At the convergence of Whitehead and South Streets on the south coast of Key West, Florida sits an enormous concrete monument. Made to look like a buoy sticking out of the coral bedrock, this monument just 90 miles from the coast of Cuba marks the southernmost point in the continental United States.
Rather, it claims to mark the southernmost point. The qualifier “continental” before United States is required because Hawaii is actually further south than Key West, but aside from America’s 50th state, there are actually several islands further south technically belonging to the state of Florida. Beyond that, there are points on the island of Key West proper which lie further south than this monument, most notably within the Key West Naval Air Station, which is situated on the furthest land south for obvious strategic reasons.
The Southernmost Point monument, however, offers an easy destination to reach for a photo and a story, even if the claim is technically untrue. The site of the monument has contributed to the development of several Southernmost-themed hotels, inns, restaurants, bars and gift shops along South Street, radiating a robust tourist economy as a byproduct of making someplace fascinating and difficult to reach accessible to the common tourist.
Know Before You Go
Head south on South Street until it stops on a corner with Whitehead.