If you’re looking for a vacation spot that has something for everyone, look no further than Key West, Florida. This beautiful island is located in the Florida Keys and offers plenty of activities to keep you busy.
There are many things to do in Key West, from sunbathing on the beach to exploring the local nightlife. We will outline some of the best things to do when you visit Key West to make the most of your time.
#1 – Kayak Through Mangroves
Key West has some of the best kayaking spots in the US. One of the coolest things to do in Key West is kayaking through the mangroves. Mangroves are found in tropical and subtropical regions and provide critical habitats for many animals, fish, and birds.
In addition, mangrove kayaking is a great way to see some of the wildlife that calls Key West home. You might see fish swimming in the water or birds perched in the trees. Be sure to bring your camera so you can snap some pictures.
Several companies offer mangrove kayaking tours in Key West. You can take a guided or self-guided kayak tour. If you’re new to kayaking or want to learn more about the mangroves, a guided tour is the way to go. Kayaking Key West is a great activity on a family vacation.
#2 – Try Other Watersports
Watersports are one thing that makes Key West one of the best vacation spots in the United States. There are plenty of options, like paddleboarding, parasailing, and jetskis.
Paddleboarding is a great way to see local marine life as you make your way through Key West’s warm, crystal-clear waters. You can rent a paddleboard from many local shops, get a workout and enjoy the scenery.
Parasailing is another popular watersport in Key West. If you’ve never parasailed before, Key West is a great place to try it. Several companies offer parasailing tours, so you can find one that fits your budget and comfort level.
Jetskis are a fun way to explore the waters of Key West. There are many jetski rental companies on the island.
#3 – Go Sailing
If you are looking for fun things to do in Key West, Sailing is a great way to relax and enjoy stunning views. Key West is known for fabulous sunsets, and a sunset cruise is a great way to experience them.
Several companies offer sunset cruises in Key West. Most of the cruises last around two hours, and many include food and drinks.
Sailing in Key West is a great activity for couples or friends. In addition, it’s a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening in Key West.
If you’re lucky, you might even see some dolphins swimming in the water.
#4 – Go Snorkeling
If you love being in the water, you will love snorkeling while in Key West. Key West is home to some fantastic snorkeling spots, and the Florida Keys are home to North America’s only living coral reef.
Snorkeling through the crystal clear waters in Key West is a great way to explore the local marine life. You might see fish, turtles, and other sea creatures swimming around you.
Be sure to bring your underwater camera to take pictures of the amazing things you see while snorkeling.
Snorkeling is an excellent activity for all ages, and it’s a great way to see the underwater world of Key West. Several companies offer snorkeling tours in Key West.
#5 – Go Fishing
Fishing is a popular activity in Key West, and the area offers some great places to go fishing. You also have options like chartering a fishing boat for deep-sea fishing.
Deep-sea fishing is a great way to catch some of the bigger fish that thrive in the waters around Key West. You can charter a boat for half a day or a full day.
Chartering a fishing boat is a great way to spend time with friends or family. You can relax on the boat, enjoy the scenery, and reel in some big fish.
You don’t have to charter a boat to catch the big one. You can also try inshore fishing. There are several spots around Key West where you can cast your line and reel in various species, including Tarpon, Bonefish, and Barracuda.
Fishing is an excellent activity for all ages, and it’s a great way to experience the waters of Key West. Or, fishing can be a great gift for the boys while the ladies have a spa day!
#6 – Visit Ernest Hemingway’s House
A list of Key West attractions isn’t complete without visiting the Ernest Hemingway home.
Ernest Hemingway is one of the most famous authors in American history, and his house in Key West is a popular tourist attraction. Hemingway lived in Key West for years, and many of his personal effects are on display inside the house.
Hemingway’s house is located on Whitehead Street, across the street from the Key West Lighthouse, and it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Key West.
The grounds are beautifully maintained, and the Ernest Hemingway House is a must-see for any fan of his work or anyone interested in American literature.
#7 – Bike the Island
Key West, Florida is a bike-friendly community, and it’s a great way to get around the island. You can rent a bike from one of the many rental companies on the island. Renting a bike is a great way to see the sights, get some exercise, and soak up the sun at the same time. Bike rentals typically range from $15-30 per day.
#8 – Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is a must-see for any nature lover or history buff. The park is located about 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The national park is accessible by boat or seaplane and makes for a great day trip.
