Jan 222017
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I recently visited Key West for the first time and I immediately fell in love.  Let me start by saying that Key West was not what I expected.  I went down there thinking it was going to be a quaint little island like Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, but boy, I could not have been more wrong – in a good way, though. Key West is a a hoppin’ place and my husband, Christian, and I were surprised at first about how much to see and do there was there. We were in Key West over Thanksgiving week and were pleasantly surprised that basically everything was open. We crammed a lot into the time we were there and I wanted to share some highlights with you today.

10 Things to do in Key West

1. Eat some key lime pie. Obviously.
Key lime pie is named after the small Key limes that are grown throughout the Florida Keys, so you can’t go to any of the Keys without having at least one piece of key lime pie.  Even if you don’t like key lime pie, you should still have some. I am pretty sure it’s mandatory.

Hubby isn’t a fan of key lime pie, but he did have a few pieces while we were there.  I had a few, too – each day! I tried key lime pie from many different places and I have to say that the Key West Key Lime Pie Co. on Greene Street was my favorite. I am not just saying that because I saw it on The Profit, either.  It was seriously the best.

2. Hang out on Sunset Pier.
Not only can you catch an amazing sunset on the pier, you can see some really interesting street performers there around the time the sun goes down. Christian and I particularly enjoyed  the Cat Man.  The Cat Man has 3 or 4 cats and they do tricks. It’s definitely something you don’t want to miss if you are in Key West – it’s a memorable experience.

The Sunset pier is at the end of Duval Street.  You’ll see the crowd and you’ll hear the cheers when the sun goes down.

3. Go to the beach.
Fun fact: The Keys are islands and made up of reefs, so no sand is actually created in the Florida Keys. The sand you see on the beaches is imported in from elsewhere.

Either way, the beaches there are gorgeous and are a great way to spend some of your time on Key West. While We were there, we visited Higgs Beach on Atlantic Blvd
and Smathers Beach on South Roosevelt Blvd. Both beaches were clean and really nice. We were able to find free street parking at both beaches, so it made for a really inexpensive day!

If you’re at Higgs Beach, be sure to talk a walk down the pier there before you leave.  You never know what you will see out there.

4. See the Southermost Point.
You will find the Southernmost point in the continental United States in Key West. You’ll see the buoy when you get there, but I highly suggest you get there early because there will be a really long line & you’ll end up waiting a good 30-60 minutes to take a picture with it. It’s located on the corners of Whitehead St & South St – you can’t miss it.

5. Go on a ghost tour.
Key West is Florida’s second oldest city and home to a variety of spirits…and one hella creepy doll. That makes it the perfect location to take a ghost tour or two.

A few weeks ago I told you about the Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour that we went on, but we also did a few walking tours. On one of them, Sloan’s Haunted Key West Tour, they gave us ghost hunting equipment to use. In all, we did four ghost tours and they all told different stories, so if you’re into that sort of thing you should definitely take at least one ghost tour in Key West. Most of them can be reserved in advance, but if you want to take one last minute you will see signs for them down there.

6. Go on an Old Town Pub Crawl.
Old Town Key West is very pedestrian friendly, which makes it perfect for some bar hopping. There are literally hundreds of bars & restaurants to choose from, so you won’t have any trouble finding great food and drinks.

One thing I noticed down there was that many bars allowed smoking inside! Gross, right? A general rule of thumb down there is that if the bar/restaurant is completely closed in on all 4 sides – it’s smoke free, but if there is an open wall anywhere, people can smoke in there – so if you are like me and gag over the smell of smoke, especially while you eat – skip those.

7. Take a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s House.
Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in this house for more than ten years. It costs $14 for a 30-minute guided tour and before you ask, we skipped it. The line was long and $28 seemed kind of pricey to us. But if you want to take the tour, The Ernest Hemingway house is located at 907 Whitehead St. You’ll see the crowd gathered in front.

8. Stop by the end of the road (Mile Marker 0).
Stretching from upper Maine to Key West, US 1, known locally in the Keys as the Overseas Highway, is a 2,369 interstate that connects most major cities in the eastern United States. US 1 begins & ends right in Key West and the marker signs can be found at 501 Whitehead St.

9. Take a bike tour!
You’re going to see people on bikes everywhere in Key West.  You can rent them by day, days or the week at many different locations on the island.  While Christian and I chose to walk, we did spend a few hours on a fun bike tour.  There were many options as far as bike tours went, but we chose Key Lime Bike Tours.

There were six of us on the particular tour we went on and our tour guide, Clint, was awesome.  He was one of those people who you could tell just absolutely loved what he did and it showed.  On the 3-ish hour tour, he told us about some of Key West’s history, architecture, and culture of what they call the “The Conch Republic”. If you saw 3 hour tour and cringed, don’t worry – there were lots of stops where we got off our bikes and Clint told us fun stories. He was a really great guide. He really knew his stuff & answered every question that people asked of him.

