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The 20 BEST Issues to Do in Key West, Florida [2022 Guide]


From diving the third-largest coral barrier reef on the planet to bar hopping down quirky Duval St right here is our checklist of the most effective issues to do in Key West Florida! 

Key West is the southernmost metropolis of the US and a high vacationer vacation spot in South Florida. 

Recognized for its tropical breezes, tranquil turquoise waters, and laid-back Caribbean vibe, the small island is a mecca for out of doors fanatics with a mess of issues to do. 

Though simply 6.4 kilometres lengthy and 1.6 kilometres at its widest, Key West Florida is stuffed with quirky salty locals that decision themselves “Conchs” and has a really distinctive historical past.

There are rumours that pirates used the island as a smuggling level within the 1700s.

You can too sense that there’s a robust Caribbean and Cuban affect in Key West.

Standing right here, some say you’ll be able to even see the lights of Havana on a transparent night time. 

Whether or not you need to calm down on a tropical island, discover the pure magnificence and wildlife of the well-known Florida Keys, otherwise you need to hop between world-famous bars, these are our suggestions for the most effective issues to do in Key West!

The Finest Issues to do in Key West

From kayaking and fishing to snorkelling and diving, Key West has a lot to supply to any out of doors fanatic.

And the backdrop of sunny and clear blue skies and turquoise water makes the exploration much more spectacular. 

However there’s additionally a novel tradition and wealthy heritage to the island as nicely.

You may discover quirky neighborhoods on foot, bike, or trolley and might seize a chew to eat at any variety of eating places in downtown Key West.  

From the white sand of Higgs Seaside, to the historic landmarks at Fort Zachary Taylor, to the alternatives for out of doors exploration, right here is our checklist of 20 enjoyable issues to do in Key West!

1) Go to the Southernmost Level of the USA

Effectively, you’ve made it this far. Now, why not go as far south as attainable?

By far one of the crucial common sights and photographed locations in Key West is the Southernmost Level.

On the nook of South and Whitehead avenue sits a big painted anchored buoy erected in 1983 by the town that reads, Southernmost Level Continental United States and 90 Miles to Cuba.

Earlier than the buoy was positioned right here there was solely a easy wood signal marking the landmark.

Now hundreds of vacationers flock right here yearly to get their image taken in entrance of the colorful landmark.

And you’ll’t come to Key West Florida with out stopping to snap a photograph. Simply know that at common instances of the day there will likely be a line to get your image.

Try to arrive within the morning when the crowds are fewer. Or, go at night time for a novel view. 

Shut by to this landmark you’ll additionally discover the Key West Backyard Membership, house to fantastically landscaped tropical gardens, and the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. It’s price checking these out when you’re within the space!

Key West Florida
Don’t go to Key West with out stopping at this well-known landmark

2) Stroll Round City and Take within the Distinctive Streets and Historic Buildings

Key West is thought for being quirky. That is as true for its buildings and structure as it’s for its folks.

The Key West Historic District, which centres on the well-known Duval Avenue, is an eclectic assortment of homes of all shapes, kinds and colors.

The Hemingway House is an iconic home nestled into the Historic District. You can too tour the Key West Oldest Home and Museum. That is, you guessed it, the oldest home on the island, in-built 1829.

However throughout you can find a uniquely Key West feel and appear all through the city.

The Key West Lighthouse can also be a well-known landmark, so you’ll want to test it out whereas sightseeing within the Previous City!  

One other historic landmark is the Harry S. Truman Little White Home. Typically simply referred to as “Truman’s Winter White Home”, President Truman spent his winters right here throughout his presidency. So it served as a form of second White Home. Close to the White Home is Truman Annex Park, a stunning shaded backyard space.

READ MORE: 20 wonderful issues to do in St. Augustine, Florida.

3) Hire a Bike and Discover Issues to do in Key West on Your Personal

If getting round in your toes is taking too lengthy, top-of-the-line methods to see the Key West sights is by renting a motorbike.

Hire a seaside cruiser to take your time driving from one a part of Key West to a different. Or pedal a bit of quicker and use the bike as an environment friendly technique of transportation.

