Key west, Florida
The spotlight of the Florida Keys Islands, Key West is located on the very finish of Florida’s Abroad Freeway. Right here’s what to do in Key West to have a tremendous journey.
Common for its sunny days, quirky residents, wild nightlife, pastel coloured properties, and exquisite coral reefs — Key West, Florida is the proper street journey vacation spot from Miami for individuals seeking to escape winter.
First explored by Ponce de Leon in 1521, Key West turned a US territory in 1822, and has since been an island residence to greats like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams.
The self-proclaimed Conch Republic might be one of the best identified island of the Florida Keys. After a number of journeys to the Florida Keys, I’ve discovered that there are numerous cool issues to do in Key West that most individuals miss…
Should you’re planning to spend a while in Key West, I needed to advocate a few of my favourite enjoyable and weird issues to do, it doesn’t matter what time of yr you go to.
My Key West itinerary is totally free! I’ve labored exhausting placing it collectively for you. Should you discover it helpful, please use my affiliate hyperlinks once you e-book motels, rental automobiles or actions. I’ll receives a commission a small fee, at no additional value to you! Thanks.
Finest Issues To Do In Key West Information
1: Ernest Hemingway Home & Cats
Inbuilt 1851 within the French Colonial model, the house of the well-known creator Ernest Hemingway is situated close to the Key West Lighthouse at 907 Whitehead Road. It was changed into a museum after his passing and designated a Nationwide Historic Landmark in 1968.
Hemingway owned a polydactyl (six-toed) cat named Snow White, given to him by a ship’s captain. Lately the home is stuffed with 6-toed cat descendants which might be seen lounging across the grounds!
Visiting the home, seeing a few of Hemingway’s previous stuff (like his typewriter!) together with these humorous cats with six toes is among the hottest issues to do in Key West.
2: Climb The Key West Lighthouse
Inbuilt 1848, visiting the Key West Lighthouse and climbing up the 88 steps to take a look at the view is among the prime issues to do within the Keys. When it first opened with a feminine lighthouse keeper within the 19th century, it was fairly a rarity.
Whereas it hasn’t been used as a functioning lighthouse since 1969, the museum stands testomony to the maritime heritage of the island. And you may go to the Keeper quarters which are actually residence to a museum.
3: Take A Sundown Crusing Cruise
One of the crucial fashionable actions to do in Key West is e-book a sundown crusing cruise, and have a number of drinks whereas crusing across the harbor and watching certainly one of Key West’s legendary colourful sunsets.
You may be part of a big catamaran model celebration boat, or constitution a non-public expertise on a smaller crusing yacht. Both approach, it’s a worthwhile expertise. Among the finest sunsets I’ve ever seen, like in my picture above, had been right here in Key West!
4: Trip The Conch Tour Prepare
This world well-known prepare begins at Entrance Road Depot and the prepare engineers attempt to delight company with fashionable legends and tales on a 75-minute journey via Outdated City Key West.
Operating since 1958, the Conch Prepare Tour is among the hottest issues to do in Florida Keys. It’s a bit tacky, however you study quite a bit concerning the historical past of the world, and get a really feel for the island and tips on how to get round.
5: Eat Like A Native
Florida is the house some scrumptious meals like contemporary oranges, Key Lime Pie, Conch Fritters, Stone Crabs, Dole Whips, and fried Gator Bites. Which is why you’ll be able to’t skip consuming any of those fashionable meals whereas in Key West.
Some nice eating places in Key West you’ll undoubtedly need to take a look at embrace:
And be sure you don’t miss the Key Lime Pie Firm. Or simply take one of many native Key West Meals Excursions that provide you with a style of seafood and Cuban meals on the previous ‘mother and pop’ sort eateries.
6: Test Out Fort Zachs Seashore
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, domestically referred to as Fort Zachs or Fort Taylor is a historic landmark from the Civil Conflict period named after US President Zachary Taylor.
Constructed between 1845 and 1866, the fort is residence to excavated armaments and different Civil Conflict reveals. It’s additionally residence to a seashore that’s excellent for snorkeling and a big park protecting 54 acres.
Different fashionable seashores in Key West embrace:
- Smathers Seashore is the biggest Key West seashore at half a mile lengthy, it’s additionally probably the most crowded, however excellent for water sports activities and biking.
- Higgs Seashore is the place you’ll discover the African Refugee Cemetery. 294 refugees had been buried right here after being rescued from slave ships within the 1860’s.
- Relaxation Seashore (or CB Harvey Memorial Relaxation Seashore) is a 300-yard strip of seashore backed by some sand dunes and vegetation. Parking is free, and there’s shade!
7: Bar Hopping Duval Road
Should you able to celebration and expertise Key West’s well-known nightlife, Duval Road in Downtown is the place to go. This fashionable avenue in Key West Downtown is stuffed with native outlets, eating places, bars and live-music golf equipment.
One of the crucial fashionable vacationer actions in Key West is spending time bar hopping on Duval Road. The nightlife right here is known, with wonderful stay music and a few bizarre & funky bars.
