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45 Things to do in Key West

Beach lounging on the Florida Keys. Adviable Stories
Planning on taking a trip to Key West? In this blog we will include places to visit, attractions, tours, and good places to eat. Here are 45 things to do in Key West.

1. The Conch Train Tour

The conch train tour
After you have arrived in Key West, you’ll want to set out to explore the island right away, so you might want to start out on a Conch Train Tour. On this tour, you will hop on a bus and hop off another one, allowing you to explore the best spots in the city.
After being purchased, your ticket is valid for the entire day until your conductor indicates the last departure time. You should get on the very first train and ride the whole loop without getting off.
During your first pass through, you will be able to get your bearings and decide where you wish to explore in greater depth.

2. Meet the cats at Hemingway's house

Hemingway's house
The Hemingway Home & Museum is located in the heart of the charming Old Town and is a must-see landmark for literature buffs.
While Ernest Hemingway was not born in Key West, he lived here for a few years and became one of the island’s most famous and beloved residents.
Travelers that want to learn more about his life and work are welcome to visit his former home, which is now a National Historic Landmark. There will also be an opportunity to meet several of his famous 6 toed cats, which wander freely throughout the house.
Would you like to include the Hemingway Home & Museum in your sightseeing itinerary? Discover this amazing tour starting in old Key West, where pirates discovered the island for the first time.
As you stroll along Whitehead St., you’ll learn about the history of the houses of ship captains and wreckers. We’ll stop for a photo at Mile 0.
A few blocks later, you’ll enter the historically rich African-Caribbean neighborhood of Bahama Village, and you’ll see the county courthouse, a centuries-old church.
After viewing Hemingway’s home, we’ll stroll past the city’s lighthouse, learn about Key West’s Cuban influence and cigar history, and reach the Southernmost Point landmark.

3. Take a tour of Truman's Little White House

Trumans little white house
Truman’s Little Whitehouse, used as the naval station’s command post during the Spanish-American War, and two wars, and President Truman’s Winter White House will be open to the public.
There are guided tours available at the charming museum that has been beautifully preserved. It is highly recommended that you attend a tour, however, if you are not interested or don’t have much time, you may just drop in on the small-sized gallery at ground level if you don’t have much time.
During your visit to the museum, you can expect to be transported back to the past through interesting photos and historical displays. Take a picture of yourself at the presidential podium before you leave, and make sure to get a copy of it!

4. Lookout Tower and Shipwreck Museum

Lookout Tower and Shipwreck Museum
It has long been one of our favorite museums in Key West, the Shipwreck Museum. There were people living on the island that made a living as wreckers who rescued both crews and bounty from ships that were wrecked on the reef off Key West.
The museum houses a number of those museum artifacts, some of which are renowned treasures which can be viewed today. There is even an opportunity to touch a massive silver bar that was recovered from a Spanish galleon.
After you’ve finished reading all about pirate lore and admiring the treasure, take the lookout tour to get a panoramic view of the downtown and the Mallory Square area.

5. Museum of Maritime History in Mel Fisher

Museum of Maritime History in Mel Fisher
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is the most popular attraction in Key West based on its association with treasure hunter Mel Fisher.
Mel’s story, his failures, his conquests, and the incredible finds he made as part of his search for history and treasure are all told in this museum.
Artifacts from the sunken Spanish galleons Nuestra Senora de Atocha, Santa Margarita, and the slave ship Henrietta Marie are on display at the museum.

6. Mallory Square Sunset Celebration

Mallory Square Sunset Celebration
You can only find the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square when the sun starts to set in Key West.
As the sun sets, you will be surrounded by many artists and musicians, magicians and jugglers. It begins about two hours before sunset, and it’s a must-see when in Key West.
A good spot by the water can be obtained by arriving early. Make sure you save a spot while a friend makes the drinks runs if you’re traveling with friends! The lines can get long as the sun sets.
Get some conch fritters at a food stand, a cocktail, and enjoy one of the biggest sunset celebrations around.

7. Take a look at the Mile Marker 0 sign

Mile Marker 0 sign
Highway 1 north and the Florida Keys Scenic Byway begin at Mile Marker 0. All the way up the east coast of Florida, including the Overseas Highway, this road spans the entire length of the Keys.
Taking the obligatory photo at Mile Marker 0 is an absolute must if you’ve driven from Key West.

8. Get your picture taken with the Buoy at the Southernmost Point

Buoy at the Southernmost Point
Despite being technically in Hawaii, the colorful buoy at the southernmost point of the continental U.S. is located right in Key West, so don’t miss taking a picture.
Key West is known for this activity and the buoy is one of its most photographed places. There is no doubt that this moment must not be missed, and must, of course, be captured. Arrive early! Long lines are always present, sometimes stretching over a mile.

