Florida Splendors is supported by our audience. When you purchase through one of our links, we may earn a small affiliate commission.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Your cost is not affected.

Photo by dwsquire on Pixabay


Discover the top Key West things to do, from vibrant Mallory Square to the fascinating Key West Shipwreck Museum.


Welcome to Key West, the most beautiful and vibrant corner of Florida! From its white sandy beaches to its diverse array of activities and attractions, Key West is a place where you can truly make some lasting memories. Regardless of the time of year (although Spring may be the best!), this magical island has something for everyone.


Whether you love lounging in the sun or exploring new places, hiking tropical trails or shopping waterfront markets, kayaking through crystal-clear waters or scuba diving with colorful fish – no matter your interests there’s sure to be something that will keep you coming back time and again. Of course, those picturesque beaches might be calling you, too.


To help guide your explorations, here are our favorite things to do in Key West. Start planning that vacation now!

About Key West, Florida

Key West, the southernmost city in the continental United States, is a tropical paradise that boasts azure waters, white sandy beaches, and a laid-back atmosphere. Located at the tip of the Florida Keys, Key West is a popular destination for travelers seeking sun, sand, and adventure.

This unique island city is teeming with history, culture, and an array of activities that cater to everyone, from couples looking for a romantic getaway to families seeking fun-filled adventures. In this article, we will explore the top Key West things to do that will make your trip unforgettable.

Key West is a small island, but it packs a punch when it comes to attractions and activities. With a rich history dating back to the 1800s, Key West has been home to famous figures like Ernest Hemingway and President Harry S. Truman.

The island’s pristine waters and vibrant coral reefs make it a haven for water sports enthusiasts, while its lively art and cultural scene offer a glimpse into the island’s colorful past. From exploring the island’s historic landmarks to indulging in its unique culinary experiences, there is no shortage of things to do in Key West.

So, whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will help you discover the best things to do in Key West. So, let’s dive in and start planning your ultimate Key West adventure!

key west, florida, florida keys


Top Key West Attractions and Landmarks

key west, florida, sunset

Ernest Hemingway, the famous writer, used to live here. This house is now a museum where you can see all the awesome stuff he had and learn about his life. The house is designed in a Spanish style, and it’s packed with things that belonged to Hemingway. You can see his stuff up close, helping you understand more about him.

And here’s the fun part: cats live there with six toes! These cats are like great-great-grandkids of Hemingway’s cats. So, not only do you get to explore the house and learn about Hemingway, but you also get to hang out with some cool cats. It’s a neat place to visit if you like books and cats!

  • Harry S. Truman Little White House

The Harry S. Truman Little White House is a special place with a rich history. President Truman used this house as a winter retreat when he was in office. Today, visitors can visit this historic site to glimpse Truman’s life as the President.

You will find a beautifully restored house waiting for you when you go there. It’s like stepping back in time. They have guided tours, meaning someone knowledgeable will show you around and share exciting stories about Truman’s life. Some exhibits provide more information, making it a great way to learn about this vital part of history.

  • Southernmost Point Buoy

    Southernmost Point Buoy / Flickr / Watts

    Southernmost Point Buoy / Flickr / Watts

No trip to Key West is truly awesome without checking out the Southernmost Point Buoy! This colorful buoy is like a giant marker saying, “Hey, you’re at the bottom of the U.S.!”

People love taking pictures with it because it is a unique spot. Just a heads up, there might be a line because everyone wants a pic with this famous landmark.

But trust me, it’s worth the wait. So, if you’re in Key West, swing by and grab a cool photo to show off to your friends. It’s like a must-do thing here!

  • Key West Lighthouse

    Key West Lighthouse / Flickr / J. Stephen Conn

    Key West Lighthouse / Flickr / J. Stephen Conn

The Key West Lighthouse is one of the must-visit attractions in Florida. It was built in 1847, making it one of the oldest spots on the island!
You can climb up 88 steps to reach the very top of the lighthouse. From there, you can see the whole island and the incredible ocean around it.

And guess what? Right next to it is the Keeper’s Quarters Museum, where you can peek into the lives of those who took care of the lighthouse. It’s like stepping into the past and discovering incredible stories. So, if you’re in Key West, remember to check out this historic and fun place.

