2023 Key West Visitors Guide
Key West, Florida, the southernmost city in the Continental United States is one of America’s most popular vacation spots. Located on the Florida Keys, closer to Cuba than mainland Florida, Key West has a unique culture and atmosphere. It is no wonder so many famed artists have called Key West home. In celebration of the life and favorite pastimes of former local citizen Ernest Hemingway, Key West holds Hemingway Days. This festival hosts a number of events including a Hemingway look-alike contest, a 5-km run, and a Marlin fishing competition.
Key West is best known as the home of Ernest Hemingway and his favorite haunt,
Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Key West is also home to fabulous mansions crested in the classic Key West gingerbread style, open-air bars that beckon walker byes and the world’s most famous and beautiful sunsets at Mallory Dock.
Key West vacationers can spend the day scuba diving or snorkeling along the reefs or investigate a sunken wreck. Deep-sea fishing abounds as do sailing charters and boat rentals. Want to stay on dry land, Key West offers a wide variety of public and private transportation to move you around the island and Key West’s unique shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Sunsets at Mallory Dock are a must for anyone visiting Key West and include performances from a variety of street entertainers including jugglers, mimes, musicians, and artists. Key West’s Duvall Street bristles with activity after dark with open-air pubs and sidewalk cafes and fine restaurants.
The oldest area of Key West is Bahama Village – a great spot for shopping and dining. Theatre lovers will enjoy the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, where numerous musical and theatrical productions are held throughout the year.
Key West Things To Do
Called the “Southernmost City”, Key West is known as America’s Caribbean paradise. Come enjoy blue skies and balmy, sunny days with an average year-round temperature of 74 degrees. Home to the only living coral reef in North America, the Key West reef is the third-largest reef system in the world. No other location in the U.S.A. offers such a magnificent and unique marine environment abundant with such a fascinating diversity of marine and wildlife.
Tropical Key West is famous for the variety of watersports offered on a daily basis. Activities start early in the morning and continue after sunset. Hop aboard a sunset cruise and enjoy the best views in the world of the famous Key West sunset.
Key West Parasailing
Whether you plan to dive right-in or prefer to stay dry, the island offers everyone an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of its waters. it’s clear blue, warm waters Try a Key West Parasailing flight over the water, or enjoy complimentary snorkel gear on a reef snorkeling trip. Jet skiing tours circumnavigate the island every day, offering a fun time for all ages and the only way to sightsee on the water.
Key West Glass Bottom Reef
Key West Glass Bottom Reef trips make a visit to the amazing reef a dry and comfortable experience. Sail to the backcountry for a wilderness kayaking experience or scuba dive or play with the dolphins! These fabulous activities and more are enjoyed year-round by watersport enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
The family can explore museums such as the remarkable Lighthouse Military Museum; the stately Audubon House, where John James Audubon stayed while painting his noted works depicting wildlife in the Florida Keys; and the glitzy Key West Shipwreck Historeum, which focuses on the fascinating wrecking era of Key West.
The whole family should see the area’s most famous historical site, the Hemingway House, where Ernest Hemingway lived and worked for 10 years.
To visit historical sites in Key West such as Little White House museum, call (305) 294-9911. The museum was used back in 1890 by naval commanders as their headquarters. Tours around Little White House are open daily. Historical visits also include visits to the historic cemetery in Key West which hosts famous graves. To visit such historical sites, call Ghost Tours on (305) 294-9255.
Key West Sightseeing
Some of the most popular points of interest include the Old Town, Harry Truman’s White House, Ernest Hemingway’s house that was turned into a museum, Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson, Mallory Square that is famous by every night’s sunset celebrations, etc. As you can see, there are many interesting things that one can experience on the island.
One thing is for sure – you will never forget your Key West vacation and will want to come back for more. If you decide to do so, a bus Miami Key West line can take you here any time of the day, every day. Here are some of the important pickup points, except the Miami Airport and Miami Beach – Bal Harbor, North Beach, Brickell Ave, South Beach, and Downtown Miami, etc.
