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Key West Tradition

Posted by Roger Emmons on September 1, 2016
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Like many of the oldest places in the country, Key West tradition goes back centuries. The eccentricities of its diverse denizens has produced superstition, intrigue, mischief, and lot of stories to write home about.

key west tradition pirates

Going back to the 1600s Key West has been a pirate haven (just like in Pirates of the Caribbean). They gathered around the area we call the Historic Seaport in downtown Key West where they spent their nights drinking and debauching until the sun came up. Although piracy is a thing of the past thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, you can still see a few old pirates roaming around here and there. And without a doubt, the seaport is still the destination of choice for many nighttime party seekers.

key west tradition sunset

Another Key West tradition is the blowing of the conch shell which happens at sunset. The most popular place to enjoy sunset in Key West is Mallory Square. This open plaza faces the western sun as it descends. As it drops, the square comes alive with performers and exhibitions of all sorts like a carnival (and a fine one, too!). As soon as the sun disappears below the horizon, conch shells across the island blow as one signalling the end of another day and the start of a new night.

A Key West tradition that stretches back to its colonial inhabitants is painting one’s porch blue. The myth goes that when ships wrecked on the reefs or in a storm off the island, the souls of their lost crewmen would find their way to Key West in search of land. To ward off their spirits, the island’s Caribbean residents would paint their porches blue, the color of the sea, to make the ghosts think they were headed back out to sea and so turn around to find another home to haunt.

key west tradition blue porch

To this day you can still find homes with blue porches across Key West, like this 3-bed house listed on Simonton Street in the heart of Old Town. Even with its grand design, the classic choice of adding blue accents remains popular. To see more houses like this, go to and see what awaits you in Old Town Key West.

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