8: Mile Marker Zero
You may’t go to Key West with out stopping to get your picture (together with hundreds of different individuals) with the Mile Marker 0, which marks the top of the two,369 mile lengthy US 1 Freeway.
Stretching from higher Maine to Key West, US 1, identified domestically because the Abroad Freeway, connects most main cities within the japanese U.S. The freeway formally begins right here, in Key West!
9: Harry S Truman Little White Home
Inbuilt 1890 and situated within the Truman Annex part of Outdated City, the home has been residence to President William Taft, and later a trip residence to President Truman. Even Thomas Edison stayed right here whereas contributing to the WWI efforts.
The home has additionally hosted the likes of Common Eisenhower, President Kennedy, President Carter, Colin Powell, President Clinton, and extra. Nicknamed as Florida’s solely Presidential Museum, you’ll be capable to see many historic information and pictures.
10: Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park
About 109 km west of Key West, seven islands type Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park. It’s residence to lovely coral reefs, plentiful sea life, tropical birds, and a few submarine banks. It was named Tortugas by Ponce the Leon within the 16th century due to the variety of turtles or ‘tortugas’ discovered on the islands.
The spotlight of the park is the unfinished Fort Jefferson, that covers 16 acres on Backyard Key and is product of over 16 million bricks. The park is a good place to go picnicking, swimming, diving, snorkeling, boating, chook watching, or strolling.
To get right here, most individuals take the Yankee Freedom III excessive velocity ferry from Key West. However should you’re in search of an much more distinctive journey, arriving by seaplane can also be an possibility!
11: Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum options reveals on piracy and the slave commerce, together with a set of artifacts from 17th century shipwrecks of the Spanish slave ship Henrietta Marie and the treasure ship Nuestra Señora de Atocha.
Artifacts from different ships such because the Guerrero & Nimble, Santa Margarita, and Santa Clara are additionally current. The onsite conservation lab additionally presents excursions displaying how gadgets recovered from wrecks and different artifacts are preserved. It’s fairly cool!
12: Sundown Events At Mallory Sq.
Mallory Sq. is one other fashionable hangout in Key West. It’s excellent for looking for crafts and souvenirs, or relishing meals on the native eateries.
Each night there’s a sundown celebration the place crowds collect to look at among the finest sunsets ever over the Gulf of Mexico.
Attempt to get to the sq. about two hours earlier than sundown to look at stay performances from musicians, clowns, magicians, jugglers and different artists from throughout the globe.
13: Go to The Southernmost Level Buoy
The road to get pictures at this crimson, yellow and black coloured buoy are fairly lengthy. Why? This concrete “buoy” is the Southernmost level within the continental USA, and everybody needs proof that they’ve been right here. Go actually early to skip the strains.
The signage on the buoy reads “The Conch Republic, 90 Miles to Cuba, Southernmost Level Continental U.S.A., Key West, F.L., Dwelling of the Sundown”.
14: First Authorized Rum Distillery
Initially began as Jack’s Saloon within the yr 1900, the individuals at Key West First Authorized Rum Distillery think about themselves cooks first and distillers second. Aside from “Chef Distilled” rums, in addition they promote mouth-watering rum truffles. Take a tour right here to style their Cuban Espresso Rum, Vanilla Brûlée Darkish Rum, and the well-known Key West First Authorized Rum.
Different rum distilleries you’ll be able to go to embrace the Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery to style Papa’s Pilar, the rum that Hemingway drank; and the Key West Buying and selling Co for his or her famed Temple Pent’s Revenge Blacklisted Rum.
15: Attend Key West Fantasy Fest
Fantasy Fest is a bizarre and wild annual costume pageant held in Key West that draws hundreds of individuals yearly. I attended a number of years in the past, and it was certainly one of my favourite festivals ever!
It’s mainly a 10-day costume celebration that’s like a mixture of Burning Man, Mardi Gras, and Halloween on a tropical island. Physique portray and elaborate costumes are on present, together with quite a lot of pores and skin… its undoubtedly an grownup celebration.
16: Go to The Key West Aquarium
The Key West Aquarium is residence to many species of fish, alligators, sting rays, jelly fish, turtles, and sharks. Should you’re touring with youngsters, the Contact Tank has classes the place the youngsters can pet conchs, sea stars, slate pencil sea urchins, sea cucumbers, big hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs.
17: Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Backyard
The one “frost-free” tropical backyard within the US, the Key West Tropical Forest & Backyard additionally serves as a wildlife refuge and arboretum. Known as the “keeper of the bushes”, it opened in 1936 and covers 63 hectares on Inventory Island.
You may stroll via 2 butterfly habitats and a pair of wetland habitats, and see unique bushes and tropical in addition to subtropical vegetation, neo-tropical birds, and different uncommon finds.
18: Discover The Historic Seaport
A sailor’s delight, the Key West Historic Seaport is residence to a whole bunch of yachts and boats. The marina is stuffed with procuring shops and eating places such because the Schooner Wharf the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in a meal.
There are additionally rental shops the place you’ll be able to hire boats for whale watching, cruising, crusing, or rent tools for fishing, parasailing, jet skis. It’s a energetic place, and nicely price spending a while wandering round.
19: Go Snorkeling Or Scuba Diving!
