It should really be called the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States that’s always above land and accessible to the public, but the monument stands nonetheless. The Southernmost Point in the Continental United States is marked by an anchored concrete buoy in Key West, Florida, roughly 90 miles north of Cuba. The large black and red buoy has been a popular roadside attraction and tourist destination since 1983, making the otherwise normal corner of South Street and Whitehead Street rather busier than it would be otherwise. As one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the city full of amazing things to photograph, this concrete buoy is more a symbol than anything else. It’s a symbol of how close the United States is geographically to a former friend, while being worlds apart at the same time.
In a technical sense there are several islands that are more southern than this spot, but they are part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge and off limits to visitors. There are even a few places on the Island of Key West that are more southern, but they are owned by the U.S. Navy and are off limits to civilian visitors. One place in particular, known as the Western Dry Rocks is actually the most southern, but depending on the tides it is not always technically dry.
Before the more photo friendly buoy marking the southernmost point in the United States was built, there was a small and simple sign. The slightly more weather resistant reinforced concrete buoy has withstood several major hurricanes without any serious damage. The only weather related damage in fact has been to the paint.
Visiting the Southernmost Point
- Be patient if you want a photo.
- There is a constant line of tourists patiently waiting for their chance for a photo with the red and black buoy. The line can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
- It’s effectively a tourist trap designed to bring you to an area of the city now filled with resorts and restaurants bearing the moniker “southernmost”.
- That being said… It is kind of a fun spot to stop and take in the sites.
- Other than seeing the Southernmost Point, this really is a great location to take a photo of any crazy weather creeping in on the horizon.
Southernmost Point in the United States Facts
- The actual southernmost point in the United States is in Kua region of Kalae, Hawaii.
- There is no land separating Kalae, Hawaii from Antartica.
- The 12 ft. tall and 7 ft. wide buoy is 18 feet above sea level.
- The original sign at the site from 1970 said that is was the Southernmost point of Southernmost City of Key West.
- The monument is actually closer to 93 miles from Cuba.
- The logo of the Conch Republic is painted on the top of the monument.