Key West, the continental United States’ southernmost city, features palm-lined streets, picturesque Victorian homes, a lively multicultural culinary scene and a flourishing arts community.

But really, the most appealing thing about Key West is its mellow and relaxing pace of life — a pace that inspires new arrivals to release everyday pressures, breathe deeply and absorb the island’s revitalizing rhythm.

Key West home staircase flowers

Bike or stroll through Key West’s Old Town to glimpse fascinating historic architecture and lush foliage.

In Key West, the sunset merits a nightly celebration. Environmental attractions and eco-experiences abound, encouraging you to share the locals’ close-to-nature mindset. And smiles are as frequent as subtropical breezes, making the island a terrific place to escape and unwind.

Escape to Serenity: Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is renowned for a picnic area shaded by Australian pines and cooled by ever-present whispers of wind, set beside a long and lovely Atlantic Ocean beach. Located at 601 Howard England Way, it’s a favorite of snorkeling fans for the relatively deep water and rocky promontories close to shore —  which means snorkeling off the beach can bring encounters with tiny, colorful tropical fish in a tranquil underwater realm. And no visit is complete without exploring the weathered Civil War–era fort, seemingly lost in a hushed and dreaming past, that gave the park its name.

Escape on the Water: An unforgettable experience observing dolphins in the wild awaits you on Honest Eco’s SQUID. The unique vessel was built by biologist and environmentalist Captain Billy Litmer, Honest Eco’s founder. Departing from 231 Margaret St. in the Key West Historic Seaport, SQUID journeys to a realm of warm, shallow water where it’s possible to witness the natural behaviors of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in their ocean home.

Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Boardwalks and nature trails lead through the 14-acre Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.

Escape into Renewal: A morning stroll through Key West’s Old Town, the largest predominantly wooden historic district in the United States, is a wonderful way to ease into the island city’s slower pace. There’s a quiet magic in wandering without a specific purpose, “getting lost” down whatever narrow lanes look most enticing, and soothing your senses amid beautiful surroundings. While passing the district’s lovingly restored Victorian homes and cottages, you can chat with locals and absorb the fragrance of flowers blooming behind white picket fences.

Escape into Nature: The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is a living wonder located at 5210 College Road at the gateway to Key West. The unique 15-acre preserve shelters plant life that’s native to South Florida, Cuba and the Caribbean — including many threatened and endangered species. Rich in biodiversity, it features two wetland habitats, national and state champion trees, two butterfly gardens and native butterflies, resident and migratory birds, seasonal flowers and many other attractions. Green and serene, it’s a sanctuary for nature lovers and those simply seeking a site for relaxing, reading or quiet contemplation.

Escape to a Hidden Haven: On a shady Key West side street lies a tiny hideaway beach that’s dedicated to people and their pooches. Dog Beach is located at Alberta and Waddell streets on the Atlantic Ocean, beside a restored historic home that’s now a gourmet restaurant called Louie’s Backyard. Around cocktail hour, you’ll see tail-wagging dogs and their owners hurrying down the street together — the dogs headed for the beach and a game of coconut fetch, and the people headed for Louie’s waterfront cocktail deck to sip a libation and watch their pets play. Beloved by Key West literary legends, fishing guides and savvy locals, it’s a great spot to soak up the island atmosphere.

Want to know more about easygoing Key West? Just click here … and makes plans to escape and discover the magical place for yourself.