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Things to do in Key West

The southernmost point of the Florida Keys combines sun, sea, scenic nature, and even some Ernest Hemingway.

Our most recommended things to do in Key West

Key West: Dolphin Watching and Snorkeling Eco Cruise Tour

1. Key West: Dolphin Watching and Snorkeling Eco Cruise Tour

Enjoy a dolphin-watching cruise in Key West. Snorkel in the Key West Wildlife Refuge, see playful bottlenose dolphins, and enjoy a cold beer or wine as you cruise. Climb aboard a fast catamaran and head out into the Gulf. As you cruise, see the grace and beauty of the resident Key West dolphins in the shimmering turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Look for bottlenose dolphins as they swim, play, and feed. Then, head to the Key West Wildlife Refuge to snorkel in the shallow backcountry waters. Relax in the knowledge that your tour has the prestigious “Dolphin SMART” certification, a national program created by conservation agencies, that protects and promotes the responsible observance of dolphins. Begin your ride back to the dock, and enjoy a complimentary cold beer and chilled wine. Opt for the sunset tour and experience the world-famous Key West sunset as a bonus.

Key West: 2-Hour Sunset Sail on Schooner America 2.0

2. Key West: 2-Hour Sunset Sail on Schooner America 2.0

Take in the vibrant colors of Key West's fabulous sunset as you glide through the waters on one of the finest boats in the Key West Schooner Fleet. Watch the sun fade into the horizon and the stars emerge into the deep blue sky. America 2.0 features teak decks, mahogany-trimmings, and 3,600 square feet of canvas! Sit back and relax while she plies effortlessly through the crystal-clear waters off Key West, heading towards the horizon for the quintessential Florida sunset experience! Some of the sights on this sailing adventure include a view of Fort Zachary Taylor from the water, and views of the famed Sand Key Reef, Mallory Square, and Sunset Pier. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as dolphins, sea turtles, and water birds – and for the famous Key West "Green Flash" at sunset. Bring your family or friends and join the courteous and professional crew for this sunset sail that completes the Key West experience in comfort and elegance.

Key West: Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner and Open Bar

3. Key West: Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner and Open Bar

Climb aboard "The Party Cat" for a wonderful 2-hour cruise around the harbor.   Enjoy a freshly prepared tropical food buffet in an enclosed air-conditioned dining room. Choose from dinner options such as roast pulled pork in mojo sauce, deep fried sweet plantains, black beans and rice, marinated grilled chicken, fried fish, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, pasta with mini shrimp and Cuban bread and butter. Sip on your choice of tipple — margaritas, rum runners, champagne, beer, wine or spirits. After dinner, stroll upstairs to the upper deck for live music. Dance the night away or simply listen to the beat as you watch the sun set over the horizon into the Gulf of Mexico. Witness the beautiful display of colors across the night sky.

Miami: Day Trip to Key West with Optional Activities

4. Miami: Day Trip to Key West with Optional Activities

Get ready for fun in the sun on a day trip from Miami to Key West. Choose to take a glass bottom boat cruise through a maze of mangrove-canopied canals and streams, parasail on the coast, ride a conch train, or jump into the water for a snorkeling session above a coral reef with diverse marine life. Start your day on an air-conditioned bus from Miami Beach to Key West with a 4-hour drive. Watch as your tour guide points out the famous 31 Caribbean Islands along the drive known as the Florida Keys. Cross 43 bridges as you travel through the Keys to Key West. See the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico while driving by the coastline. Key West is the most southern point of the USA and only 90 miles from Cuba. Once you arrive in Key West, get 6 hours to explore the island at a leisurely pace, stroll the artistic streets, or relax at outdoor cafes and restaurants. Upgrade your day trip by choosing an option that includes one of the following inclusions: - Hop-on Hop-off Conch Train All-Day Ticket. This 70-minute narrated tour around Key West is one of Florida’s Top attractions, covers over 100 points of interest, and includes 4 Hop-on Hop-off stops around town. - A 3-hour snorkeling adventure at North America’s only living coral reef. Travel on a state-of-the-art Catamaran, receive professional instruction, use top-of-the-line snorkel gear, and enjoy an open bar on the way back (including sodas beer, wine, champagne, margaritas, well-mixed drinks)  - A 2-hour cruise on a glass-bottom boat where you can witness the wonders of North America’s only living coral reef, maybe spotting sea turtles and rays. Fun for all the family, you also get great views of Key West from the sea. - A 12-15 minute parasail off the coast of Key West on a 1-hour parasailing adventure. Enjoy the tropical vibe of the Keys as you are helped into your parasail harness, before being slowly raised in the air, until you are flying high above Key West. Make your way back from Key West to Miami Beach at 5:00 PM.

