Things to Do on Your Key West Vacation

People talk about kicking back and relaxing on their vacations to Key West and that’s nice, but sometimes you want to get out and do something fun. There’s lots to see and do in Key West, from fishing to food, shopping to museum visits.

Image by Michael Draeger from Pixabay

Here’s how to make the most of your trip to Key West.

Book a Charter Fishing Trip

Key West’s location, where the waters of the Gulf of Mexico meet the Atlantic Ocean, provide some of the best fishing around. With a charter fishing trip from Seize the Day Charters, you can customize your experience to ensure you have the best time.

Image by Bill Gernaat from Pixabay

Choose from morning, afternoon, or all-day excursions for tuna, kingfish, grouper, sailfish, tarpon, swordfish, mackerel, and more. Some Key West restaurants are willing to cook your catch, too, though prior arrangements may be needed for this. Ask when you book a dinner reservation.

There’s no experience necessary. The local captain of All In Charters or similar boats has all of the fishing tackle, gear, and permits needed. Fishing is a great family activity and a good way to bond. Local captains’ knowledge of the area pretty much guarantees a good time and successful fishing trip. You can try flats, reef, shipwreck or deep sea fishing. 

Key West Festivals

With special events that happen all year long, it’s always a good time to visit Key West. Enjoy festivals that spotlight theater, fishing, sports, art, music, literature, and more. Among the most well-known are Hemingway Days held every summer, October’s Fantasy Fest, and December’s “Bight” Before Christmas.

People from all over the world come to participate in marathons, half marathons, 5ks, walk and fun runs, and fishing tournaments. There’s even a Lime Festival, Mermaid Festival, Brewfest, and powerboating championship races. 

Shopping and Dining on Duval Street

Even though it’s just a little more than a mile long, Duval Street offers visitors to Key West a great variety of things to see and do. Boutique shopping, art galleries, fine dining, local eateries, cafes, and wine bars abound.

Key West Vacation Tips
Image by thhorn from Pixabay

Get an overview of all that Duval Street has to offer with a Conch Train Tour. This 90-minute ride around Old Key West hits the highlights while your tour guide shares with you the history and culture of the Florida Keys.

Many of the local restaurants and cafes also present live music from local and  nationally-known acts, which can go well into the evening. First-timers to Key West may take special interest in Mallory Square’s Sunset Celebration. Located at the northern end of Duval Street, this nightly festival welcomes locals and tourists alike with music, games, food, arts and crafts vendors, and more.

Key West Vacation Tips
Photo via Key West – Secret Food Tours

Key West is a great place to try exciting new dishes that pair familiar tastes with new flavors. The island’s unique history sets it at the crossroads of Italian, Spanish, Latin American, Caribbean, and Asian cooking, while still keeping sight of old American favorites. Perfect examples include conch fritters and Key Lime pie.

There are lots of places to eat along Duval Street. Most restaurants have a casual vibe but it’s not hard to find more formal restaurants where fine dining is available. If you’re not sure where to begin, try a food tour; this will give you an entertaining yet useful overview of the varied restaurants, cafes, bars, and snack shops in Key West.

A Unique Museum Experience

Key West has dozens of quirky museums that showcase the unusual and exciting. At the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, you can walk among the butterflies in a glassed habitat. Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium allows visitors to take self-guided tours where you can see some of the amazing artifacts that were featured on the old television show of the same name, plus many more.

Key West Vacation Tips
Photo via Time Out

Explore the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum to  learn more about its service during World War II and the Vietnam War. Guided tours show visitors how American service members really lived and worked through exhibits. Visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum and the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum for a first-hand look at lost ships and treasure hunting in the Florida Keys.

Key West Vacation Tips