Things to do in
Key West

The southernmost point of the Florida Keys combines sun, sea, scenic nature, and even some Ernest Hemingway.

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Our most recommended things to do in Key West

Key West Double Dip: 2-Stop Reef Snorkeling Trip

1. Key West Double Dip: 2-Stop Reef Snorkeling Trip

The only thing better than snorkeling in Key West is doing it twice! Climb aboard the fast Fury catamaran and head out to Key West’s underwater marvels. During this 3-hour trip you’ll have the opportunity to explore the reef at 2 different locations. The Reef Express is a 57-foot power catamaran built for speed and comfort. It’s the quickest way to get to the reef, so you spend less time traveling and more time snorkeling. Once you reach the reef, you’ll be provided top-of-the-line snorkeling gear including a snorkel, mask, fins and a snorkeling vest. You’ll also get some professional tips and guidance on how to snorkel to better enjoy your experience. After meeting some of the most popular residents – the colorful marine species that inhabit the reef – you'll be transported to another ideal location on the reef for more snorkeling. Double Dip provides approximately 1.5-hours of Key West snorkeling during a 3-hour adventure. If you select the Double Dip Sunset Combo trip, after experiencing the finest Key West snorkeling, the Reef Express will head out to sea to find the perfect place to watch a dramatic sunset. Raise your glass of complimentary Champagne as you toast another fun-filled day in the paradise that is Key West.

Key West: Reef Snorkel Morning Tour with Breakfast & Mimosas

2. Key West: Reef Snorkel Morning Tour with Breakfast & Mimosas

Hop onboard your catamaran for the morning then set sail onto Key West’s glistening turquoise waters towards the third longest reef in the world. During the cruise, soak up epic views of the coastline and snack on a delicious, light breakfast accompanied by mimosas. Upon arrival at the snorkel site, get kitted out with all the necessary gear and listen to a safety briefing. Afterwards, make a splash as you jump into the refreshing, crystal clear water. Follow your instructor as you navigate this impressive coral reef and snorkel in search of colorful marine life. During the experience, enjoy the opportunity to see some of Key West’s 110 species of coral and 500 species of tropical fish. At the end of an epic adventure, relax on deck, grab a beer, and soak up the last of the coastal views as you sail back to port.

Key West Dolphin Watch and Snorkel Eco Tour

3. Key West Dolphin Watch and Snorkel Eco Tour

Climb aboard a fast catamaran for an aquatic journey of a lifetime, and observe the grace and beauty of resident Key West dolphins in the shimmering turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Look for bottlenose dolphins as they swim, play, feed and do what comes naturally. Then, head to the Key West wildlife refuge to snorkel in the shallow backcountry waters. Relax in the knowledge that your tour is provided by the only company in the Florida Keys with the prestigious “Dolphin SMART” certification, a national program that protects and promotes the responsible observance of dolphins. The program was put together by conservation agencies, including the National Marine Sanctuary of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Dolphin Ecology Project and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Begin your ride back to the dock, and enjoy a complimentary cold beer and chilled wine, whether you choose the morning or afternoon option. Opt for the sunset tour and experience the world famous Key West sunset as a bonus.

Key West: Old Town Trolley 12-Stop Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

4. Key West: Old Town Trolley 12-Stop Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Enjoy the sun, charming setting, and clear waters of Key West on this Old Town Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. This tour covers the entire city. You can avoid the trouble of driving and parking in a new place. The trolley tour is also designed so that you can hop-on and off and explore on your own, on any of the 12 stops. Your ticket is valid for all day, so you can tour at your own speed. There are frequent pick-ups at all of the 12 stops so you’ll never have far to walk. And our Old Town Trolley conductors will be there to guide you through this tropical paradise on one of the distinctive orange and green trolleys. Don’t miss this great day out!

Key West: Sunset Party Cruise by Catamaran

5. Key West: Sunset Party Cruise by Catamaran

Climb aboard a party catamaran and sail across the ocean waves on a sunset cruise from Key West. Get ready to dance the night away and cause a commotion on the ocean! Enjoy free hot an cold snacks, including a fresh vegetable platter with hummus and a smoked fish dip with pita chips. Listen to live music as you sip margaritas and wine. Quench your thirst with a cold beer and leave your worries behind as you sail into the sunset. Relax aboard the spacious state-of-the-art catamaran as you cruise the tropical waters. Feel the warm ocean breeze on your face and toast the night with a glass of champagne. Dance to the sounds of your favorite musicians as the sun slowly sets across the sea.

