When planning a dream vacation, many travelers fall back on well-known destinations like London, Rome or even Bali. But anyone who overlooks the convenience and charm of Key West, one of America’s top vacation spots, is missing out. This small island city that sits at the southernmost end of the Florida Keys offers an array of exciting activities, delicious dining options, and charming accommodation to satisfy the most discerning traveler.
Get Away from it All with Island Accommodations
For maximum seclusion and Travel + Leisure award-winning accommodations, book one of the charming cottages on Sunset Key, a small island just a few hundred yards off Key West. Guests of Sunset Key Cottages enjoy a private pool and beach, and amenities like a fitness center and spa. Cottages are fully appointed in modern high-end designs with luxury furnishings and appliances. There’s a regularly running ferry between Sunset Key and Key West for guest convenience. The key has its own on-site restaurant and is fully staffed to meet every guest’s need. Artful landscaping ensures privacy. Cottages offer 1-4 bedrooms with private verandas, and guests enjoy baskets of fresh goodies delivered to their doorstep each morning.
Enjoy the Best of Key West with These Activities
Fishing is one of the most popular tourist activities in Key West, and a chartered fishing expedition is the easiest way to participate. There’s no need to pack fishing gear because it’s all provided by the charter fishing company. They take care of fishing licenses and permits and manage the navigation, too. The only thing you need to think about is what kind of fish you’d like to catch and where you’d like to go, such as wreck, reef or flats fishing.
At Dry Tortugas National Park, this mostly-underwater national park is known for its snorkeling along coral reefs and shipwrecks. It’s a short ferry ride from Key West. Enjoy tours of Fort Jefferson, fishing, beach access, kayaking, and more. In addition to the undersea life, Dry Tortugas is popular among birders. The park is made up of several small islands, with Garden Key being the largest and best-known with the most activities. The park offers expansive sea views and striking brick architecture that stands out for its longevity. Take the ferry or book a private tour to access the park via catamaran or another boat, typically coupled with extra experiences like swimming and lunch. Some tours offer access by seaplane. It especially stands out as a place where novice snorkelers can enjoy exciting and memorable sites as much as experienced snorkelers.
While Duval Street is known for the shops, boutiques, and galleries popular among visitors, there are plenty of places off the beaten path that offer an array of handcrafted gifts and decor items, jewelry, clothing, artwork, cigars, wine and liquors, and food items for immediate enjoyment and meaningful souvenirs. Explore smaller streets to see the array of creativity possessed among Key West residents who offer their crafts for sale. Shop for sandals, cigars, handmade jewelry, pottery, and more. Take advantage of shipping, where available, to avoid having to force-fit items into your suitcase.
Book a Ghost and Mysteries Guided Tour Learn about Robert the Doll and other spooktacular Key West residents on this nighttime walking tour of the city. Led by experienced and engaging tour guides who know a thing or two about the best haunts in Key West, believers and skeptics alike will have a frighteningly good time. Guests may even get a first-hand chance to try dowsing rods. As one of the oldest cities in North America, it’s a wonderful opportunity to try and observe ghosts and spirits, either through your own senses or via photography.
Explore the Local Food Scene
If you’re one of those people who think one burger is as good as another, the folks at Meet Burger USA have news for you: their passion for their craft puts their dishes light years beyond any other burger you’ve had. Burgers are made-to-order with the freshest ingredients, including house-made fries, and the menu offers an array of local and specialty beers. Top it all off with cool gelato for a meal to remember. Build-your-own options include more than six kinds of bread, and you can fill that bun with beef, turkey, boar or vegan “BeyondMeat”. Top your creation with common and uncommon condiments like pickle chips, arugula or fried Mexican cheese, and finish your plate with traditional, sweet potato or yucca fries. Can’t decide? It’s always a safe bet to go with one of the restaurant’s suggested combinations.
Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant in Old Town Key West serves traditional seafood favorites like lobster roll plus local specialties like conch fritters. Enjoy meals to go or dine alfresco at charming outdoor picnic tables with umbrellas. Choose sandwiches, salads, and a wide array of sides and house-made accompaniments. Fish tacos are better when you can select the fish yourself and have a made-to-order meal. Indulge in the expertly crafted dips and sauces for a more flavorful experience.
Make Key West your next vacation destination. The small size of the city, the excitement of outdoor activities, and wide range of dining choices make it stand out and keep travelers coming back year after year. Don’t overlook this tropical paradise that’s practically in your own backyard.