The Getaway
Key West is Your Perfect Getaway

Key West is an ideal option when you're looking for the perfect getaway. It's only four miles long and one mile wide but offers gorgeous scenery and many activities. The beautiful waters of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico surround this island city as white sandy beaches line its coast. It has an intriguing history, and the cultural influences are diverse. In Key West, land and water meet to create a paradise for everyone who visits.


01 You can walk down Duval Street

Duval Street, Key West Lisa-Blue / Getty Images

Duval Street is a great place to begin your Key West vacation. You can walk, bike, or ride along the 1.25-mile street and see the cultural diversity that makes Key West so interesting. Shops and boutiques, such as Salt Life and Shaddow and Fish, carry a wide selection of clothing, souvenirs, and other items. Cafes produce the aroma of delicious coffee, and there are multiple cigar shops, including Island Cigar Factory. Colorful homes in pastel colors line Duval Street. You can easily see the Bahamian and Spanish influences reflected in their architecture and design. Stop anywhere along the way for drinks,s and food, especially the key lime pie, as it's the signature treat of this amazing city.


02 Enjoy nightlife on Duval Street

View of Slopppy Joe's Bar in Duval Street, a landmark in Key West

The nightlife on Duval Street is an experience on its own. You'll find many popular bars and restaurants, including Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and Sloppy Joe's Bar. The Key West Pub Crawl is a tradition in this city. It starts downtown, continues for 2.5 hours as you move from one bar to the next, and you'll receive a souvenir T-shirt. It's an interesting way to partake in local festivities, but they don't call it a "crawl" for nothing. Make sure you have a designated driver or another safe ride home.


03 Watch amazing sunsets at Mallory Square

Sailing boat captured during Sunset at Mallory Square

Mallory Square hosts the most breathtaking sunsets you'll ever see. There's even a nightly sunset celebration starting two hours before the sun goes down. Watch as street performers gather to display their talents. Stop at one of the many bars and restaurants, including Two Friends Patio Restaurant, when hunger strikes. Mallory Square is the epitome of what Key West is all about - beauty, fun, and people of all walks living together in harmony.


04 Ride the Conch Train

Aerial photo of scenic Key West, Florida felixmizioznikov / Getty Images

The Conch Tour Train is a historical tour of the city that you can't miss. Three package tours are available: a 1-day Conch Tour Train Package, a 2-day Conch Tour Train Package, and the Conch Train and Ghosts & Gravestones Package. What's included depends on which tour package you choose, but all feature at least three stops and a full loop through Old Town Key West. It's a great opportunity to learn more about this beautiful, historic Florida city.


05 Visit Ernest Hemingway’s House

Hemingway House, Key West benkrut / Getty Images

Visiting Ernest Hemingway's house is a must during your Key West vacation. He adored the island city and made it his home for several years. He created some of his famous works in Key West, and many of his characters had ties to the area. You can also see descendants of his beloved six-toed cat roaming the grounds and home.

The Hemingway Days festival is held each year in July to honor this Key West legend. Dress in your best Hemingway lookalike gear and join the festivities! They include poetry readings and special museum exhibits.


06 Visit the southernmost point in the contiguous United States

Colorful seaside Key West landmark, the southernmost point in the US S. Greg Panosian / Getty Images

Key West is home to the southernmost point in the contiguous United States. The concrete buoy, which is only 90 miles from Cuba, is a true Key West icon. You can find it at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets, so make sure you don't miss out on this memorable photo opportunity.


07 Climb to the top of the Key West Lighthouse

Key West Lighthouse

The view from the top of the Key West Lighthouse is worth taking all 88 steps to get there from its base. It opened in 1848 and has been standing strong ever since. Explore its rich history and enjoy the incredible view while doing so.


08 Take a sunset sail

A yacht floating by island with houses and green trees on turquoise water and blue cloudy sky

Key West is beautiful to explore on land but enjoy a different view by taking a sunset sail around the island. Many companies offer the chance to have this adventure, including Sebago Watersports. Some cruises include drinks and food. The waters around Key West are stunning enough on their own, but add a perfect sunset and a view of the city from the boat, and you'll have an incredible photo collection by the time your cruise is done.


09 Attend Fantasy Fest

Fantasy Fest, Key West FG Trade / Getty Images

Fantasy Fest, held each October, is a celebration of life like no other. People sport body paint and wear interesting costumes to enjoy the revelry. There's food, drinks, parade floats, and much more. Come get your dazzle on and join this festival of fun, creativity, and inclusion.