Key West itself is only some miles from one finish to the opposite and also you would possibly discover extra cheap lodging on the north finish. Thus a motorbike will likely be an effective way to move you across the island.

You may bike throughout the island, from the Key West Worldwide Airport to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, in simply 25 minutes.

In fact, there are many facet streets, enjoyable detours, and locations to cease alongside the best way.

However do do not forget that working a motorbike on the streets is identical as working a motorcar and you might be topic to the identical legal guidelines (don’t drink and bike!).

4) Picture How Life As soon as Was on the Hemingway Home

Throughout from the Key West Lighthouse sits an exquisite two-story home with a number of home windows and a wrap-around balcony.

From 1931 to 1939 the famed creator Ernest Hemingway lived right here and to this present day almost fifty polydactyl cats, most descendants of Hemingway’s cat Snow White, inhabit the house and backyard.

Just a few of Ernest Hemingway’s finest novels have been written when he resided right here: The Snows of Kilimanjaro and To Have and Have Not, simply to call a number of.

You may tour your complete home and tropical gardens, together with enjoying with a number of of the very distinctive cats that roam the property.

Search for the Cuban water jar that fills the urinal purchased by Hemingway from Sloppy Joe’s bar, it’s now a fountain.

And you could spot the penny that Hemingway pressed into the cement surrounding the pool after discovering out that his spouse paid $20,000 to have it constructed within the yard. 

  • Value: Grownup $17 / Youngster (6-12) $7
  • Hours: 9am-5pm
  • Location: 907 Whitehead St. 
Hemingway House Key West
Think about what life was like for the author dwelling on this lovely home a long time in the past!

5) Be part of the Mallory Sq. Sundown Celebration

Each day in Key West Florida, starting round two hours earlier than sundown, the Mallory Sq. sundown celebration commences.

Positioned within the northwestern a part of Key West, this public sq. is legendary for its festive avenue performers and the most effective likelihood to catch a really distinctive sundown.

Meals stalls and distributors line the sq. together with many distinctive and entertaining performers and reside music bands.

Seize a frozen margarita and wander the sq. to spherical out your day.

If you happen to watch the sundown from Mallory Sq. there’s a likelihood which you could see the elusive “inexperienced flash” that occurs on the horizon.

Whether or not you’re occupied with night leisure or in lovely sunsets, spending the night right here is likely one of the most enjoyable issues to do in Key West Florida. 

Mallory Sq. can also be close to the Key West Aquarium, the Key West Museum of Artwork and Historical past, the Key West Shipwreck Museum, and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. So there’s loads of Key West historical past and tradition to be discovered right here earlier than the sundown begins.

6) Catch a Sundown Wherever

So that you don’t must cram your self into Mallory Sq. to expertise a really exceptional sundown.

Because the southernmost level within the US, and jutting out into the Straits of Florida, Key West sunsets are fairly spectacular wherever you end up on the finish of the day.

Mallory Sq. provides you with probably the most unobstructed views of the setting solar. However the sunsets in Key West paint the sky in all kinds of colors that can make views completely breathtaking.

So end up a quiet place on Smathers Seaside, catch a sundown cruise across the island, or just take within the view out of your resort. The Key West Historic Seaport, not removed from Mallory Sq., is one other nice sundown spot.

You may’t go mistaken with a Key West sundown!

7) Sit (or Play!) on the Seaside

Though Key West sits on the finish of a string of moderately exceptional tropical islands, this island isn’t identified for picturesque white sandy seashores like its counterparts.

Nevertheless, there are a number of locations you’ll be able to go to get a bit of sand in your toes whereas admiring the turquoise waters surrounded by coral sand and Key West tropical forest.

Smathers Seaside is the most important seaside on the island, at simply over a half-mile in size.

Higgs Seaside Memorial Park is one other family-friendly sandy seaside. Higgs Seaside additionally homes historic landmarks and a small pier.

An equally common seaside will be discovered at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park features a civil warfare fort in addition to numerous inexperienced house and seashores.

Catch your personal fish (or lobster, throughout the season) and luxuriate in a BBQ on the seaside. Or take a cooler and a few chilly drinks and let the day escape you as you sit and calm down.

