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Things to do in Key West

Things to do in  Key West

Welcome to Key West

Colorful Key West combines a tropical island vibe with a laid-back lifestyle for a Caribbean-esque vacation at the southernmost tip of the United States. History buffs will want to take a sun break to visit Ernest Hemingway’s Home and Museum, President Harry S. Truman’s Little White House, and the Key West Shipwreck Museum. Water lovers can explore on guided cruises, snorkeling or kayaking tours, Jet Ski rides, or quiet evening sails. Sunset is a major event each evening, with crowds gathering at Mallory Square to watch the show and enjoy street performances. Most people also visit festive Duval Street to explore the bars, restaurants, and art galleries.

Top 10 attractions in Key West


Mallory Square

Few things are as beautiful as a Florida sunset, so while you are in Key West, be sure to celebrate the sunset in true Key West style - at Mallory Square. Every night, starting two hours before the sunset, the square hosts its "Sunset Celebration." Arts and crafts exhibitors, street performers and food carts descend on the square providing you with fun entertainment to enjoy in the last daylight hours. During the daytime, Mallory Square offers numerous attractions at its many restaurants and shops. While you are there, you should also check out the famous Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden. Open since 1997, the garden contains 36 bronze busts of the men and women who have had the greatest impact on Key West. The most famous of these are renowned writer Ernest Hemingway and President Harry S. Truman.More

Key West Cruise Port

Key West is both a city and an island that is part of the Florida Keys and considered to be the southernmost city in the continental United States. With a laidback and slightly offbeat vibe, numerous famous writers, artists and musicians have called it home over the years. Cruise ships have been stopping at Key West since 1969 and today it welcomes nearly half a million cruise passengers every year. Your ship will likely dock at either Mallory Square or the Truman Annex, both of which are just a few blocks from Duval Street in central Key West. If your ship docks further out at the Navy Mole, near Fort Zachary Taylor. In that case, trolleys are available to shuttle you into the Old Town.More

Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum

The Key West Lighthouse is one of the island's oldest relics, as it was first built in 1825 to help ships navigating the dangerous reefs of the lower keys. The lighthouse had a rather rough history, as it was often destroyed and damaged throughout the years and had to be replaced and restored. The one that stands there today was completed in 1849, but has undergone several additions throughout the years. It now stands at about 100 feet (30.5 m) above sea level. As the 15th oldest surviving lighthouse in the U.S., its proud history makes it well worth seeing. Climb up the 88 steps of the circular iron stairway to access a lookout area with spectacular views of the ocean and Keys. One of the most interesting aspects about lighthouses are the stories of the keepers who lived there. The Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum is no exception. Visit the newly restored keeper's home and learn about the perilious job that cost some keepers their lives.More

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

One of Key West's most famous residents, Ernest Hemingway, called the island his home from 1931 to 1939. Nestled among towering palm trees, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a popular destination that allows you to see where the iconic American author lived and worked. Walk along the narrow pathway through the luscious gardens, overflowing with tropical plants, or look at the round wooden desk where Hemingway typed out his famous works on an old typewriter. The Hemingway house offers an unparalleled glimpse into the life of one of the most complex thinkers in American history. The house is also famous for the sixty cats that roam the grounds. About half of these cats are polydactyl, meaning they have extra toes. Some of the cats are supposedly descendants of Hemingway's own six-toed cat, though this a much a disputed fact.More

Fort Zachary Taylor

Popular for both its military history and current recreational opportunities, Fort Zachary Taylor is also the location of one of Key West’s favorites beaches. Spanning 54 acres, Fort Zachary Taylor is worth a visit both for its colorful past and its attractive present. Construction on Fort Taylor was begun in 1845 and the Fort hosted active duty squadrons until 1947. During the period of the Civil War, Fort Zachary Taylor remained one of only three fortresses in Florida to remain under Federal control; it’s now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and contains the largest cache of Civil War-era seacoast cannons in the U.S. Fort Taylor was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Tours are conducted daily and pamphlets for self-guided tours are available as well. Today, Fort Zachary Taylor is best known for its outdoor activities and is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.More

Southernmost Point of the Continental USA

The ultimate reminder of Key West's prime location and ideal climate, this monument is supposedly the southernmost point in the continental U.S. Built to resemble a buoy, this Southernmost Point is really better suited as a photo op than an actual marker. Its location is not in fact the southernmost point in the continental U.S., but that fact is merely a technicality. No one at home will know this when they are jealously drooling over pictures of you enjoying the tropical weather that treats those who journey close to the equator! Snag a photo in front of the buoy to commemorate your trip and you will be certain to sigh over pictures from that day for years to come.More

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

When visiting the Florida Keys it is hard to miss the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as most of the water surrounding the Florida Keys is part of the sanctuary. Covering 2,900 square nautical miles, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the incredible underwater world of the Florida Keys, where reefs and animals flourish. During a visit to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, you have a few different options for how to experience this protected area of nature. The sanctuary is home to the world’s third largest barrier reef and is an excellent spot for scuba diving or snorkeling. There are even a series of shipwrecks you can explore as a diver called Shipwreck Trail. If you’d rather stay above water, you can rent a boat to explore the sanctuary and possibly do some fishing. When boating it is important to use mooring buoys for your anchor as they won’t damage the reef.More

