Please check for current openings and status of the places we have listed here prior to planning your visit to the area.
There are multiple islands located at the southern end of the state of Florida. Those islands make up the Florida Keys. Key West is one of those islands and it is a unique place to spend a vacation. Since there are so many romantic things to do in Key West, many people choose it for their honeymoon or a romantic getaway. However, there are quite a few things to do in Key West with kids, so it makes an excellent family vacation destination as well. No matter what type of vacation you are planning, you will find that there are many cool things to do here. Therefore, it should be easy for you to quickly come up with a list of 10 things to do in Key West.
30 Things to Do in Key West, Florida
1. Relax on Smathers Beach
Do you love looking for free things to do when you are on vacation that are also family-friendly? Well, you will find a plethora of things that check off both those boxes in Key West! One of the best free things to do in Key West, Florida is relaxing on Smathers Beach.
This is the largest beach in Key West. It is only about a mile from the center of the city too. When you are not relaxing on the sand, you will find yourself swimming, playing volleyball, and indulging in the food from the local food trucks. We recommend making sure this is at the top of your things to do with kids in Key West list, because the entire family will love spending time at this beach!
2. Visit the Key West Aquarium
Yes, you can see lots of marine life out in the water when you are on vacation in Key West, Florida. However, if you are short on time, or you want to make sure you see every single species, you must take the time to visit the Key West Aquarium. There are numerous exhibits that include the Atlantic Shores exhibit, Jellyfish exhibit, and the American Alligator exhibit. You will also discover touch tanks during your visit. Make sure you add a little extra time into your visit, so you can spend time with your favorite animals. We love adding this attraction to our list of things to do in Key West.
3. Check Out the Key West Lighthouse Plus Keeper’s Quarters Museum
Lighthouses are full of history and wonder. This is why so many people like yourself have them on their list of things to do when on vacation.
The Key West Lighthouse first started shining its light in 1848. It was last used in 1969, rendered obsolete due to all the new technology in place on boats. The museum is interesting to walk through. However, your favorite part will be when you reach the last of the eighty-eight stairs to see the views at the top of the lighthouse. Many people say this is one of the top 10 things to do in Key West.
4. Eat One Meal at Pepe’s
Pepe’s is a local restaurant in Key West that opened back in 1909. When you arrive at this café/restaurant, you will first think it is nothing but a rundown shack. Don’t run the other way! Instead, walk inside, order some food, and then be swept away when that food begins to melt in your mouth! Everything is made from scratch at Pepe’s. For breakfast, we recommend the eggs benedict, pancakes, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. The fish sandwich or chicken sandwich are great at lunchtime. Dinner brings a bunch of other options including filet mignon, burgers, and stone crab claws. Don’t forget to order a slice of key lime pie for dessert!
5. Explore the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
A visit to the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park must be on everyone’s list of things to do in Key West, Florida. In addition to exploring the fort, walking the trails, and swimming at the beach, you can participate in numerous local events.
The best event is the Civil War reenactments that are held for an entire week. The event is usually held in February, so make sure you add this to your things to do in Key West during this month.
6. Visit the US Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum
The CGC INGHAM is a fifty-year-old Coast Guard Cutter. This boat was used during the years of 1936 through 1988. The boat has now been turned into a museum, so you can see how it was used when it was in service. Visiting this boat museum is one of the more unique things to do in Key West.
7. Venture Over to Dry Tortugas National Park
As amazing as Key West is, there are so many other things you can do nearby. The Dry Tortugas National Park is one of those nearby attractions. The park is approximately seventy miles from Key West.
We recommend taking the ferry over to the park, unless you happen to have your own boat. When you arrive, begin with the guided tour of the fort before heading down to the moat. The entire family will love doing a little swimming and snorkeling before getting back on the ferry for the return trip to Key West. This is one of the many family things to do in Key West. We recommend adding a trip to Dry Tortugas National Park to your things to do in Key West in April.
8. Wander Through the Key West Garden Club
There is a long list of romantic things to do in Key West. If you are looking for the best things to do in Key West for couples during the day, we recommend wandering through the Key West Garden Club. You will find this garden over by Higgs Beach on Atlantic Boulevard. The brick pathways are easy to follow and take you to all the different tropical plants and flowers. The lily pond and waterfall is the perfect place to take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch. This garden is beautiful at any time of the year, but we love putting it on our list of things to do in Key West in May.
9. Visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
When you are looking for fun things to do in Key West, Florida, but don’t want to be rushing around, we recommend checking out the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
You will find this building over on Duval Street. Inside, there are sixty different species of butterflies, as well as twenty exotic bird species. This is an ideal adventure to have in Key West when it rains.
10. Visit the Harry S. Truman Little White House
Do you love history? If you answered yes, then you will find visiting the Harry S. Truman Little White House is one of the most interesting things to do in Key West! This house is where President Truman spent some of his time during the winter months. But the history of the house begins much earlier, back in 1890. Numerous presidents have utilized this house after Truman, as it was always thought to be the perfect place to unwind. The current presidents still use the Little White House on occasion. You can also see the museum portion of this house. The museum is filled with historical documents, including the dates when Truman visited the Little White House and whom he met with when he was there. This may not be one of the best things to do in Key West with kids, but if you do drag them along, they will get a lot out of the visit.
