Reflections of Key West residential area in the water, Florida

Things to do in  Key West

Have the lime of your life

Colorful Key West combines a tropical island vibe with a laid-back lifestyle for a Caribbean-esque vacation at the southernmost tip of the United States. History buffs will want to take a sun break to visit Ernest Hemingway’s Home and Museum, President Harry S. Truman’s Little White House, and the Key West Shipwreck Museum. Water lovers can explore on guided cruises, snorkeling or kayaking tours, Jet Ski rides, or quiet evening sails. Sunset is a major event each evening, with crowds gathering at Mallory Square to watch the show and enjoy street performances. Most people also visit festive Duval Street to explore the bars, restaurants, and art galleries.

Top 15 attractions in Key West

Mallory Square

Overflowing with Key West quirkiness, Mallory Square draws a crowd at sunset thanks to its many restaurants, street performers, and daily Sunset Celebration. During the day, visitors come for some of Key West’s best shopping and to admire the open-air sculpture garden, which pays tribute to famous local residents.More

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Encompassing 2,900 square miles (4,667 square kilometers, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects an underwater world that’s home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef and more than 6,000 marine life species. Plus, several shipwrecks pay homage to the maritime heritage of the Atlantic.More

Southernmost Point of the Continental USA

The Southernmost Point of the Continental USA monument is a quick but must-do photo op while vacationing in Key West. The iconic buoy-shaped concrete marker indicates that you’re in the southernmost point of the continental United States, just 90 miles (145 kilometers) to Cuba. Snap a pic and then get busy enjoying island life in this legendary Florida destination.More

Fort Zachary Taylor

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park spans 54 acres (22 hectares) sits on the tip of Key West and is popular for both its military history and its current recreational opportunities. It is also the location of one of Key West’s favorite beaches, a stretch of sand with turquoise water sometimes called “rocky beach.”More

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Nestled among towering palm trees on Key West, the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum allows you to see where one of the United States’ most famous writers and greatest thinkers lived and worked. The Hemingway Home is a National Historic Landmark and Literary Landmark, and recorded at the Library of Congress as an Historic American Building.More

Dry Tortugas National Park

Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park spans 100 square miles (25,900 hectares) of open water, protected coral reefs, and seven small islands in the Gulf of Mexico only accessible only by boat or air. Dry Tortugas is famous for its blue waters, wildlife, and Fort Jefferson—a 16-acre (6.5-hectare) coastal fortress.More

Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum

The Key West Lighthouse is one of the island's oldest structures. It was first built in 1825 to help ships navigate the dangerous reefs of the Lower Keys. The lighthouse that stands today dates back to 1847, and the 92-foot (28-meter) building offers some of the best views in town, as well as a maritime museum in the keeper’s house.More

Key West Aquarium

Situated on Key West’s Mallory Square, the Key West Aquarium brings visitors up close to some of the Florida Keys’ aquatic wildlife. Exhibits feature guest favorites such as sharks, stingrays, American alligators, and jellyfish. The Atlantic Shores exhibit houses a living red mangrove ecosystem, a critical habitat in the Keys.More

Duval Street

Duval Street, running from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, is Old Town Key West’s main strip, offering a mix of restaurants, bars, boutiques, live music, kitschy souvenir shops, and theaters. Walk the street at your leisure, or plan to attend a Duval Crawl; the street hosts some of the wildest pub crawls in the United States.More

Harry S. Truman Little White House

American President Harry S. Truman used this 1890 landmark as a winter White House, visiting 11 times over the course of his presidency. Now a presidential museum, the house preserves Truman’s legacy with original furnishings, personal items, and memorabilia. Guided tours of the museum uncover personal stories from Truman’s time here.More

Smathers Beach

Palm trees line this prime stretch of Key West beachfront, where you can stake out the perfect stretch of white sand, lounge in the shade, or try one of many activities. Calm water makes Smathers Beach a favorite for snorkeling and swimming, and it’s great for families looking for a day by the shore.More

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Treacherous waters off Key West have brought down ships carrying gold and silver for centuries. The Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum puts those treasures on display, alongside cannons, swords, and other artifacts dredged from the bottom of the sea. Wrecks from the 1700s and 1800s are the heart of the museum's collection.More

Edward B. Knight Pier

Extending a quarter mile (1,300 feet) over the Atlantic Ocean, the Edward B. Knight Pier is perhaps the best place in Key West to see the sunrise. The concrete, Brutalist-style pier is also an excellent place to soak up ocean views at any time.More

Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum

The Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum lets you step back in time and immerse yourself in the nautical and maritime heritage of what was once the richest city in the US. Discover the perils of shipwrecking and climb the 65-foot (20-meter) lookout tower, from which folks would watch out for Spanish galleons and alert the authorities in case of a wreck.More

St. Paul's Key West Episcopal Church

St. Paul's Episcopal Church enjoys a prominent location on Key West’s busy Duval Street. But even without this enviable piece of real estate, the church would be hard to miss. On sunny days, its white exterior stands out brilliantly against the bright blue Key West sky. Inside, you’ll find a peaceful sanctuary from the bustling city.More

Trip ideas

5 Best Weekend Getaways from Key West

5 Best Weekend Getaways from Key West

Top activities in Key West

Key West Sunset Sail with Full Bar, Live Music & Hors D'oeuvres
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Key West Sunset Dinner Cruise with Tropical Buffet Dinner
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Key West Southernmost Food and Cultural Walking Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Key West Conch Tour Train

Key West Conch Tour Train

Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure in Key West
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Half-Day Cruise from Key West with Kayaking and Snorkeling
Special Offer

Half-Day Cruise from Key West with Kayaking and Snorkeling

$117.07  $11.71 savings
Key West Dolphin Watch Sunset Sail with Premium Wine, and Tapas Pairings
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Florida Keys Reef Snorkel & Sail Adventure
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Small-Group Key West Sunset Sail with Wine
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Key West Premium Sunset Sail aboard Schooner with Full Bar
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Key West

When to visit

Grown-ups who want to party in paradise should visit Key West in the fall—namely for Fantasy Fest in October. The risque, week-long festival features costumes, parades, and tons of parties every year around Halloween. Fall is also the tail end of hurricane season in the Keys, so the skies are much clearer than in the stormy summer.

Getting around

Key West is tiny—the entire island is only 4 miles (6 kilometers) long and just under 2 miles (3 kilometers) wide. So if you’re an avid cyclist, walker, rollerblader, or longboarder, you’ll have little trouble navigating the island without a car. Those who like to ride with a roof over their heads can pay to use the Key West Transit around the island. Keep your eyes peeled for the hop-on hop-off service that runs the Duval Loop—it’s a free ride that stops at more than a dozen popular spots downtown.

Traveler tips

Key West is well-known for its LGBTQ+ scene and surprising amount of family-friendly activities. Mallory Square is full of entertaining buskers, while the Key West Aquarium and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum are exciting and educational. Groups trying to see all of America’s national parks will be delighted to know that Dry Tortugas National Park is a 2-hour ferry ride away from Key West’s marina.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
EST (UTC -5)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What should I not miss in Key West?

Don’t miss the Old Town in Key West, a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood full of restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops. After a walk along Duval Street, check out the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery, Hemingway Home and Museum, and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.

What is the best time to go to Key West?

There are several attractive times of year to go to Key West. The winter months of December, January, and February are known for mild temperatures. Travelers who want to see the rowdy side of Key West may want to visit for Fantasy Fest in October or Mardi Gras in March.

What attractions are there in Key West?

Key West is home to several attractions including the Hemingway Home and Museum, Truman Little White House, and Key West Lighthouse. It also offers a range of smaller attractions such as the southernmost point in the continental US, Key West Aquarium, and Audubon House and Tropical Gardens.

Is it worth going to Key West for a day?

Yes. It is worth going to Key West for a day. The pastel-hued Old Town is fairly compact and can be explored on foot. Check out the Hemingway Home and Museum, Truman Little White House, and Key West Lighthouse. Don’t leave town without going for a stroll along Duval Street.

What is there to do in Key West for teens?

Teens in Key West can take a Jet Ski tour, rent bikes to explore the Old Town, or catch rays on the beach. Other fun things to do include visiting the Key West Shipwreck Museum, going on a ghost tour, and getting a bird’s-eye view of the ocean while parasailing.

What do locals do in Key West?

Locals in Key West get outdoors to soak up the area's natural beauty. Join the locals for a swim at Smathers Beach, a fishing expedition, or a stroll through the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. More options include a kayaking excursion or a bike ride followed by happy hour.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the top things to do in Key West?
What are the top activities in Key West?
What are the top things to do near Key West?
Check out things to do near Key West:
What do I need to know before visiting Key West?