10 Great Things to do in Key West, Florida

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Updated On: April 23, 2024 by   Courtney AugelloCourtney Augello

Key West is one of the busiest tourist locations in Florida. The city is full of history, famous landmarks, and exciting attractions. Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, there is something for everyone on this Florida Key.

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Key West is a perfect tourist destination.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing time on the beach or an exciting holiday full of adventure, Key West has it all. To help you plan your perfect trip, we’ve listed 10 of the best things to do in Key West.

1: Key West Shipwreck Museum

Key West used to be a large hub for shipwreck salvaging, and this museum was built to recreate one of the warehouses where marine salvagers worked. Exploring the exhibits is one of the most historical things to do in Key West.

The Key West Shipwreck Museum gives visitors an inside look into one of Key West’s most profitable industries. Actors guide guests through the exhibits and tell stories about important salvaged ships. In addition, films and artefacts are on display for anyone who wants to go at their own pace.

2: Fort Zachary Taylor State Park & Beach

No trip to Key West would be complete without visiting Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The fort was built before the U.S. Civil War and served as the headquarters of the Union Navy. Today, guests can walk along trails through the park, see Civil War-era cannons, and step back in time.

Lounging on the park’s beach is one of the most relaxing things to do in Key West. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are inviting and fun to swim in. Even if you don’t jump in, laying on a beach towel in the sand is a great way to spend the day.

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Fort Zachary Taylor State Park takes guests back in time.

3: Key West Aquarium

Visiting the Key West Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Key West for families. The aquarium opened in 1934 and was the first to allow natural sunlight to illuminate indoor tanks. The goal of the aquarium was to increase tourism to the area.

Today the aquarium has many unique animals on display. Exhibits include jellyfish, sea turtles, sharks, and alligators. Shows and events are also held at the aquarium, such as a shark feeding event and a show on conservation.

4: Overseas Highway

The Overseas Highway is a 182-kilometre-long stretch of road that leads from mainland Florida through all of the Florida Keys. The scenic drive over the water makes it a beautiful road trip destination.

The Overseas Highway goes across over 40 bridges as it spans to Key West. Lighthouses, beaches, wildlife and more can be seen from the highway, making it one of the most scenic things to do in Key West.

5: Key West Lighthouse

Taking a lighthouse tour is one of the most interesting things to do in Key West. The first lighthouse was 20 metres tall and operated from 1825 to 1846 when it was destroyed by a hurricane. A new lighthouse, which still stands today, was built and decommissioned in 1969.

Today, the Key West Lighthouse and the keeper’s quarters are open to visitors. Guests can climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse, explore where the keepers lived, and learn about their lives as they maintained the light.

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The Key West Lighthouse is open for tours.

6: Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico 110 kilometres from Key West. It is the most isolated island in the area and is completely surrounded by clear blue waters.

The park is known for its stunning coral reefs, bountiful sea life, and stories of sunken ships full of treasure. Snorkelling, fishing, and camping are popular activities at the park. For anyone seeking a fascinating day trip, visiting Dry Tortugas is one of the most intriguing things to do in Key West. 

7: Southernmost Point Buoy

Visiting the Southernmost Point Buoy is one of the most popular things to do in Key West for tourists. The concrete buoy marks the southernmost point of the continental US, just 90 miles north of Cuba.

The buoy was created in 1983, replacing a wooden sign that previously marked the point. It has survived through numerous hurricanes and other inclement weather. Since its construction, the buoy has been a famous tourist attraction and a perfect photo spot.

8: The Hemingway Home & Museum

American author Ernest Hemingway made Key West his home and lived just across the street from the Key West Lighthouse. It was here that Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works. Because of this, visiting the Hemingway Home & Museum is the most popular thing to do in Key West.

Three years after his death, the Hemingway Home was turned into a museum and later designated a National Historic Landmark. Nearly all house rooms are open to visitors, except for Hemingway’s personal writing room. Wandering through the home is an amazing experience for any book lover.

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Going to the beach is one of the best things to do in Key West.

9: Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square

No night spent in Key West would be complete without attending a Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. The event is hosted nightly and begins 2 hours before sunset. There is no admission cost for the celebration.

The nightly Sunset Celebration began in the 1960s and features live music, artisan crafts, and food vendors. Shows and performances are also common at the event. With a friendly crowd, tons of entertainment, and a beautiful view, attending a Sunset Celebration is one of the best things to do in Key West at night. 

10: Key West First Legal Rum Distillery

Located at an old Coca-Cola bottling plant, Key West First Legal Rum Distillery was founded in 2012. It was started by 2 chefs who wanted to put their knowledge towards a new venture. They use local ingredients in Florida, like sugarcane and Key limes, to create their signature rum.

What makes First Legal one of the most interesting distilleries in the US is its products and events. The distillery also sells fruits and rum cakes in addition to spirits and hosts events such as mojito classes. 

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Key West is full of fun tourist attractions.

There are Many Interesting Things to do in Key West

From sandy beaches to historic monuments, there are so many things to do in Key West. It is a perfect place to relax, learn, and explore while enjoying the amazing Florida weather. Whether you’re travelling solo or with your family, Key West will not disappoint.

For anyone visiting Florida, spending time in Key West is a must. Your trip will be one to remember if you follow this list and see some of the best attractions that the city has to offer.

If you’re planning a trip to America, check out these USA travel statistics before you go.

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