Key West: 2.5-Hour Duval Street Pub Crawl

5. Key West: 2.5-Hour Duval Street Pub Crawl

Come along and do the pub crawl down Duval Street, Key West. This street is famous for its party scene, with the bars always rocking day and night on this small island. Throughout your pub crawl you will experience some of the most famous and entertaining drinking establishments in the Florida Keys. This 2.5-hour event happens on the world famous Duval Street. Everyone will have a choice of a domestic beer or mixed drink at all five bars visited, and you will also receive a free souvenir t-shirt to commemorate the event. Experience all the sites and bars of Key West with your "professional enablers" as you embark on your party in paradise. Whether it's the casual Keys atmosphere, live music, or Caribbean drinks you are after, your crawl is sure to be an adventure to remember.

Key West: Old Town Trolley 12-Stop Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

6. Key West: Old Town Trolley 12-Stop Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Enjoy the sun, charming setting, and clear waters of Key West on this Old Town Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. This tour covers the entire city. You can avoid the trouble of driving and parking in a new place. The trolley tour is also designed so that you can hop-on and off and explore on your own, on any of the 12 stops. Your ticket is valid for all day, so you can tour at your own speed. There are frequent pick-ups at all of the 12 stops so you’ll never have far to walk. And our Old Town Trolley conductors will be there to guide you through this tropical paradise on one of the distinctive orange and green trolleys. There are 13 Stops conveniently located close to many places of interest in Key West: 1) 400 Wall St: Mallory Square1a) Whitehead/Caroline St: Presidential Gates2) 280 Margaret St: Mac’s Sea Garden3) Corner of Greene/Simonton St: Simonton Row4) 430 Duval St: La Concha Hotel5) Whitehead/Petronia: Bahama Village6) 2400 N. Roosevelt Blvd: Fairfield Inn7) 3840 N. Roosevelt Blvd: Roosevelt Station8) 3755 S. Roosevelt Blvd: Hampton Inn9) 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd: East Martello10) 1500 Reynolds St: Casa Marina11) South/Simonton St: Southernmost Trolley Stop12) Corner of Truman/Duval St: Truval Village13) Corner of Angela/Duval St: Angela Street Depot

Key West: Dolphin Watching & Snorkeling

7. Key West: Dolphin Watching & Snorkeling

Climb aboard the Sunset One dolphin boat, sit back and listen to your tour guide explain where you are and where you are heading. Get ready to watch dolphins frolic in their natural playground.  Marvel as the dolphin swim closer to the boat so you can get a better view. Head out to the small islands within the boundaries of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Soak in this beautiful little chain of islands and jump into the gorgeous reef, perfect for snorkeling.  See fish up close and maybe some turtles. Climb back aboard and settle yourself in for the ride back to the dock with an ice cold draft beer. Watch the beautiful panoramic sunset over the crystal clear turquoise waters.

Key West: Jet Ski Island Tour with Free Second Rider

8. Key West: Jet Ski Island Tour with Free Second Rider

Climb on a brand new jet ski and set off on a thrilling island jet ski adventure. With your experienced guides, navigate through mangrove islands, stop at a local sandbar for a dip in the crystal clear waters, get a picture of the southernmost point from the water, and more. Each tour has 2 guides to ensure the complete safety of riders. The first guide sets the pace at the front, allowing all riders who want to go fast the opportunity to floor it. The second guide brings up the back, allowing the riders who want a more leisurely tour to go at their own pace. This tour has been voted the best jet ski tour in Key West. Get a great deal with a free second rider on each jet ski.

