Key West is laid back, free-spirited, artistic, quirky, and scenic. Our Key West Florida Travel Guide will give you all the best there is for Key West. It is the last island in the Florida Keys, is one of the most unique places in the United States. Here you will find a live-and-let-live attitude, tropical climate, and a continuous happy hour. Visitors visit to fish, write, party, relax, and rejuvenate. Key West has always been a place where you can be yourself, find yourself, or re-invent yourself. Visit the beautiful beaches of the Florida Keys.
Key West Weather – When to Visit
Key West is a very popular tourist destination especially during the winter. At this time the city can be quite crowded and the hotel room rates are high, but many visitors come here to enjoy the warmth and sunshine. There are fewer tourists during the summer months and this means less crowds and lower room rates. However, the summer months are rainy and humid and hurricane season is between June and November. The best time to visit Key West is during the spring months between March and May. The winter crowds leave; hotel rates are affordable; and the weather is warm and pleasant.
Key West Attractions
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum
The 327 ft. museum ship National Historic Landmark. INGHAM served our country from 1936 to 1988 and in 1985 was the most decorated ship in United States Service as noted in a letter from President Ronald Reagan in the exhibit room. It is the last American Warship afloat to have sunk a German U-Boat (626) in WWII. It served as the Flagship for the seaside operation of General MacArthur’s return to Corrigedor in the Philippines. She served from 1936 to 1988. Offering one of the best Sunset viewing platforms in Key West.
Harry S. Truman Little White House
As Florida’s only presidential museum, the Harry S. Truman Little White House was the winter White House for this country’s 33rd president. Truman spent 175 days during 13 vacations in the home that is filled with original furnishing and memorabilia from Truman’s days. Presidents Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton also used the house. Guided tours offer guests a window into the world President Truman and life of a US president.
Mallory Square is where the fun starts and the sun sets. Everything Key West is famous for comes together in this one special place set on historic waterfront. Mallory Square is home to shops, restaurants, and many of the islands most popular attractions. Go for the day and stay into the night. There’s always something happening in Mallory Square.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
A true one-of-a-kind experience, visiting Fort Taylor not only provides a magnificent natural setting to bird watch or swim, but also to immerse yourself in U.S. history. Fort Taylor predates the Civil War and is a National Historic Monument housing the largest cache of Civil War armament in the world. Walk the red-brick corridors of Fort Zachary Taylor, past cannon and gun ports, and history becomes more real than books and photos can depict.
Dry Tortugas National Park
The 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequent the area. You can go snorkeling, swimming, or take your boat and get the most out of the opportunities to explore this remarkable national treasure. In Dry Tortugas you will find amazing star gazing, snorkeling, sunsets and more!
Things to Do in Key West
Ultimate Jet Ski Tour
Experience Key West’s tropical blue waterways on this Jet Ski tour along the Atlantic Ocean and/or the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy panoramic island views and watch for dolphins, stingrays, sea turtles, manatees and more while gliding over 26 miles of warm ocean water. Bring a waterproof camera to capture this southernmost point in the continental United States and the most photographed site in Key West. Read more about Key West Jet Ski Tour, 26-Mile Ultimate Island Adventure.
Key West Island T’ing: Sail, Snorkel and Kayak Adventure
Enjoy a day of fun in the sun on the Island T’ing adventure off the coast of Key West. Sail away from the island city of Key West to the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico on a large catamaran. Hop in a kayak and enjoy a paddle around a natural stand of mangrove. Snorkel above a coral reef. Look for dolphins, stingrays, sea turtles, manatees and more on this full-day adventure. A full breakfast and buffet lunch, plus beer, wine, soft drinks and homemade sangria are included. Read more about Key West Island T’ing: Sail, Snorkel and Kayak Adventure.