9. Duval Street: Shop & Party

Duval Street
Key West has its own famous street, Duval Street, which is home to art galleries, outdoor cafes, inviting bars, and large numbers of curious tourists.
There are many tourist attractions along this strip, which stretches from Mallory Square to the Southernmost Point. It can be crazy, especially if you explore it at night when everyone is in a party mood.
For those who want to learn about the city and have fun, it is a must-see. The locals seem to have a love-hate relationship with this place, which is why it is not one of the places they prefer.

10. Distillery of Key West's First Legal Rum

Distillery of Key West's First Legal Rum
If you’re not thinking about tasting at least a little rum, are you really in the tropics? Consider setting aside a day to visit Key West’s First Legal Rum Distillery!
In 1900, Jack’s Saloon was located at 105 Simonton Street, the location of this distillery. Key West became the home of the Original Coca-Cola bottling company in 1903.
In 2012, 90 years after the end of Prohibition, the island’s first legal rum distillery opened its doors.
Besides tours, tastings, and perfecting the art of making mojitos, they specialize in mojitos today. Visit even if you do not drink alcohol. Their building is super cool, and they show some historical artifacts as well.

11. Conservatory of Butterfly and Nature in Key West

Conservatory of Butterfly and Nature in Key West
After experiencing the intensity of Duval Street, the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is a great place to rest and rejuvenate.
A lush botanical garden, several species of butterflies to observe, and the famous flamingos Rhett and Scarlett are located within this historical district.

12. A lighthouse in Key West

A lighthouse in Key West
Key West was established as a naval base in 1823, leading to the building of the Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters that exist today.
Key West was located in coral-filled waters, so this lighthouse was essential if military and commercial ships were to reach the island safely.
A woman was the first keeper of this lighthouse, which was built in 1848. It is worth a visit to learn more about the history of this woman based solely on this fact.
Today, Key West visitors can climb 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the historic downtown area.

13. Aquatic Aquarium in Key West

Aquatic Aquarium in Key West
The Key West Aquarium is actually an extremely cool place to visit, even though it doesn’t look that special on the outside. If you spend a couple of hours at this aquarium, you will gain an insightful and up-close view of the aquatic species that call the Florida Keys marine eco-systems home.
We were delighted by the layout and atmosphere of the displays, which led us to spend more time than we had anticipated. The tanks are situated at eye level, so you will be able to see the animals clearly.
On your next trip, don’t hesitate to visit this place if you wish to escape the heat of the midday sun.

14. Book a Ghost Tour in Key West

Book a Ghost Tour in Key West
It has been said that Key West is so rich in history, pirates, and marine lore that there are hundreds of stories of hauntings and ghosts. We recommend that, if you would like to hunt ghosts and hear scary tales, you book your place on one of our Ghosts and Gravestones Tours.
You will visit some of the most haunted places in Key West during this 2-hour tour, including fascinating tales about how these places came to be. The tour is interactive and narrated.
There will be an overview of Robert the Doll, the African Slave Cemetery, various haunted establishments in the city, and a visit to the Shipwreck Museum at night.

15. Take a pub crawl in Key West

It is well known that Key West has an active party scene, and a pub crawl is one of the best ways to experience it. During these tours, you will receive a narrated tour of the most popular bars and pubs in Key West.
We’ll have drinks, tell stories, learn a bit of history, and make some new friends, all the while tearing up Duval Street.

16. Floating Tiki Bars are available for rent with your friends

Floating Tiki Bars
You can also rent a floating Tiki Bar for your next party if you don’t want to undertake a pub crawl with your friends.
It offers a fully stocked bar and the opportunity to cruise the waters around Key West with your own personal bartender.

17. Bike Tours in Key West

Joining a guided bike tour is a great way to get acquainted with Key West and get some exercise at the same time. If you are interested in our specific recommendation, Key Lime Bike Tours is a good option.
The Old Town Key West bicycle tour is a great introduction for those who are visiting Key West for the first time.
See highlights such as Mallory Square, Mile Marker Zero, and the Hemingway House while learning about the island’s history. Experience panoramic ocean views as you pedal out to the Southernmost Point Buoy.

18. Tropical Forest & Botanical Gardens in Key West

With roots dating back to 1936, The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Gardens is the only frost-free, sub-tropical natural conservation habitat and native plant botanical garden on the American continent.
I am not sure how you feel, but the name alone is enough to get my attention and make me want to make a visit. In addition to the history and titles, Mallory Square is a very serene place which is a perfect place to escape the afternoon heat and spend some quiet time before sunset.