Key West: 2-Hour Sunset Sail on Schooner America 2.0

6. Key West: 2-Hour Sunset Sail on Schooner America 2.0

Take in the vibrant colors of Key West's fabulous sunset as you glide through the waters on one of the finest boats in the Key West Schooner Fleet. Watch the sun fade into the horizon and the stars emerge into the deep blue sky. America 2.0 features teak decks, mahogany-trimmings, and 3,600 square feet of canvas! Sit back and relax while she plies effortlessly through the crystal-clear waters off Key West, heading towards the horizon for the quintessential Florida sunset experience! Some of the sights on this sailing adventure include a view of Fort Zachary Taylor from the water, and views of the famed Sand Key Reef, Mallory Square, and Sunset Pier. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as dolphins, sea turtles, and water birds – and for the famous Key West "Green Flash" at sunset. Bring your family or friends and join the courteous and professional crew for this sunset sail that completes the Key West experience in comfort and elegance.

Key West: Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner and Open Bar

7. Key West: Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner and Open Bar

Climb aboard "The Party Cat" for a wonderful 2-hour cruise around the harbor.   Enjoy a freshly prepared tropical food buffet in an enclosed air-conditioned dining room. Choose from dinner options such as roast pulled pork in mojo sauce, deep fried sweet plantains, black beans and rice, marinated grilled chicken, fried fish, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, pasta with mini shrimp and Cuban bread and butter. Sip on your choice of tipple — margaritas, rum runners, champagne, beer, wine or spirits. After dinner, stroll upstairs to the upper deck for live music. Dance the night away or simply listen to the beat as you watch the sun set over the horizon into the Gulf of Mexico. Witness the beautiful display of colors across the night sky.

Key West: Dolphin Watching & Snorkeling

8. Key West: Dolphin Watching & Snorkeling

Climb aboard the Sunset One dolphin boat, sit back and listen to your tour guide explain where you are and where you are heading. Get ready to watch dolphins frolic in their natural playground.  Marvel as the dolphin swim closer to the boat so you can get a better view. Head out to the small islands within the boundaries of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Soak in this beautiful little chain of islands and jump into the gorgeous reef, perfect for snorkeling.  See fish up close and maybe some turtles. Climb back aboard and settle yourself in for the ride back to the dock with an ice cold draft beer. Watch the beautiful panoramic sunset over the crystal clear turquoise waters.

Ghosts & Gravestones Tour of Key West

9. Ghosts & Gravestones Tour of Key West

Many find Key West a strange place during the day; but after the sun sets, the restless souls of the island’s frightful past begin to stir. On this 1-hour ghost tour, you will hear all-but-forgotten tales as you travel the dark and narrow streets of the Old Town. Pass 19th-century wooden houses that hold secret stories of former inhabitants; stories so tragic and chilling, you’ll soon see why Key West was named one of the top 10 most haunted cities in America. Your Ghost Host will add a pinch of humor to Key West's dark side with tales of deathly love, tragic endings, scores to settle, wrongs to right and ghastly folk - some so strange it will be hard to believe they’re true…

Key West: Rum and Reggae Afternoon Snorkel and Sunset

10. Key West: Rum and Reggae Afternoon Snorkel and Sunset

Enjoy 2 exciting activities in 1 trip as you snorkel North America’s only living reef system from a spacious catamaran, enjoying the rhythmic sounds of reggae music in tropical waters. Then, watch the sunset over the horizon! Climb aboard the state-of-the-art catamaran from the most luxurious fleet in the Florida Keys. Upon arrival at the reef, get assistance and instructions from the friendly crew before you descend “the stairway to the sea.” Discover the wonders of the aquatic environment and its pristine coral reefs, and snorkel among an abundance of marine life, including tropical species found nowhere else on earth. Upon completion of your snorkeling adventure, enjoy some complimentary rum punch, a signature tropical beverage, beer, wine and champagne. Then, leave your worries behind as you sail off into Key West’s famous sunset. Feel the warm ocean breeze as you watch a magnificent sunset. Toast the end of another perfect day in paradise as you see the sun slowly disappear beyond the horizon.

Frequently asked questions about Key West

What top attractions are a must-see in Key West?

Which tours in Key West are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Key West

Former home to Ernest Hemingway and forever home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in Florida, visiting Key West is a real treat. Getting to the southern-most point in the United States can take some time, so we've enlisted the help of travel experts The Planet D to help you make the most of your time. Read our tips below for your next trip to Key West.

What should I do on my first trip to Key West?

First-time visitors to Key West should head down to Mallory Square for sunset. It really sets the tone and vibe for a Key West vacation. Mallory Square is filled with street performers, views of the Harbour, and a lot of energy and excitement. There are many top Key West attractions near Mallory Square, so go early to see the Maritime Museum, Key West Shipwreck, and Treasure Museum and see the sculpture garden showcasing historical figures from the area.

What are some hidden gems to see in Key West?

When in Key West, take a trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Located 70 miles (113 km) away, Fort Jefferson was a military fort used to defend during the Spanish American War from 1846 to 1876. You can stay over and camp on Garden Key and it has beautiful white-sand beaches. Make sure to go kayaking to the Key West Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the United States, where you will paddle through mangrove forests in search of wildlife.

How much time should I spend in Key West?