  • Mallory Square

    Mallory Square / Flickr/ Steven Miller

    Mallory Square / Flickr/ Steven Miller

Mallory Square is the lively heart of Key West Florida. It has many shops, restaurants, and attractions, perfect for a laid-back afternoon. However, the real magic happens during the Key West Sunset Celebration, which is held every evening.

The square becomes a mini-festival with street performers, artists showcasing their talents, and delicious food stalls. It’s all set against a stunning sunset, making it an unforgettable experience. Whether exploring shops, grabbing a bite, or soaking in the lively Celebration, Mallory Square is a must-visit spot in Key West.

It’s where the island’s vibrant spirit comes to life, and you get to be right in the middle of the fun. So, if you’re in Key West, don’t miss the good times at Mallory Square!


Must-Try Key West Water Activities


Key West is surrounded by crystal-clear waters, making it a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you prefer to explore the underwater world or glide across the surface, there are plenty of water activities to choose from.

  • Snorkeling

Snorkeling in Rock Key / Flickr / SNORKELINGDIVES.COM

Snorkeling in Rock Key / Flickr / SNORKELINGDIVES.COM

Key West is like a snorkeler’s dream come true as it’s part of the Florida Keys, home to the only living coral barrier reef in the U.S. mainland. This means it’s an awesome spot for snorkelers!

There are fun tours you can join to go snorkeling at the reef. Dip into the water and swim with colorful fish and friendly sea turtles. You may even spot a shark from a safe distance.

It’s like exploring an underwater world full of wonders. So, if you are into snorkeling or want to try something exciting, Key West is the place to be.

  • Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving with Fish / Flickr / Lee & Ayu

Scuba Diving with Fish / Flickr / Lee & Ayu

Dive into the excitement of scuba diving in Key West, and you will be introduced to a whole new world under the sea. Explore colorful coral reefs, mysterious shipwrecks, and hidden underwater caves.

In addition, there are fantastic dive sites you can check out, including the famous Vandenberg Wreck, where you feel like you’re discovering a secret underwater treasure.

And take advantage of the fascinating coral formations at Looe Key that look like an underwater garden. So, if you’re up for an adventure, put on your diving gear, take a deep breath, and dive into Key West’s underwater world’s awesomeness.

  • Kayaking

Kayaking / Flickr / Lynne Hand

Kayaking / Flickr / Lynne Hand

Grab a kayak, and let’s explore the hidden treasures of Key West. Visitors can paddle through the calm and crystal-clear waters of mangrove forests and backcountry areas.

You will love this nature adventure right on the water. Keep an eye out for all sorts of things– marine life, birds, and other wildlife are waiting to say hello.

If you’re new to this, no worries! There are friendly guides ready to show you around on guided kayak tours. However, if you’re feeling like an explorer, rent a kayak and set off on your very own water journey. It’s a fun way to experience the beauty and tranquility of Key West’s amazing natural spots.

  • Sailing

Sailing Tour / Flickr / Don Sampson

Sailing Tour / Flickr / Don Sampson

Hop on a sailboat and explore Key West from the water. You can rent a whole sailboat for your group or join a fun sailing tour with others.

Feel the warm ocean breeze on your face as you smoothly sail along the pretty shoreline of the island. Keep a lookout for playful dolphins and other sea creatures – they might just come by to say hello.

You will love this relaxing adventure with mesmerizing views all around. So, if you want to try something new, sailing in Key West is the way to go. Get ready for a breezy and beautiful day out on the ocean.

  • Fishing

    A Great White Egret Waiting for a Fish / Flickr / Stig Nygaard

    A Great White Egret Waiting for a Fish / Flickr / Stig Nygaard

Fishing in Key West Florida is one of the most sought-after activities. It is the ultimate spot for world-class sport fishing and a year-round playground for fishing enthusiasts.

You can book a fishing charter and head out to catch some fantastic fish. Ever heard of tarpon and sailfish? They are the rockstars of the fishing world, and you might snag one.