Conch Train Tour
The famous Conch Train Tour is a 90-minute ride around Key West city. Many Key West locals will tell you this is the best way to get a good ‘run down’ on the history of the famous town. The tour includes visits to over 100 Key West old town sights. The visits are intended to introduce visitors to the city so that they can explore more on their own during their stay. Tickets for the Conch Tour Train are sold at roughly $30 for adults, kids under 12 years of age are free and discounted tickets are available for seniors and military at booths on Front and Duval streets. Boarding takes place half a block from where tickets are sold at Mallory Square.
The Key West Wildlife Center
The Key West Wildlife Center is located inside of the eight-acre Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park at 1801 White Street in Key West Florida. We are open seven days a week from 9 am-5 pm. Visit and enjoy observing native flora and fauna while walking on the paved trail through the park.
Key West Aquarium
No trip would be complete without a stop at the Key West Aquarium, the first tourist attraction built in the Florida Keys, where a 50,000-gallon tank exhibits a cross section of a near-shore mangrove environment, including a variety of tropical and game fish, sea turtles and birds.
Enter an underwater world of delight at the Key West Aquarium and discover the indigenous sea creatures of Key West and the Florida Keys. Meet stingrays in Stingray Bay and get up close and personal with invertebrates in the touch tank, which is always a favorite with the kids. Learn about marine life conservation, and don’t miss the shark petting and feeding, offered during the four daily tours. 1 Whitehead Street, Key West Florida 33040
Key West Adventures Today
Key West Adventures Today is a reservation service specializing in parasailing, jet skiing, fishing, boat rentals, boat trips, sunset cruises, bike and scooter rental, island tours and anything else you can do in Key West.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory allows visitors to walk through an indoor tropical garden filled with tropical birds and hundreds of butterflies.
Key West Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
Feel like getting a little wet? Well, you are undoubtedly in the right place, as Key West has some of the best snorkeling in the Western Hemisphere via the living coral reef.
The Key West Living Coral Reef
As the third-largest coral reef in the world, the Key West living coral reef is a fantastic place to get in tune with an immaculate underwater environment that is home to a barrage of exotic aquatic species. Whether you are just putting on that snorkel or dive tank for the first time, or are a seasoned marine excursion specialist simply looking for another notch under the belt, there is plenty to marvel over in this thriving underwater habitat.
Key West Fishing Charters
Looking for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon? Perhaps you are in need of a little fishing with a seasoned Key West fishing captain, angling the very same waters that Hemingway himself frequented in the 1930s. There are plenty of eager captains ready and willing to show you the fundamentals of what it takes to be an experienced fisherman in a truly unique Key West style.
World-class fishing captains offer charters of every type all year round. Fish the reef for grouper and snapper or fish the legendary Gulf Stream waters for tuna and wahoo. The deep offshore coastal waters offer the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of pulling in a Blue Marlin or the prized Sailfish. Head south and discover why Key West is the fishing capital of the world.
Below are a few of the fishing categories you can expect to be exposed to:
- Backcountry Fishing
- Light Tackle Fishing
- Offshore Fishing
To enjoy the very best in fishing while visiting Key West, you can call
Dream Catcher Charters
on (888) 362-3474. The charter company offers full package trips for just about anything related to saltwater. From fishing and snorkeling to learning to spot dolphins in the ocean. Dream Catchers will custom tailor a package for you. The cost of taking a trip includes snorkel gear, lunch, instructions, and wet suits.
Key West Sunset Sails
So, you have just showered off your sandy, sun-bleached body after an inspiring day of snorkeling, what next?
Why not end your perfect day in style? Aboard a luxurious schooner or yacht, enjoying the delicate flavor of local wine or beer as you wait in anticipation for the beautiful display of vivid hues brought forth by a famous Key West sunset.
Sunset sails have become a popular attraction on the island, varying from an afternoon party yacht flowing with cocktails to a small romantic sailboat for two – it really depends on the mood you are in.
Key West Paddle Boarding
Still, wondering what to do in Key West? Let’s go with something a little different…
A unique way to enjoy the water, the paddleboard is a flat craft that you stand on as you paddle around on top of the water. In essence, it provides the exhilarating sense that you are walking across the water as you move. However, you may find yourself getting a little wet till you get your bearings and discover that ever-elusive faculty of balance.
* Feeling audacious? Perhaps you could take advantage of one of the offered paddle-board yoga classes as a pick-me-up before your sunrise breakfast at the resort.
