Arts and Culture Scene in the Florida Keys: A Guide to Museums, Galleries, and Historic Sites

Although renowned for their natural beauty, turquoise waters, and charming island lifestyle, the Florida Keys are also home to an incredible wealth of arts, culture, and history. This archipelago boasts an impressive assortment of museums, galleries, historic landmarks, and cultural events that offer captivating glimpses into the region’s rich past, diverse influences, and thriving creative communities. By exploring the Keys’ unique cultural assets, you can further enrich your vacation experience and develop a deeper appreciation for this remarkable collection of islands.

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In this article, we will navigate the diverse cultural landscape of the Florida Keys, shedding light on the exceptional museums, art galleries, historic landmarks, and local events that truly capture the essence of this unique island chain. As you immerse yourself in the rich cultural experiences that await, you will uncover a vibrant tapestry of creative expression, intriguing stories, and fascinating history that further elevates the enchantment of the Florida Keys. So, prepare to step off the beaten path and embark on a captivating cultural odyssey that takes you beyond the sun-soaked beaches and into the heart of the Florida Keys.

Unraveling History: Must-Visit Museums in the Florida Keys

Throughout the Florida Keys, you’ll find a myriad of fascinating museums filled with intriguing exhibits, local history, and captivating stories. Be sure to include these top attractions in your cultural itinerary:

  1. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West – Visit the former residence of the legendary American author Ernest Hemingway, and learn about his life, works, and love for the island of Key West in this historic home and museum.
  2. The Key West Shipwreck Museum – Dive into the history of the treacherous reef surrounding the Keys, and explore intriguing artifacts recovered from sunken ships that played a vital role in the maritime history of Key West.
  3. History of Diving Museum, Islamorada – Discover the fascinating progression of diving and underwater exploration through interactive exhibits, rare dive equipment, and captivating stories of underwater adventure.
  4. Florida Keys History and Discovery Center, Islamorada – Learn about the rich history of the Upper Keys through revealing exhibits, personal stories, and insightful presentations, covering topics such as Native American inhabitants, Spanish treasure fleets, and the Overseas Railroad.

Exploring Art Galleries and Cultural Hubs

The Florida Keys are a haven for artists and creatives, boasting a vibrant art scene and thriving cultural hubs. Visit these galleries and art centers to discover the flourishing local talent and cultural offerings of the Keys:

  1. The Studios of Key West – This art center located in the cultural heart of Key West offers a diverse range of exhibitions, workshops, and events that showcase local artists and creatives in a welcoming and inspiring environment.
  2. Gallery on Greene, Key West – Featuring a collection of original and contemporary pieces from over 37 artists, this cherished art gallery offers a chance to explore imaginative and culturally-rich artworks that are deeply rooted in the spirit of the Florida Keys.
  3. Rain Barrel Artisan Village, Islamorada – Wander through this picturesque open-air art village, featuring delightful art studios, galleries, and specialty shops where visitors can find unique souvenirs and creative mementos.
  4. Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, Islamorada – This lively arts district hosts monthly Art Walks, inviting visitors to explore the local galleries, meet featured artists, and enjoy live music and demonstrations within a vibrant and festive atmosphere.

Discovering Historic Sites and Landmarks

Venturing through the Florida Keys, you’ll come across a wealth of historic sites and landmarks that capture the islands’ rich history and cultural diversity. Be sure to visit these notable sites during your stay:

  1. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Key West – Established in the mid-19th century, this coastal fortress played significant roles in both the Civil and Spanish-American Wars. Today, visitors can tour the restored fort, enjoy beautiful scenery, and participate in various interpretive programs.
  2. Pigeon Key, Marathon – Accessible by ferry or private boat, this small island played a crucial role during the construction of the Florida East Coast Railway. Visitors can explore the island’s historic buildings and learn about the incredible engineering achievements of the Overseas Railroad.
  3. Flagler’s Overseas Railroad Exhibit, Islamorada – Housed within the historic train depot in Islamorada, this exhibit highlights the rich history and engineering feats of the Overseas Railroad that once connected the Florida Keys to mainland Florida.
  4. San Pablo Catholic Church, Marathon – This beautifully preserved church in the heart of Marathon holds the distinction of being the first Catholic Church in the Middle Keys, and the stained glass windows in the church depict scenes of the Keys’ history and landscape.


From exploring the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum to wandering through the vibrant Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, the Florida Keys offer countless opportunities to enrich your vacation experience through culture, art, and history. Trust Florida Keys Vacation Rentals, Inc. to provide the ideal vacation rental that serves as your home away from home as you immerse yourself in the diverse cultural tapestry that weaves through the islands of the Florida Keys. By embarking on this cultural journey, you will carry with you a newfound appreciation and understanding of the remarkable stories, artistic expressions, and cherished landmarks that define the spirit of the Florida Keys. So, venture beyond the sun and sand, and delve into the cultural riches that make the Florida Keys a captivating and unforgettable destination. Book one of our FL Keys rentals at Florida Keys Vacation Rentals, Inc.