Imagine the excitement as you try your luck reeling in these prized game fish. With so many species to target, every fishing trip is a new and thrilling experience. So, if you’re up for a challenge and want to show off your fishing skills, Key West is the place to be. Get ready to cast your line and reel in some big catches.


Exploring Key West’s Vibrant Art and Culture Scene

key west, florida, usa


Key West is known for its quirky, creative atmosphere, which is evident in the island’s thriving art and culture scene. From galleries and museums to live performances and festivals, Key West’s artistic offerings are sure to inspire and entertain.

  • The Studios of Key West

This multi-disciplinary arts center offers a variety of art exhibitions, workshops, and performances. Browse the galleries, take a class, or catch a live show, and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene that Key West is known for.

  • Key West Art and Historical Society

Housed in the historic Custom House, this museum celebrates the island’s rich cultural heritage. Discover local artwork, artifacts, and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Key West’s colorful past.

  • Theater and Live Performances

Key West is home to several theaters and performance spaces, including the Red Barn Theatre, Waterfront Playhouse, and the Key West Theater. Catch a play, concert, or comedy show, and enjoy an evening of entertainment in this charming island city.

  • Fantasy Fest

Held each October, Fantasy Fest is a 10-day celebration of art, creativity, and self-expression. The festival features a variety of events, including costume contests, street fairs, and the famous Fantasy Fest Parade. This lively event is a must-attend for anyone interested in the arts and Key West’s unique culture.


Best Things to Do in Key West for Couples

adult, mother, daughter


Key West is the perfect destination for couples seeking romance, adventure, or a little bit of both. From intimate sunset cruises to leisurely bike rides, there are plenty of things to do in Key West for couples.

  • Sunset Cruise

Board a catamaran or sailboat for a romantic sunset cruise around Key West’s harbor. Enjoy champagne and hors d’oeuvres as you watch the sun sink below the horizon, creating a breathtaking display of colors.

  • Bike Tour

Rent bicycles and explore the island’s charming streets and neighborhoods at your own pace. Follow the shoreline or venture through the quaint, tree-lined streets, stopping at points of interest along the way.

  • Spa Day

Treat yourselves to a relaxing spa day at one of Key West’s many wellness centers. Indulge in massages, facials, and other pampering treatments that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

  • Wine Tasting

Visit one of Key West’s local wineries or wine bars for a tasting experience. Sample a variety of wines while learning about the winemaking process and the unique characteristics of each bottle.

  • Picnic on the Beach

Pack a picnic and head to Key West’s beautiful beach for a romantic afternoon. Relax on the sand, take a dip in the ocean, and enjoy each other’s company as you watch the waves roll in.


Exciting Family-Friendly Activities in Key West

key, west, florida



Key West is a fantastic destination for families, with various fun and educational activities catering to all ages. From interactive museums to wildlife encounters, there is plenty for families.

  • Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

This enchanting attraction is home to hundreds of butterflies, as well as exotic birds and colorful flowers. Wander through the lush, tropical gardens and watch the butterflies flutter around you, or participate in one of the daily educational programs.

  • Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center

This interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits, videos, and displays that teach visitors about the diverse ecosystems of the Florida Keys. The center is a great way for families to learn about the region’s unique flora and fauna and the importance of conservation efforts.

  • Conch Tour Train

All aboard the Conch Tour Train for a narrated tour of Key West’s most famous landmarks and attractions. This open-air train is a fun and informative way for families to explore the island and learn about its history.

  • Key West Aquarium

Get up close and personal with the marine life of the Florida Keys at the Key West Aquarium. Discover a variety of sea creatures, from sharks and stingrays to sea turtles and jellyfish. The aquarium offers daily feedings, touch tanks, and interactive exhibits that are both fun and educational.

  • Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

This state park is great for families to spend a day outdoors. Explore the historic fort, swim at the beach, or hike along the nature trails. The park also hosts various events and activities throughout the year, including reenactments, concerts, and festivals.

Wildlife and Conservation Efforts at Rainbow Springs



Rainbow Springs is an important habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, making conservation efforts crucial to ensuring the park’s long-term health. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection works diligently to protect and preserve the park’s unique ecosystems, implementing measures such as controlled burns to maintain the area’s natural habitats.

