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Home Tourist Attraction Tourists in Key West flock to a giant buoy to take selfies. See what it looks like

Tourists in Key West flock to a giant buoy to take selfies. See what it looks like

by Staff

Families and spring breakers are making their way to a giant fake buoy that sits on the water’s edge of Key West and signifies the Southernmost Point 90 miles from Cuba.

For more than 40 years, the 20-ton concrete buoy has been one of the must-see places for tourists to take a selfie. Even the Conch Train tour pulls up to the site.

How did the landmark arrive in 1983 on an otherwise quiet street that leads to the water?

Ask the thieves or pranksters. They kept on snatching the former signs that marked the Southernmost Point at Whitehead and South streets. So city leaders decided to put something there to mark the spot that no one could move. And the marine-themed monument was born.

But that doesn’t mean trouble hasn’t stuck around.

In 2017, Hurricane Irma blasted the buoy with storm surge. The concrete landmark needed repairs and a new coat of paint. Then COVID took a toll in 2020, with workers covering the famous buoy with a blue covering to keep people from gathering.

A screen grab of the Southernmost Point live camera.

A screen grab of the Southernmost Point live camera.

LIVE VIDEO: See what’s happening at the Southernmost Point right now

Vandals have marked the marker with graffiti. And over a recent New Year’s, two men went a step further with destruction, setting a Christmas tree on fire next to the attraction, which torched a part of the buoy. City workers then went to work repairing the burned buoy by sanding and painting.

Meanwhile, the tourists keep coming.

Here’s a look at the buoy through the years from the Miami Herald archives:

CELEBRITY SIGHTING IN KEY WEST

Singer Gloria Estefan stopped to visit the Southernmost Point in 2007.Singer Gloria Estefan stopped to visit the Southernmost Point in 2007.

Singer Gloria Estefan stopped to visit the Southernmost Point in 2007.

STORM AND REPAIR

Key West resident Pedro Lara takes selfie in front of the Southernmost Point in the USA monument as waves from Hurricane Irma crash over the wall, September 9, 2017.Key West resident Pedro Lara takes selfie in front of the Southernmost Point in the USA monument as waves from Hurricane Irma crash over the wall, September 9, 2017.

Key West resident Pedro Lara takes selfie in front of the Southernmost Point in the USA monument as waves from Hurricane Irma crash over the wall, September 9, 2017.

Key West on Jan. 2, 2022, began repainting the Southernmost Point buoy landmark after it was vandalized early New Year’s Day.Key West on Jan. 2, 2022, began repainting the Southernmost Point buoy landmark after it was vandalized early New Year’s Day.

Key West on Jan. 2, 2022, began repainting the Southernmost Point buoy landmark after it was vandalized early New Year’s Day.

GRAFFITI AT THE LANDMARK

Jeff Kleinman, an editor for the Miami Herald, chronicled the graffiti problems at the Southernmost Point marker in 1989 as a reporter in Key West.Jeff Kleinman, an editor for the Miami Herald, chronicled the graffiti problems at the Southernmost Point marker in 1989 as a reporter in Key West.

Jeff Kleinman, an editor for the Miami Herald, chronicled the graffiti problems at the Southernmost Point marker in 1989 as a reporter in Key West.

ARSON AT THE BUOY

In a screenshot from a webcam, two people are seen setting a Christmas tree on fire beside the Southernmost Point buoy in Key West on Jan. 1, 2022.In a screenshot from a webcam, two people are seen setting a Christmas tree on fire beside the Southernmost Point buoy in Key West on Jan. 1, 2022.

In a screenshot from a webcam, two people are seen setting a Christmas tree on fire beside the Southernmost Point buoy in Key West on Jan. 1, 2022.

Key West police said two people vandalized the famous Southernmost Point landmark by setting a fire beside it.Key West police said two people vandalized the famous Southernmost Point landmark by setting a fire beside it.

Key West police said two people vandalized the famous Southernmost Point landmark by setting a fire beside it.

DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC

Tourist Daniel Komiss looks at a Key West roster as he stands by the Southernmost Point Monument in Key West, March 20, 2020. The monument was covered to curtail people gathering at the site because of the pandemic.Tourist Daniel Komiss looks at a Key West roster as he stands by the Southernmost Point Monument in Key West, March 20, 2020. The monument was covered to curtail people gathering at the site because of the pandemic.

Tourist Daniel Komiss looks at a Key West roster as he stands by the Southernmost Point Monument in Key West, March 20, 2020. The monument was covered to curtail people gathering at the site because of the pandemic.

TOURIST ATTRACTION

Tourists flock to one of Key West’s best known landmarks.Tourists flock to one of Key West’s best known landmarks.

Tourists flock to one of Key West’s best known landmarks.

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