Crystal clear waters, sunsets, colorful streets, and good eats. Key West, Florida, is a popular vacation destination located at the southernmost point of the United States. This guide breaks down the must–visit spots for your next trip.
Named after president Zachary Taylor, this beach is part of a larger state park with tours offered daily. Bring some closed–toe shoes along, because Fort Zachary Beach has rocky sand from crushed corals. If you’re looking for the best beach to snorkel and dive at, this is the one for you. This area of Key West is teeming with colorful marine life. The best part—you can rent umbrellas and chairs, so grab your sunglasses and bathing suit and you’re all set.
South Beach, as the name suggests, is in southern Key West. This area of beach has shallower waters than most, attracting lots of families with younger children. The laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect spot to grab a smoothie from the many juice bars on the beach and watch the gentle waves.
Bustling with tourists, Smathers beach is the most visited on the island. Beach access is free, though parking close may not be an option. If you’re willing to walk a few blocks, you can avoid the parking fees. The softer sand is attractive compared to other places on the island covered in corals and rocks.
You don’t have to leave your furry friend behind if you choose to spend the day at dog beach. As the only beach on the island that lets dogs roam free, you’re bound to have a day full of cute dog spotting along the coast.
Higgs beach is far less crowded than most in Key West. It has a great pier suited for sunset watching and crystal-clear waters for swimming. Be sure to watch out for stingrays, as this spot is a hotbed of activity for them.
Snap a photo of you and your crew at the southernmost point of the United States. Be prepared to wait in line or arrive early in the morning for a guaranteed spot to watch the sunrise.
Famous American journalist and novelist Ernest Hemingway had a beautiful home in Key West that is now a museum and an ode to his works. Tours are offered 365 days a year with no reservations needed in advance.
The best spot to witness a famous Key West sunset is Mallory Square. This is a must when visiting. Don’t miss out on the sunset celebration and nightlife here.
Good eats and drinks
Traveling to Key West calls for key lime-flavored foods and drinks? For the best key lime martini on the island, stop into The White Tarpon Bar & Restaurant.
Enjoy your breakfast on the beach at Southernmost Beach Café. A good cup of coffee with sand between your toes doesn’t sound bad.
After enjoying a day swimming amongst the marine life, get a taste of the best fish in Key West too. For the claimed best seafood dinner on the island head over to Shor American Seafood Grille. Their “you catch it, we cook it” policy makes for a one of a kind meal every time.
If you’re looking to splurge, make a reservation at Latitude’s Restaurant located just a complimentary ferry ride away on Sunset Key. With a wide array of options, from salads and fish to steak and pasta, everyone in your party will have a clean plate.
The vibrant colors of Key West are mirrored in the species of birds and butterflies you’ll encounter at Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Check out the live webcam to get a preview of the inside.
Feed yourself and a hungry Tarpon fish at Robbie’s of Islamorada. Tarpon fish grow up to 8 feet in length and are friendly to Keys tourists, often swimming right up to people on the marina.
At the Dolphin Research Center in Key West, you’ll play, swim, and maybe even paint with their sea lions and dolphins housed in natural seawater lagoons. The experiences vary from $30–700 depending on time and level of immersion with the animals.
Snorkeling and diving
The clear waters of Key West and abundance of colorful marine life make it an optimal place to snorkel and Scuba dive. There are plenty of companies that have day trips and classes to show you around the best parts of the surrounding water.
Jet skiing, parasailing, and extreme water sports
In addition to being in the water, you can also be flying above or on it. Consider renting jet skis, taking a parasailing lesson, and enjoying the water in a thrilling way to get your adrenaline fix for the trip.
For more local gem blogs visit americanlifestylemag.com/travel.