For such a tiny U.S. island, Key West has a rich history and has played an important role during numerous events of the Civil War. Its strategic location as the southernmost city in the United States, meant that naval forces and vessels spent significant time docked on the island, while three forts were erected to help protect the U.S. from invasion. On the Dry Tortugas, Fort Jefferson remains the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere while Fort Zachary Taylor and East Martello Museum are also fascinating in their own right. There are many other museums for those interested in history, including the San Carlos Institute which showcases Key West's Cuban heritage, the Earnest Hemingway Home for information about the literary legend, and the Key West Lighthouse and Keepers' Quarters.
For a bite to eat while exploring the past, the Key West Historic Seaport has some of the best happy hour food and drink specials in Florida, plus numerous shops, sailing cruises, and snorkeling tours. Divers can hop on a scuba diving adventure to the Cayman Salvage Master, or visit several other wrecks that met their end in the waters surrounding the island. Back on land, a tour of the Key West Cemetery reveals some interesting characters who once lived on the island, and the Truman Little White House offers an important piece of national history. Here are Key West's 10 best historic sites.