The Florida Keys are a tropical destination that you can escape to for the perfect beach getaway. Known for the sunny, warm weather and pristine sandy beaches, Key West, Florida is one of the hottest destinations in the Florida Keys. If you are planning a trip and are looking for things to do in Key West, look no further. From museums and historic attractions to gardens and water sports, this guide breaks down the best Key West attractions for a topical getaway that you won’t soon forget!
Key West Tourist Attractions for History & Culture
Key West is a unique destination with deeply rooted culture. If you want to explore those historical roots, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is one of the Key West tourist attractions that you need to visit. This colonial style mansion was constructed in 1851 out of native sea rock. Ernest Hemmingway moved into the home with his wife back in 1931 and today the house holds his personal effects and stunning antiques that he collected throughout his lifetime. Hemmingway actually penned a novel in this mansion and it now doubles as a museum and home for some of his descendants.
The Harry S. Truman Little White House was once a naval command station during the Spanish-American war, but then became President Harry S. Truman’s White House during the frigid winter months. The house is still used as a retreat for U.S. leaders, but the museum is open to the public.
For some of the most stunning sunsets in the United States and certainly the best one in the Florida Keys, you need to stop at Mallory Square for a Sunset Celebration. This waterfront plaza faces west into the Gulf and is one of the best things to do in Key West. Every night before the sun sets, hundreds of people gather to watch the sunset and view vendor booths in a bazaar like atmosphere. There are street performers, live music, and delicious local food.
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the best Key West tourist attractions for history buffs. This 19th century fort is a must see, consisting of 7 tiny islands that are located 70 miles off the coast of Key West. The fort is surrounded by crystal blue waters, healthy reefs, and a diverse marine and sea life. You can take your own boat there or hop on the ferry. Once there, you’ll want to take the 45-minute guided tour that explains all about the history of the site. There’s even some picnic areas and places to swim and snorkel, so bring your bathing suit!
Family Friendly Things to Do in Key West
While Key West is a great destination for couples looking to escape, it also makes a great vacation for the whole family. The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is a Key West vacation idea that both parents and kids can get behind. This marine sanctuary is home to plants and animals local to the Florida Keys. It’s a 6,000 square foot facility and the biggest draw is a 2,500-gallon tank with a reef ecosystem. You can also see habitats like beach dunes, pine lands, and mangrove shorelines while wandering through the interactive exhibits.
When you’re on vacation it’s nice to relax, but sometimes you need a little activity to get your heart pumping and work off all the delicious food and beverages that you are consuming. If you are looking for a relaxing Key West vacation idea, check out Lazy Dog Adventures. Located at Hurricane Hole Marina, you can stop in to rent kayaks, paddleboards, or snorkeling equipment! The knowledgeable tour guides, who are also the owners, will take you through the mangroves and channels, even providing lessons if necessary!
Is there anything more memorable for a kid than getting up close and personal with wildlife? At Wild About Dolphins, you will take a tour and learn about dolphins. Aboard a boat called Amazing Grace, you’ll glide through the waters to see dolphins playing in their natural habitat.
Exploring the Beauty of Key West
Key West truly is a stunning vacation destination. If you are looking to really explore the beauty that the islands have to offer, there are a few ways to do so.
Fun in The Sun Private Charters is a great Key West attraction that allows you to explore uncharted waters—well, not really uncharted, but you get the point! They offer dolphin watching tours, island hopping boat tours, and sunset cruises that are cozy and romantic. The company has three boats that are ready and waiting to take you to unforgettable bays and private islands.
To see what Key West really has to offer, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory packs amazing fauna and wildlife into one building. This magical garden hosts 60 species of exotic butterflies and 20 species of birds in a tropical habitat that is both unique and captivating.
In order to truly explore a new destination, sometimes you need the help of a local. That’s where Lloyd's Tropical Bike Tour comes into the picture. Lloyd will take you an informative and unpredictable two-hour-long bike tour throughout Key West. These tours start every day at 9:45 am and on it, you will explore everything Key West has to offer that you couldn’t get without a local’s perspective!
Whether your itinerary includes one or many of these top Key West tourist attractions, you’re sure to have a great vacation. Once your itinerary is set, all that’s left to do is pack your bathing suit and flip flops and jet off to Key West. The stunning beaches and warm weather eagerly awaits you!