Safety Tips in Key West

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Key West

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo

    Take your Picture?

    by TravellerMel Written Mar 11, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Word to the wise: Taking photos for tourists is a local moneymaking scheme, so the "helpful" people who offer their photography services will most likely expect a tip. A better bet - ask one of the tourists behind you to take your photo, then offer to reciprocate!

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  • HumblyServingChrist's Profile Photo

    Paradise Lost -- Most perverse city in Florida

    by HumblyServingChrist Written Jun 5, 2010

    As laid back and friendly as Key West can be, this island of beauty can also be a dangerous temptress. Historically, Key West has attracted people living on the fringes; eccentric authors and artists, societal drop-outs, outlaws, salty characters, and homosexuals have sought asylum here from mainstream society. “Conchs” (as the locals call themselves), are generally warm and welcoming to all visitors but some have staunchly defended their “live and let live” mantra to a fault. Rather than just accepting people, they seem to encourage and celebrate their transgressions, often in over-the top fashion. For instance, sexuality -- of both a homosexual and heterosexual nature – is marketed to excess here, particularly along popular Duval Street, where even the average gift shop sells specially-shaped phallic pasta and raunchy T’s are featured in the window displays. Porn shops and strip clubs are also readily visible here. Drag queens cross-dressed to the hilt wander the street soliciting business for their clubs. One local “gay” hotel (noted by the male and female surfing couples on their sign) even has a dock and pool deck crawling with nude recreationists located almost in spitting distance of the wide-eyed children who can sometimes be seen staring in amazement from a neighboring hotel’s dock. And at night, while many tourists participate in the mindless inebriation ritual known as the “Duval Crawl,” some people choose to hit the town wearing as little as a leather fetish outfit or body paint.

    I know all this because I was between the ages of 17 and 20 when my family used to regularly vacation in the Keys. While I was more of a “goody-two shoes” than most people my age (thank God), I certainly learned how encouraged voyeurism can easily desensitize callow college minds in such a permissive atmosphere. The temptation to look when one shouldn’t is terribly powerful – particularly when there is very little preventing that possibility. That’s why I say that while the other Florida Keys, like Key Largo, Islamorada, and Marathon, have the requisite natural attractions minus the smut factor to foster many great family vacations, Key West itself is best left off the family travel itinerary. It is an island all its own in more ways than one.

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  • sunloverinatlanta's Profile Photo

    Take a GOOD map

    by sunloverinatlanta Written May 12, 2009

    The Free maps they hand out in Key West are misleading, incomplete and not to scale. While the streets may be mostly on a grid, it is not a square grid. Some streets end abruptly on one way streets not going in the direction you are wanting to go with no easy way of going around the block.
    It is expensive to buy maps there if you can even find them.
    Buy or order a good road map online before you travel.
    There are very, very few signs pointing the way to attractions in Key West. You either need a good map, nav system or good directions if you don't want to spend a great deal of time driving in circles.

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    be aware

    by doug48 Written Nov 9, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    key west all in all is a very safe town for tourists but with all tourist towns in florida you should take certain precautions. watch your valuables and beware of pickpockets. on duval street on weekends and during festivals you will encounter obnoxious drunks. at night stay in the well lighted tourist areas because there is a possibilty of being mugged on dark side streets. violent crime is rare in key west but there is a lot of property crime. pictured is a laundromat on fleming street. a number of years ago i was washing clothes here and left the place to get a beer while my clothes were washing. i returned later to find that some bum had stolen my laundry.

    key west laundromat
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  • Dangerous side streets after dark

    by DeeAnimal Written May 18, 2007

    Like most popular destinations, Key West can be pretty shady at night. If you stay in the Duval/Mallory Square area you shouldn't encounter many problems since it's busy, well-lit and police patrol around. However, if you're wandering around at night off Duval it's a different story. If you're in a group, I wouldn't worry but I wouldn't advise a single female to wander around and families with kids might want to avoid it as well.

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  • Time Share Tours, Beware

    by Dcocks27 Written Apr 17, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Time Share Tours, my wife and I wasted a morning touring one of these places. We were promised, 7 nights at one of the condos or at one of the hotels (Sheraton the guy told me) if we took this stupid high pressure tour. When we applied for the 7 nights we were told send in $19.00 for each person for processing. They then called us to tell us that it would cost $500.00 additional for a place up in Marathon. Trying to get my $266.00 back, don't get trapped like we did!

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  • Ericasmurf99's Profile Photo

    Bacteria on the Beaches

    by Ericasmurf99 Written Sep 29, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Due to all the hurricanes in 2005 most of the beaches have bacteria warning signs up. You'll notice the smell and brown look in the water. This is only for right along the coast though, once you get about 20 feet out you are good, so all boat/snorkling/sailing/diving/etc trips are all still very safe and beautiful.

    Warning...

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  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    The airport. NOBODY HOME most of the time

    by 850prc Updated Aug 6, 2006

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    You know the old joke about being in a little town where they roll up the sidewalks at night? Well the Key West International Airport is like that. The only times that there are any activities are when the few planes come and go. Otherwise, counters, cafes, rental car places and everywhere is abandoned.

