Conveniently reachable by plane, car or boat, Florida’s Key West is among the top vacation destinations in the U.S., and it’s easy to see why. With so much to see and do, and plenty of well-regarded restaurants to choose from, you’ll have a hard time fitting it all in, whether you visit for a quick weekend trip, a few days or longer. Check out this short travel guide to Key West and discover all that’s waiting for you in this charming and vibrant city.
Any Time is a Great Time to Travel
The weather in Key West is fairly consistent throughout the year, so there’s really no time to visit that isn’t comfortable. Daytime temperatures reach highs in the mid-80s and nighttime lows only dip into the mid-70s. You can count on typically sunny skies and mild humidity. Like most warm-weather vacation spots, hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts tend to book quickly during the winter months from December through April. And despite being vulnerable to hurricanes that originate in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean between June and November, it’s pretty rare for Key West to get slammed with a significant storm, so you can book your trip any time of year with a reasonable degree of confidence that you’ll have the famous sunshine and blue skies that Key West is so well-known for.
Duval Street Has It All
Key West is a relatively small island city, so getting around is easy. Not only can you walk most places, but many resorts and lodges offer bikes for loan or rent for a small fee; plus, the city has public transportation available. The first location to add to your itinerary is Duval Street. Dotted with shops and boutiques offering pottery, art, antiques, home decor, clothing, glass, jewelry, candies, wine and spirits, cigars, and more, it’s great for window shopping or searching for a meaningful gift for that hard-to-please person. And you don’t need to stress about fitting it all in your suitcase because most businesses can ship your packages home. Mallory Square, at the end of Duval, is where the nightly Sunset Celebration happens. Check out this open-air event with live music, performers, arts and crafts vendors, and food and drink vendors; it’s a great first or last night of your vacation activity.
Many resorts in Key West have on-site spas, so be sure to book a soothing massage or body wrap as part of your relaxing vacation. No spa at your hotel? No problem. There are several spas in Key West that welcome appointments from visitors where you can get facials, manicures, massages, and pedicures.
Hit the Beach
You may have heard that the public beaches in Key West are relatively small, but they more than make up for it in beauty and charm. Clear blue waters beckon you for swimming and snorkeling, and concession stands offer all the beach gear rentals you could need, such as beach chairs and umbrellas, and snorkeling gear. Bring a picnic lunch from a local restaurant such as Eaton Street Seafood Market & Restaurant, where the lobster roll, fish tacos, and fish sandwiches are legendary, or grab a quick concession stand snack and cold drink.
If you love the outdoors but the beach isn’t your thing, check out the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, the only one of its kind in the continental U.S. It’s the only place you’ll see some of the island’s native trees and plants growing naturally, and the bird watching is spectacular.
The Coolest Museums
Key West boasts an incredible number of specialty museums, including Ernest Hemingway’s home, President Truman’s Little White House, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum, and the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Museum, just for starters. Each of them showcases a vibrant part of American history with unique ways to really experience it for yourself. Take a tour of Fort Zachary Taylor, walk through Ernest Hemingway’s family home, or climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse just as the keepers did a hundred years ago.
Fishing for All
Some visitors to Key West return year after year just because the fishing is so good. Book a half- or full-day fishing charter with All In Fishing Charters so you can enjoy yourself without the hassle of renting a boat, getting your fishing rods and tackle to Key West, and arranging for fishing licenses. The skilled crew and knowledgeable captain take care of it all! Try reef, wreck, deep water or flats fishing. Depending on the time of year, head out for tuna, tarpon, snapper, grouper or mahi mahi. The great part about a fishing charter is that all are welcome, even if you’ve never held a fishing pole before. The crew is great about sharing pointers, and even if you don’t catch anything, you’ll have a great time seeing Key West from a new angle at sea.
A Trip You’ll Never Forget
Key West is one of those destinations that calls vacationers back over and over. It’s virtually impossible to see and do everything that captures your attention on your first trip, and many people find themselves planning their next Key West getaway before they even return home!