Proper beside Key West you’ll discover the Florida Keys Nationwide Marine Sanctuary, making it great vacation spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Scuba diving is an enormous deal round right here, and lots of divers come down particularly to dive the well-known Shipwreck Path.
The Shipwreck Path contains 9 historic shipwrecks scattered alongside the coral reefs and buried within the sand a number of miles off shore. The most effective snorkeling in Key West can’t be accomplished from the seashore, you’ll have to e-book a ship to take you out to the native offshore reefs.
20: Fort East Martello Museum & Gardens
The Fort East Martello Museum opened in 1862 and shows reveals of navy results, Cuban and early settlement artifacts, sponging and fishing reveals, junk artwork by Stanley Papio, and native people artwork.
The museum can also be residence to the haunted Robert the Doll which used to belong to eccentric artist Robert Eugene Otto. The doll is alleged to have moved voodoo collectible figurines round a room, prompted automotive accidents, damaged bones, and different misfortunes.
Should you’re actually up for a problem, go on one of many Haunted Museum and Civil Conflict fort ghost excursions.
21: The Oldest Home In Florida
Known as the Oldest Home in South Florida, it was inbuilt 1829 by Captain Francis Watlington, a well-known wrecker. Wrecking is the observe of taking valuables from shipwrecks, which there have been lots of round Key West.
Lately the house is a museum that showcases life within the nineteenth century via portraits and furnishings in addition to colonial structure discovered within the Caribbean. At one time, Key West was the richest metropolis in america!
22: Nancy Forrester’s Secret Backyard
Key West native Nancy Forrester has been rescuing and caring for orphaned parrots for 35 years in her yard backyard. Guests can work together with, feed, and pet the intense and colourful parrots and different birds whereas studying extra about them.
23: Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is residence to about 60 species of butterflies and 20 species of unique birds. Stroll via a magical and alluring surroundings stuffed with a whole bunch of probably the most lovely winged creatures in nature (together with pink flamingos!)
Their “Wings of Creativeness” artwork exhibit presents unique works by artist Sam Trophia. Acrylic shadow containers depict the butterfly’s magnificence preserved and suspended in artwork type in a spectrum of colours, sizes and styles.
24: Ghost Searching In Key West!
Key West is stuffed with ghost tales. From misplaced lovers to ghastly murders, the island has a protracted historical past of haunted tales. Probably the most well-known might be Robert The Doll. A present from a Bahamian servant expert in voodoo, this doll is alleged to have turned over furnishings, screams, and talks.
Captain Tony’s Saloon has a protracted historical past of loss of life. The previous website of a morgue, the constructing has seen many hurricane deaths, and the tree rising in the course of the bar has been used for 17 hangings. They are saying a Girl in Blue, who was hung from this tree, nonetheless haunts the Saloon to today.
Transportation Round Key West
Most individuals get to Key West by driving down from Miami, Florida. It’s an superior little street journey on the abroad freeway via a number of islands within the Florida Keys. Nonetheless there may be additionally a ferry, in addition to a small airport.
The most effective website to e-book your automotive is with Uncover Vehicles. They search each native and nationwide automotive rental corporations that will help you discover the absolute best value. That is the best approach to hire a automotive and drive right down to Key West from Miami.
Renting a automotive presents one of the best flexibility to discover extra distant and fewer touristy spots within the Florida Keys. It’s my favourite approach to get round!
Taxi Or Uber
You may e-book taxis in Key West utilizing Uber, Lyft, or TaxiASAP.
The principle points of interest in Key West are very shut to one another, with most of them inside a 2 mile radius of Outdated City. So you may get virtually all over the place strolling.
Should you don’t need to take a cab, however don’t need to stroll both, bicycles are the proper reply. The most well-liked selection are the one-speed bikes domestically often called Conch Cruisers.
These bicycle rickshaws are sometimes seen in Outdated City areas, however are a tad costly at about $1.50 a minute.
There are trolleys that run via completely different areas in Key West and value above $20 for a day-pass.
Run by the town, these pink and blue coloured buses circle historic stops within the Outdated City quarter and are free to hop on and off.
The place To Keep In Key West
Key West has tons of lodging choices out there for vacationers, every thing from finances backpacker hostels to luxurious motels. Beneath you’ll discover options for good locations to remain throughout your journey to Key West relying in your finances.
BEST HOTELS IN KEY WEST
COOL AIRBNB’S IN KEY WEST
Key West Journey Suggestions & Recommendation
- Decide up a Key West Sightseeing Flex go for offers on water sports activities actions like jet snowboarding and paragliding.
- Obtain the Florida Tales App created by the Florida Humanities Council and take certainly one of their free strolling excursions across the island.
- Should you want one, choose up a free paper map of Key West from any of the Go to Florida vacationer facilities.
- Attempt to keep away from touring to Key West throughout Spring Break – often March and April. Except you need to take care of drunken faculty college students creating havoc.
READ MORE FLORIDA TRAVEL TIPS
I hope you loved my information on what to do in Key West! Hopefully you discovered it helpful. Listed here are a number of extra wanderlust-inducing articles that I like to recommend you learn subsequent:
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