    We had switched flights to accomodate an overbooking...thereby earning ourselves $250 vouchers apiece. But, we ran into a little problem with our luggage getting in. At one point, in desperation, I found an employee at a National Rental Counter and asked her WHEN the American Airlines desk would open. She said "God only knows, but there are a couple of guys working here now. They're probably hanging out in the back and playing cards. Go bang on the door to the luggage area." No kidding, that's what she said.

    So, doing something that might get me shot at another airport, I went behind the ticket counter and climbed onto the luggage belt. I beat on the door and yelled "anyone there". They finally answered and managed to find my suitcases. I was happy and they went back to their poker game. Such is life in Key West, and especially at the airport.

    1 of the 8 people at the airport at 6 pm Thursday

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  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Non-swimsuit types in swimsuits

    by 850prc Updated Aug 6, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you've watched any Travel Channel videos on Florida and the Keys, you'd probably assume that everyone running around has a terrific tan, a great bod and THE perfect swimsuit. And you'd be dead wrong.

    Sometimes, it's hard not to gasp or even laugh at some of the swimsuit + people combinations you'll see walking Duval Street. That in itself is a good warning tip...laugh at some biker's old lady and you may visit the Key West Cemetary sooner rather than later. :^/

    Now, mind you I am the last person to criticize people with less than terrific bodies. But in my defense, you wouldn't find me walking around in a thong in public either. I suspect that some of these people either don't own a mirror, or perhaps they started drinking at sunrise.

    A side note about this lady's outfit...my beer of choice these days is Corona. But, I have to admit that I thought about making a switch after seeing "Corona" plastered on this lovely's backside. Sends shivers down me spine, matey.

    Ewwwww.

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  • HotRodEtte's Profile Photo

    Another tip to keep an open mind

    by HotRodEtte Written May 30, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Some places in Key West hype up public nudity (inside their establishments, of course). Some of these places include topless beaches (hotel guests only) and clothing-optional restaurants and bars. If you are offended by public nudity (as I am), you may want to check out the bars and restaurants you choose fully before committing to them.

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Robert the Doll

    by grandmaR Updated Dec 24, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Outside the East Martello tower entrance was a goofy looking larger than life sized sailor cutout. I took a picture. Later when I got into the museum, there was a large doll in a sailor suit. Oh -- that's what the cutout was - it was meant to be a representation of this doll. I read the story of the doll (second picture). Also exhibited were postcards and letters (some addressed to Robert himself) which spoke of the difficulties which have followed people who have tried to photograph Robert.

    From the Original Ghost Tales of Key West I read One of Robert's favorite activites is to prevent his photo from being taken. Visitors have reported a variety of camera malfunctions and Robert's favorite trick is to black out his own photo, while leaving the remaining film unharmed

    I sneaked a photo of Robert in his case (third picture) rather than make him angry by taking his picture directly. When I look Robert up on the internet, I find two pictures used over and over again by most of the websites, so someone must have successfully taken Robert's picture.

    Scott Johnson for the Horror Channel calls Robert 'the original Chucky' and writes:
    Though Robert is available to take visitors year-round, the best time to introduce yourself, a practice recommended and followed by the museum staff, is during the month of October. During that one month, Robert is taken from the Martello Museum and housed in the Historic Custom House a few blocks down. It is during this time of year that he is said to be most active, and the employees always leave a bag of peppermints in his case with him in an attempt to cajole him into behaving. They swear there are always fewer candies the next morning.

    Until next time . . .

    Cutout outside the door of East Martello Explanation of Bob Through the arches to Robert's display case Robert from the internet Robert's other internet picture
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  • tatyanap's Profile Photo

    Beware of hurricane season!

    by tatyanap Written Dec 22, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Although Key West offers nice weather year-round, it can change quickly during hurricane season, May-November. It's not easy to get out since there is only a two-lane road through the keys. If you decide to visit Key West during hurricane season, check weather warnings frequently and get out quickly if necessary.

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  • rustreckless's Profile Photo

    Doesn't this look like fun? If...

    by rustreckless Written Aug 26, 2002

    Doesn't this look like fun? If you are a sailboarder, the danger is that there's no place to rent equipment such as this in Key West...this is my own stuff. Okay, I guess that's not really dangerous, but disappointing if you want to sail.

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  • Michael_D's Profile Photo

    WARNING///WARNING...what you...

    by Michael_D Updated Aug 24, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    WARNING///WARNING...what you see in this picture may very well be the most insidious trap in the world. Its called a SAILBOAT!!Just the SIGHT of them causes some males of the species to buy them...or WORSE...quit their jobs and do something weird like sail around the world!! I once was stricken with this malady so severely I owned TWO!!!If the person you are with should fall prey to this unfortunate phenomenon..EMAIL CAPTAIN AMERICA AT ONCE!! (Ill need to know when hes shoving off and IF he needs a crew..;-)(bada-boom!)

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  • cobrioc's Profile Photo

    Mallory Square Sunset...

    by cobrioc Written Aug 24, 2002

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mallory Square Sunset Celebration
    Located on the historic waterfront between Whitehead and Duval Streets.
    Exciting attractions and the famous Key West Sunset Celebration, Old Town Trolley Tours go see the Best of Key West on ninety-minute tour.
    Free re-boarding, get off at any 14 convenient stops
    to shop, dine or sightsee and then re-board.

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