We stopped at places like the Key West Lighthouse:

Mallory Square:

The Key West AIDS Memorial:

And the Key West Cemetery:

I was fascinated by the fact that everyone is buried above ground in Key West.  Apparently it’s too hard to dig into the limestone, so they all get buried in crypts there. We also found out that in order to be buried there, you have to be born and raised on Key West. Transplants get sent off island.

And Clint told us why there are chickens everywhere you look on Key West.  Yes, chickens (and roosters). Everywhere.

Each tour included a bike & helmet, a bottle of water and all bikes were equipped with a deep basket for personal belongings. Our final stop on the tour was at the Key West Key Lime Pie Co. (see #1) for a slice of Key Lime pie!  Yummers.

The tour costs $42 per person and leaves from 122 Ann St.

10. Visit the Shipwreck Museum.
The Key West Shipwreck Museum combines actors, films and actual artifacts to tell the story of 400 years of shipwreck salvage in the Florida Keys. At the Key West Shipwreck Museum we stepped back into time as we learned about Key West’s unique maritime heritage and how it became the richest city in the United States.

After we made our way through the museum, we climbed the 65′ lookout tower and had the most amazing view of Key West.

See?  Look at that view:

You can get tickets online or while you’re there. The Shipwreck Museum is located at 1 Whitehead St.

By now, you’ve probably noticed that most of these things are located in Old Town. Old Town is the name given to the historic district of the island of Key West, which is basically the western half of the island.  In fact, ALL of the things I mentioned here with the exception of the beaches are located in Old Town, so if you’re staying on the island, that’s the place to be. My hubby and I stayed on the Naval Base down there, which is right on the outskirts of Old Town, so we were able to walk almost everywhere with the exception of the beaches.

Speaking of walking, I am not sure it it was just me, but I found the street signs in Key West to be very confusing.   First off, they are at the bottom of telephone poles and the name of the street faces the actual street, but in the dark – they are hard to see.  So keep that in mind if you’re a bit tipsy at the end of the night.

Before I wrap this up, I wanted to mention one more thing. Christian and I flew into Miami, rented a car and drove down. There is a small international airport on Key West, but it’s small and the airline prices to fly into that airport as opposed to Miami were almost triple.  Plus we wanted to drive down the Overseas Highway and check out the other Keys along the way.  In case you’re wondering, it was about a three hour drive from Miami. If you do fly into Miami, I highly recommend a stop in Little Havana for some great Cuban food!

So, as you can see we did a lot in the time we were there. We had an amazing time in Key West and we can’t wait to go back.

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  95 Responses to “10 Things to do in Key West”

  1. Key West looks great and all your photos look like everyone had a good time. Just not on my radar right now to visit, maybe someday.

  2. Sounds like you had a grand time. I would so love to go see the Shipwreck Museum, the Key West Cemetery and a few other places that you visited. One thing that really intrigued me, which you forgot to tell us, is why was there so many chicken and roosters running loose? Key West would be a place that I would like to visit. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  3. I love this list of things to do in Key West!! Traveling is so much fun, would be a great place to relax at!

  4. I haven’t gone in a long time but yes, Key West is a great place to visit and the key lime pie.. yesss!!! 🙂

  5. When we visited Florida last autumn then we planned to visit Key West, but unfortunately we ran out of time and never made it. But it seems that we will have to visit Florida again and this time we can’t miss Key West.

  6. Looks amazing! I haven’t never been to Key West.. Can’t wait to visit!

  7. I absolutely dig your images that anchor the 10 things to do in Key west Florida. I have been to Tampa and Orlando, Now Key West beckons because of this post,. Cheers Robin 🙂

  8. Old Pub Crawl and Key Lime Pie would be for me, then sight seeing 🙂

  9. Key West sounds like an amazing place to visit! I’d love to see the see the Southernmost Point and try a lot of Key Lime Pies too! I’m sure the bike tours are a lot of fun!

  10. CAT MAN! I am so excited that you saw him. I have seen him twice now and it is such a Key West tradition.

  11. I have heard a lot of good things about Key West from a few friends. It sounds like a great place to visit for sure. I love the idea of everyone being bured above ground for some reason. This is a place I have to add to my bucket list for sure. Thanks for sharing these places to see in Key West and your experiences.

  12. This is most definitely getting a bookmark. We’ve been talking about taking a vacation to Key West, and this is a great resource.

  13. Amazing pictures of beautiful place! I would love to visit it one day and try that lovely key lime pie:)

  14. We went to Key West for our 1 year anniversary and had a blast! I never knew that they don’t have many beaches. But we’d hang out on the sand bars all day!

  15. This is fantastic! I would love to be in Key West right now. It is so wet, cold and deary here right now. I could use some sun, sand and key lime pie!

