Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West, photographed by Rob O’Neal
Sand, sea and glorious sun — you’ll find all of the above in Key West, a short drive south of Miami. Book lovers, however, will appreciate the place for its ties to a number of heavyweight writers. La Concha Hotel & Spa on Duval Street, for instance, is reportedly where Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire. Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Thornton Wilder — they all spent time on the island. Today, if you swing by Eaton Street’s Books & Books bookstore, you might spot Judy Blume of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret renown — she’s a co-owner.

The literary name that’s most synonymous with Key West is, of course, Ernest Hemingway. His home on Whitehead Street, a French Colonial residence, is now a museum dedicated to his life and career. You can experience first hand the place where Hemingway — who would have celebrated his birthday last weekend, on July 21st — wrote such classics as The Snows of Kilimanjaro and To Have and Have Not. Fun fact: Several six- and seven-toed cats currently roam the grounds; they’re descendants of Hemingway’s beloved pet, Snow White, who had extra toes, too.

The interior of Hemingway’s Key West home, photographed by Rob O’Neal