Conservatives want to conserve; libertarians, as the name implies, put personal liberty first. From there, libertarianism branches out into a multitude of variants.
Lew Rockwell vs. The Kochtopus
Perceptive outsiders perceive two principle libertarian camps in America: Lew Rockwell's and the Koch brothers. From my own vantage point I tend to agree with that gross taxonomy.
I'm not a true libertarian, there's too much Russell Kirk conservatism in me, but I do find frequent recourse to libertarian sources in my daily combat against progressive statism. It provides a much more coherent pro-liberty philosophy than contemporary conservatism. I would make the same comment of modern day liberalism, but that is nothing but a core-less, twitching bundle of outraged claims on other people's stuff wrapped in logical incoherence.
Anarchy: The Extreme End of Libertarianism
After my initial tentative forays into the land of libertarianism, I found myself gravitating towards mises.org, a most excellent Austrian School Libertarian website. It was founded by Lew Rockwell, but I find him and his brand of libertarianism hateful and repellent. Many think it was Rockwell behind the racist Ron Paul newsletters, and brilliant Austrian economist Murray Rothbard gets mentioned often by Southern Law Poverty Center types as an abettor and racist, although I've never been able to sort that out.
I enjoy reading Rothbard's works about money and economics, and I continue to frequent Mises.org because I have found nothing racist or rabidly anti-American there. It is a place of scholarship that is also accessible to ordinary people who do not have economics degrees.
On the other hand, I detest Rockwell's site, lewrockwell.com. It is a cornucopia of anarchic insanity. It is an OWS reading room where our soldiers are called criminals, and traitor Bradley Manning is a Hero. Writers ingest and regurgitate Islamist rhetoric that essentially says our "meddling" is why they hate us., and we are treated to intellectual works that explain why our bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki makes us a criminal terror state.
I'm also turned off by Ayn Rand, a humorless, stentorian didact who knocked off God and put herself in his place. She got the big things right: Freedom is good, statism is bad, and people act in their own rational self-interest. Good enough, but from there she proceeded to make a cult of it, assailing us with punctilious philosophical verbosity and interminably turgid prose seemingly designed to push the bounds of tediousness and run off all but the most stubborn.
These figures represent the extreme end of libertarianism, and I cannot abide them. If anarcho-capitalism is so damned good, why hasn’t it worked anywhere?
F.A. Hayek is the sweet spot...
... and his ideological progeny can be found at CATO and Reason. So if you want to explore libertarianism but like me are repelled by anarchist extremists, start out by going to these two sites and reading some of the articles. Don't be offended by their advocacy for gay marriage. They also stand up for your church's right to not perform or recognize them. Libertarians are not extreme conservatives, they are extreme liberty lovers in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson.
Liberals don't understand Austrian Economics, but Ludwig von Mises Institute's declared arch-enemy, Reason does a nice job setting the record straight. So if you want to know what the Austrian School is all about, those two articles are a good place to start. If you're still intrigued, go to mises.org and dive in.
Why I am not a Conservative - Friedrich A. Hayek
Why I am not an Austrian Economist - Bryan Caplan