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 an incredible journey.
Widespread for its sunny days, quirky residents, wild nightlife, pastel coloured properties, and exquisite coral reefs — Key West, Florida is the right highway journey vacation spot from Miami for individuals seeking to escape winter.
First explored by Ponce de Leon in 1521, Key West grew to become a US territory in 1822, and has since been an island dwelling to greats like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams.
The self-proclaimed Conch Republic might be one of the best recognized island of the Florida Keys. After a number of journeys to the Florida Keys, I’ve discovered that there are a lot of 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.
Greatest Issues To Do In Key West Information
1: Ernest Hemingway Home & Cats
In-built 1851 within the French Colonial type, the house of the well-known creator Ernest Hemingway is situated close to the Key West Lighthouse at 907 Whitehead Road. It was become 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. Today the home is stuffed with 6-toed descendants which might be seen lounging across the grounds!
Visiting the home, and these odd cats with six toes, is among the hottest issues to do in Key West.
2: Climb The Key West Lighthouse
In-built 1848, visiting the Key West Lighthouse and climbing up the 88 steps to take a look at the view from the highest is among the prime issues to do within the Keys. When it first opened with a feminine lighthouse keeper, it was fairly a 19th century 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 dwelling to a museum.
3: Take A Sundown Crusing Cruise
One of the fashionable issues to do in Key West is e book a sundown crusing cruise, and have a couple of drinks whereas crusing across the harbor watching one in every of Key West’s legendary colourful sunsets.
You’ll be able to be part of a big catamaran type social gathering boat, or constitution a non-public expertise on a smaller crusing yacht. Both manner, it’s a worthwhile expertise. Among the greatest sunsets I’ve ever seen have been right here in Key West.
4: Journey The Conch Tour Practice
This world well-known prepare begins at Entrance Road Depot and the prepare engineers delight company with fashionable legends and tales on a 75-minute journey by means of Outdated City Key West.
Operating since 1958, the prepare is among the hottest issues to do in Florida Keys. It’s a bit tacky, however you study so much concerning the historical past of the realm.
5: Eat Like A Native
Florida is the house some scrumptious meals like 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 positively need to take a look at embody:
- Sloppy Joe’s
- The Inexperienced Parrot
- Louie’s Yard
- Blue Heaven
- Schooner Wharf
- Cuban Espresso Queen
- Bo’s Fish Wagon
- Higher Than Intercourse Desserts
And be sure you don’t miss the Key Lime Pie Firm. Or simply take one of many native Key West Meals Excursions that offer you a style of seafood and Cuban meals on the previous ‘mother and pop’ sort eateries.
6: Examine Out Fort Zachs Seashore
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, regionally referred to as Fort Zachs or Fort Taylor is a historic landmark from the Civil Struggle period named after US President Zachary Taylor.
Constructed between 1845 and 1866, the fort is dwelling to excavated armaments and different Civil Struggle reveals. It’s additionally dwelling to a seashore that’s excellent for snorkeling and a big park overlaying 54 acres.
Different fashionable seashores in Key West embody:
- 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 have 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 social gathering 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 fashionable vacationer actions in Key West is spending time bar hopping on Duval Road. The nightlife right here is known, with wonderful reside music and a few bizarre & funky bars.
- Sloppy Joe’s Bar was a favourite hangout for Ernest Hemingway. First referred to as the Blind Pig, then the Silver Slipper, it opened on December fifth, 1933 — the identical day prohibition resulted in america.
- The Inexperienced Parrot
- Schooner Wharf
- Bull & Whistle Bar (Backyard of Eden)
- Bourbon St. Bar
- Hog’s Breath Saloon
8: Mile Marker Zero
You’ll be able to’t go to Key West with out stopping to get your photograph (together with hundreds of different individuals) with the Mile Marker 0, which marks the tip of the two,369 mile lengthy US 1 Freeway.
Stretching from higher Maine to Key West, US 1, recognized regionally 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
In-built 1890 and situated within the Truman Annex part of Outdated City, the home has been dwelling to President William Taft, and later a trip dwelling 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 of see many historic data and images.
10: Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park
About 109 km west of Key West, seven islands kind Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park. It’s dwelling to stunning coral reefs, considerable 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, fowl watching, or climbing.
To get right here, most individuals take the Yankee Freedom III excessive pace ferry from Key West. However should you’re searching for an much more distinctive journey, arriving by seaplane can be an choice!
11: Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum options reveals on piracy and the slave commerce, together with a group 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 affords excursions displaying how objects 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 searching for crafts and souvenirs, or relishing meals on the native eateries.
