Ahh Key West- the crown jewel of the Florida Keys– there’s nowhere quite like it. Chances are that either you or someone in your family or friends circle has been to, or wants to go to Key West. It’s not hard to understand why. A quick look online tells you that you can find anything and everything you could possibly want to find there.
From the most stunning sunsets to beautiful beaches, to some of the best food and nightlife you can think of- Key West should be at the top of everyone’s list. There are even two national parks near Key West to spot animals both over and under the water.
It’s very hard to describe the type of people you’ll find in Key West. There are seniors living their best lives as snowbirds, there are honeymooners experiencing the romantic side, and then there are millennials soaking up every second of the gorgeous weather, by jumping a boat, hanging out on some of the best beaches Florida Keys have to offer or taking in the nightlife.
There’s something to be said about a place that embraces kitsch in a way that just brings out the joy. We absolutely had a blast in Key West, and have already planned to head back soon.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN KEY WEST
First of all, you can fly directly into Key West, or if you’re looking for more options and don’t mind driving then Miami International Airport is a great idea too.
While in town, you can rent carts to get around, use bikes, walk (Key West is super walkable) or use Uber. Parking is a bit harder to find so leave your car at the hotel if you can.
You can also take the shuttle bus from Miami to Key West if you don’t want to drive. We recommend this one.
WHERE TO STAY IN KEY WEST
If you’re looking for something that’s close but has a resort style feeling then we really recommend Oceans Edge Key West Resort Hotel & Marina– the perfect escape and still a short drive away from all the fun! With gorgeous pools and views, and spacious suites, you’ll feel right at home. The recently opened property has 175 suites and rooms, and 111 wet and 52 dry slips.
The resort also offers a complimentary shuttle to Key West (that takes about 15-20 minutes each way) so it’s easier to park your car at the resort and take the shuttle in to save on parking.
Our favorite part was the Starbucks and the dog park onsite. You can get the best rates here.
THINGS TO DO IN KEY WEST
Sunset cruise: Catch a ride on one of the many sunset cruises and spend an hour or two watching the sun go down. We toured with Sebago Watersports, and can’t say enough good things. With free-flowing drinks and delicious appetizers, this quickly became one of our favorite activities in the city.
If a catamaran is more your thing- we recommend this one.
Hemingway’s House: Love cats and literature? Add this stop at the home of the Nobel Prize winner to your list.
Train around: Get to know a little more about Key West by taking the Conch Train around. You can use it as a hop-on-hop-off way of touring the city. Book your tour here.
Dinner on Sunset Key: The perfect romantic treat away from the business of Key West. Access to the Key is restricted to those staying on the Key or those dining at Latitudes. You can take a quick shuttle over, and settle in for one of the best meals around.
Watching the sunset at Mallory square: You know sunsets are a big deal when people get together in the square to watch it. Grab a drink and show up to watch one of the best sunsets in Florida.
Spending the night on Duval Street: We can’t even begin to describe how much fun taking a night stroll on Duval can be. You’ll everything from live music, packed pubs, strip clubs, and drag shows. Wear comfy shoes and assume that you won’t get to bed till really late.
Chase butterflies: The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a butterfly lovers dream. A great to get up close and personal with these beautiful winged creatures. Fair warning though- the room is kept really humid so hydrate before you go in there.
Bonus: you’ll find 2 flamingos there too!
See the city from above: One of the best ways to get a true sense of Key West is by taking a helicopter tour. The views are unbelievable and you get a great idea of how blue the water really is.
Get on the water: Being right on the ocean means that there is an abundance of water activities that to take part in- kayaking, paddleboarding, diving, and snorkeling are all options if you want to spend the day on the water.
We recommend this 2 stop reef snorkeling tour.
WHERE TO EAT IN KEY WEST
The food game in Key West is so strong and something completely unexpected. Obviously, the seafood is excellent, but we had great sushi, tacos, and thai there, too.
If there is one place on this list that you must try it’s this. Head there early for brunch as they don’t take reservations. There is a really fun vibe (with a breakfast band), and great food to boot! You won’t regret it.
Address: 729 Thomas St. Key West FL
Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar:
Really fun pub vibe. Perfect place to grab a few drinks with friends. The ceviche and the fish tacos were winners for us!
Address: 221 Duval St. Key West, FL
As we mentioned, Key West is hard to describe in words, but there is something for everyone there. You can spend your days relaxing by the beach or wandering around this fun town not hitting the same place twice. The magic of Key West is the people who are comfortable to live their best lives and the adventures you allow yourself to have. Try adding a few days to the neighboring island of Islamorada or even some of Florida’s other destinations, and your adventure is complete.
This post was created in partnership with the Florida Keys & Key West! However, the opinions are all ours!