  16. This would be a dream vacation. I’ve always wanted to go here and after seeing your photos, I want to make it a reality even more. Those views are absolutely stunning.

  17. My husband and I are actually planning a trip to the keys this summer. Both of us are born and raised in Florida and have never been!

  18. My husband and I are actually planning a trip to the keys this summer. Both of us are born and raised in Florida and have never been!

  19. Lots of great info for that area. Who knew there was more to do than just relax on the beach.

  20. There are so many places that I want to go down by the keys. This just motivates me to want to save more and make it there. I love Keylime pie! I would love to try Keylime pie there.

  21. I have never been to Key West! It looks beautiful, and key lime pie is one of my favorites! It wasn’t always, but as I have gotten older, my tastes have definitely developed!

  22. The Southernmost Point is a photo opp I have wanted to take for a long time. We go to Stuart every summer in Florida, but its like a pretty long drive to Key West from there, so I always put it off. Maybe this summer…

  23. what a wonderful place to embark on an adventure– so many beautiful photo opportunities and chances to just be one with nature- also KEY LIME PIE! definitely going to bookmark this post for when I plan my trip!

  24. I’ve always wanted to go to Key West. Thanks for this post, I will be coming back here when I actually go there!

  25. I’ve always wanted to visit Key West and you highlighted so many great things to see and do! My husband and I haven’t had a vacation in 18 years and have been looking for some place we could go for a long weekend..I think Key West has been just been bumped to the top of my list!

  26. This is the perfect Key West vacation. Bob and I want to go, so I bookmarked for future reference. Thanks and so glad you all had a great time!

  27. I’m liking these ideas. Key West sounds like a lot of fun. I wouldn’t mind planning a little getaway there.

  28. Key West is definitely one of the prettiest places! I’ve gone there a few times when I’ve needed a quick weekend trip because it’s such an amazing, island-lifestyle that’s still SO easy to get to! Love it!

  29. looks like a fantastic, sunny place to visit. We love the beach and the food looks delicious so we would definitely be up for adding it to our holiday agenda.

  30. I have always wanted to go to Key West! I want to try the key lime pie and see the Southernmost point too.

  31. I have always loved an authentic key lime pie. Many people make them too sweet.

  32. Beautiful pictures, Key West is on my list of places I’d like to visit. I wish we could go NOW and avoid this Nor’Easter 🙂 The Key Lime pie looks divine!

  33. What I would give to be in Key West right now, the weather is so dreary and cold here. I would welcome some sunshine into my life!

  34. I’ve actually never been to Key West, I would love to go. Looks like a great and relaxing time.

  35. Key West is such a beautiful place. I am hoping to get back there this year. The Sunset Pier is a beautiful view.

  36. The Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour would be so much fun. Looks like there is a lot of great things to see in Key West.

  37. I love to go on tours like the Ghosts and Gravestones TrolleyTour. Key west is a fantastic vacation spot.

  38. That pie looks so delicious. Key West is on the top of my travel bucket list.I would love to see the sunset there.

  39. Great photos! I have really got to start getting out and exploring the world. Key West looks like a great place to visit.

  40. There’s so much to do in Key West! I am hoping to explore more of Florida with Jason when the girls are both moved out. I’d definitely love to do some bike tours and pie eating!

  41. What great photos! I really want to go. I’d love to go on that ghost tours. I LOVE ghost tours.

  42. We are going to Florida in June and I am so excited. I have never been and cannot wait to begin exploring.

  43. I have never been to Florida before. Key West would have been one of my choices if I’m ever able to go. This is one of the states that I really look forward to visiting.

  44. We are actually headed to Key West next month! We really want to go on a ghost tour!

  45. Oh, my goodness, I am so jealous! I want to go to Key West so badly. I am always looking at cruises that stop there.

  46. We lived in Miami for years and Key West is one of our favorite places in south florida. The key lime is definitley a must try (and try and try). So Yummy here.

  47. I think I would seriously have to skip the ghost tour – that kind of stuff just gives me the heebie jeebies! But the rest looks amazing!

  48. I went to Florida last year for the first time and loved it! I’ll have to make a trip out to Key West soon!

  49. I love Florida! Thanks for the list I’ll bookmark this page!

  50. It looks like there are so many fun things to do in Key West it would be hard to choose just one. I would definitely like to go on the Ghost Tour and check out the Shipwreck Museum. Looks like fun!

  51. I have been in Miami but never in the Key, thank you for sharing this post, you give us great ideas of what visiting next time.

  52. Oh my gosh. I can see why you loved it so much. I want to do the bike tour. So fun.

  53. Wow! I didn’t know that there are a lot of fun activities you can enjoy in Key West. Bike tour sounds so much fun!!

  54. Wow! I didn’t know that there are a lot of fun activities you can enjoy in Key West. Bike tour sounds so much fun!!

  55. So many fun things to do!! I honestly had no idea that key lime pie had any connection with the Florida Keys – and I’m from Florida!