Key West Sunset Champagne & Appetizers Cruise
Watch the sun set and the moon rise off the coast of Key West on this sunset cruise. Enjoy the scenery and peaceful calm of a late afternoon sail aboard a 60-foot catamaran with plenty of deck space to stretch out and enjoy the breathtaking view. Then watch a legendary Key West sunset as the sun glistens and gently settles into the water. Hearty appetizers plus champagne, wine, full liquor bar, ice-cold beer and soft drinks are included. Read more about Key West Sunset Champagne and Appetizers Cruise.
Key West Power Adventure: Sailing & Water Sports
Enjoy the Key West sunshine on a full-day catamaran excursion, and take part in a range of water sports, too. As you cruise around the alluring Gulf of Mexico, you’ll gaze out at the scenery and spot local marine life. Choose from a range of activities from snorkeling and kayaking to parasailing or jetting around by WaveRunner. Breakfast and lunch are served on board. Read more about Key West Full-Day Catamaran Sailing and Water Sports Tour.
Key West Mangrove Kayak Eco Tour
Paddle a kayak through mangrove creeks and shallow water on a Key West kayaking tour that offers an up-close look that this unique coastal environment. This guided tour is the perfect way to spot Florida wildlife in a natural habitat. Read more about Key West Mangrove Kayak Eco Tour.
Best Key West Restaurants
Seven Fish $31 – 60
Seven Fish is the restaurant you’d love to call your own. Seven Fish has exquisite and comforting dishes made with fresh, local fish. Call it a fish-style bistro, where mahi-mahi and sashimi mingle with meatloaf and steak. Don’t miss a night at Seven Fish next time you visit Key West. Telephone: 305-296-2777 Web: Seven Fish
Garbo’s Grill $11 – 30
With years of recipes and ideas behind them, they have found a way to make it work out of a 6×8 foot cart. All you have to do most of the days is look into the eyes of the thirty-plus people in line… there is wonder there, (along with mouths watering) at the magic happening… So when you’re walking down Caroline St. Telephone: 305-304-3004 Web: Garbo’s Grill.
Blue Heaven $11 – 30
Blue Heaven is al-fresco dining, Key West style: canopies of tropical foliage, improvised art (a leopard-spotted mannequin, a rooster graveyard, jolly-colored coconuts and trap floats) and a sail strung between trees providing shade. But don’t let the whimsical décor mislead you: the food is taken seriously. One taste of the blueberry pancakes, carrot and curry soup, miso-marinated eggplant salad, or scallops provencale and you’ll have no doubt ingredients and the gentle time it takes to prepare fine food are the priorities. Telephone: 305-296-8666 Web: Blue Heaven.
The Flaming Buoy Filet Co. $31 – 60
Key West chefs pride themselves on a culinary philosophy of simple cooking and fresh ingredients. A perfect example is The Flaming Buoy Filet Co… The 10 rustic wood tables are hand-painted in orange and yellow; the lights are low and the crowd amiable… This is home cooking, island style. Favorites include a black bean soup, swirled with cheddar cheese, sour cream and cilantro, and the fresh catch of the day, which is served with a broccoli cake and tasty mashed potatoes. Telephone: 305-295-7570 Web: The Flaming Buoy Filet Co.
Santiago’s Bodega $11 – 30
This bright and cozy restaurant tucked away behind lovely landscaping. Standout dishes include the Saganaki–haloumi cheese sprinkled with oregano flambeed with Brandy. Other faves have equally artful presentation like the Fresh Yellowfin Ceviche, which is marinated in spicy citrus juice and served with fresh avocado, mango and cilantro. Finish with their homemade bread pudding with caramel bourbon sauce. Telephone: 305-296-7691 Web: Santiago’s Bodega.
