There are so many things to do in Key West, Florida! We list 35 top Key West attractions, as well as stops along the Miami to Key West drive.
35 Things To Do In Key West
We’ve been to Key West a few times now, and each time we fall in love with it more and more. There’s just something about the vibe there; it’s fun and has such a chilled and relaxed atmosphere. Since we’ve been there a few times now, we decided to put together this list of 35 Key West attractions.
In this list, we include free things to do in Key West, romantic things to do in Key West, and even things to do in Key West with kids. There’s a little bit for everyone, so you can tailor your trip based on your trip style or who you’re going with.
Every time we visit Key West, we end up doing something new and we know there are still more things we have yet to do or see, so by no means take this as an all inclusive list. They’re just some suggestions that we hope will get you excited to visit Key West.
Watch The Sunset At Mallory Square
An absolute must when you’re in Key West. Check what time the sun is setting and get there at least 30 minutes before, if not more, so you can find a spot to watch the sunset. It gets pretty crowded and you don’t want to get stuck behind a taller person. Believe us, these are some of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen.
Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden
While you’re in Mallory Square, stop by this sculpture garden and check out some of the historical figures that had an impact on Key West and its growth. You’ll even find Mr. Mallory himself!
Say Hello To Roosters And Chickens
Yes, really! They’re everywhere. We’ve even seen them have to be shooed out of restaurants. It’s fun to take pictures, but as with all wild animals, respect them and keep your distance.
Stare At A Cruise Ship
Key West is a popular stop, so don’t be surprised to walk up to Mallory Square and see a giant cruise ship. And get ready for the hordes of people from the ship too.
Look For Iguanas
Unfortunately, these nonnative animals are taking over and causing some disruption in the Keys. It’s believed they stowed away on ships coming from South and Central America and they are now thriving in their new home. They aren’t aggressive, but they can get up to six feet long and have incredibly long tails, so keep your distance.
Key West Aquarium
If you’re looking for things to do in Key West with kids, definitely stop by the Key West Aquarium. They have many local animals and even have touch tanks so you can get up close and personal to many species like sea urchins, giant hermit crabs, and of course, conchs.
Fun Fact: The Key West Aquarium was the first open-air aquarium in the US.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
You may have been to a Ripley’s somewhere else, but we still recommend visiting this one. They always have different things. Plus, it’s just fun!
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
We finally visited the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum on our most recent trip to Key West. It’s all about Mel Fisher and his hunt for treasure and the artifacts and exhibits are pretty incredible.
Old Town Trolley Tours
We personally haven’t done this tour yet, but would still like to do it even though we’ve been to Key West multiple times. We find that these kinds of tours always give out fun facts and tidbits you might not find out otherwise. They’re also a convenient way to get around.
We’re personally not into these, but you might be. Vicky would totally do these but Buddy (ahem) get scared easily. There are a few companies that do ghost tours in Key West and all have pretty good reviews, so if this is your cup of tea we suggest looking into them.
Key West Shipwreck Museum
Discover how Key West was once the richest city in the US! In this museum, visitors go back in time to 1856 when salvaging ship wrecks provided the livelihoods of early settlers.
Walk Along Duval Street
The main street that everyone walks along, Duval Street has bars, restaurants, shops, art galleries, and museums. It’s the beating heart of Key West.
Visit The Smallest Bar
Right on Duval Street, you have to keep an eye out for it or you may walk right passed it. At 72 square feet, it’s the smallest bar in Key West, and almost the smallest bar in the world. Their fruity drinks are yummy and inexpensive.
Capt Tony’s Saloon
Known as the oldest bar in Key West, this famous watering hole was frequented by many legends such as Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Jimmy Buffet.
Gay Key West
Key West has a popular gay scene, with many gay bars and shows along Duval Street. We love the vibe of equality that we find in Key West!
Ernest Hemingway Home And Museum
Probably one of the most popular things to do in Key West is to step inside Ernest Hemingway’s beloved home and learn about his life in Key West, his many wives, and of course, his six-toed cats.
Key West Lighthouse
Who doesn’t love lighthouses? And when this one was opened in 1848, its keeper was a woman (which at that time was really unheard of) which makes it even cooler. There is a small museum where you can learn about the history of the lighthouse and its keepers and you can walk up the 88 steps to get great views of the island.
Mile Marker 0
It’s literally where the US 1 Highway begins. It’s a popular spot to take a photo, so you might have to wait in line. Nearby there are a lot of cute souvenir shops.
Giant Kapok Tree
Near Mile Marker 0 is a giant Kapok Tree. This thing is massive, with beautiful exposed roots. It is sacred to the Mayan people, and they believe that souls of the dead can climb the branches of a kapok tree all the way to heaven.
Truman Little White House
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Duval Street, the Truman Little White House originally served as a naval station’s command headquarters. Then between 1846 and 1952, President Truman used it as a vacation home and functioning White House.
Inside you can see all kinds of photos and artifacts. Our favorite was a photo of President Truman having a meeting with cabinet members and military advisers on the lawn of the house while wearing a tropical shirt and khaki pants.
The Southernmost Point
Another must-do while in Key West, this small monument marks the southern most point of the continental US. It is also 90 miles from Cuba. During the day, lines can get pretty long to take a picture in front of it. If you’d rather not deal with that, we recommend going at night. Just make sure your phone or camera has a good flash.
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
Another Key West attraction the kiddos may enjoy is the butterfly conservatory. Inside, visitors will find displays about the different kinds of butterflies there are in the world, as well as displays on how they form. You can also walk through their glass-enclosed tropical paradise and see hundreds of butterflies, trees, waterfalls, and two flamingos!