Visitors can also play a role in preserving Rainbow Springs by adhering to the park’s guidelines and respecting its delicate ecosystems. By doing so, we can help ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy this natural treasure.


The video showcases the adventure that awaits in Key West, highlighting its famous landmarks such as the lighthouse, Ernest Hemingway’s home and museum, and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. It suggests engaging activities such as renting a scooter to explore the island, visiting the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, or touring the House of Representatives. After sunset, Duval Street comes alive with nightlife and restaurants. The video also highlights the breathtaking sunset at Mallory Square and the unique experience of trying out Key West’s famous rum or embarking on a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. In addition, the video suggests inflatable kayaking as a fun activity to enjoy the crystal-clear waters around Key West.

Video Credit: @ThroughMyLens

Key West’s Unique Culinary Experiences

restaurant, beach restaurant, beach bar



Key West’s food scene is as eclectic as its culture, with a variety of cuisines and flavors to suit every palate. From fresh seafood to Cuban-inspired dishes, Key West’s culinary offerings are sure to satisfy.

  • Conch Fritters

A staple of Key West cuisine, conch fritters are a must-try for any foodie visiting the island. These savory fritters are made from conch meat, peppers, and onions, and are often served with a spicy dipping sauce.

  • Cuban Coffee

Get a taste of Cuba with a cup of strong, sweet Cuban coffee. Served in small espresso cups, this coffee is brewed with sugar and is the perfect pick-me-up for a busy day of exploring.

  • Key Lime Pie

No trip to Key West is complete without a slice of the island’s famous key lime pie. Made with tangy lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and a graham cracker crust, this dessert is a refreshing treat on a hot day.

  • Seafood

Key West is known for its fresh seafood, with various restaurants serving everything from shrimp and lobster to grouper and snapper. For a truly authentic experience, try the local specialty of hogfish, a delicious white fish only found in the waters surrounding the Florida Keys.

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Options

While Key West is known for incredible seafood fare, vegetarian and vegans will find plenty to enjoy in the local cuisine, too. In fact, many of the locals and repeat vacationers flock to impressive vegetarian food available. You can find a list of some of the best in this article.

  • Food Tours

Take a guided food tour of Key West and sample the island’s diverse culinary offerings. From street food to fine dining, these tours are a great way to discover new flavors and learn about the island’s food culture.

Outdoor Adventures and Nature Experiences in Key West

southermost point, key west, cuba


Key West’s natural beauty is a major draw for visitors, with a variety of outdoor adventures and nature experiences to enjoy. From exploring the island’s mangrove forests to swimming with dolphins, Key West offers plenty of opportunities to connect with nature.

  • Dolphin Encounters

Swim with the dolphins at one of Key West’s many dolphin encounter programs. These programs offer a unique opportunity to interact with these intelligent creatures in a safe and controlled environment.

  • Eco Tours

Explore the island’s mangrove forests and backcountry waters on a guided eco-tour. These tours offer a chance to see a variety of wildlife, including birds, fish, and marine mammals, while learning about the delicate ecosystems that make up the Florida Keys.

  • Paddleboarding

Try your hand at paddleboarding in Key West’s calm, clear waters. This fun and easy activity is a great way to explore the island’s shoreline and get some exercise at the same time.

  • Bike Trails

Key West has several bike trails that offer scenic routes through the island’s neighborhoods and parks. Rent a bike and explore at your own pace, or join a guided bike tour for a more informative experience.

  • Kayaking or Canoeing

When visiting Key West, many kayak or canoe through the ocean. Others choose a boat tour. Whichever you opt for, expect to see plenty of marine life in their natural habitat. With the availability of rental kayaks, you can rent rather than bring yours. But we see many who pack up their kayaks and head for the Atlantic Ocean at Key West.

  • Snorkeling, Scuba, or Snuba

For those choosing to get close to marine life and view some beautiful coral reefs, Key West gift shops and rental businesses usually have the gear you can rent. Or, bring your own! Remember your waterproof camera, too.

Walking around Key West offers a chance to get that true island experience. But for a visual view from the air, check out the Key West Seaplane Adventures. They have a special seaplane service to Dry Tortugas, one of the most inaccessible National Parks. That’s a day trip you won’t soon forget.