Best Key West Nightlife
Hog’s Breath Saloon
The drinks are strong; the food, including conch fritters and fish nuggets, is decent; and the crowd is dotted with locals — but really, patrons wrangle to converge here for epic events such as an annual Homemade Bikini Contest and the Hair of the Hog Leather & Lace Contest, featuring a bloody mary breakfast. Telephone: 305-296-4222 Web: Hogs Breath Saloon
Bourbon St. Pub
The Bourbon St. Pub opened in 1995 and morphed into a complex consisting of 4 bars, including the outdoor Garden Bar and pool area, which is men-only and clothing-optional. The pub hosts nightly entertainment and events, including male go-go dancers, pool parties and an annual Mr. Pride contest. If you’re visiting Key West on New Year’s Eve, head outside the pub to ring in the new year. Telephone: 305-296-2680 Web: The Rum Bar.
The Bull & Whistle Bar
On the ground floor of the Duval Street structure, you’ll enter the Bull, a dimly lit, open-air bar painted with murals of old Key West that is typically quite crowded. The Whistle Bar, located on the building’s second floor, has a quieter, breezy ambiance, featuring large windows and doors that open onto a wraparound balcony perfect for people-watching the crowds below on Duval Street. Finally, for the risque at heart, there’s the Garden of Eden, a coed, clothing-optional rooftop bar. A nightly roster of live music at the downstairs bar gets the crowd dancing, while pool tables can be found at the Whistle Bar. Telephone: 305-296-4545 Web: The Bull & Whistle Bar
Just past the Tree Bar is Key West’s favorite rock music venue, showcasing live performances every night from The DurtBags. Durty Harry’s is the place to go for a loud and lively good time. With 10 flat screen TV’s and specials on shots and drinks during big games, it’s the place to go to catch your must-see sports events. Durty Harry’s military discounts, making it a long-standing favorite for those who protect our freedom. Telephone: 305-296-5513 Web: Durty Harry’s.
Green Parrot Bar
reen Parrot, which is tucked away on Whitehead Street, just a block off Duval. A jukebox keeps the mood lively with a variety of artists — from Van Morrison to the Temptations — though the bar also offers live music and an ever-changing schedule of funk, R&B, zydeco and blues bands. Grab a bite to eat before arriving; aside from doling out free popcorn, the Green Parrot is a drinks-only establishment. Telephone: 305-294-6133 Web: Green Parrot Bar.
Top Key West Hotels
Paradise Inn – Adults Only
This adult-only inn is located in Key West and features landscaped grounds with brick paths and a lotus pond with koi and tropical turtles. A complimentary continental breakfast is served in the lobby. Enjoy complimentary wine and cheese hour on site at Paradise Inn. Additional amenities include an outdoor pool with a fountain feature and an outdoor hot tub. The hotel is happy to arrange sightseeing tours.
Hyatt Residence Club Key West, Beach House
Hyatt Beach House Resort is located in Key West 4 miles from Duval Street. An outdoor pool and hot tub are featured. You can engage in various activities, such as snorkeling, windsurfing and fishing. The resort also offers bike hire and a small bar on site called Jimmy’s Ocean Blue, which serves lite fare.
This property is a 13-minute walk from the beach. This trendy Key West boutique hotel features an outdoor pool and modern rooms equipped with iPod docking stations and flat-screen TVs. South Beach – Key West is half a mile from the property. This hotel has a daily continental breakfast, and poolside sitting is available on the deck. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
The Perry Hotel Key West
Featuring free WiFi, a restaurant and an outdoor pool, The Perry Hotel Key West offers pet-friendly accommodations in Key West, just 1.4 miles from Key West International Airport. The hotel has a sun terrace and fitness center, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site.
Almond Tree Inn
The guest rooms at the Almond Tree Inn feature custom made furnishings, amazing showers, the latest in technology, stunning wood floors, luxurious linens, and beautiful artwork by local artist. With the ambiance of a secluded resort you would never imagine Duval Street is just 50 steps outside our gates.
Santa Maria Suites Hotel
Experience the eclectic and sophisticated charm of Key West without the hustle and bustle of a large hotel at the Santa Maria Suites Resort. Just a block from Duval Street and the Atlantic Ocean, the Santa Maria is an elegantly refined all suites hotel designed for the discriminating traveler.