  56. There are so many fun things to do there. I would love to go on the ghost tours in Key West.

  57. We were in Key West last year and it is a fantastic place. I can’t wait to go back again. There is so much history there.

  58. Wow! Looks like there are a lot of fun activities you could enjoy in Key West! I’ve never been in that place so I’m totally adding this to my must visit places!

  59. Key West is a great place to have a vacation with your family. Glad to know these fun 10 things.

  60. I’ve never been in Key West and this is really fun ideas to do! I’m planning to Key West this coming March.

  61. These are some beautiful pictures and a great list of things to do in Key West.
    This is definitely on our “to visit” list; I will hold onto this article!

  62. It looks like you had a great time. I’ve been there once and missed some of these sights. I’ll have to check them out when I return.

  63. That lime pie looks INCREDIBLE! This has seriously been talked about a few times by people and I NEED to give it a try! YUM-O. Would love to visit Key West!

  64. You had me at beach and cake, girl. Looks like you had a great time 🙂
    Katja xxx

  65. I’m glad that you had fun adventure in Key West. Their foods are really fantastic for sure, right? I want to eat the lime pie.

  66. Looks like a great trip definitely going to take some notes in my travel journal in case I ever make it down there. I love Florida but I usually only stick to Orlando.

  67. The hubs and I have been talking about taking the kiddos there. I mean we live in Florida after all, it’s time we explore our backyard! And you’re making me want to go more. Great post!

  68. looks like a lot of fun! there are so many things to do! i would love to go there someday!

  69. Key lime pie in Key West is perfect! I’ve been there when I was younger and have been longing to visit since!

  70. It sounds like you had a great trip and this would be a great place to visit. I love the chicken statues in your last picture!

  71. This place looks like a lot of fun. It looks like you had a blast and have shared lots of fun things to do in Key West.

  72. This brings back so many memories of my times in Key West. I been there more times than I can count. It is a unique place with interesting people.

  73. It all looks good but I think I’d like to see Ernest Hemingway’s house and going on the Ghost Tour. The only place I’ve been in Florida is Orlando and Disney World so many it is time to see more.

  74. I would LOVE to try actual Key West Key Lime pie! I can only imagine how much better it tastes.

  75. Never been to Key West but it looks amazing! I’ve also never tried Key Lime pie!

  76. We honeymooned in Key West and it is my FAVORITE place in the entire USA. We did all of these things. We timed our trip during spiny lobster season, so we also went lobstering.

  77. I’ve always wanted to go to Key West! I’m from Florida, but I’ve still never been. You have beautiful photos!

  78. Wow! I love Key West, and you’ve certainly got a great overview here! My favorites are sunset parties on the pier and biking. LOVE your photos!

  79. What a fun full trip! These are all awesome suggestions for the next time I’m in Key West!

  80. Key west is such a fun place to visit!!! I have had the pleasure of vacationing there several times when I was living inFL and had a blast every time

  81. I have never been to Key West before. This looks like such a fun and relaxing place to visit. I really enjoyed reading this. I’m adding this to my travel list. I hope to go there someday.

  82. I’ve enjoyed Key West, but the only time I’ve been there was on a cruise, so I never really got to experience Key West as I had to leave

  83. Oh, how fun! It doesn’t look like somewhere in Florida. I would love to visit there someday. Love all the photos! Thanks for sharing.

  84. It all looks so amazing! I’d love to visit Key West! I’ve had a few friends that have gone and they loved it! The beach looks perfect!

  85. I didn’t know there were so many historical things to do there. I’ve never been but it would be nice to go someday.

  86. I’ve never tried key lime pie but it looks heavenly! Lime flavours are my favourite. Key West looks like such a cool place to visit – I hope I make it one day

  87. I went to Key West a few years ago! I got to swim with dolphins it was amazing. All the places you listed are awesome ideas!

  88. After seeing some of your Instagram posts I told my husband we are putting Key West on our to go list! Plus I don’t have to renew my passport!

  89. Key West has always been so fun whenever we have gone. These are such great ideas!

  90. Key West is my favorite beach destination. So gad to lost of other things to get into. Thanks for sharing.

  91. soooo many places to see and I can’t agree more..the keylime pie is soooo good :). We ate it almost everyday when we visited this place 🙂

  92. True key lime pie must actually come from Key West. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve never had a slice that was anywhere near as good as the one I had there.

  93. If I ever visit Key West, the very first thing I’m going to do is grab an entire Key Lime Pie.

  94. I think I’d like to hang out on Sunset Pier! That place looks like all kinds of fun!

  95. Eating Key Lime Pie and the beach sounds really exciting. I hope I can visit Key West someday.