Each night there’s a sundown celebration the place crowds collect to observe a few of the greatest sunsets ever over the Gulf of Mexico.
Attempt to get to the sq. about two hours earlier than sundown to observe reside performances from musicians, clowns, magicians, jugglers and different artists from throughout the globe.
13: Go to The Southernmost Level Buoy
The road to get images at this pink, yellow and black coloured buoy are fairly lengthy. Why? This concrete “buoy” is the Southernmost level within the continental USA, and everybody desires proof that they’ve been right here. Go actually early to skip the traces.
The signage on the buoy reads “The Conch Republic, 90 Miles to Cuba, Southernmost Level Continental U.S.A., Key West, F.L., House 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 contemplate 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 embody 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 pulls hundreds of individuals yearly. I attended a couple of years in the past, and it was one in every of my favourite festivals ever!
It’s principally a 10-day costume social gathering 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 lots of pores and skin… its positively an grownup celebration.
16: Go to The Key West Aquarium
The Key West Aquarium is dwelling to many species of fish, alligators, sting rays, jelly fish, turtles, and sharks. Should you’re touring with children, the Contact Tank has periods the place the children 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, this backyard additionally serves as a wildlife refuge and arboretum. Known as the “keeper of the timber”, it opened in 1936 and covers 63 hectares on Inventory Island.
You’ll be able to stroll by means of 2 butterfly habitats and a couple of wetland habitats, and see unique timber and tropical in addition to subtropical crops, Neo-tropical birds, and different uncommon finds.
18: Discover The Historic Seaport
A sailor’s delight, the Key West Historic Seaport is dwelling to lots of 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 get pleasure from 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 value 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 a giant deal round right here, and lots of divers come down particularly to dive the well-known Shipwreck Path.
The Shipwreck Path consists of 9 historic shipwrecks scattered alongside the coral reefs and buried within the sand a couple of miles off shore. The very best snorkeling in Key West can’t be performed 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 be dwelling to the haunted Robert the Doll which used to belong to eccentric artist Robert Eugene Otto. The doll is claimed to have moved voodoo collectible figurines round a room, brought on automotive accidents, damaged bones, and different misfortunes.
Should you’re really up for a problem, go on one of many Haunted Museum and Civil Struggle fort ghost excursions.
21: The Oldest Home In Florida
Known as the Oldest Home in South Florida, it was in-built 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.
Today the house is a museum that showcases life within the nineteenth century by means of 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 dwelling to about 60 species of butterflies and 20 species of unique birds. Stroll by means of a magical and welcoming surroundings stuffed with lots of of probably the most stunning winged creatures in nature (together with pink flamingos!)
Their “Wings of Creativeness” artwork exhibit affords unique works by artist Sam Trophia. Acrylic shadow bins depict the butterfly’s magnificence preserved and suspended in artwork kind in a spectrum of colours, sizes and styles.
24: Ghost Looking In Key West!
Key West is stuffed with ghost tales. From misplaced lovers to ghastly murders, the island has an extended historical past of haunted tales. Probably the most well-known might be Robert The Doll. A present from a Bahamian servant expert in voodoo, the doll is claimed to have turned over furnishings, screams, and talks.
Captain Tony’s Saloon has an extended 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 midst of the bar has been used for 17 hangings. They are saying a Woman 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 highway journey on the abroad freeway by means of a number of islands within the Florida Keys. Nonetheless there’s additionally a ferry, in addition to a small airport.
The very best website to e book your automotive is with Uncover Automobiles. They search each native and nationwide automotive rental corporations that will help you discover the absolute best worth. That is the best solution to hire a automotive and drive right down to Key West from Miami.
Renting a automotive affords one of the best flexibility to discover extra distant and fewer touristy spots within the Florida Keys. It’s my favourite solution to get round!
Taxi Or Uber
You’ll be able to e book taxis in Key West utilizing Uber, Lyft, or TaxiASAP.
The primary sights in Key West are very shut to one another, with most of them inside a 2 mile radius of Outdated City. So you possibly can 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 right reply. The preferred selection are the one-speed bikes regionally 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 by means of completely different areas in Key West and price 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 accessible for vacationers, all the things from funds backpacker hostels to luxurious resorts. Under you’ll discover recommendations for good locations to remain throughout your journey to Key West relying in your funds.
BEST HOTELS IN KEY WEST
COOL AIRBNB’S IN KEY WEST
Key West Journey Suggestions & Recommendation
- Choose up a Key West Sightseeing Flex move 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 one in every 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 couple of extra wanderlust-inducing articles that I like to recommend you learn subsequent:
Have any questions on issues to do in Key West? What about different recommendations? Drop me a message within the feedback under!