Key West Florida Travel Guide

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

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

Durty Harry’s

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.

Truman Hotel


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.

Booking.com

26 Comments

  1. Rahye

    Though I’m still in my research phase, thanks for this awesome post and if any I will love to visit the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park as I like a little bit is solitude, adventure and secrecy, also your site is a one stop for beach travelling with all ideas from where to go, things to do and where to stay,I love it. Thank you for sharing again

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome!  I am glad you enjoyed my Key West Florida Travel Guide.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  2. BiboKid

    Me and my wife are planning to celebrate our 10 years in a unique place. This seems to be the perfect place especially as a winter getaway. Although Florida is famous for it’s famous beaches, I’m pretty sure that isn’t the only asset they have and I very much feel that there isn’t going to be a chance for us to get bored in Florida. We might actually go to Florida soon!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I think you would really like it, and no you will not get bored. We have stayed in Orlando before and driven to both coasts very easily. There is so much to do and the weather is beautiful right now. Thank you for reading our Key West Florida Travel Guide.

      Reply
  3. Iain

    After seeing many TV dramas such as CSI Miami and Dexter, I have always felt that Miami/Florida would be a great place to go. From the pictures I’ve seen it look a lot like the Gold Coast in Australia -where I’m from.
    From your post, my feeling have just been reinforced about wanting to go 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You need to go Iain 🙂 It really is amazing in Florida, I don’t live there but I frequent the beaches 4 or 5 times a year and am moving there because I like the area so much! The Gold Coast beaches of Australia are amazing, but Florida is America’s choice, in the top ten for years, for beaches. Thanks for visiting the Key West Florida Travel Guide.

      Reply
  4. Anthony Little

    Key West has always been my favorite places to visit. I really love the atmosphere you have created on your website. You have truly provided some information for visitor who is looking for great discount prices travel expenses to Key West. Of course not to mention the great bar location around the area. I’ve never been to LagerHeads this something I will check them on my next visit to Key West. I can go on and on about the awesome resources that I found on your website, It has really been a pleasant reading your article on your website. Great Job,

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Anthony and I am glad you enjoyed visiting Beach Travel Destinations 🙂 Key West is a place that every beach goer has to visit for sure!

      Reply
  5. uphill1

    Hi Leahrae,
    first off thanks for the opportunity to comment on your web site. My first impression was that it is a very appealing site and totally applies to your niche.
    Home Page – Very good use of graphics here. It gives a calming effect that launches me into vacation mode. Love your clickable links.
    Airfares – You really bring up some excellent pointers for your visitors. After all, everyone looks for bargain vacation deals. Again, very good use of graphics.
    Air Fares – Excellent points. Pretty much everything I would need to capture that bargain price. Just as a suggestion, Maybe increase the font size on your header TIPS ON FINDING THE BEST FAIR PRICES. I think it would be more distinguishable from your topics. Just my thoughts.
    Package Deals – Again, excellent content and excellent use of graphic. All in line with your niche.
    Best Beach Gear – Excellent graphics and beach gear tips. I as a visitor consider you a subject matter expert.
    About Me – Great profile pic. Your content explains well your passion for your niche. This gives your visitors a sense of your personal touch.
    Privacy Policy – Covers all aspects pertaining to your web site.
    Thank you for allowing me to comment on your web site.

    Regards,
    Jerome

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Jerome for reading and taking the time to review my post and website as well. I am glad you enjoyed Beach Travel Destinations and I hope you come back for another visit!

      Reply
  6. Louise

    Your post is very informative and certainly made me want to visit Key West. I enjoyed reading about the fact that all the animals wander freely through the restaurants! That made me giggle and I had a funny image in my head of a chicken wandering past whilst I was eating….

    I enjoyed your recommendations for hotels and restaurants as well – it’s good to have a variety of options when planning to go somewhere. Which are your particular favourites?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The best is definitely the Reach. If I were to recommend a place to stay, that would be it! Yeah, it is a kind of cool place with the animals running around 🙂 Thanks for reading about Key West Louise!

      Reply
  7. Peteni Kuzwayo

    Hi Leahrae

    This is lovely and comprehensive article.