11. Explore Mallory Square
Mallory Square can be found within Old Town. You can spend hours in this square doing a little people watching and wandering around. The best time to be in Mallory Square is a couple hours prior to sunset. That is when Mallory Square transforms into one of the coolest destinations in Key West.
Street performers begin their acts, food vendors start selling their food, and the arts and crafts vendors put out their wares. This is one of the best things to do in Key West with family because you can all have fun as you wait for the sun to set. As one of the more popular things to do in Key West at night, it can get crowded, especially during tourist season. Therefore, it is best to plan your visit accordingly. You may want to visit this area during the week instead of the weekend to avoid the crowds. We also recommend putting this on your itinerary of things to do in Key West in July instead of January. Not as many people visit Key West in July when compared to January.
12. Visit Bahama Village
The Bahama Village was created back in the 1800s largely by migrating Bahamians of African heritage. There are multiple attractions within this village, and they are all amazing things to see and do in Key West, Florida. You can start at the 1860 African Burial Ground before venturing over to the fort from the Civil War. Don’t forget to do a little souvenir shopping at the Bahama Village Market before you leave. It is the perfect place to purchase seashells, straw hats, and of course, Key West items. We recommend considering this as one of the things to do in Key West in September before all the snowbirds and tourists arrive.
13. Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Almost everyone knows that Ernest Hemingway spent some time down in the Florida Keys. He moved into this home with his wife in 1931. You can see many of his belongings inside the museum.
Hemingway’s studio is also open to the public, so you can see where he spent hours writing his books. While the house and museum are interesting, you will be more thrilled with all the cats you see on the property. There are between forty and fifty cats and many of them are descendants of Hemingway’s cat. Some of these cats have six toes, just like Hemingway’s cat did. Visiting these cats is one of the best things for kids to do in Key West.
14. Discover Treasures at the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Okay, so you won’t be finding treasures on your own, but you will have the chance to see the treasures other people discovered many years ago during a visit to the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum. Upon arrival, you will feel yourself going back in time to the year 1856. This is when the Isaac Allerton shipwrecked, never to be seen again. But it was seen again, when people started diving down to find the treasures that would have been on board. A visit to this museum will have you touching a bar of silver from the shipwreck. You will also want to climb to the top of the sixty-five-foot tower to see the stunning views of the surrounding area. You may want to add this to your things to do in Key West in April list, but there really is no bad time to visit this museum.
15. Take a Selfie at the Buoy of the Southernmost Point
There is a buoy at the southernmost part of the US, and it happens to be located in Key West. This buoy was put in place back in 1983 and thousands of pictures of it have popped up in social media since that time.
This is one of the free things to do in Key West in June when there are not as many people visiting the area. If you have a list of 10 things to do in Key West, this must be one of those ten things. The Southernmost Point buoy is definitely something to put on your list of top things to do in Key West this year.
16. Go Diving to the USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg
There are not many times where a ship is sunk on purpose, but they sunk the Vandenberg in Key West back in 2009. The goal was to create one of the largest artificial reefs in the world. If you are certified, you can easily dive down the one-hundred-and-fifty feet to the see the coral reef and marine life that spends their time there. You can dive down to this reef at any time of the year. But we prefer adding it to our things to do in Key West in March. This ensures the water is calm before the hurricane activity begins for the year. You can also try to place it on your list of things to do in Key West in December, since the hurricane season ends in November.
17. Go Snorkeling
You can easily go snorkeling at any beach you decide to visit when you are on vacation in Key West. The best place to go snorkeling though is the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. As you are snorkeling, you will see multiple shipwrecks, seagrass beds, coral reefs, and of course, marine life. Snorkeling is one of the top things to do in Key West, Florida, especially with teenagers.
18. Take a Ride on the Conch Tour Train
Do you want to see everything Old Town Key West has to offer, but don’t want to walk? The Conch Tour Train is the perfect solution, as well as one of the top ten things to do in Key West.
This train ride is ninety minutes long, but it may take you longer if you decide to get off at all three of the stops. This train will take you over to Truval Village to see the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. The other two stops are the Flagler Station and the Station Depot. The latter is the perfect option when you want to grab a bite to eat and do a little shopping.
19. Play a Round of Golf at the Key West Golf Club
Not many people think to add a round or two of golf to their list of things to do in Florida Key West. But honestly, this is one of the best things to do in Key West for couples who love to golf. This eighteen-hole course was designed by Rees Jones. The views from each hole are spectacular, but you will really be swept away by the tropical mangroves near the eighth hole.
20. Take a Dolphin Safari
One of the top 5 things to do in Key West is watching the dolphins frolicking out in the water. We recommend taking this activity a step further by going out on a dolphin safari.
The dolphin safaris are very kid-friendly things to do in Key West. There are a few dolphin safaris to choose from and they all offer excellent opportunities to watch the dolphins jumping out of the water. This is a perfect activity when you are searching for things to do in Key West in March.