Key West: Glass-Bottom Boat Sunset Cruise and Reef Tour

9. Key West: Glass-Bottom Boat Sunset Cruise and Reef Tour

Climb aboard a glass-bottom boat and cruise the tropical waters of Key West with a warm ocean breeze as your backdrop. Get dramatic underwater vistas before the sun sets, and see a wide variety of fish and other sea creatures. Take advantage of facilities that include restrooms and a snack bar. The catamaran’s twin hull design allows for maximum stability and much less rocking motion than traditional V-hull boats, allowing for maximum viewing with minimum stress to the delicate reef. Marvel at North America’s only living coral reef and one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems in the world. See stunning elkhorn coral and impressive brain coral. Listen to explanations about marine life from the experienced captain and crew. Then, toast the end of another perfect day in paradise as you watch the sun set. Relax with complimentary soda and champagne as the sun paints the sky brilliant blues, deep yellows, and lovely shades of orange, pink, and red.

Key West: Sunset Sailing Trip with Open Bar, Food and Music

10. Key West: Sunset Sailing Trip with Open Bar, Food and Music

Join a sailing experience to get you closer to the sunset than ever before. Set sail from the historic sea port of Key West and head straight out to sea for a cruise with unobstructed views of the sunset on the horizon. During the cruise, enjoy an unlimited open bar, with a wide variety of drinks on offer including rum runners, Champagne, margaritas, and draft beer. Taste a selection of finger foods, ranging from Swedish meatballs, veggie treats, cheese and crackers, pita and hummus, and meat and veggie platters. You will be sailing on one of Key West's newest sailing catamarans, the Sandie Cat. This vessel has capacity for up to 149 passengers across 3 decks, so there will always be plenty of room onboard. Grab a drink, head to the upper deck, and dance to live music as you watch the sun go down. The captain and crew will even let you help raise the sails and you can ask to have a picture taken driving the boat.

Available activities

  • Key West sunset sails
  • Island snorkeling & diving
  • Dolphin watching & more
  • Exploring the key
  • Island water sports
  • What's new in Key West
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Frequently asked questions about Key West

What top attractions are a must-see in Key West?

What are the most popular museums and exhibitions in Key West?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Key West

Former home to Ernest Hemingway and forever home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in Florida, visiting Key West is a real treat. Getting to the southern-most point in the United States can take some time, so we've enlisted the help of travel experts The Planet D to help you make the most of your time. Read our tips below for your next trip to Key West.

What should I do on my first trip to Key West?

First-time visitors to Key West should head down to Mallory Square for sunset. It really sets the tone and vibe for a Key West vacation. Mallory Square is filled with street performers, views of the Harbour, and a lot of energy and excitement. There are many top Key West attractions near Mallory Square, so go early to see the Maritime Museum, Key West Shipwreck, and Treasure Museum and see the sculpture garden showcasing historical figures from the area.

What are some hidden gems to see in Key West?

When in Key West, take a trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Located 70 miles (113 km) away, Fort Jefferson was a military fort used to defend during the Spanish American War from 1846 to 1876. You can stay over and camp on Garden Key and it has beautiful white-sand beaches. Make sure to go kayaking to the Key West Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the United States, where you will paddle through mangrove forests in search of wildlife.

How much time should I spend in Key West?

When planning a trip to Key West, we suggest spending at least three nights. Five days in Key West is ideal giving enough time to spend a day or two on the water to see the Dry Tortugas and Wildlife Refuge. Two days are good to see the historic monuments and top attractions and then you will want to spend a day at the beach or enjoying your hotel.

What food is Key West known for?

Key West is famous for its Key Lime Pie. You cannot miss eating this refreshing dessert. Made with Florida Key Limes and condensed milk on a graham cracker crust, this treat is served all over Key West. One of the most famous places to grab a slice is at Kermits. Key West is also known for Conch. (pronounced Conk) Conch is the meat that comes from those large beautiful seashells. You can order conch fritter, conch chowder, cracked conch, and conch sandwiches. No trip to Key West would be complete without enjoying these two staples.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Key West?