The national park is a 100-square miles, with seven small islands, and it’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Dry Tortugas National Park is an excellent place to kayak, snorkel, paddleboard, or fish.
The park is also home to Fort Jefferson, one of the largest 19th-century forts in the US.
#9 – Key West Aquarium
Who’s ready for shark feedings?
The Key West Aquarium is the only aquarium in Key West and one of Florida’s oldest. The aquarium is next to the ever-popular Mallory Square. The aquarium has different sea life on display, including sharks, jellyfish, and turtles.
And yes, you can watch them feed sharks four times daily.
The Key West Aquarium is a great place to learn about the local marine life, and it’s an excellent activity for the whole family. If you buy your tickets online, you can save a few bucks.
The Key West Aquarium is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
#10 – Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens is a must-see for any nature lover. The house and gardens are on picturesque Whitehead Street, across the street from the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
The house, built in the 1840s, is beautifully crafted, and the gardens are a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery. The gardens are rich with orchids, exotic plants, birds, and butterflies.
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens is a great place to spend some time and learn about the local history of Key West.
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens is open daily.
#11 – Key West Garden Club
The Key West Garden Club is a great place to see some of the beautiful gardens in Key West. The tropical garden is home to a Civil War-era fort, a beautiful beach and features a variety of native plants and flowers.
The garden is open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm with free admission. Guided tours are also available for $25 per person.
The Key West Garden Club has a variety of gardens on display where you can view orchids, butterflies, cacti, and much more.
The Garden Club is a relaxing place to spend an afternoon while you’re in Key West.
#12 – Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor (named after President Zachary Taylor) is a historic state park located on the southern tip of Key West. It’s a great place to learn about the history of Key West.
The park is home to historical buildings and features a variety of activities such as picnicking, swimming, fishing, and snorkeling. The public beach is trendy, with picnic tables and rental huts available.
You can see incredible sunsets from the beach, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean.
There is a small fee to enter the park, but worth it.
#13 – Visit Mallory Square
On the northwest tip of Key West sits Mallory Square, a great place to watch the sunset. Mallory Square is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars, making it an ideal spot to take in the sights and sounds of Key West.
With passengers from cruise ships and fantastic sunset views, Beware, Mallory Square can be very crowded. But, if you can brave the crowds, it’s a great spot to go at least once, just for the experience.
If you love to people watch and take in the vibrant atmosphere of Key West, Mallory Square is the place to be.
#14 – Southernmost Point in the U.S.
The Southernmost Point in the United States is at the intersection of Whitehead and South Streets, and it’s a popular spot for tourists to take photos. The southernmost point is marked by a sizeable striped buoy that says “90 miles to Cuba”.
The Southernmost Point in the US is a popular spot for photos, but it’s also an excellent place to people watch. So if you are looking for a spot to snap a cool selfie, this is the place to do it.
#15 – Truman Little White House
The Truman Little White House is a historic site located in Key West, Florida. The house was initially built in 1890 and served as the naval station’s command headquarters.
In 1946, President Harry S. Truman decided this would be an excellent spot for the winter White House. Some of the United States leaders still use the house. It’s also a museum open to the public for tours.
#16 – Enjoy Some Beach Time
Surprisingly, Key West isn’t exactly known for its beaches, but there are some options to relax and soak up the sun. Higgs Beach and Smathers Beach are the two signature beaches in Key West.
Smathers Beach is the largest beach in Key West, and it’s a great place to relax with plenty of shade.
Smathers Beach is on the south side of Key West, and it’s an excellent place for swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, sunbathing, and people-watching. The water isn’t very deep, but it’s perfect for a refreshing dip.
Get there early because parking is limited.
#17 – Try the Local Cuisine
Key West is home to great restaurants and cafes, and a trip isn’t complete without sampling some fantastic local flavors. So whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, there’s something for everyone in Key West.
Some of the best places to eat in Key West are Blue Heaven, Conch Republic Seafood Company, and El Siboney. Don’t forget about key lime pie! Check out the Key Lime Pie Bakery to satisfy your sweet tooth.
There are a lot of things to do in Key West. Of course, the hard part is fitting everything in. But, no matter what your interests are, you’ll be able to find something to do in this sunny paradise. So, if you’re looking for a place to relax or a place to adventure, Key West may be a great vacation destination for you.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Steve is the owner of Paddle About, a blog that's all about helping people get out and enjoy nature. He loves to kayak, camp, hike and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not out exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.