via WikiMedia commons) | Source

Top of the Lighthouse


Favorite Image Poll - Round 2

Which of the prints or posters did you find most appealing?

See results

Gold Jewelry - Beautiful Key West Pendants

Here are some fun 14 karat gold pendants that represent familiar sights you see in the southernmost city in the continental United States.


Getting There

by Plane, Boat, Cruise Ship, or Car


There are reguar flights to Key West International Airport from Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. There are also some flights from Atlanta.


If you are fortunate enough to have your own seaworthy vessel, or know someone who has one, you can tiel up right at the edge of downtown, very near Mallory Square


Several major cruise lines will happily bring you there for a day, during which you can see if you'd like to return for a longer visit.

Bahamas cruises may include Key West along with Nassau or Freeport, and perhaps a stop at a private island. Caribbean Cruises may call there on their way to points south and west, like Cozumel and Jamaica, for example.

Of course, you can choose the option of driving, too. More about that later.

The Blue Heaven Restaurant - Fun Times and Good Eats

This city on an island is all about casual living, fun times, and good eats. It's chocked-full of unique places and experiences. One of those unique places is a restaurant called Blue Heaven.

Lunchtime at the Blue Heaven


People born in Key West are called CONCHS.


The Story of The Conch Republic

How It Came to Be

No doubt, you've heard Key West referred to as the "Conch Republic." Well, here's how that started.

In 1982, the U.S. Border patrol set up a roadblock at Florida City, stopping and searching vehicles for contraband. Since Florida City is the last mainland city before the beginning of the Overseas Highway, this, in effect substantially slowed and reduced land traffic to all of the Keys.

Flag of the Conch Republic, used under cc license

The tourist based economy suffered. Although the City Council lodged numerous complaints with the federal government, and even filed an injunction attempt, nothing was working.

Finally, on April 23, Key West seceded from the United States and declared its independence as The Conch Republic, with Mayor Dennis Wardlow as Prime Minister.

The brand new republic promptly declared war on the United States of America, and "fired" their one and only salvo of the conflict> What kind of a shot did they fire, and at whom? They broke a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of "someone" in a military uniform.

One minute into the 'hostilities,' the republic surrendered and requested foreign aid in the amount of one billion USD.

It Worked!

After the "Succession" and "War,"

the blockade was lifted.

The incident got a whole

lot of press, too!

Conch Republic "Key West" Flag - 3 foot by 5 foot Polyester (NEW)
Conch Republic "Key West" Flag - 3 foot by 5 foot Polyester (NEW)

Declare your independence with a flag of 'The Republic'


"Independence Day"

April 23 is

Conch Republic

Independence Day

Celebrate Conch Independence Day with a Margarita

The Overseas Highway

The Seven Mile Bridge
The Seven Mile Bridge | Source

Driving to Key West - Across the

If you are driving, you should allow more hours than the number of miles would indicate for normal destinations. On a normal day. the last 128 miles or so could easily take you twice as long to transverse as any other 125 - 200 miles in the state of Florida. That's when you'll be on the Overseas Highway.

Plan on a leisurely trip along the Overseas Highway, because that's probably what it WILL be, whether that's what you have planned or not. Most of the distance is only two lanes, much of it over or between bodies of water. There are a few spots wehere there are places to pass, but not many. And few of the cars in front of you will be in a hurry.

One of the most amazing stretches of this roadway is the "Seven Mile Bridge," which is actually only 6.97 miles long. It connects the Middle Keys and the Lower Keys, and is pictured above.

Overseas Highway Speed

A word to the wise:

Mind the speed limit

(even when you do have a choice)

on the Overseas Highway,

especially on and around

Big Pine Key.


Key Deer - an Endangered Species

You May See Some on Your Way Down

There have been countless serious and fatal accidents on the Overseas Highway. They're pretty darned serious about enforcing the speed limit all along the way.

Check your speedometer as you approach it Big Pine Key. The 45 mph speed limit is VERY strictly enforced there. That's during the daytime. At night, it's 35 mph.


Key Deer, an endangered species found only in this particular part of the world. They tend to wander into the roadway, so watch out for them!

Key Deer on No Name Key

cc photo by Averette at en.wikipedia

Today, there are fewer than 800 of these animals left, and some estimates are as low as 300. Some 30 to 40 are run over by cars each year, especially on Big Pine and No Name Keys, where they are the most abundant.

Map of Florida (p.d.) indicating location of the Capital of the Conch Republic
Map of Florida (p.d.) indicating location of the Capital of the Conch Republic

Fun Facts

About Key West

Key West is the Southernmost city in the continential United States. But Florida is NOT the southernmost state in the United States. That distinction belongs to Hawaii.

The city is actually closer to Cuba than it is to Miami.

