Dare to explore
Discover fun and exciting activities, local eats, and drinks while you visit with us!
Built in 1851 in the French Colonial style, the home of the famous author Ernest Hemingway is located near the Key West Lighthouse at 907 Whitehead Street. After his passing, it was turned into a museum and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968. Learn about Hemingway’s polydactyl (six-toed) cat Snow White. These days the house is full of 6-toed cat descendants, who lounge around the grounds!
Built in 1848, the Key West Lighthouse has 88 steps. Climb them, and you can check out one of the best views in the Keys. It was quite a rarity when it first opened with a female lighthouse keeper in the 19th century. And you can visit the Keeper quarters, which are now home to a museum.
3. Key West Sunset
You may be wondering why we have the Key West Sunset ranked so high. It’s because Key West sunsets are amazing! Remain aboard the NautiCat or enjoy a memorable sunset from Key West.
This world-famous train starts at Front Street Depot, and the train engineers try to delight guests with famous stories on a 75-minute journey through Old Town Key West. Since 1958, the Conch Train Tour has been one of the most popular things in the Florida Keys. It’s a bit cheesy, but you learn a lot about the area’s history
5. Life is a BEACH!
Most popular beaches in Key West:
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is perfect for snorkeling and includes a 54-acre park. Locally referred to as Fort Zachs or Fort Taylor, this historic landmark from the Civil War era (built between 1845 and 1866.) The fort is home to excavated armaments and other Civil War exhibits.
Smathers Beach is the most famous Key West beach half a mile long and perfect for water sports and bicycling! Always a large crowd, so perfect for people watching.
Higgs Beach is the home of the African Refugee Cemetery, where 294 refugees were buried after being rescued from slave ships in the 1860s.
Rest Beach, also known as CB Harvey Memorial Rest Beach, is a 300-yard strip.
About 109 km west of Key West, seven islands form Dry Tortugas National Park. It’s home to beautiful coral reefs, abundant sea life, tropical birds, and submarine banks. The Tortugas, named by Ponce the Leon because of the number of turtles or ‘tortugas’ found on the islands. The park’s highlight is the unfinished Fort Jefferson, which covers 16 acres on Garden Key. The park is a great place to go picnicking, swimming, diving, snorkeling, boating, bird watching, or walking.
7. Eat Like A Local Key Lime Pie
Florida is home to delicious food like fresh oranges, Key Lime Pie, Conch Fritters, Stone Crabs, Dole Whips, and fried Gator Bites. You can’t skip eating any of these popular foods while in Key West.
Top Restaurant Suggestions
8. Best Bar Hopping in Key West
Mile Marker Zero marks the End of the Road! You can’t visit Key West without stopping to get your photo (along with thousands of other people) with the Mile Marker 0, which marks the end of the 2,369 miles long U.S. 1 Highway. Stretching from upper Maine to Key West, U.S. 1, known locally as the Overseas Highway, connects most major cities in the eastern U.S. The highway officially starts here, in Key West!
Built in 1890 and located in the Truman Annex section of Old Town, the house has been home to President William Taft and later a vacation home to President Truman. Thomas Edison stayed here while contributing to the WWI efforts. The house has also hosted the likes of General Eisenhower, President Kennedy, President Carter, Colin Powell, President Clinton, and more. Nicknamed Florida’s only Presidential Museum, you’ll be able to see many historical records and photos.
11. Sunset Parties and Street Performance Art
Mallory Square is another popular hangout in Key West. It’s perfect for shopping for crafts and souvenirs or relishing food at the local eateries. Every evening there is a sunset celebration where crowds gather to watch some of the best sunsets ever over the Gulf of Mexico. Watch live performances from musicians, clowns, magicians, jugglers, and other artists from across the globe.
12. The Southernmost Point in Key West
The line to get photos at this red, yellow, and black colored buoy is pretty long. Why? This concrete “buoy” is the Southernmost Point in the continental U.S.A., and everyone wants evidence that they’ve been here. Go early to skip the lines.
Started initially as Jack’s Saloon in 1900, the people at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery consider themselves chefs first and distillers second. Apart from “Chef Distilled” rums, they also sell mouth-watering rum cakes. Tour the distillery to taste their Cuban Coffee Rum, Vanilla Dark Rum, and the famous Key West First Legal Rum. Other rum distilleries include the Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery and the Key West Trading Co.
Fantasy Fest is a weird and wild annual costume festival held in Key West that attracts thousands of people every year. Body painting and elaborate costumes are always on show, along with bare skin. Be advised that Fantasy Fest is an adult celebration.
The Key West Aquarium is home to many fish, alligators, stingrays, jellyfish, sharks, and turtles. If you’re traveling with kids, the Aquarium includes a “Touch Tank” where kids can pet conchs, sea stars, sea urchins, and giant hermit and horseshoe crabs.
The Key West Tropical Forest & Garden serves as a wildlife refuge and arboretum. Called the “keeper of the trees,” it opened in 1936. Stroll through 2 butterflies and two wetland habitats and see exotic trees, tropical and subtropical plants, neo-tropical birds, and other rare finds. 17. Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum features exhibits on piracy and the slave trade and artifacts from 17th-century shipwrecks of the Spanish slave ship Henrietta Marie and the treasure ship Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Artifacts from other vessels such as the Guerrero & Nimble, Santa Margarita, and Santa Clara are also present.