10 Dive into the World’s Third Largest Barrier Reef

Blonde Girl in the Key West Coral Reef

Your trip to Key West will not be complete until you get in the water. Key West is home to the only living barrier reef in North America. The sea life is abundant, with fish of every color under the sun swimming all around. In addition, there are several shipwrecks to explore. Not certified to scuba dive? No worries. Classes are available that teach you all you need to know in as little as one day. You can also snorkel to several of these underwater sites if scuba diving isn’t your thing.


11 Tour the historic Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of maritime history at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. This treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits is dedicated to the rich maritime history of Florida and the Caribbean. Delve into the intriguing history of treasure hunting in the area, learning about the daring exploits of those who sought to uncover the ocean's hidden riches. It's a fascinating journey that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the adventurous spirit of the past.


12 Visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Little blond preschool kid boy discovering plants, flowers and butterflies at botanic garden romrodinka / Getty Images

Step into a world of vibrant colors and serene beauty at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Here, amidst a lush landscape of tropical plants, you'll find a dazzling array of butterflies fluttering freely. As you wander through this enchanting space, you'll also encounter a variety of birds, adding to the conservatory's lively atmosphere. It's a tranquil oasis that offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.


13 Visit a Rum Distillery

Dive into a flavorful journey at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery or Papa's Pilar Distillery. They offer a unique opportunity to learn about the intricate process of rum-making. During your tour of the facilities, you can gain insights into the art and science behind this beloved spirit. No visit would be complete without a tasting session, where you can savor the rich, complex flavors of the distilleries' offerings.


14 Take a ride on a Floating Tiki Bar

lot of straws for cocktails Sanny11 / Getty Images

Relish in the magic of Key West from a unique perspective aboard a floating tiki bar, such as those available from Key West Tiki Boat. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere as you cruise through the stunning waters while sipping a tropical drink. It's a fun and relaxing way to soak up the beauty of Key West, making for unforgettable moments.


15 Lounge on the Beach

hammock on beach krblokhin / Getty Images

Experience the quintessential Key West lifestyle at Smathers Beach, arguably the city's most popular beach. You can bask in the sun, take a refreshing dip in the ocean, or engage in a variety of water activities. With beach chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, paddle boards, and Hobie Cats available for rent, you'll have everything you need for a perfect beach day.


16 Take a dolphin-watching cruise

Watching a dolphins from cruise boat Zbynek Pospisil / Getty Images

Venture into the heart of the Florida Keys on a dolphin-watching cruise. The Keys serve as a refuge for hundreds of dolphins each year, and a cruise provides an unparalleled opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close. It's a thrilling journey that will leave you with lasting memories. Multiple businesses in the area, including Honest Eco Tours, offer a chance to have the experience.


17 Kayaking through the Key West mangroves

A man and woman kayak in Florida. Corey Rich / Getty Images

Build your knowledge about nature while kayaking through the Key West mangroves. Keep an eye out for Florida wildlife in its natural habitat and learn about the crucial role the mangroves play in the local ecosystem. Offered by Lazy Dog Adventures and various other local businesses, the tours provide a deeper understanding of Key West's natural environment.


18 Visit the famous U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham

Step back in time as you explore the USCGC Ingham Maritime Museum in Key West. Your tour of the historic U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham (WHEC-35) will provide invaluable insight into the U.S. Coast Guard's rich history and the Ingham's significant role in it. It's a must-visit site for history buffs and maritime enthusiasts alike.


19 Eat your way through the Key West Historic Seaport

Cruising into Key West VisionsbyAtlee / Getty Images

Have a delectable culinary adventure in the Key West Historic Seaport. This area is a food lover's paradise, offering a wide array of dining options that showcase the city's diverse flavors. From fresh seafood to Cuban cuisine, there's something to satisfy every palate. Take time to learn about the area's riveting history, adding an extra layer of richness to your gastronomic journey.


20 Discover the wonder of the aquatic animal world at Key West Aquarium

octopus in aquarium Kuzmalo / Getty Images

Located in the bustling Mallory Square, the Key West Aquarium is a beloved attraction that offers an exciting outing for families and animal lovers. Get up close with a variety of aquatic creatures, from colorful fish to fascinating sharks. With interactive exhibits and informative displays, the aquarium provides a fun and educational experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the underwater world.


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