An idyllic island that truly feels like paradise, Key West is one of the most popular domestic vacation spots, and for good reason. While it might be quite small, with all the best activities being within a few blocks of one another, this stunning destination offers plenty to see, do, and experience, far beyond the well-known dive bars and certain tourist traps. If you’re considering Key West for your next holiday, here are some of the most interesting activities and attractions you should consider visiting:
Go on an exciting tour
Regardless of the destination, tours are always a great way to explore the location and learn more about its history and natural surroundings. And when it comes to exciting Key West tours, there’s no shortage of brilliant options. You can hop on a trolley and explore the Old Town, go on an underwater or airborne adventure tour, join an eco stand-up paddleboard tour along the Backcountry, or simply relax in a glass bottom boat tour around this beautiful island. The choice is all yours, but any tour in Key West is bound to be a fun and memorable one.
Walk down Duval Street
Duval Street is undoubtedly among the most well-known spots in Key West, and there’s a good reason for that. This busy passage is popular for its wide range of restaurants, bars, and other nightlife establishments that are sure to provide the time of your life. Even though this part of town is often flooded by tourists and cruise ship passengers, it shouldn’t be enough to discourage you from walking down this iconic street; it only forces the locals to find a different area for their entertainment.
Visit the Key West Aquarium
Situated in the center of Key West’s tourist district, the iconic Mallory Square, the local aquarium is another place not to be missed. It’s home to a wide variety of ocean creatures you can observe, from sea cucumbers and conch to jellyfish, reef fish, and sharks. This is an especially interesting place for families, as the kids can get close to horseshoe crabs and sea stars at the touch tanks, while everyone can go on the Sea Turtle Conservation Tour together and see how the aquarium is protecting species in the wild.
Swim at Smather’s Beach
No trip to Key West can truly be complete without dipping your toes in the sand and soaking up the warm sun. Smather’s is the biggest public beach here, and a beautiful spot to visit. It stretches on for approximately half a mile, so you don’t even have to worry about the beach being too crowded, regardless of its popularity. Along this part of the shore, there are also great restaurants and charming shops you could stop by as you wait for the breathtaking sunset – it will certainly be with it.
Explore the Dry Tortugas National Park
Located approximately 70 miles off the coast of Key West, the Dry Tortugas National Park is a stunning place to explore. Not only will you be able to learn more about the area, but you can also spend hours simply soaking in the pristine Key West waters. This national park is famed for its brilliant bird-watching opportunities, boasting over 300 different species to spot. With waters rarely getting deeper than 15 feet, snorkeling is another popular activity in this area. And once it’s time to relax, you could also stroll around Fort Jefferson and have a meal at one of the scenic picnic tables there.
Go to The Southernmost Point
As its name suggests, The Southernmost Point is actually the southernmost point of the US (although there is some debate). It is undoubtedly among the most photogenic spots in Key West, which is why photo lines tend to get long, but they move quickly as well. To get the best pictures you can, try going early in the morning when the coast is clear or consider checking the times when the tide will be low.
Visit the Hemingway Home and Museum
If you want to learn more about Ernest Hemingway’s exciting and chaotic life, visit his historic home and museum that’s open daily to visitors. A tour of this house and the surrounding grounds takes about half an hour, and includes a look into the rooms, gardens, and pools Hemingway used to call home in Key West. You might even notice some unique cats sneaking around this location. They are descendants of the original, famous six-toed pet Hemingway loved and cared for while he was staying here.
Whether you’re going on a family holiday or even visiting Key West on your own, this iconic destination clearly has something to offer to everyone. Consider the activities mentioned above, and create an interesting itinerary that works best for you.