Any of those seashores are nice for water actions corresponding to standup paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling, and swimming.

So no matter you do on the seaside in Key West Florida, take pleasure in it! 

Key West Beach
Whereas there aren’t a whole lot of seashores in Key West, those which can be listed here are lovely!

8) Bar Hop Down the Well-known Duval Avenue

If you happen to’re not into the bar scene, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover tonnes of nice issues to do in Key West.

Nevertheless, should you do take pleasure in throwing a chilly one again or sipping on a frozen daiquiri, then you should have an pleasurable time bar-hopping by way of a few of the nation’s most iconic bars.

Ernest Hemingway, well-known for his consuming, frequented Sloppy Joe’s Bar and put it on the map for vacationers years later.

However a stroll (or stumble) down Duval Avenue will depart you with so many choices you’d must unfold your bar hop into a number of evenings!

Just a few of the extra common bars embody Hog’s Breath Saloon, Inexperienced Parrot Bar, and Captain Tony’s Saloon.

Nevertheless, should you’re into the trendier chain bars, you’ll be able to’t go mistaken having a margarita in Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville or stopping in at Fats Tuesday or Arduous Rock Cafe.

READ MORE: Plan the right 3 days in New Orleans!

9) Store for Quirky Souvenirs

Certain you should purchase iconic souvenirs like seashells, postcards, and colourful knick-knacks for the fridge.

However Key West Florida can also be identified for having store home windows stuffed with quirky and crowd pleasing presents for vacationers – notably t-shirts and hats.

Fairly than to advertise Key West with easy designs, you will discover extra elaborate ones corresponding to: “Work sucks, I’m transferring to Key West,” “What occurs in Key West… will get posted on Fb” and “Key West: A Sunny Place for Shady Folks.”

However should you’re searching for the quintessential Key West souvenirs, you could need to take into account buying Key Lime pie (comprised of native limes that come from, you guessed it, the keys!), or Cuban cigars (not made IN Cuba, however BY Cubans that can hand roll them in entrance of you).

You can too decide up much less dramatic shirts and hats from most of your favourite bars and eating places to show that you just have been there!

10) Day Journey to Bahia Honda State Park

If you happen to’re questioning about high issues to do in Key West Florida, you is perhaps stunned to study that one in all them is to take a brief day journey to Bahia Honda State Park.

If you happen to drove south to Key West then you definitely would have handed Bahia Honda and positively would have seen.

The park is situated simply south of Marathon Key and the well-known 7-Mile Bridge. From Key West, Bahia Honda is an exquisite 45-minute drive.

Right here you’ll be able to actually count on the magic of the Florida Keys with its shallow, sandy seashores and crystal clear water.

Hire kayaks and/or snorkel gear and examine the shoreline.

Though you’ll need to ensure that they’re in season and that you’ve the right license, lobsters are plentiful within the waters across the park.

As are a wide range of fish which you’ll be able to catch from shore.

That is additionally a pristine seaside park the place you might merely lay out within the sunshine and catch some rays.

By far this is likely one of the finest day journeys from Key West Florida. 

  • Value: $8 per car
  • Hours: 8 am – Sunset
  • Tackle: 36850 Abroad Freeway
Bahia Honda Key West Florida
Bahia Honda provides every thing you’d need on a tropical island

11) Attempt Your Hand at Crusing

As an island, Key West Florida provides all kinds of choices relating to exploring the waters round.

One of the vital enjoyable methods to do that is to both lease a sailboat or hop on a tour and wander across the Florida Keys.

If you’re assured in your crusing skills, you’ll be able to lease small sailboats for cheap charges in a wide range of locations across the island.

Or should you’re higher suited to land, you’ll be able to take a number of crusing excursions. Of specific curiosity are guided excursions that embody sundown and drinks.

Whereas Mallory Sq. on Key West is the closest you may get to an ideal sundown on the island, you’ll be able to benefit from the night colours a bit of nearer to the setting solar aboard a sailboat.

You can too discover sailboat excursions that can take you to the islands that encompass Key West.

