10 Amazing Things To Do In Key West, Florida

Key West is a dream destination for all spontaneous travelers.

key west
Photo by Joshua Case on Unsplash

Key West is known for its one-of-a-kind coral reefs, shipwrecks, beaches, and the freshest seafood travelers can find. The small island is perfect for those in search of a short spontaneous trip. The spring and fall seasons are the best time of year to visit this destination due to lower prices, fewer crowds, and perfect weather.

Key West Aquarium

1 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040

Key West Aquarium

For $21 per person, travelers can explore a wide variety of sea life in the Key West Aquarium from all depths of the ocean such as nursing sharks, sea turtles, lobsters, jellyfish, eels, stingrays, and more. Package deals are available to purchase multiple attractions at once and save 5%. The most popular bundle is the Key West Aquarium, Key West Shipwreck Museum, and Truman Little White House Museum, the only presidential museum in the United States. Travelers can experience giving food to a shark during the feeding and conservation tour at the following scheduled times: 10:45 A.M., 12:45 P.M., and 2:45 P.M. This activity is perfect for all ages to learn more about ocean conservation and explore interactive displays such as the touch tank at the entrance of the building.


Key West Parasailing
Key West Parasailing. PHOTO NATALIA GUERRA

Travelers can soar through the skies above crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs for $70 per person. Oftentimes, manatees, dolphins, and other sea life can be spotted from a bird’s eye view. Sunset Water Sports and Fury are the most popular and affordable choices for adrenaline-seekers. Ensure to arrive early since finding the tour guide and a parking spot can take longer than anticipated. The flight typically lasts 5 minutes and it is optional to be gently dipped into the water. An additional service to keep an eye out for is the digital photo package, which is typically $60 and includes up to 100 images and videos of guest’s journey in the sky from beginning to end.

Boat Rental

Boat Rental Key West
Boat Rental. Photo by Roberto H on Unsplash

Renting a boat is one of the most popular activities to do and for good reason, since Key Largo is an archipelago, travelers can reach nearby small islands, dive to see sunken shipwrecks and coral reefs, or fish for freshly caught dinner. It is important to note the following fish are forbidden to be caught: snooks, goliath groupers, Nassau groupers, conch queens, long-spined urchins, anemones, coral, sea fans, and Bahama sea stars. Prices can range from $50 to $600 depending on whether it is rented for half of the day or for the full day, as well as the type of boat chosen. Floating lily mats can be added to any boat rental, according to Sunset Water Sports and travelers can pick from either a deck boat, pontoon, or contender.

Hot Tip: Key West is working hard to restore its coral reefs, so there are strict regulations for the placement of boat anchors. It is advised to use mooring buoys instead of anchors available at nine different sites to protect the coral reefs and marine life. To learn more about the coral reef restoration head to floridascoralreef.org

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving. Photo by gokhan polat on Unsplash

A renown activity in Key West is scuba diving to get an up close look at the coral reefs and shipwrecks from all depths. There are real shipwrecks as well as artificial ones for travelers to explore. The waters surrounding the island were notorious for their treacherous reefs and shallow sandbars, causing many ships to sink. The artificial sites also create a habitat for the ocean life and provide protection against overfishing. It is not required to know how to swim, however, it is recommended for safety purposes. There is a shipwreck trail along the archipelago of Key Largo where the following shipwrecks can be found: the Thunderbolt, the San Pedro, the North America, the Eagle, the Duane, the Amesbury, the Adelaide Baker, the Benwood, and the City of Washington.

Southernmost Point Marker

1400 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040

The Southernmost point marker is also known as the 90 miles to Cuba marker. Arriving early in the morning can help to avoid the long lines for taking pictures or videos with the statue. This is a convenient location to begin exploring the island as it is within a short walking distance to other popular attractions including the Lighthouse and the Hemingway Home & Museum. Additionally, it serves as a starting point to reach Duval Street, the main road in Key West, which is known for its lively restaurants and bars.

Southernmost Point of the USA
Southernmost Point of the USA. PHOTO NATALIA GUERRA

Shipwreck Museum

1 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040

The Shipwreck Museum displays the history of the wrecks that occurred in Key West during the golden age of sailing, between the mid-19th century and early 20th century. During this time, more than 100 ships passed by Key West every day and at least one ship per week would wreck along the reef. In 1921, this era came to an end with the innovation of railroads and improved boat navigation.

Shipwreck Museum
Shipwreck Museum. Photo by Brian Urso on Unsplash

Truman Little White House

111 Front St, Naval Air Station Key West, FL 33040

The Truman Little White House is the only presidential museum in the United States. Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States and resided at the little white house for 175 days during the wintertime. The now restored home was constructed in 1890 and served as naval officer housing. The property was originally waterfront, but the land was expanded from offshore digging, leading to the construction of more buildings. Visitors can only access the museum through a guided tour to ensure the preservation of furniture and decor. Photography is not allowed inside the building.

Truman Little White House
Truman Little White House. PHOTO NATALIA GUERRA

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

601 Howard England Way, Key West, FL 33040

Fort Zachary Taylor Park
Fort Zachary Taylor Park. PHOTO NATALIA GUERRA

The Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is a large oceanfront park open 7 days a week from 8 A.M. to sunset. Travelers can explore what used to be a fort with two levels used during the civil and Spanish-American war to defend against enemies. Parking is available and admission is $6 per vehicle, $4.50 per single-occupancy vehicle such as motorcycles, and $2.50 for pedestrians and bicyclists. On the beach, travelers are able to enjoy a picnic, go swimming, snorkeling, paddling, or fishing. Snorkeling equipment can be rented or purchased at the concession stand located in the picnic area. Showers are available for rinsing off after a relaxing day in the sun and water shoes are recommended because of the rocky sea floor.

Key West Lighthouse

938 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040

The Key West Lighthouse opened in 1848 with a keeper named Barbara Mabrity and operated using whale oil lamps. The small estate has a museum dedicated to the long history of the structure and family of the keeper along with restored pieces from the original lighthouse. The structure has a metal spiral staircase of 88 steps to reach the balcony with a 360-degree view of Key West. Regular admission is $17 per person, however, there are student and veteran discounts, if applicable. Over time, a few upgrades went underway including the installation of an extension to the tower which allowed the light to be seen from a greater distance, housing for the keepers, and the switch to electricity for power.

Key West Lighthouse

Hemingway Home and Museum

907 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040

The Hemingway Home and Museum, which was built in 1851 and has a Spanish colonial style, is located across from the Key West Lighthouse and is cash-only. One of its attractive features is a 10 feet in-ground swimming pool, which was considered a luxury for a Key West home in the 1930s. From 1931 to 1939, Hemingway lived on the estate in Key West and created some of his best literary works, including short stories, poems, and some iconic novels like For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Green Hills of Africa, and Death in The Afternoon.

Hemingway Home and Museum
Hemingway Home and Museum. PHOTO NATALIA GUERRA
Natalia Guerra

Contributing Editor

Natalia Guerra was born in Miami and comes from a Cuban background. Aside from her passion for travel writing and culinary arts, she also loves to step out of her comfort zone to live life to the fullest. Her lifestyle is being a digital nomad, working remotely as she travels the world one city at a time. Her favorite country has been Spain for its beautiful architecture and food, which reminds her of her Cuban culture.

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