  • Dry Tortugas National Park

This remote national park is only accessible by boat or seaplane, but the journey is well worth it. Located 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas is home to pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a historic 19th-century fort.

  • Something For Everyone

Other options that surround key west include bird watching (bring your camera!), listening to live music by local musicians, and taking the sea turtles conservation tour. You might also stop by a gift shop to take home some special momentos. As we’ve mentioned, Key West offers something for everyone!

Tips for Planning Your Ultimate Key West Trip

key west, hemingway house, florida


To make the most of your Key West experience, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Book in Advance

Key West is a popular destination, so be sure to book your accommodations, tours, and activities in advance to avoid disappointment.

  • Pack for the Weather

Key West’s tropical climate means that it can be hot and humid year-round. Be sure to pack light, breathable clothing, and remember your sunscreen and sunglasses.

  • Rent a Scooter

Renting a scooter is a fun and convenient way to explore the island, especially if you plan on visiting multiple attractions in one day.

  • Plan for Traffic

Key West’s narrow streets and heavy traffic can make getting around challenging, especially during peak season. Plan and allow plenty of time to get to your destination. It’s important to remember that Key West locals and vacationers enjoy each moment. You don’t need to rush about it. Plan plenty of time to go from one place to the other. And be sure to absorb each place you visit and activity you try.

  • Try Something New

Key West is a unique destination with plenty of opportunities to try something new. Whether it’s a new water sport or a local delicacy, be open to new experiences and enjoy everything this island paradise has to offer.

  • Bring Your Camera and Plenty of Extra Memory Cards and Batteries

Whether you are visiting the butterfly exhibit, the Key West Historic Seaport, or enjoying a day at the National Park, you’ll find plenty of pictures and videos you want to take. Get some great pictures from the Key West Lighthouse, too. Share these with friends and family!

  • Visit During the Spring Shoulder Season

Key West offers year-round vacation fun. But the months from March to May often see fewer crowds. The winter visitors leave, and the summer crowds begin closer to June. You’ll find slightly lower pricing, more availability, and great weather. Plus, hurricane season begins officially on June 1.


Making the Most of Your Vacation



Key West is a destination that offers something for everyone, from historic landmarks and cultural attractions to outdoor adventures and culinary experiences. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or a significant other, there is plenty to do that will make your trip unforgettable. So, pack your bags, book accommodations, and prepare for an island adventure you’ll never forget.


Have you visited before? What was your favorite experience there? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make the most out of my Florida Keys vacation?

First and foremost, plan ahead! Look up the top Key West things to do, such as snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park, visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and enjoying the sunset at Mallory Square. Don’t forget to indulge in some of the delicious local seafood!

What's the best way to get around Key West?

It is a small island, so exploring on foot, by bike, or even on a scooter is easy! However, if you’d prefer to sit back and relax, hop on the Conch Train or the Old Town Trolley and enjoy a narrated island tour.

Is Key West a family-friendly destination?

Absolutely! it offers plenty of entertainment for families with kids of all ages. Take a trip to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, go on a snorkeling adventure, or visit the family-friendly museums and exhibits.

What's the nightlife like in Key West?

The region is known for its lively and eclectic nightlife scene. From legendary bars like Sloppy Joe’s to the sunset celebrations at Mallory Square, you’ll find something to suit your tastes. Be sure to catch a live performance at the Historic San Carlos Institute or the Tennessee Williams Theatre.

Where can I find the best local cuisine in Key West?

It is a foodie’s paradise! Try some of the delicious Cuban sandwiches at El Siboney, the fresh seafood at Half Shell Raw Bar, or the authentic Key Lime Pie at Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe. And, of course, no visit is complete without a stop at Blue Heaven for their famous banana pancakes!

Where is the key west shipwreck museum in Florida keys?

The Key West Shipwreck Museum is located in Key West, one of the islands in the Florida Keys. Specifically, it is situated at 1 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040, USA. If you plan to visit, it’s a fascinating place to explore the maritime history of the Florida Keys.

Optimized by Optimole

Subscribe To

Florida Splendors' Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. Watch for special offers, too!

No Spam (we promise!)

You have Successfully Subscribed!