The first time you visit someplace new, you are likely to feel like an outsider. It can be disorienting and begin to affect your enjoyment of your trip. You might even miss out on great experiences simply because you don’t know about them.
Fortunately, with these insider tips, you can be assured of planning the most complete Key West itinerary so you don’t overlook any of the most distinctive landmarks, restaurants, and activities that make this one of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S.
While many people usually think of excursions like snorkeling or fishing when you mention Key West, there are actually a number of places where hiking is the best way to get a local’s view of the island. Hiking trails crisscross Key West in parks and botanical gardens all over the city.
Don’t miss the trails in Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, Little Hamaca Park, and Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park. You won’t attain a considerable altitude because of the nature of the island’s topography but you’ll get dramatic views of the water and the chance to see distinctive plant and animal life thriving in its natural habitat.
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most popular places to go snorkeling in Key West. The clear and shallow waters are comfortable for novice and experienced divers alike, and the small group of islands offers more than just underwater adventures.
If you’re ready to go beyond the shipwrecks and coral reefs, you can also tour the historic fort on Garden Key, go kayaking or birdwatching, or walk the promenade around the fort. But one thing you’ll have a hard time doing is booking your trip to Dry Tortugas at the last minute. This park is accessible only by water.
There is limited space on the ferry from Key West, and you need to book your reservation in advance. While it’s possible that you could luck out and get a spot last minute, it’s unlikely, especially during tourist season. If visiting Dry Tortugas is a priority, it’s best to buy your ferry tickets as soon as you’re able to.
Many visitors to Key West expect to indulge in the fresh seafood that the Florida Keys are known for. But it doesn’t need to be a pricey or upscale experience to get an unforgettable meal. Keep it casual and visit Eaton Street Seafood Market where the focus is truly on the food.
This highly regarded restaurant in Old Town Key West has tempting lunch and dinner menu choices that include fried shrimp, lobster roll, conch fritters, and fish tacos, plus an array of sides and salads to complement your meal. Dine outdoors or take your meal to go.
You can also buy fresh fish and shellfish to prepare your own meal if, for you, cooking seafood is as enjoyable as eating it. Complete your meal with one of several varieties of key lime pie from Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe or gelato from Duetto’s; both are house-made delights.
Key West has the kind of fishing that keeps travelers coming back again and again. There are more than a dozen kinds of fish you’ll find here, and the warm year-round weather makes every day a good one to go fishing. Avoid the hassle of packing your fishing gear and renting a boat–simply book yourself a chartered fishing trip with All In Fishing Charters. It makes fishing in Key West effortless, whether you’re an expert angler or have never held a fishing pole before.
You can get pointers from the experienced crew and tailor your excursion according to what kind of fish are biting. Depending on whether you’re going out for snapper, mackerel, grouper, mahi-mahi, or another of the many types that frequent the waters off of Key West, you can organize a full- or half-day trip. The charter company takes care of your permits, fishing poles, and everything you need, aside from lunch, sunscreen, and your sunglasses.
It’s easy to make sure your trip to Key West is one that you’ll look back on fondly for a long time because of all the great memories you’ll have. By planning your itinerary using these insider tips, you’ll have a great plan in place to see and do all the best activities the island has to offer.
Take the guesswork out of your trip and feel confident in selecting the most enjoyable excursions, dining options, and sightseeing for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.