Harry S. Truman Little White House

Located in what is now called the Truman Annex in Old Town Key West, the Harry Truman Little White House was the winter White House for President Truman for a total of 175 days over the course of 11 visits. However, Truman is not the only president and notable figure to enjoy some respite in Key West. The house originally served as the base commandant’s house for the naval submarine station at Key West. President Taft was the first to visit in 1912 and Thomas Edison resided in the house during World War I. Over the years, six American presidents have used the residence, but the most important usage was by President Harry Truman from 1946 -1952. Due to advances in technology, Truman realized that he could continue to act on matters of importance outside of Washington, D.C. and thus, the Little White House became his home from November-December and February-March, allowing the president a time of rest and recuperation.More

Dry Tortugas National Park

With its name coming from the Spanish word for "Turtles," it's no surprise that the main attraction that the Dry Tortugas have to offer is their beautiful tropical wildlife. The abundant sea life and colorful coral reefs, along with legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures, are what draw visitors to the seven small islands off the coast of Florida known as the Tortugas. The Dry Tortugas National Park preserves the islands as well as the famous Fort Jefferson. The park's centerpiece, Fort Jefferson, is a massive but unfinished coastal fortress that is the largest masonry structure in the West hemisphere. It is composed of over 16 million bricks. Come and marvel at the enormous structure, with its stoic, plain construction. After looking at Fort Jefferson, be sure to enjoy the beautiful wildlife the islands have to offer, whether you go snorkeling, scuba diving, saltwater fishing, or bird watching.More

Key West Aquarium

The Key West Aquarium, located in a charming white building with blue trim and awnings, is a great place to get up close and personal with some of Key West's aquatic life. Expert guides lead tours that offer a wealth of information about the wildlife of the Florida Keys. Daily shark and turtle feedings are a fun way to see some of the animals go crazy with excitement. One its most unique features is that it encourages a hands on experience that you wouldn't normally expect to find in an aquarium. Their touch tank allows you to interact with a wide array of aquatic life. There is even an opportunity to pet a shark! A perfect destination for people of all ages, this is definitely an attraction that any animal or nature lover won't want to miss!More

Trip ideas

5 Best Weekend Getaways from Key West

5 Best Weekend Getaways from Key West

Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Spots in Key West

Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Spots in Key West

How to Spend 2 Days in Key West

How to Spend 2 Days in Key West

How to Spend 3 Days in Key West

How to Spend 3 Days in Key West

Recent reviews from experiences in Key West

A must do in Key West!
Richard_N, Feb 2021
Guided Bicycle Tour of Old Town Key West
This is the best way to see Key West!
Great experience
Schuyler_S, Feb 2021
Key West Southernmost Food and Cultural Walking Tour
Excellent way to see Key West.
Well worth the time
Rod_R, Feb 2021
Guided Bicycle Tour of Old Town Key West
Great way to see Old Town Key West - the stories that go with the tour make it an enjoyable tour - a must see when visiting.
Looks like the pictures
CaliforniaMom, Feb 2021
Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure in Key West
We were amazed to see huge sharks close up.
Great experience
Dana_E, Nov 2020
Key West Haunted Pub Crawl and Ghost Tour
We even talked with her after our tour ended about other things to do while in Key West.
Great way to see a sunset
Erin_J, Nov 2020
Key West Sunset Dinner Cruise with Tropical Buffet
A great way to see a Key West sunset and enjoy great food and music.
Ghost tour
Tonya_M, Oct 2020
Key West Ghost and Gravestone Trolley Tour
A great way to see Key West and learn about the history.
A perfect Key West Experience
Andrew_S, Aug 2020
Ultimate Adventure from Key West including Breakfast, Lunch and Drinks
It has all the activities you could ever want to do in key west and it is a day full of fun!
Sunset dream
Cassandra_H, Feb 2021
Key West Sunset Sail with Full Bar, Live Music & Hors D'oeuvres
My boyfriend came to visit from California and it was his first time in Key west so it was really special to end our trip with this sunset cruise before our drive back to Miami.
Worth the trip
Natasha_H, Feb 2021
Key West Full-Day Power Adventure: Sailing & Watersports Package
Didn't get to see much of that because how choppy the water has been and the rain coming in.
We love it - even without snorkelling.
Katarzyna_B, Jan 2021
Key West Florida Reef Half-Day Snorkeling Excursion
We just promised the kids to come back on a snorkelling excursion at the summer time.
Good for first timers
Arif_K, Dec 2020
Scuba Diving Guided Tour from Big Pine Key
Don't expect to see much of the coral life.
Shawna_M, Feb 2021
Guided Bicycle Tour of Old Town Key West
Very good way to see Key West and fun to learn a bit.
Highly Recommended
Jace_H, Jul 2020
Key West Premium Sunset Sail aboard Schooner with Hors D'oeuvres and Full Bar
The views were amazing, sunset was unforgettable but also got to see some dolphins along the way.
Worth it
Kassandra_B, Jun 2020
Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure in Key West
What a great way to see the marine life in Key West - they truly know what they are doing!
Great history lesson
dredgerton, Feb 2020
Key West Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
Fantastic way to see the island and learn about Key West.
A fun and tasty tour!!
mjp307, Feb 2020
Key West Southernmost Food and Cultural Walking Tour
I will definitely aim to visit here again in the near future to experience more that this beautiful, fun city has to offer.
Best part of our trip
Dioseslov, Oct 2019
Key West Full-Day Power Adventure: Sailing & Watersports Package
So much fun with many activities not to mention awesome breakfast, lunch and unlimited drinks.
Easy way to see the keys.
miray982018, Jun 2019
Key West Conch Tour Train
It was a good way to see most of the attractions in Key West.
A fun way to see Key West!
euphoric_cow, May 2019
Key West Conch Tour Train
This was a great way to see the main sights of Key West in a short time frame.

Frequently Asked Questions