The Southernmost Point in the Continental USA
Location: Key West, Florida
When to visit: Anytime, but for shortest lines, come before 9 am
Time needed: 10-60 minutes, depending on the wait
Website: Key West city website
Visiting the Southernmost Point in Key West
In Key West, Florida, you can find a monument that marks the southernmost point in the continental United States. This red, black and yellow concrete buoy right next to the ocean has become a huge tourist attraction. If you visit Key West, you’ll want to stop by, but chances are you’ll be waiting with dozens of other people to get your picture taken with it.
Many publications call the Southernmost Point in Key West a tourist trap. Of course it is! So what? Some scrooges also like to point out that the monument isn’t truly the most southern spot in the continental U.S. – that distinction belongs to Ballast Key, an isolated, privately-owned island 10 miles west of Key West.
But don’t let that stop you from enjoying the Key West tradition. Join in on the fun and get your picture taken next to the “90 Miles to Cuba” marker that has become a landmark since it was erected in 1983. The massive concrete buoy is one of the most popular tourist spots in Key West.
This area has been affected by hurricanes many times, but the buoy is still standing. It was most recently damaged by Hurricane Irma, but received a new paint job and is back to normal. The monument stands 12 feet tall by 7 feet wide.
I visited the Southernmost Point at the end of a Florida Keys road trip that started back in Miami and the Everglades.
Note: The reason the southernmost point Key West is labeled as the southernmost point in the continental United States is because the southernmost point in all of America is in Naalehu, Hawaii.
When to Visit the Southernmost Point in the US Lower 48 States
For easiest access, arrive early any day of the week. That’s when you’ll find the shortest lines. When I visited a couple years ago, I got there around 9:30 am. It was rainy and it was off-peak season, so I got my photo with only a five-minute wait.
If you come during the middle of the day during peak tourist season, you may have to wait quite a while to get your photo. Just be patient and be efficient when you get your chance so you don’t hold up the line!
Stopping by at the southernmost point is one of the best things to do in the morning in Key West. When you’ve recovered from partying all night and finally roll out of bed, head over there before lunchtime!
Make sure while you’re in Key West that you check out the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. And I strongly suggest, if you have the time and money, booking a trip to Dry Tortugas National Park, where you can camp on a remote tropical island outside a Civil War fort.
And since you’re only 90 miles from Cuba, why not consider booking a future trip to that island? Check out the American’s guide to visiting Havana, and check out Cuba’s Cayo Jutias, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to!
26 thoughts on “Quirky Attraction: Southernmost Point in the Continental USA (Key West)”
What a strange tourist attraction! If i’m every in Key West it definitely looks like the kind of thing I’ll need to take my picture next to! Thanks for the article.
You can’t go to Key West without taking a pic here!
When you are a tourist or even if it is your home town – go for it – I had to go there by car having been there by cruise ship 10 + years before – it was a steady flow of people
Yes, I like tourist attractions.
I’ve been to Florida about 20 times and still haven’t made it to Key West. Definitely have to get there soon! Thanks for the reminder.
Wow, that’s way close to Cuba. A little bit of a tourist trap, but that’s alright!
i love to hate tourist traps. I especially love them when they are over the top gaudy!
Those are the best kinds 🙂
This one resonated with me as we live on the southernmost point of continental Europe 🙂
That’s cool. I wonder if there’s a tourist marker there?
I love tourist traps!
They are fun in their own way 🙂
Yes, Cuba would be the next logical destination!
We’ve been there!! Most of your quirky attractions I’ve never heard of, but this one I’m all over. 😉
Yeah, this one is really popular!
But of course one needs to have one’s picture taken there. And the second MUST photo op is the 0 Mile sign. I love Key West.
I got a couple pics of Mile 0 too!
Been there several times — love Key West, it’s like being in the Caribbean.
It is, good comparison!
Its just so similar to the southern most point that we have in India!!
Have a fabulous day Scott:)
Cool, I wonder how many countries have a southernmost point monument?
Ah lively, fun Key West. We were there earlier this year – one of my fave places in the USA..
It was fun even if my visit was brief.
I can’t tell if the wind is blowing or you got a new hairdid, but it looks really cute none-the-less.
Thanks, I think it was a weird combination of morning hair and wind.