21. Drive Along the Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway is a one-hundred-and-thirteen-mile roadway that contains forty-two bridges that go over the water. Driving along the Overseas Highway is an excellent way to see all the Florida Keys before reaching your final destination of Key West. Along the way, we recommend stopping to check things off your list of things to do in Islamorada Key West, and things to do in Marathon Key West. Driving for so many miles may be one of the crazy things to do in Key West. However, it is one of the best ways to experience all the different islands during a fabulous family vacation! We recommend adding this to your list of things to do in Key West in June or in July when there are fewer tourists. Just be careful of incoming hurricane warnings during those times of the year. If you want to avoid the hassle of hurricanes altogether, then add it to the things to do in Key West in January.
22. Learn About Turtles at the Key West Turtle Museum
Searching for things to do in Key West in November is easy. One of the top things to do in Key West in November is visiting the Key West Turtle Museum. During your visit, you can wander around to all the interactive exhibits.
This museum is one of the best free endeavors in Key West. If you are looking for things to do in Key West today, we recommend adding the turtle museum to your list.
23. Watch a Theater Performance
There are quite a few theaters located in Key West, so you have an excellent chance to watch a theater performance almost every night of your stay. Favorite theaters in Key West include the Key West Theater, Waterfront Playhouse, Tennessee Williams Theatre, and the Red Barn Theatre. Watching a performance is one of the best things to do in Key West, Florida for couples. It is the perfect date night option, and you can easily combine it with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant.
24. Wander Through the Oldest House
With so many things to see and do in Key West, it can be difficult to narrow the list down to the top 10 things to do in Key West, Florida. Wandering through the Oldest House in the Keys did make our list of the 10 best things to do in Key West Florida for sure!
The best part is that a visit to this attraction is free, so it also checks off the box for one of the free things to do in Key West, Florida. The Oldest House can be found at 322 Duval Street. Inside the house, you will find the original furniture, family portraits, and even a few models of ships. There is also a cookhouse on the property, and it is the only one left in the southern area of the state.
25. Purchase Some Artwork at the Guild Hall Gallery
Everyone loves purchasing souvenirs to take home from their vacations. When you travel to Key West, we recommend that you purchase a different type of souvenir. A visit to the Guild Hall Gallery will have you perusing the works of art by twenty-seven different artists. All the artists are local, and they sell everything from paintings to sea glass jewelry. This is one of the top things to do in Key West in September on Thursday nights.
26. Take an Old Town Trolley Tour
If the Conch Tour Train didn’t offer enough fun things to do in Key West for you, we recommend taking an Old Town Trolley Tour too. This trolley makes twelve different stops, and you can get off at them all to take advantage of all the things to do in the Key West. Tickets are valid for an entire day, so you won’t feel rushed as you see the more than one hundred attractions the twelve stops lead you to. This is one of the better things to do in Key West in August when the temperatures soar throughout the day.
27. Walk Around the Key West Cemetery
One of the unusual things to do in Key West is walking around the Key West Cemetery. You will find this cemetery in the middle of Old Town.
There are many prominent people buried in this cemetery. Thankfully, there is a handy map, so you can locate the tombstones you want to see during your visit. A few people you might want to have on your list include “General” Abe Sawyer, Ellen Mallory, William Curry, and Captain Francis Watlington. Pay close attention to the epitaphs on the tombstones because some of them are quite funny and unique!
28. Take a Champagne Sunset Cruise
Couples love vacationing in Key West because there are so many fun and romantic things for them to do. One of the favorite things to do in Key West for couples is taking a champagne sunset cruise. As you sip on champagne, wine, or beer, you can watch the sun as it sets over the water. This is one of the better things to do in Key West in May or December.
29. Grab a Stool at a Bar of Your Choice
There are plenty of eclectic bars in Key West and you can grab a stool at any of them during your visit. This isn’t one of the things to do in Key West with a toddler, so plan accordingly.
We recommend starting at Captain Tony’s Saloon. It was where Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, and Jimmy Buffet have spent time drinking and visiting with the locals. Captain Tony’s opened back in 1851. But it was an icehouse and morgue before being turned into a bar. If you need more things to do in Key West in October, make sure you add Captain Tony’s to your list!
30. Go for a Bike Ride
The island of Key West is perfect for bike riding sessions. In fact, bike riding is one of the best things to do in Key West for families. Bike rentals can be found at most of the local hotels. By riding a bike to as many attractions as possible, you will get a lot of exercise and will never need to worry about where to find a parking spot! We recommend adding this to your list of things to do in Key West in August or October.
These are 30 of the best things to do in Key West, Florida. You will notice that there are a few free and cheap things to do in Key West. However, there are also some expensive things to do in Key West, Florida. During your visit, you will want to plan your days carefully. Overcrowding your schedule will cause a headache when you stumble upon other fun things to do in Key West. We recommend leaving time available each day, so you can fit all those extra things to do in Key West into your schedule. After all, you don’t want to lose out on a local experience because you didn’t know about it in advance!