When planning a trip to Key West, we suggest spending at least three nights. Five days in Key West is ideal giving enough time to spend a day or two on the water to see the Dry Tortugas and Wildlife Refuge. Two days are good to see the historic monuments and top attractions and then you will want to spend a day at the beach or enjoying your hotel.

What food is Key West known for?

Key West is famous for its Key Lime Pie. You cannot miss eating this refreshing dessert. Made with Florida Key Limes and condensed milk on a graham cracker crust, this treat is served all over Key West. One of the most famous places to grab a slice is at Kermits. Key West is also known for Conch. (pronounced Conk) Conch is the meat that comes from those large beautiful seashells. You can order conch fritter, conch chowder, cracked conch, and conch sandwiches. No trip to Key West would be complete without enjoying these two staples.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Key West?

We’ve stayed both downtown on Duval Street at the Crown Plaza in the heart of the action and out farther out on a quiet resort. It depends on what experience you want in Key West. Duval Street keeps you close to the party and within walking distance to many of the top attractions in Key West. If you want a quieter place to stay on the outskirts of town.

What is the best way to get around Key West?

It’s easy to walk to many of the sites in Key West around Mallory Square and Duval Street. To see some of the other sites, hop on a trolley tour or take the hop on hop off bus. The Conch Train is also one of the most popular attractions and it takes you around to all of the top places to visit. Another great way to get around is to rent a bike and have the freedom to cover a lot of ground independently.

What are the best months to visit Key West?

The high season in Key West is from the end of November to the end of February. This is when you’ll find the most crowds and the highest prices. A good time to visit is from March to May for more affordable hotel rates but the weather is comfortable and not too hot. October is a fun time to visit as well when Key West is gearing up for Fantasy Fest at the end of the month.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The Key West streets are filled with shops and you’ll find some of the best shops in Old Town, Duval Street, and the Shops at Mallory Square.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Key West?

Everyone will love riding the Conch Train around the island showcasing the top sites in Key West. With an engineer telling tales about the history and culture of the island, it’s a fun and informative tour. The Key West Butterfly Conservatory is a good choice for families to walk among hundreds of butterflies and birds in a tropical rainforest environment.

What is the best thing to do for solo travelers in Key West?

The best thing for solo travelers in Key West is to join a Duval Street pub crawl. This is a great way to meet people and go out on the town in a safe environment. Another great way to meet people is to join a party cruise or waterspouts adventure tour where you can spend the day on the water going kayaking, jet skiing, and parasailing. Or try one of the popular tours like the Rum and Reggae snorkeling tour. You’ll have the opportunity to get in the water on a tour, make new friends and enjoy a cocktail or two.

What is the best thing to do in Key West for couples?

The best thing for couples to do in Key West is to join a sunset cruise on a schooner or catamaran. What could be more romantic? Well, a romantic candlelit dinner at Sunset Key could be more romantic. Make a reservation and take the shuttle boat from Key West to Sunset Key for the best view in town.

What are the best annual events in Key West?

Fantasy Fest is by far the most original annual event that happens in Key West. Taking place at the end of October each year, it is a 10 day festival for adults with parades, partying, and elaborate costumes. Hemingway Days is an annual event in July that celebrates the life of Ernest Hemingway who called Key West home for eight years.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities?

The best places to enjoy outdoor activities in Key West is the Key West Wildlife Refuge for snorkeling, dolphin spotting, and birdwatching. John Pennekamp State Park is the only living reef in the United States and is popular for snorkeling and scuba diving. And Dry Tortugas National Park is good for camping, swimming, and snorkeling.

What are the best beaches in Key West?

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is one of the best beaches in Key West. Located in the State Park there is an entrance fee, but it is a great combination of beach life and a walk-through history at Fort Zachary Taylor. Smather’s Beach is the longest beach in Key West with 2 miles of white sandy beaches where you can rent beach chairs. Dry Tortugas has a picture-perfect white sandy beach that is completely deserted. And Higgs Beach is another great beach in Old Town that has a long wooden pier.

Planning Your Visit

  • Where is it?

    Key West is an island city in the Florida Keys archipelago. It is the southernmost city in the United States.

  • How many days?

    Key West is perfect for a weekend break. Ideally, try incorporating it into a longer island-hopping tour of the Florida Keys!

  • How to get there?

    Key West has its own international airport, but you can also reach it via the scenic Overseas Highways (U.S. Route 1) from Miami. There are also shuttle buses available from Miami Internation Airport.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-04:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    It's best to visit from March to May, in between the expensive, touristy peak season, and hurricane season.

Other Sightseeing Options in Key West

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What people are saying about Key West

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 2,967 reviews

Worth the ticket price. The staffs are helpful and knowledgeable. We went as a family and all of us enjoyed the trip

We had the best crew! Very nice and informative. We loved our time on the boat!

impeccable support. too bad that some participants are not on time..

A great trip. Key West is worth seeing. The guide was very nice :)

Magnificent tour of the Key West harbor at Sunset!