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Moderate Climate

Key West is the only major city in the US to have never had freezing temperatures or temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The mild climate can be attributed to the fact that the island is bounded on the north by the Gulf of Mexico and on the south by the Straits of Florida and these bodies of water moderate temperature variances.

The lack of frost not only ensures that flowers decorate the landscape all year long but tropical plants can survive and even thrive in the moderate climate of the Keys. This brings color to the landscape and a large amount of biodiversity to the ecosystem.

Mild winters also attract travelers from the colder northern climates and Key West has long been a winter attraction for many noteworthy people. President Truman made eleven visits here as President in addition to the numerous trips after he retired. Celebrated literary personalities such as Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein, John Hersey and Judy Blume have all called Key West home. Other luminaries include Mel Fisher, Calvin Klein, Jimmy Buffett, Kelly McGillis, Boog Powell and John James Audubon.


Culture

Key West owes much of its culture to the island's remoteness. Until the overseas railroad was completed in 1912, it was only accessible by water. This meant that travel between other countries was often easier than a trip to the mainland of Florida. In point of fact Key West is much closer to Havana than it is to Miami. In addition, the island was populated by a diverse group of people of Bahamian, Cuban, Anglo, Hispanic, African and many other cultures. Without a majority population, the people were more accepting of diverse lifestyles than many other places.

Although the island is now well connected to the outside world, the city is still famous for its easygoing attitude. People of all backgrounds and lifestyles are accepted as part of our one human family.

The Keys are a magnet for tourists, fishermen and divers that lures over a million visitors a year. While the island chain has become more touristy and suffered from development, it also retains a charm, romance and hipness that can't be found anywhere else. Artists and writers, gays and lesbians, yachtsmen and boat bums as well as other eccentrics help to sustain an atmosphere of casual acceptance of everything from the unusual to the exotic.