Fort Zachary Taylor saw action in the Civil War (on the union side), the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.

Nine Pulitzer Prize winners have lived in there, including Ernest Hemingway, whose home you can tour today.

The Key West Coral Reef is 160 miles long - the third largest in the world and the largest in the United States.

The sand on the beaches there was all brought in from the Caribbean, as beach sand does not occur there naturally.

Approximate distances to Key West from other cities in Florida:

FROM MIAMI: 160 miles

FROM TAMPA: 420 miles

FROM ORLANDO: 395 miles



Fort Zachary Taylor History and More at this State Park

| Source

History and More at this State Park

Fort Zachary Taylor was built in the 18470's - the 1860's. The fort was active the war between the states (in union hands) and the Spanish American War.

Fort Zach houses the largest collection of civil war cannon ever discovered in one place. They had been buried within the 'new' outer walls, built in 1889. Why were the buried in the wall? Apparently to make up for a shortage of building materials!

Today, the fort is open to the public from 8 am until 5 pm, and guided tours are available. You'll find it at the end of Southard Street, in Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, where you can also enjoy the beach, hiking trains, swimming snorkeling, diving, and a restaurant / snack bar.

Underwater Video - See Scenes from the Barrier Reef Off the Coast of Key West

When you go, don't forget your dive or snorkel gear. As you learned in 'Facts About Key West,' it's home to the largest barrier reef in the United States, and the underwater views are amazing!

In case you can't get there this week, here's some underwater video to tide you over.

Something Cool to Do While You're There

See Hemingway House

Need a suggestion for something cool to do in Key West?

Here it is!

Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and meet the Polydactyl Cats there.

Bid on Some Memories of Key West - These eBay Auctions are Now Live

See what Souvenirs and Memorabilia are up for auction today on eBay:

Planning a Trip to Key West? - (a poll)

Are you planning on visiting Key West in the next year?

See results

How's the Weather Today?

And All Year

THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW: Click for weather forecast


Average Temperature: about 73 - 83 degrees F.

Average Annual Rainfall: 38 - 39". The wet season is May - October, with August and September being the rainiest months

The Guestbook is: OPEN

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    • Winter52 LM profile image

      Winter52 LM 

      5 years ago

      I've been to Florida lots of times, but never beyond that. The highway looks daunting! ;)

    • LisaDH profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article! I especially loved the trivia. Nine Pulitzer Prize winners for such a small place is amazing! There must be something in the water. :-)

    • lclchors profile image


      6 years ago

      nice lens I enjoyed the journey

    • OrlandoTipster profile image


      6 years ago

      It's on my bucket list!

      Only about 8 hours away!

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 

      6 years ago

      I lived in Tampa a couple of years, but didn't make it to Key West. I love your deer - they are so lovely.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Looks like I have finally found the 'key' to the West! :)

      Brilliant - That is the only (best) way I enjoy my armchair cruises!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love Key West! My mom used to live on Big Pine Key ... and I spent a little time there in the late 80s. Got to work on Boca Chica and Key West. Doesn't get any better than this! I enjoy the history.

    • mjtaylor lm profile image

      mjtaylor lm 

      6 years ago

      So many great images!

    • Zut Moon profile image

      Zut Moon 

      6 years ago

      Happy International Women's Day!!!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm heading down to Paradise (Key West!) for 6 weeks as part of my renewal after the death of my Mom whom I cared for the past 5 years. Taking 2 dogs and doing lots of walking. Blessed!

    • SayGuddaycom profile image


      6 years ago

      I think this might be my favorite lens of yours.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      You have such wonderful images. Well done!

    • SquidooPower profile image


      6 years ago

      i LOVE the Keys! So many great images on this page too, thnx for sharing.

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image


      6 years ago from McLaughlin

      We stayed in the Marathon Key and drove down to Key West. I want to go back. It was beautiful and quirky. Thanks for this article!

    • CruiseReady profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from East Central Florida

      @Gayle Mclaughlin: I don't think you are alone at all! When I hear people say they have been to Key West, they almost always say, "And I want to go back."

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice link

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      great tribute you've done here, enjoyed my visit on your lens tonight, thank you!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You sure do manage to give the itch to travel and I would go under the speed limit to protect the Key deer...always a joy!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      6 years ago from UK

      I've never been to Key West but this gave me a taste of this beautiful place. Ah, it would be wonderful to be there right now, soaking up the sunshine. Thanks for sharing your newest lens with me, it was a treat!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Such a great place with so much unique history and unbelievably beautiful land and sea scapes. Thanks for posting a great article!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love Key West. It is very funky and the people are very independent minded. It is very crowded (primarily at night when everyone is partying) but a totally fun place.

      I especially love the art deco everywhere. It takes me back to the Americana of the 50's


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