19. Seaplane tour to the Dry Tortugas National Park

There is no better way to experience the Dry Tortugas National Park than by seaplane. Not only will you witness a spectacular view of the Great Florida Barrie Reef from above, but when you arrive at the park, you will see an aerial view of Garden Key and Fort Jefferson.
Upon arrival on the island, you will get to tour Fort Jefferson, the largest brick-built structure in the United States, learn the history, take a walk around the moat, go snorkeling, and enjoy secluded beaches. Key West is a paradise and this is one of the best things to do.
You may also take the ferry service from Key West if you are unable to book a seaplane. In the event that this is your only option, it is still worthwhile to attend. Please do not hesitate to attend.

20. Watching dolphins with Honest Eco Tours

We highly recommend Honest Eco if you wish to experience dolphin watching in Key West. Dolphin watching as well as snorkeling trips are included in the trips, making this an ideal way to experience the water.
The sustainability of Honest Eco, eco-friendly boats, knowledgeable guides, and contributions to dolphin research in the waters off Key West were all impressive. During the trip, healthy snacks were provided, such as veggies, hummus, and fresh fruit.
Aside from offering clean and in good condition wetsuits, they also offered snorkeling equipment that fit well. There is nothing better.

21. Great Florida Barrier Reef snorkeling

Great Florida Barrier Reef snorkeling
You must book a snorkeling or diving trip out of Key West if you want to see the Great Florida Barrier Reef, the third-largest barrier reef in the world.
Snorkel trips depart from the main harbor and you can choose from multiple companies depending on your schedule and experience level.
It’s actually something we’ve done twice, both times with Sebago Watersports. In open water, the catamarans are spacious and stable, making it a pleasant trip to and from the reef.
There are a great number of fish to observe, and the water is crystal clear. Put on your suit and sunscreen and get ready for an epic day at sea.
On the island, you will find a number of dive shops that will take you to the best dive sites. We are both Advanced Open Water certified Scuba divers, but we decided to go snorkeling instead.

22. Key West parasailing

Key West parasailing
If you’re visiting the Florida Keys, parasailing is almost a rite of passage. One of the best places in the world to do it has stable weather and unreal views. We couldn’t resist and it literally was the last thing we did before leaving.
Professional and knowledgeable, the operators make you feel at ease with in-depth briefings and even take photos for you.
The best parasailing experience we’ve ever had was this one. We had a gorgeous day and our sail soared above the water, allowing us to see the area around us from a different perspective. You will not find a more beautiful place to try this than here.

23. Kayaking at night on IBIS Bay with LED lights

We recommend looking into an LED Night Kayaking Tour on IBIS Bay if you’re looking for something truly unique.
After sunset, the Stoned Crab tour departs from the pier at the Ibis Bay Resort next to the Stoned Crab restaurant to paddle around the bay. This tour takes around 3 hours.
Our guide was both funny and informative, and the tour is eco-conscious. He showed us a lot of marine life, and we learned quite a bit about the eco-system of the waters in the vicinity of Key West.
Glass bottom kayaks with light illumination were an interesting addition and gave us a wider perspective of the ocean floor as we traversed it. Don’t miss out on the night kayaking tour if you’re looking for something different.

24. Tour by helicopter in the backcountry

It is one of the absolute best things you can do in Key West to fly over it in a helicopter.
As you view the city and island from the vantage point of the backcountry, you are awestruck by the breathtaking views.
Until you see Key West from the air, you can’t really appreciate the area. It was the best part of our trip to Key West.
As we flew around the back-country area, we saw wild islands and sandbars, as well as massive sharks.
That’s right, I said sharks. What you see from above in the crystal clear waters below is really amazing. If you are visiting Key West, don’t miss this!

25. Sailing trip at sunset

Key West is known for its breathtaking sunsets, as I mentioned earlier. Because it is such a big thing on the island, there are many things you can do during this time.
A Sunset Cruise in Key West is a great way to spend an evening with friends or on a romantic getaway.
Relax and enjoy a romantic dinner while sipping champagne, or join a reggae and rum cruise party for all of us.
Relaxing on a sunset cruise after soaking up the Florida sun is nothing short of magical.

