Whether you’re an experienced world traveler or planning your first getaway, choosing the right destination plays a big part in how much you’ll enjoy it. Key West offers accommodations, activities, and dining to attract visitors from around the world. This charming community with bright sunshine, stunning natural surroundings, and an eclectic selection of local dining that’s inspired by the best local ingredients and global flavors keeps drawing tourists back year after year, and it’s not hard to see why.
With expert fishing charters, you can spend a day on the water in pursuit of one of the most popular hobbies in America. Even if you’ve never been fishing before, the captain and crew provide all of the gear and instruction you need to get started. Enjoy wreck, reef, deep water, and flats fishing. Depending on the season, go out for grouper, snapper or tarpon. Enjoy a half-day trip or make it a full day out on the water.
Dine on the Freshest Seafood
Visit Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant in Old Town Key West, which serves local favorites like conch fritters alongside more well-known dishes like fish sandwiches and lobster rolls. The restaurant offers outdoor dining or packs meals to go. If your accommodations offer a kitchen and you prefer to cook yourself, shop for fresh fish and shellfish to prepare yourself. What stands out about Eaton Street is their knowledgeable team and their wide selection of house-made sauces to accompany each dish.
Snorkel in Crystal Clear Waters
Although it requires a ferry or seaplane to get there, Dry Tortugas National Park is typically considered among one of Key West’s most outstanding attractions. The largest of the small islands that make up this park is Garden Key, where you can explore Fort Jefferson and go swimming. The park also offers kayaking, birdwatching, and camping. But the big draw is snorkeling. The calm waters are great for novices as well as experienced snorkelers, and it offers several coral reefs and shipwrecks to dive on. The park is also accessible through private tours on watercraft like catamarans; these expeditions typically include lunch and additional swimming opportunities, which can be ideal if you prefer more of a guided approach to the experience.
Cruise Mangrove Forests
Get an up-close look at the mangrove forests while kayaking through them with this unique approach to eco-tourism. View wildlife while learning about the animals who make their homes in these unusual habitats, the geologic history of the area, and how Key West came to be. Expand your understanding of the natural world by learning more about the challenges that face this environment today. Guests are led through the back country by experienced and knowledgeable tour guides. Some tours don’t go out in threatening weather, and others offer pet-friendly arrangements, so be sure to ask questions in advance of booking your tour to ensure a good match.
Visit the Home of an American Legend
Millions of Americans have been assigned Hemingway to read in school while others have watched the classic films based on his books. In Key West, you can learn more about the myth and legend surrounding Ernest Hemingway. While he lived in Key West for only around ten years, it’s where he wrote many of his best-known books. The specialty museum is known for its distinctive landscaping and in-ground pool–a true luxury for its time–and art deco architecture. The home also still has many family heirlooms on display. Guests are free to explore the property after their tours, and many enjoy seeing the polydactyl cats descended from the writer’s own pets. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the lush palms and colorful gardens.
The on-site restaurant at the Southernmost House is open to visitors as well as guests of the hotel, which is located in a charming Victorian home. The outdoor seating at the Seaside Cafe is just steps from the shore, giving diners a remarkable sunset view. The menu features popular dishes like lobster pizza and guests rave about the frozen and mixed drinks, especially the margaritas. It’s right on Duval Street and easy to find, making it the perfect end to a day of fun in Key West.
Rest and Relax with Luxury Spa Accommodations
Book a room at the Ocean Key Resort and Spa for the ultimate feeling of getting away from it all. The vibrant seaside decor is soothing, and the resort’s full private pier offers alfresco dining without crowds. Enjoy full spa treatments based on those found in far-off places like Bali and Thailand, and rest in spacious rooms and suites. Take it easy with elegant dining on-site and a jewel of a pool to lounge at. Rooms showcase the work of local artists and provide guests with stunning Gulf views or charming city views. The resort is known for its attentive staff and Hot Tin Roof restaurant’s Sunday brunch. Enjoy live music at Sunset Pier or special programs as part of Key West cultural events like the annual Key West Songwriters Festival and Mile 0 Fest.
Book a trip to Key West for a weekend or longer to see why so many travelers make this destination part of their regular vacationing. The outdoor activities offer one-of-a-kind experiences. Local restaurants serve finely prepared meals that make the most of local ingredients and international inspiration. And upscale accommodations offer the kind of thoughtful amenities that allow guests to truly relax and recharge before heading back to the crush of daily life. When you’re planning your next vacation, make it Key West.