We’ve stayed both downtown on Duval Street at the Crown Plaza in the heart of the action and out farther out on a quiet resort. It depends on what experience you want in Key West. Duval Street keeps you close to the party and within walking distance to many of the top attractions in Key West. If you want a quieter place to stay on the outskirts of town.

What is the best way to get around Key West?

It’s easy to walk to many of the sites in Key West around Mallory Square and Duval Street. To see some of the other sites, hop on a trolley tour or take the hop on hop off bus. The Conch Train is also one of the most popular attractions and it takes you around to all of the top places to visit. Another great way to get around is to rent a bike and have the freedom to cover a lot of ground independently.

What are the best months to visit Key West?

The high season in Key West is from the end of November to the end of February. This is when you’ll find the most crowds and the highest prices. A good time to visit is from March to May for more affordable hotel rates but the weather is comfortable and not too hot. October is a fun time to visit as well when Key West is gearing up for Fantasy Fest at the end of the month.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The Key West streets are filled with shops and you’ll find some of the best shops in Old Town, Duval Street, and the Shops at Mallory Square.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Key West?

Everyone will love riding the Conch Train around the island showcasing the top sites in Key West. With an engineer telling tales about the history and culture of the island, it’s a fun and informative tour. The Key West Butterfly Conservatory is a good choice for families to walk among hundreds of butterflies and birds in a tropical rainforest environment.

What is the best thing to do for solo travelers in Key West?

The best thing for solo travelers in Key West is to join a Duval Street pub crawl. This is a great way to meet people and go out on the town in a safe environment. Another great way to meet people is to join a party cruise or waterspouts adventure tour where you can spend the day on the water going kayaking, jet skiing, and parasailing. Or try one of the popular tours like the Rum and Reggae snorkeling tour. You’ll have the opportunity to get in the water on a tour, make new friends and enjoy a cocktail or two.

What is the best thing to do in Key West for couples?

The best thing for couples to do in Key West is to join a sunset cruise on a schooner or catamaran. What could be more romantic? Well, a romantic candlelit dinner at Sunset Key could be more romantic. Make a reservation and take the shuttle boat from Key West to Sunset Key for the best view in town.

What are the best annual events in Key West?

Fantasy Fest is by far the most original annual event that happens in Key West. Taking place at the end of October each year, it is a 10 day festival for adults with parades, partying, and elaborate costumes. Hemingway Days is an annual event in July that celebrates the life of Ernest Hemingway who called Key West home for eight years.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities?

The best places to enjoy outdoor activities in Key West is the Key West Wildlife Refuge for snorkeling, dolphin spotting, and birdwatching. John Pennekamp State Park is the only living reef in the United States and is popular for snorkeling and scuba diving. And Dry Tortugas National Park is good for camping, swimming, and snorkeling.

What are the best beaches in Key West?

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is one of the best beaches in Key West. Located in the State Park there is an entrance fee, but it is a great combination of beach life and a walk-through history at Fort Zachary Taylor. Smather’s Beach is the longest beach in Key West with 2 miles of white sandy beaches where you can rent beach chairs. Dry Tortugas has a picture-perfect white sandy beach that is completely deserted. And Higgs Beach is another great beach in Old Town that has a long wooden pier.

Other Sightseeing Options in Key West

Want to discover all there is to do in Key West? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Key West

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 3,852 reviews

Very cool experience! The crew ensured a pleasant stay with unlimited food and drinks. The canoe trip could have been a little longer. This was divided into two groups given the number of canoes. Our round was a bit short because the previous group ran out as someone had fallen out of the canoe. But would be nice if you could canoe for an hour. Now it was only half an hour.

+ Many dolphins close to boat + Very nice snorkeling area for beginners (clear water, shallow, no current) + complementary drinks

One of the best experiences in Key West. Good food, good drinks, good music, great fun!

Lots of fun, good interaction guides/customers, 9-year old granddaughter loved it

Wonderful tour out to the sea and see the stunning coral reef