26. Eco-kayaking in the mangroves

There are many reasons to visit Key West, including the chance to be on the water, so don’t hesitate to book an eco-tour that includes kayaking through the mangroves that make up the island’s natural eco-system.
You can get up close and personal with the mangrove forests during these trips on calm waters in protected areas. You’ll enjoy the peace and quiet here, without being rushed by the bustle of the city.
Suitable for all skill levels and ages, these tours typically last 2 to 3 hours, feature easy-to-navigate kayaks, and are guided by knowledgeable guides.

27. Two Conchs Charters: Fishing Charters

Florida Keys fishing is world-renowned. While in Key West, you’ll want to book a fishing charter with Two Conchs Charters if you have the desire to reel in some sport fish.
Only a short drive from the downtown of Marathon, the fishing capital of the Keys, you’ll find some of the best fishing in the Keys.
As a result of our reef fishing charter, we pulled out a wide variety of fish from the ocean in a half-day. The experience was the highlight of our recent trip to the Florida Keys, and we highly recommend both the company and the experience.

28. Florida's oldest house

Key West’s historical buildings are one of its most charming features. You should visit The Oldest House in South Florida while you are there..
At 322 Duval Street, the house was built in 1829 and features portraits, original furnishings, ship models, period pieces, and documents that illustrate Key West’s history. Visitors can take a walking tour of the house and learn about its history, occupants, and life on Key West in the 1800’s.
Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss the museum, which is open from 10 am to 4 pm Thursday through Monday.

29. Tropical Gardens & Audubon House Museum

Built in the mid-1800’s in the American Classic Revival style, the Audubon House Museum was established in 1960 by Colonel Mitchell Wolfson and his family.
In Key West today, visitors can enjoy the house’s gardens and galleries, while taking in its rich history.

30. Seaport Historic District of Key West

You’ll find something interesting or fun to do at the Key West Historic Seaport, which just happens to be one of our favorite places to hang out in Key West!
The seaport spans over 20 acres and is home to a marina, shops, bars, restaurants, boat tours, and a wooden boardwalk along the water. When the water is warm, it’s a great place to see wildlife, including manatees.
It is nice to grab a drink here and just watch the daily activities. If you’re into people-watching, this is also a good place to do it. The Historic Seaport also offers a really great food tasting tour as well as a cultural walking tour.

31. State Park at Fort Zachary Taylor

State Park at Fort Zachary Taylor
As the largest cache of Civil War armament in the world, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park predates the Civil War and is a National Historic Monument. The park is also the southernmost on the continent.
History, nature, and spectacular beaches are all found in the park. Touring the fort and enjoying the hiking trails and beaches here would easily fill an entire day.
Public restrooms, changing stalls, a beach café serving food and drinks, chair rentals, and umbrella rentals are available at the beach. Also available are hammock hanging trees, but you must bring your own.

32. Fort Martello West

Fort Martello West
There are three Civil War-era structures in Key West, including the West Martello Tower Fort. Built in 1862, it was once used for target practice by the U.S. Navy. Today, many of its beautiful brickwork and design can still be seen.
While it does not operate as a historic site, it is now home to the Key West Garden Club, who have created a stunning oasis that blends perfectly with the brick fort. The beach is worth a visit if you find yourself in Higgs Beach and need a break from the sun.

33. Cemetery for African Refugees

Cemetery for African Refugees
Higgs Beach has an Africa Refugee Cemetery and memorial built near the parking area that is hard to miss if you are visiting. As part of the memorial, you can learn about the slave trade in Key West, including the lives of several African slaves.
As a nationally significant archeological site, the site has been added to the National Register of Historical Places since 2012.
View the displays and map and take some time to read them. Imagine what it was like for these people. Look for the outlines in the concrete when you’re done. These are some of the actual resting places of the people who were repatriated.

34. Martello Museum at Fort East

Martello Museum at Fort East
Fort East Martello Museum is the last of Key West’s Civil War era forts. As with the West Martello Fort, this fort was built in 1862 to provide additional protection for the beach against confederate sea attacks.
The Key West Art & Historical Society opened this museum in 1950.
During your tour, you will see relics from the Civil War on the fort’s preserved battlements, as well as learn about the history of cigar making and wrecking in the Florida Keys. Robert the Doll lives here as well.
You’re in luck if you’re in Key West to be a beach bum! You can find more detailed information about Key West beaches in our Key West beaches guide.
We’ve compiled a list of four of the best places to soak up the sun if you’re short on time or just want to spend one day relaxing.

35. The beach at Smathers

The beach at Smathers
You’ll want to make time for Smathers Beach when you visit Key West if you are looking for a white sand beach with turquoise waters. This beach offers two miles of free parking, restrooms, lounge chair rentals, and food carts all day long.
The islands offer the perfect place to relax, unwind, and sunbathe while escaping from the hustle of the city.