Key West Veterans Memorial Garden
We stumbled upon the memorial by accident when we took a wrong turn, but we’re so glad we did. Since Vicky was in the Army, we always like to pay our respects to those who have served in the military.
USCGC Ingham Maritime Museum
Explore a US Coast Guard cutter! It served from 1936 to 1988 and received two Presidential Unit Citations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. Inside you’ll get to see what it was like to live on a cutter and also learn more about the history of the vessel.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Construction of the fort began in 1845, and it served in both the Civil War (on the Union side) and the Spanish-American War. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and two years later was designated a National Historic Landmark. There are guided tours every day at 11am, or you can do a self-guided tour thanks to interpretive panels.
It costs $6.50 per vehicle to get into the park.
Key West’s Best Beach
Designated as Key West’s best beach, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park also boasts a beach! There are trails to go birding, a jetty where you can go fishing, and of course, the beach where you can relax, swim, and snorkel!
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
We found the discovery center on our most recent trip to Key West as we were on our way to Fort Taylor. There are interactive exhibits about the ecology of Key West’s many habitats including mangroves, reefs, and pinelands. It’s a fun place and it’s one of the free things to do in Key West!
Eat Key Lime Pie
If you only eat one thing while you’re in Key West, it has to be Key Lime Pie! There are a few places to get it and a few ways you can get it (we’ve seen chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick). Just make sure you try it at least once during your visit.
Have A Rum Flight At The Rum Bar
It’s no secret that we love rum, so when we saw there were rum flights at The Rum Bar, we had to go in. They have a huge selection of rums from around the world and you can enjoy your drinks at the bar or on the outside patio.
Eat Pizza At Onlywood Grill
Located on Caroline Street, so not exactly in the hustle and bustle of Duval, is the new restaurant Onlywood Grill. They have amazing pizza thanks to their massive brick wood fire oven that was imported from Italy!
Eat at Island Dogs
Near Mallory Square, Island Dogs is a super laid-back bar and restaurant with great food and drinks. They also have live music most nights of the week.
Eat at Caroline’s Cafe
Another great place to eat that’s right on Duval Street is Caroline’s Cafe. They have a lot of great food options, and we opted for a Deluxe Salad while we were there to counter some of the other junk food we’d had that day lol.
Have A Frozen Cocktail At Flying Monkeys Saloon
They’re known for their frozen cocktails! They have a ton of drinks to choose from; we went with a Rum Runner. You can also choose from the standard 16 ounce souvenir cup, the 22 ounce squeeze bottle, or the 32 ounce jumbo squeeze bottle.
Drink Rum At Key West First Legal Rum Distillery
We’re not alcoholics, we swear. But when in Rome…
And Key West may be known for libations, but they’ve actually only had their first legal rum distillery for a few years. And it stands apart because it’s founder is a chef, infusing rum with ingredients like coconut, vanilla creme brulee, and real key lime. Their free Mojito Classes are also considered one of the best free things to do in Key West.
Eat Dessert At Better Than Sex
Make sure you save room for dessert, because OMG!! Visiting this sensual dessert restaurant is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Key West. Get ready for sexual innuendos as you take a look through there dessert and drink menu.
We had the “Peanut Butter Perversion” described as “Deviantly Corrupt Peanut Butter Silk Pie. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Crust. Salted Peanut Chocolate Bark. Adult Jelly.” And we will say, it was amazing!
Stops Along The Miami To Key West Drive
Getting from the mainland to Key West takes roughly four hours. If you have the time, we recommend making some stops either on your way down or on your way back up.
History of Diving Museum
This fun museum is located on the island of Islamorada. The museum is home to a large collection of antiques, books, and photographs that show man’s quest to explore the worlds oceans.
Morada Bay Beach Café
There are many great restaurants along the way to Key West, but this one on Islamorada stood out to us because of the views and the fried oreos!
Bass Pro Shop
We enjoy finding unique Bass Pro Shops (like the Bass Pro Shop in Memphis that’s inside one of the largest pyramids in the world!). Well, on Islamorada, there’s a Bass Pro Shop that has a boat identical to one owned by Ernest Hemingway. It’s believed to have been made in the same town and during the same time period as Hemingway’s boat. You are allowed to climb up and walk around the inside.
Feed Tarpon At Robbie’s
Also on Islamorada is Robbie’s. There’s a bar and restaurant, but the real attraction is being able to hand feed giant tarpon. We decided to sit this one out, but our friend Joe tried. Those suckers will jump out of the water to get at the fish! We are happy to report that Joe still has all of his fingers.
Dolphin Research Center
A fun stop in Marathon is the Dolphin Research Center. There are educational shows throughout the day where you learn about the many dolphins that call DRC home. For an additional cost, you can sign up for other experiences like spending a day with DRC trainers.
Marathon Air Museum
This museum is very small, but it’s free and has some cool pieces including some airplanes outside that you can look into it.
The Turtle Hospital
Also in Marathon, The Turtle Hospital provides visitors with guided tours throughout the facility. It is a working hospital and it’s cool to see the turtles as they’re being rehabilitated.
If you want to relax a bit while on Marathon, we suggest Sombrero Beach. It’s small, but there’s a park with picnic tables and the beach itself is beautiful and calm.
Seven Mile Bridge
You can’t really stop on the bridge, but we wanted to mention it so you’re on the lookout for it. It’s a great drive, with beautiful views of the water. It’s the most beautiful seven miles you’ll ever drive.
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Final Thoughts On Key West
To say that we love Key West is an understatement. We can’t wait to go back and revisit some of these attractions and visit even more new ones. We hope that you’ve enjoyed this list of things to see in Key West and that it inspires a future trip for you.
Have you been to Key West? What other attractions do you recommend we see when we return? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