This is likely one of the finest Key West actions to point out you locations many individuals is not going to get to see! 

12) Get Underwater as you Snorkel or Dive

America’ solely dwelling coral barrier reef is discovered within the waters across the Florida Keys.

As such, there’s a plethora of marine life to discover inside the underwater world.

If you’re dive licensed, you will discover many alternatives to dive round Key West and the encircling islands.

Or should you’d choose to snorkel, you’ll be able to catch a trip out to the reef with quite a lot of tour operators.

There are additionally a handful of corporations in Key West Florida that provide dive certification.

So should you haven’t seen sufficient from snorkeling the floor or you might have all the time wished to grow to be dive licensed in one of the crucial lovely seas of the world, then plan to spend a number of additional days taking within the Key West sightseeing in between lessons and dives! 

If you wish to see some marine life however you’re not large on snorkeling, you can even try the Key West Aquarium. Getting within the water your self is unquestionably extra thrilling, however the Key West Aquarium is a secure and simple different.

13) Take a Scenic Day Journey to the Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park

Just below 70 miles west of Key West Florida, the Dry Tortugas provide a novel day journey from the island.

As one of many US Nationwide Parks, the Dry Tortugas provides a few of the most unbelievable mixtures of pure magnificence and historical past.

First found by the explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, the islands have been named for the various turtles they discovered within the space.

As a strategic location between the Straits of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park is house to Fort Jefferson.

This civil warfare fort is the most important brick construction within the Western Hemisphere (though it’s unfinished, even with over 16 million bricks). Fort Jefferson is a Nationwide Historic Landmark that was constructed throughout the Civil Battle.

Whether or not you go to the Dry Tortugas to examine off one other unbelievable US Nationwide Park, need to learn up on the historical past of the strategic location, or can’t wait to see all the wildlife preserved within the waters surrounding the Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park, this present day journey from Key West shouldn’t be missed.  

Try the web site for more information on Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park!

14) Go on an Epic Fishing Journey

The Florida Keys are house to some unbelievable kinds of fish.

Whether or not you’re occupied with catching dinner, or just need to catch and launch, you might have loads of alternatives to fish in Key West Florida.

Backside fishing with “celebration boats” is a well-liked and reasonably priced approach to spend both a half or full day on the water within the Florida Keys. The boat trip itself is definitely worth the price.

Nevertheless, should you do take pleasure in fishing then count on to catch a wide range of snapper, grouper, Jack Crevalles different reef fish.

You can too constitution a personal boat and head out into the blue water in Hemingway-esque style looking for the nice and elusive sports activities fish corresponding to marlin and sailfish.

Bear in mind they name it “fishing,” not “catching,” so take pleasure in your day on the water no matter whether or not you catch fish, or only a buzz! 

Jack Crevalles In Key West
Jack Crevalles is amongst simply one of many many fish for which the waters of Key West are identified

15) Hop-On and Hop-Off the Trolley 

If you happen to’re questioning one of the best ways to see all the finest Key West sights throughout your go to, the hop-on-hop-off trolley is your ticket to getting round.

With 12 centrally situated stops that present entry to over 100 Key West factors of curiosity, you’ll be able to both use the trolley as a approach to hustle you to your subsequent focal point or you’ll be able to sit again and calm down and take within the sights of the island.

Parking will be bothersome on a Key West trip, so the trolley can also be an ideal different to spending extra time making an attempt to park than precise sightseeing in Key West.

There are one and two-day Previous City trolley excursions choices so you’ll be able to unfold out your time and exploration of the island. 

16) Cling Out on Duval Avenue at Night time

This avenue doesn’t fairly have the fame as Bourbon Avenue in New Orleans. However it’s getting there!

With dozens of eating places and bars packed collectively on this 1-mile avenue that runs the width of the island, you might be positive to get your fill of leisure.

You might spend the day purchasing or folks watching, stopping into Margaritaville for an aptly named “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

Or you might begin at Mallory Sq. at sundown with a frozen daiquiri in hand and discover that you just’ll by no means be quite a lot of steps away from a refill as you wander from bar to bar down the enduring avenue.

