Hotels.com asked me to share my favorite things to do and see while traveling in Key West, Florida. Known for its sun, sand, sea, and sunsets — it is truly an idyllic island destination! The southernmost spot in the continental United States is a readymade tropical paradise for epic endeavors. Set in a haven of vitamin D and vitamin sea, the opportunities for outdoor activities are endless.
One of the best things about Key West is that it caters to all visitors, thus you will find accommodations ranging from very affordable to five-star luxury. If you want to be close to all of the main attractions, I recommend staying in Key West’s Old Town. I personally prefer renting a room in a cozy B&B.
If you are thinking that you want to head down south, the following are the five best things for you and your family to experience while there:
Old Town Trolley
One of the best ways to explore Key West is via the Old Town Trolley. This open-air trolley gives way to panoramic views of the Conch Republic, while friendly and knowledgeable guides highlight the rich history of the city. You will visit more than 100 points of interest and it can all be done around your schedule, since you can hop on and off whenever you would like.
Key West Aquarium
Built as the first attraction on the island in 1932, this open-air aquarium is the perfect way to learn about Key West’s marine life and interact with its inhabitants. Located in famous Mallory Square, this is one of the island’s most popular and historic attractions for kids and adults of all ages. Home to alligators, jellyfish, sharks, and many other marine animals, guests can enjoy interactive conservation talks, as well as animal feedings.
Stroll Along Duval Street
Duval Street is Key West’s main tourist strip, with restaurants and shops designed to entertain tourists and cruise ship passengers. This is the place to begin, or perhaps end, a day of sightseeing. Historic homes and some of the city’s most popular attractions and places to visit can be found there. A piece of advice is to stop for some key lime pie while walking around.
Ernest Hemingway Home And Museum
The legendary author Ernest Hemingway bought this 1851 Spanish Colonial house in 1931 and lived in it until 1940. It features a lush tropical garden and the salt-water pool that he claimed nearly wiped him out financially and contains his “last penny” pressed into the concrete. Inside, you can see the restored interior as well, which displays the writer’s own collection of 17th- and 18th-century Spanish furniture. More than 40 descendants of Hemingway’s original brood of house cats still roam the property. He wrote a number of novels here including A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Key West Butterfly And Nature Conservatory
One of the top things to do in Key West for families is a visit to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Children of all ages will be captivated by the opportunity to walk among more than 50 species of butterflies in the natural garden habitat of a glass conservatory. In addition to the colorful butterflies, more than 20 species of exotic birds reside here, making a visit to the conservatory a truly special experience.
Please keep in mind that traveling in this moment remains uncertain, thus always make sure your safety and the safety of others is your #1 priority. If you are indeed comfortable with traveling, ensure you travel responsibly and within regulation. You travel at your own risk.
Here are some recommendations should you travel:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses. Be aware you might have to self-quarantine upon arrival.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
- Be patient and calm. Remember we are all trying to do our best and are in this together.
Key West’s laid-back attitude and outdoor oasis await your arrival. There is genuine spirit, quirky characters, and eclectic energy. It really is one of the coolest places to explore! Filled with a fascinating history and thrilling culture, it has become a worldwide destination.