Key West hotels
Key West, Florida
One visit to Key West and you are hooked for life. This town’s personality is eclectic, fun and laid back. Beyond its crazy persona there is a beauty that is natural, stunning, and very memorable. There is always something to do in Key West, whether it's 3 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. Ghost Tours of Key Westwill provide plenty of spookiness while the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center offers humour and kookiness for visitors travelling to this little island.
Mallory Square is the place to be for the nightly Sunset Celebration,filled with fun, friends, and a fabulous sunset view.With all that is unique about Key West, be ready to try the local cuisine that features conch as a delicacy. After getting some food in your belly, trek down Duval Street,which runs across the bottom of the island from the Atlantic to the Gulf. For family-friendly excursions, check out Sebago Watersports, Key West Shipwreck Museum, or the Key West Butterfly Conservatory, which the kids are sure to love. No matter the weather where you are, you can always count on sunny days, happy people, and good times on the island of Key West.
Key West's Top 10
10. Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum Sunken treasure is on display in this museum that promotes archaeology, conservation and education for residents and visitors of Key West.
5. Waterfront Playhouse Comedies, dramas and musicals, oh my! Key West Old Town is home to this professional theatre.
9. Key West Symphony Listen to classical music by a world-class orchestra.
4. Key West Aquarium Since 1934, this aquarium has delighted many with the discovery and display of creatures that live in and around the water.
8. Key West Lighthouse Museum Visitors will enjoy exploring maritime history and stunning views after climbing more than 80 iron stairs to the top.
3. Audubon House and Tropical Gardens Learn about local history and the folklore of Key West while strolling about this brilliant home and tropical garden.
7. Red Barn Theatre For more than 30 years this small theatre has been putting on big shows.
2. Safari Snorkel Adventures Take to the open waters and captain your own boat while a guide takes you to the perfect spot for a snorkelling adventure.
6. Key West Museum of Art and History Here tourists will learn about everything from Hemingway to the pirates that once prowled about Key West.
1. Conch Tour Train Visitors cannot leave the island without taking a ride on this popular tour train for an up-close-and-personal look at Key West.
Key West History
- Fort Zachary Taylor - A 1845 fort once occupied by the Yankees.
- Hemingway House - Location where the late Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway wrote for several years.
- Customs House - Learn about Key West’s historical beginnings.
- Harry S. Truman’s Little White House - Once used as the White House by Truman until 1952.
- Audubon House - Ornithologist John James Audubon once lived and worked here in the gardens sometime before 1932.
Key West Art & Culture
- Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum - Learn about pirates, treasure and the 1985 discovery of a wrecked Spanish ship dating back to the 1500s.
- Galleries Galore - Key West is home to several contemporary art and photography galleries.
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum - Over 500 exciting exhibits showing natural oddities, manmade inventions and strange stunts.
- Pirates in Paradise - In late November through early December, Key West strives to re-enact swashbuckler life in a huge festival.
- Red Barn Theatre - For over 20 years, this quaint theatre has been the place to check out a modern play.
Key West Shopping
- Waterfront - Historic Key West Seaport offers fresh food and amazing wines.
- Shell Warehouse - Purchase the sea treasures of nature and related artwork in this mega-store.
- China Clipper - Said to be haunted, this antique and eclectic shop offers a taste of the Orient.
- Duval Village - For traditional souvenir shops, small stalls and travel fare.
- Bight Before Christmas - Late November event marks the beginning of the Christmas season with illuminated boats, a parade and shopping.
Gay & Lesbian Key West
- Gay and Lesbian Community Centre - Truman avenue offers the city’s Gay & Lesbian Museum, including an exhibit for Richard Heyman, Key West’s first openly gay mayor, who died of AIDS in 1984.
- Aqua Club - Seeking lively drag or a good game of cards, look no further than this action-packed home of the Aquanettes.
- Key West Pride - Early June marks an annual parade, talent show and several LGBT events.
- Metropolitan Community Church - A well-known, welcoming gay church.
- Pearl’s Patio - At times one of the gayest places in the community, Pearl’s serves a mixed crowd of open-minded folks.
Key West Outdoor
- Sunset at Mallory Square - Street performers offering anything from musical to comical routines around sunset and into the night.
- Nancy Forrester’s Garden - A landscaped garden in the middle of everything.
- Glass Bottom Boats - A unique sea view to experience the coral barrier reef and its hundreds of fish species.
- A Cemetery Stroll - Twenty-acre Key West City Cemetery offers a glimpse of historical internments.
- White Street Pier - Well-known pier where people watching at sunset invokes one of the most memorable views.
Key West Sport
- Play in the water with parasailing, skimming, skiing, sailing and snorkelling as well as other Key West favourites.
- Watch Key West’s World Championship Boat Race in early November.
- Fish for the big one off the docks or a schooner.
- Safely swim around Key West with the FKCC.
- Putt around the green at the tropical Key West Golf Club, designed by Rees Jones.
Key West Events
In January, the Key West Food and Wine Festival welcomes visitors to taste the delicious eats, treats, and drinks from the local restaurants.
In February, the Old Island Days Art Festival is situated along Whitehead Street in Key West and hosts artists from all over the country in this nationally recognized show.
The Annual Taste of Key West kicks off spring with a huge event where visitors can eat and drink to their hearts’ content.
Summer heats up with the Cuban American Heritage Festival, which showcases the rich history of Cubans in Key West with fun activities such as Conga lines, a domino contest and street parties.
The Hemingway Day Festival in July celebrates all things Ernest Hemingway, including look-a-likes from all over the country. For 30 years, this wacky festival is hosted at Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West.
Not far from Key West, the Marathon Super Boat Grand Prix offers a summer packed with speed and thrills as visitors watch extremely fast boats race across the ocean.
The famous 10-day-long Fantasy Fest brings funny floats, balls, costume competitions and so much more to the island of Key West.
As summer says goodbye, the Goombay Festival celebrates the Bahamian culture in Key West with dancing, drums and music in the streets.
Pirates of Paradise invites visitors to dress up and join in on this party that includes pirate pub walks, a thieves’ market, a pirates’ feast and many more events that span more than 10 days at the end of November.
The Key West Boat Parade is a memorable sight with lighted boats fully decorated to display traditional holiday spirit combined with true island charm.
When To Go
Mid October through April is the best time to visit Key West, when its warm weather draws visitors from colder climates. This sunny, sandy getaway has daily high temperatures ranging from 82°F (28°C) to 85°F (30°C).
June through August are the hottest and most humid months, with daily temperatures as high as 95°F (35°C). If you’re planning to enjoy the beach, avoid travelling to Key West in August or September, when the island can get up to 5.5 inches (14cm) of rain.
Key West International offers flights by US Airways, Delta, and American Eagle. It is important to look for direct flights that won't connect through mainland cities like Miami. If arriving in Marathon Key, be aware that the shuttle drive to Key West is more than 50 miles.
Traveling by car, Highway 1 south will take you straight to Key West. From Florida City it will take approximately three hours to reach the island.
The Key West Express ferry leaves from Fort Myers Beach and features a snack bar, air conditioning and a flat-screen television for passengers.
Key West official guide
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