As you contemplate what to do in Key West, consider one, or all of the above suggestions. Whether you are in the mood for being in or on the water, Key West has more than enough to keep that itinerary packed with fun-filled, inspiring experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Key West Accommodations
The keys are a great destination to travel to within the U.S. if you don’t have a passport or just want to stay in the states. The offseason for Key West, FL is April to October. Generally, hotels are cheaper as well as many activities and shopping. Key West Visitors and Vacation Guide are designed to help you plan that perfect Key West Vacation. We have listed the most popular places to stay, eat, drink, shop, activities and more. We also have links to the best vacation deals on the internet. Sightseeing, water sports, shopping or just relaxing and enjoying the Key West lifestyle, Key West is everything and more you have heard about this unique island paradise.
Hyatt Key West
601 Front St – Key West, FL 33040
Discover vacation heaven at Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa. Located right on the white sandy beach and within two blocks of Duval Street and Mallory Square, Hyatt Key West is the ideal location for exploring the sites of Old Town, while still staying within a private retreat.
Crowne Plaza La Concha Key West
3.5 out of 5 Star Rating – 430 Duval St – Key West, FL 33040
Our hotel’s location on Duval St. is the ideal Key West vacation lodging choice. Guests can enjoy a leisurely stroll to nearby attractions like the Mel Fisher Museum, Hemingway House and Mallory Square. Duval Street offers fine dining.
3 out of 5 Star Rating – 1319 Duval Street – Key West, FL
The Southernmost Hotel Is Located In Key West, Fla. Across From Private Beach, Within One-quarter Mile Of The Southernmost Point And Hemingway House, One Mile From Mallory Square.
The Reach Resort – Waldorf Astoria Collection
3.5 out of 5 Star Rating – 1435 Simonton Street Key West
The Reach Resort – Waldorf Astoria Collection Is A Tropical Playground Offering The Best Of Key West, Fla. With The Only Natural Beach On The Island As A Backdrop, This Hotel Is An Ideal Destination For Sun And Water Enthusiasts.
Southernmost On The Beach
3.5 out of 5 Star Rating – 508 South St – Key West, FL 33040
Southernmost On The Beach Is Located In Key West, Fla. One-half Mile From The Hemingway House, One Mile From Mallory Square.
Casa Marina Resort – Waldorf Astoria Collection
4 out of 5 Star Rating – 1500 Reynolds Street – Key West, FL
The Oldest And Largest Resort In Key West, Fla., The Casa Marina Resort – Waldorf Astoria Collection Was Built In 1920.
Pier House Resort & Caribbean Spa
4 out of 5 Star Rating – 1 Duval St – Key West, FL 33040
The Pier House Resort & Caribbean Spa Is Located In Key West, Fla. One Block From Mallory Square, One-quarter Mile From Seaport District.
Parrot Key Resort
4 out of 5 Star Rating – 2801 N Roosevelt Blvd – Key West, FL
The Parrot Key Waterfront Hotel & Resort Is Located In Key West, Fla. One-half Mile From Key West Travel Guide, Two Miles From Ernest Hemingway Museum.
Travel To Key West
There are various ways one can get to Key West. It’s reachable by plane, bus, train, sea or car.
If you are traveling to Key West outside of Florida, flying would be your best option. You can fly directly into Key West via the Key West International Airport. Some choose to fly into nearby Miami International Airport. There you can either rent a car or take the bus for the remaining 3.5-hour drive to Key West.
Many people prefer driving to Key West to experience the beautiful sights of the upper Keys the route takes you on.
Another fun option is traveling by sea. The Key West Express ferry departs from Fort Myers Beach and Marco Island arriving in Key West in roughly 4 hours. This option allows your vacation to start when your foot hits the sundeck. Sit back and relax, enjoy a few cocktails while you travel to Key West. The ferry docks at City Bight (i/o Flagler) Ferry Terminal – Historic Seaport.
Whatever method you choose to get here, once you arrive there are many fun things for you to do at this American Caribbean destination. With near-perfect weather year-round, any time of the year is ideal for a Key West vacation. This socially diverse and fun-loving island is known for its blend of interesting cultures. Embracing its cultural diversity, Key West locals and vacationers celebrate life together in a “Come As You Are” atmosphere. There is so much about Key West, it’s no wonder why many of those who travel to Key West Florida never end up leaving.