Thought-about the spine of Key West nightlife, this avenue will be as memorable (or not memorable) as you need it to be! 

17) Take a Cruise

OK, so should you’re seeking to cruise FROM Key West you is perhaps dissatisfied.

Apart from a handful of smaller day journeys across the island, you don’t have many cruise choices from the Florida Keys.

Nevertheless Key West Florida is a goal vacation spot for a lot of cruise strains travelling by way of the Caribbean.

You may cruise from close by locations like Miami and Fort Lauderdale and even catch a cruise from Galveston, Texas that gives a cease in Key West.

Certain, you gained’t have quite a lot of hours to try to cowl as many locations on this checklist as you’ll be able to.

However in case you have the chance to cease in Key West throughout your cruise it’s positive to make you need to come again for extra!

Cruise Ship Key West Florida
Take sundown cruises or watch the cruise ships arrive in Key West Florida

18) Discover Treasure on the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum

Certain, like many individuals, as a baby you may need wished to be a well-known treasure hunter.

However likelihood is someplace in life you fell off that observe and moved on to larger and higher issues.

Effectively, in actuality, there’s in all probability nothing a lot greater or higher than discovering valuable gems, gold, and silver in sunken treasure ships which can be a whole bunch of years previous.

And that’s precisely what Mel Fisher did for almost his whole life.

Most well-known for locating a $450 million cache of treasure aboard the 1622 wreck of the Atocha, Fisher mixed his love for misplaced treasure with a deep respect for the world’s oceans.

The Maritime Heritage Museum encompasses a trove of treasures in addition to an lively conservation lab in which you’ll be able to truly see and generally contact gadgets recovered from wrecks.

You’ll additionally see a wide range of artifacts on show from a handful of wrecks, such because the Henrietta Marie, Santa Margarita and his key discovery, the Atocha

  • Value: Grownup $17.50 / Youngster (6-12) $8.50
  • Hours: 10am-4pm
  • Location: 200 Greene Avenue

READ MORE: Plan your journey to New York Metropolis with this 3-day NYC itinerary!

19) Hire Jet Skis

If you happen to’re searching for actions in Key West that present you a unique facet of the island then you could need to take into account renting jet skis.

Whereas there are many protected areas within the surrounding waterways, corresponding to mangrove islands, to discover at decreased speeds there are additionally loads of open areas to crank it as much as full throttle.

But when enjoying quick and arduous isn’t your factor, you need to use a jet ski to take you to many areas that most individuals is not going to see after they go to Key West Florida.

Pack a lunch and head out to any variety of smaller islands surrounding Key West.

Or trip round to the northwest a part of the island to steal the most effective view of the sundown from spectators at Mallory Sq..

Whether or not going quick or taking it good and simple, a jet ski is a enjoyable approach to get round Key West, actually!

Jet Skis And Kayaks Key West
Many locations round Key West will lease each jet skis and kayaks in your enjoyment

20) Kayak By means of the Mangroves

If you happen to actually need to gradual issues down and step up the out of doors journey, top-of-the-line actions in Key West is kayaking.

You may lease kayaks at quite a lot of locations across the island for as little as a number of hours or up to a couple days.

You’ll discover the water very inviting, principally clear and heat all year long. So use the kayak to seek out your personal place to snorkel.

Head to a few of the lesser-visited fishing spots within the Florida Keys.

Or take your digital camera or binoculars and seek for wildlife as you paddle in and across the mangroves of Key West Florida.

Any expertise you might need in a kayak is yours when exploring Key West. Are you a kayak fanatic? Try these nice locations to kayak within the Florida Keys.

Key West Florida Metropolis Information

Now that you understand what to do in Key West, we need to allow you to make your different plans as nicely within the Florida Keys. Listed here are a few of the finest lodging and locations to eat on the island.

If you’re basing your self in Miami, then you are able to do a spherical journey tour to Key West right here.

Finest Lodging – The place to Keep in Key West

Key West is a very talked-about vacationer vacation spot within the US and as such lodging is a bit dear.

Moreover, as a small island, there are solely a restricted variety of locations to remain in on and across the island.

