The Key West Maritime Heritage

In Key West, we are fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Key West’s shores have long been an attraction to mariners, contributing to our island’s rich and diverse historical heritage. The people of Key West know the importance of this legacy and work hard to ensure that it is preserved for future generations through local museums and educational programming.

Anyone interested in naval ships should not miss the Fifty-Third Annual UNITAS Naval Ships Exercise, which continues tomorrow, Wednesday, September 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Our United States and allied Navies will open their ships for free public tours at the Naval Air Station Key West’s Mole Pier on the Truman Waterfront. Group tours are available on Wednesday for up to 25 people. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing, as the tours will lead through several ladders and staircases.

For professionals who have been working to discover and preserve our maritime heritage, the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum will sponsor the Second Annual Florida Keys Maritime Heritage Symposium on Saturday, September 22 at the Westin Key West Resort from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Symposium is an opportunity for archaeologists and historians to share research, discoveries, and adventures from Key West and the Florida Keys. All history enthusiasts can visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, which is located at 200 Greene Street and open daily to 5:00 p.m. One of its current exhibits showcases treasures from the Spanish Galleons of 1622, including gold bars, jewelry, coins, and important artifacts from the seventeenth century.

Lighthouse enthusiasts will always enjoy the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum, located at 938 Whitehead Street. The lighthouse was originally built in 1847 and extended to 86 feet high in 1894. Both the tower and its Keeper’s Quarters have been fully restored and furnished with historical pieces and photographs. Visitors can climb the 88-step circular iron staircase and enjoy breathtaking views of Key West from the lighthouse deck. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and admission is $10 or less, or free for Key West Art & Historical Society members.

The preservation of Key West’s maritime heritage is important to the people of our island community. For centuries, adventurous sailors have been attracted to our island paradise for its stunning beauty, warm climate, and friendly people. I have been selling Key West real estate for over 29 years to modern adventurers seeking their own island paradise, and my free relocation packet and personalized, professional service can lead you to your perfect Key West home. Contact me today by phone at Margarita Villoch, 305-304-8505, by email at, or on the web at and become part of Key West history!