36. Beach at Fort Zachary Taylor

Beach at Fort Zachary Taylor
Our favorite beach in Key West is located within Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Fort Zach beach is quiet, off the beaten path, and the ideal place to truly unwind.
It is necessary to pay admission to enter the park, $4 per vehicle, but you will be rewarded with less crowds, parking, walking trails, restrooms, a café, and plenty of oceanfront beach.

37. Higgs Beach

Higgs Beach
Due to its accessibility and white sand stretches, Higgs Beach is one of Key West’s most popular beaches. Visitors love it, not only because it is a wonderful walking beach, but also because they can rent loungers here.
During your visit, you can enjoy a pier, grassy park, the West Martello Fort, a botanical garden, and the African Refugee Cemetery. Salute on the Beach, a beachfront café that offers beachside dining, is located here as well.

38. Sunset Key

Beaches on Sunset Key offer an exclusive experience.
Sunset Key is not open to the general public, but exclusive guests of Sunset Key Cottages, spa appointments, or reservations at Latitudes Restaurant may visit the island.
You can enjoy private beach access, pools, and other amenities on the island.
Visitors who love history, art, and architecture, as well as the beach, will enjoy Key West.
Moreover, it is also a mecca for foodies who are always on the lookout for dishes that will entice their taste buds.
At this stylish restaurant, you can order caviar, oysters, ceviche, clams, tuna, and other seafood.

39. Kermit's Key Lime Shoppe serves Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie on a Stick is an essential part of any Florida Keys vacation, and a visit to Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe is a must for anyone visiting Key West!
Here, you’ll also find other varieties of key lime pie, as well as salsa, chutney, taffy, jellybeans, tea, olive oil, and many other treats. It’s totally okay to stop in for lunch and pie here as well.

40. At Blue Heaven for brunch

Blue Heaven is the place to be for brunch, on any given day, and there’s always a line. However, it is worth the wait. It not only serves up tasty island takes on eggs benedict and gigantic pancakes, but it is also situated within a relaxed bohemian atmosphere.
Enjoy the resident chickens, a full belly, and bottomless coffee. To complete the overall experience, the restaurant offers a garden setting that offers shade and relaxation.

41. Get Stone Crabs to eat

Key West is Florida’s top supplier of stone crab claws, and you cannot afford to miss tasting them while you are there.
In October through May, the harvest season begins, and people flock to restaurants to taste the tender sweet meat offered on the menu during this time.
A stone crab dip made from mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce or A1 sauce is served with boiled crab claws served chilled.
There are plenty of places to get stone crab in Key West, but for the atmosphere, The Stoned Crab and Eaton Street Seafood Market are our favorites.

42. Visit the Conch Republic and try conch

It’s only fitting that you try conch while you’re in Key West, since Key West used to call itself the Conch Republic. You decide how you want to enjoy it.
In the most renowned method, conch is sliced and deep fried, then served with aioli and key lime juice. The conch can also be consumed as ceviche with onions, peppers, and lime juice. Chowder with conch can also be enjoyed.
At the Conch Republic Seafood Company, you can enjoy the best conch fritters in Key West. In addition to BO’s Fish Wagon, The Conch Shack is a good place to try conch.

43. El Meson de Pepe serves authentic Cuban food

As Key West is located nearer Cuba than Miami, a Cuban influence should not be surprising.
It doesn’t get more authentic than this at El Meson de Pepe, from culture to food. It is true that we have been to Cuba twice. Trust us!
With live Cuban music and classic Cuban dishes on the menu, we recommend you relax, order a mojito and soak up the atmosphere before you order. The Ropa Vieja is your best bet when you’re ready to order.

44 .Clams and oysters on a half shell raw bar

Half Shell Raw Bar serves some of the freshest catches in Key West and, in our opinion, is the best place to get oysters, clams, and other seafood.
Your mouth will water when the order arrives at your table, whether it is regular or steamed.
No worries if raw food isn’t your thing! They also offer a full menu of other seafood delights such as stone crab, shrimp, scallops, and fresh fish.
We recommend asking for waterside seating to enjoy the seaport while you dine. They have a great bar that resembles an old maritime establishment.

45. Drinks & Dinner at Matt's Stock Island Kitchen & Bar

Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar is located at The Perry Hotel on Stock Island, just north of Key West. You should make a reservation if you’re looking for something a little more upscale with a great menu.
At night, they offer live music and a beautiful ambiance on the marina. You should order the tuna tacos as an appetizer if you like the variety of cocktails on the menu.


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