Nevertheless, should you plan it proper you’ll be able to take pleasure in your time and never spend a ton in your lodging. 

Summer time and Fall are the least common instances to go to Key West due to the recent and humid tropical local weather and hurricane season which runs from June by way of September.

Winter and Spring are Key West’s peak seasons, partly because of the temperate climate at the moment of yr. 

Count on lodging costs to be almost double (and fully booked) throughout the busy season than throughout the offseason.

As such, plan accordingly and ebook nicely sufficient upfront so you’ll be able to have a good time whereas visiting Key West Florida!

The Finest Hostel in Key West – Not Your Common Resort

Centrally situated within the Historic District of downtown Key West, Not Your Common Resort provides nice lodging choices at a fraction of the price of lodges within the space.

With three swimming pools, a sizzling tub, and loads of lounge house you’ll be able to calm down within the hostel earlier than heading out to Duval Avenue.

Count on nice service and the type of facilities you’d discover in most top-notch hostels all over the world. 

Finest Finances Lodging for {Couples} – Douglas Home

The Douglas Home is an adults-only resort and nice for {couples} searching for a central and reasonably priced place to remain in Key West Florida.

With a swimming pool and loads of lush, tropical crops surrounding the resort you’ll really feel as if you might be in paradise.

Step outdoors the resort and you might be only a few steps away from every thing that Key West has to supply inside its Historic District.   

Finest Mid-Vary Resort in Key West – 24 North Resort

Positioned a couple of minutes drive from the Historic District of Key West, the 24 North Resort provides affordability and worth in your keep.

You’ve got entry to a pool, restaurant, Starbucks and poolside bar along with normal facilities corresponding to WiFi, flatscreen televisions and nice views out of your room.

To make up for being a couple of minutes from the center of Previous City, the resort provides free shuttle service to Duval Avenue so you may get to all Key West’s sights simply. 

Finest Luxurious Resort in Key West – Southernmost Home Resort

The Southernmost Home Resort provides an beautiful keep within the coronary heart of Previous City Key West.

Simply toes from probably the most southern level and landmark, all of Key West’s sights are proper outdoors the resort.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the Truman White Home, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and extra are all inside a brief stroll from the resort.

Contained in the resort take pleasure in a pool, room service, bar and personal seaside. Staying right here will make leaving to discover Key West Florida fairly tough!

Finest Eating places in Key West Florida

Key West’s meals is an eclectic combination of flavors and cultures. With seafood on almost each menu on the town and heavenly key lime pie on each dessert menu, you might be positive to seek out loads of choices to fulfill no matter temper and funds you is perhaps in. 

And throughout the Key West Historic Seaport, the Historic District, Mallory Sq., and different common areas, there’s an abundance of bars and eating places to select from.

Finances – Garbo’s Grill

Garbo’s Grill is an airstream meals truck situated only a block from the sundown celebration spot.

Providing meals on the lighter facet, take pleasure in both fish or shrimp tacos or Korean BBQ burritos and a tasty glass of sangria or chilly draft beer.

Mid-range – Margaritaville

Jimmy Buffet coined Margaritaville in a track with the identical identify years earlier than it sprung into life as a vacation spot restaurant in Key West.

Now Key West’s margaritas are virtually well-known, for which the restaurant derives its identify.

And, little question, the tastiest and most wanted merchandise on the menu is the enduring “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

Excessive-Finish – Latitude’s Restaurant

Latitude’s Restaurant on Sundown Key, simply off the coast of Mallory Sq., is opulent oceanfront eating at its best.

You need to catch a brief boat trip from Key West to take pleasure in their scrumptious meals.

However one style of the important thing lime pie after your meal, and one have a look at the view of the Atlantic Ocean, and also you’ll be making reservations to return. 

DISCLAIMER: A few of the hyperlinks on this article are affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests should you ebook lodging, excursions or purchase a product, we’ll obtain a small fee at no additional value to you. These commissions assist us preserve creating extra free journey content material to assist folks plan their holidays and adventures. We solely suggest the most effective lodging, excursions and merchandise, and often assessment these. Thanks in your help, sort buddy!

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