    I’ve developed an interest for travel in recent times. And this is definitely going to be my regular go to resources for interesting destinations to visit.

    This is not a single thing you’ve left out in this article.

    This was a good read.

    Thank you.

    Regards
    Peteni

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Peteni! I am glad you enjoyed and I hope you can use my site to find your next holiday beach destination! Thank you for reading 🙂

      Reply
  8. Fatima

    Hi Mattysmom!

    Your website is awesome! This is the website that all beach goers must visit. it is a one stop shop for them. From airfare to gears all are in our site.
    But as a Filipino i would recommend that you feature the Philippine Beaches also. Alot of tourist visit the Philippines because of our beaches and many more tourist destinations.

    Keep it up!

    Fatima

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Fatima and thank you! Yes, I do plan on adding the Philippine beaches. I will cover all the beaches 🙂 It’s a passion of mine. I am very familiar to the Florida beaches, a favorite of mine, so can provide information for them easily 🙂

      Reply
  9. louloublogger1980

    Right I’m off to Florida lol!
    What an amazing to do list, even though I would LOVE to do every single actively, that would be a dream come true, but if I have to choose i think I would really enjoy the Danger Charters as I’m quite an extreme sports freak and it sounds exhilarating.
    March sounds like the perfect time for me too as I cannot handle weather too hot (being from the UK). I’ve shared this article with my friends – thanks so much for the tips 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome. Yes, the Danger Charters is great for extreme sports. And in March, beaches are nice, water is still warm and weather great in Key West! Thanks for reading Lou.

      Reply
  10. chase

    I’ve always been a West Coast/Las Vegas traveler but I might need to reconsider Florida as part of my travels. I went there many years ago with my family but never as an adult so I think I’d enjoy the experience with some friends. I thoroughly enjoyed and found all the information you had very helpful and informative. If I do decide to travel I will definitely use this article. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Chase! Yeah, I used to live about an hour out of Vegas and don’t get me wrong, it is a great place to visit. I do love the desert scenery…it’s my favorite. But I really love having that same scenery and gorgeous beaches to splash around in as well 🙂

      Reply
  11. James

    What time does the nightlife end in Florida?

    Here in the UK most bars and pubs close at 11pm with some bigger clubs staying open until 2am if they have an extended licence. Which is kinda lame really. When I went to Thailand most places stayed open until at least 2am and many kept going until 6am. Much better.

    What is it like in Florida? Boring and conservative like here in the UK or much more relaxed and fun like over in Thailand?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I don’t think the night life ever ends in Key West, seriously. It is a great place to go if you want it all, good weather, great beaches and awesome nightlife.

      Reply
  12. Rosa

    Hi Matty,

    I enjoyed your website. Never been to Key West. I’ve been in Florida but had not gone to Key West. Sounds like a place I certainly would want to go. I like the laid-back style and allowing cats, dogs or chickens roam freely in restaurants, wow, that’s great.

    The beaches looks awesome. The year I went to Florida, we went to the beach to spend the day and the beach (sand) was so amazingly clean.

    I would love to go back and visit again.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You would love Key West. It’s one place in Florida that everyone needs to visit. Very unique and fun! Thanks for visiting !

      Reply
  13. Simon

    When would you say is the best time to visit Key West in Florida?
    We live in the UK and what looks like Florida’s coldest point is very close to the UK’s highest temperature.
    We don’t want too humid weather, just interested what time of year you prefer there.
    Hanging around the beach bars sounds so much fun whilst cruising around the Key West sightseeing the hotspots sounds idyllic.
    The Dolphin watch sounds right up Tracy’s, my wife’s street whilst Barefoot Billy’s jet ski tours sound superb fun for me.
    There’s endless things to do, sounds like a great holiday for us, thanks,
    Simon.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You know it really depends on what type of weather you are looking for and if you want to play in the ocean. Anytime of year is great in Key West is going to be great. The summer months are probably going to be the most humid, so if you want to avoid the humidity, then go at any time except summer months. You will enjoy! Thanks for visiting the Key West Florida Travel Guide!

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Peteni Kuzwayo Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed