The Best Things to Do in Key West

Beautiful sunset across the Key West coast. (Photo by Jonathan Wheeler/Unsplash)

Literary legend Ernest Hemingway was deeply in love with Key West. He spoke of it glisteningly, depicting Key West as a gem amongst gems; the island – a tropical oasis, he believed – enamored him with its lush greenery, delicious foods, grand fishing, and an unmatchable nightlife. This timeless appeal exists to this day, and Key West remains one of the country’s most unique towns. Teaming with allure, festiveness, and charm, this coastal community is a gift afloat the sea. (Even the beaches and ocean water seem glitzier on this island community). You’ll find something for everyone in the family, and to help you with your itinerary, here’s a list of the best things that you can do while visiting Key West, Florida. 

1. A Historical Voyage Across the Island 

Key West is home to many historical landmarks and spots of cultural significance. Ernest Hemingway made the island his home, where he wrote his novel “To Have and Have Not” and where he drew extensive inspiration for his Pulitzer-winning novel, “The Old Man and The Sea.” His Spanish villa is now a museum available to all, full of memorabilia of the famed writer. Just a few blocks from Hemingway’s you’ll find Truman’s Little White House, the winter home of the former president Harry S. Truman. Of course, no trip to Key West is complete without a visit to the Southernmost Point, the, well, southernmost point of the contiguous United States. You can explore these and other landmarks by foot, or we’d recommend booking a tour on the Hop-On, Hop-Off Old Town Trolley that will take you around the island via trolley, guiding you across these aforementioned sights and many others. 

One of many historical homes in Key West. (Photo by Joshua Case/Unsplash)

2. Welcome to Duval Street! 

Duval Street is the epicenter for all things fun, tasty, and cultural. The street runs from north to south across the island, and it’s lined with many restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, boutiques, concerts, and the occasional festival. On this single street, you’ll find everything from crisp drinks in the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar, to the gorgeous insects of the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, and the scrumptious meals of Caroline’s Cafe. You can even take a stroll down Duval and glance at the impeccable Caribbean architecture of the many shops and buildings. The choices on Duval Street are endless, and you cannot go wrong with this Key West staple.

The many restaurants and shops that are harbored on Duval Street. (Photo by Mike LaMonaca/Flickr)

3. A Swim With The Fishes

Key West’s waters are vibrantly beautiful. The turquoise waters are not only splendid and temperate, but they’re also home to the world’s third-largest coral reef on the planet. You could spend a day sunbathing on the white sandy beaches, but we recommend you take a dive into the depths of the Key West coast and take a wonderful swim with the oceanic life. To expedite the planning process, book a snorkeling adventure and cruise on a 65’ Catamaran that will take you across the beach and the waves into an underwater world. The colorful coral reefs and vivid schools of fishes will be waiting for you in this otherworldly experience. 

Key West is home to the world’s third-largest coral reef. (Photo by Marek Okon/Unsplash)

4. Key West From the Sky

Do you think Key West is beautiful? Wait until you watch it from above. Parasailing is as common in Key West as fishing or swimming. The blue skies meet the ocean, creating a vast sunny canvas of blue – prime for a parasailing adventure. Observe playful dolphins skipping on the waters; perhaps you’ll find a group of docile nurse sharks sleeping on the seafloor; you might even get lucky and catch a whale from the clouds! The tropical birds will be your best travel buddies, as you experience the thrill of flying across this magical island. 

Observe Key West from above! (Photo by AJ Garcia/Unsplash)

5. Mallory Square & A Setting Sun 

The famous Mallory Square is located on the northern tip of the island. While it offers many excellent shops, hotels, and restaurants, the real star of the show is our very own. Every day, beginning two hours before the sun sets, there is an event known to locals and tourists as the Sunset Celebration; everyone gathers at the pier to watch a golden sun dip behind the pink clouds and into the darkening sea. The nightly festivity comes with nocturnal entertainers, including magicians, psychics, musicians, and artists from across Key West and even the world. A place known for its sunny weather treats sundowns just as momentously – and you should be there to watch one yourself. 

Enjoy the golden sunsets of Key West. (Photo by Sebastien Gabriel/Unsplash) 

As you take time to plan your Key West vacation, enjoy these and many other activities that the island paradise has prepared for you. Safe travels!