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Vacationing in Key West
By Jennifer Weiss

When searching for the perfect warm and sandy location to head to for your next vacation, consider Key West, Florida for your vacation needs. Key West is located at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys and offers quite a bang for its small size with its numerous beaches and abundant water activities. Whether you want to feel as if you have left the world behind or participate in all the adventure this diverse island has to offer, Key West can become your haven for a relaxing and exciting vacation.

Although the island of Key West only encompasses 4.2 square miles, visitors will certainly find plenty of space to throw down a towel for some fun in the sun. When searching for the beach that best meets your watersport needs, head over to the south side of the island to check out a few of the more popular beaches. Smathers Beach, the largest of the public beaches, is usually very busy since it provides access to the water for those who want to go jet skiing, kayaking, or wind surfing while also allowing for excitement on land with its volleyball courts.

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is a quieter option than Smathers Beach and allows for an off the beaten path sand experience. This state park contains 67 acres of beautiful white sand and lush forests that are ripe for exploration. A favorite among the locals, Fort Zachary Taylor is a prime destination for swimming and snorkeling in the warm turquoise waters and venturing near the brim of the forests. If you decide to make your way to this beach for a glimpse of the breathtaking sunset, donít forget your aqua shoes since there is crushed coral everywhere.

For those who head to Key West without stopping at the other islands of the Florida Keys, a journey out to the reef from Key West Harbor is an absolute must. Catch sight of the vibrant marine life and the only living coral reef in North America by journeying underneath these warm waters on a scuba diving or snorkeling excursion. If you prefer to stay dry but donít want to miss out on this noteworthy sight, hitch a ride out to sea on one of the glass bottom boat tours.

Possibly the most popular activity with visitors to Key West, a deep sea fishing adventure is the best way to experience a surge of adrenaline and the thrill of reeling in a big one. With over 225 species of gamefish patrolling the clear waters off the Florida Keys, you are bound to come back with a lively story about the one you snagged, and hopefully not about the one that got away. There are numerous experienced guides available out of Key West to take you into the nearby Gulfstream, where you can try for marlin and sailfish, but make your reservation early to preserve your chance at a memorable angling adventure.

When you are ready to step back from the water and enjoy a low-key attraction, hop aboard the always popular Conch Tour Train for captivating tales about the history of the island. From the reign of the Indians to the golden age of settlement to the end of WWII, you will be taken back in time to learn about not only the island itself, but also the characters who played a key role in its growth, development, and place in history.

With so many activities in such a small, gorgeous area, the opportunities for entertainment may seem overwhelming at first. However, by staying on the island in one of the numerous Key West vacation rentals that are conveniently located near the shore, you can take advantage of the amazingly warm, crystal clear waters this island provides access to. Whether you want to catch some sun in the fine white sand or head further out for a snorkeling adventure, your vacation rental makes it easy to enjoy the best of Key West since everything you need for excitement is just a short walk away.

HomeAway.com has the most comprehensive selection of vacation rental homes on the Internet. For an alternative lodging option, consider Key West vacation rentals for your next trip to the Florida Keys.