There are so many unique things to do in Key West for nature lovers, luxury seekers, romantics, history buffs, and beyond! As the southernmost point in the continental United States, Key West beckons visitors with its year-round sunshine and consistently warm temperatures. This place is a perpetual paradise!
One of the most surprising things for people who venture to the Florida Keys in search of tropical conditions is that Key West’s landscape offers so much more than just beaches and palm trees. Key West is home to a number of historical attractions, natural wonders, and hidden gems. That’s probably why around 5 million people decide to visit Key West every year.
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With so much to do and see, you may be wondering where to start with planning a getaway. This list of nine unusual things to do in Key West will help you discover the authentic Key West attractions that will leave you with life-changing memories!
1) Book A Sandbar Charter In Key West
If you’re all about unique things to do in Key West that involve getting on the water for amazing views and wildlife experiences, look no further than a private boat tour! Key West Sandbar Tours lets you experience the magic of the Florida Keys like no other company by bringing guests on private excursions to sandbars that ordinary tour groups never get to see! An itinerary can include:
Exploring mangrove mazes
Stopping at the Snipe Point sandbar
Cruising through the Mud Keys
Snorkeling in crystal-clear waters
Boarding a sunset cruise to the sandbars
Dining on a luxurious seafood feast during your excursion
Our cruises and sandbar tours are perfect whether you want to book a snorkeling tour, get close to the natural habitat of dolphins, or watch the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean! When you cruise with us, our small-boat fleet allows you to customize your experience. Don’t miss your chance to commune with Key West’s natural beauty. Book your adventure with the pros at Key West Sandbar Tours today!
2) Stroll Around Old Town Key West
There’s nothing “touristy’ about exploring a place that’s as authentic and culturally rich as Old Town Key West. Occupying the western half of the island, Old Town is a designated historic district where most of Key West’s businesses are centralized.
Once a bustling port, the Old Town section of the island has slowly transitioned into a laid-back and whimsical hub for art, literature, music, and the lost art of giving into pure relaxation. The best thing to do here is to enjoy lush courtyards, charmingly narrow alleyways, and gorgeously preserved pastel buildings while making no particular plans!
Of course, the highlight of any jaunt through Old Town is a proper tour of the Hemingway Home and Museum. Built in 1851, this National Historic Landmark is where Hemmingway wrote portions of “Farewell to Arms” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” The home’s greatest legacy is the collection of Hemingway’s six-toed cats still occupying the home day!
All of the sightseeing is bound to make you hungry! Luckily a spot called Blue Heaven located near Truman Avenue and Duval Street in the Bahama Village portion of Old Town offers the casual fare you’ll be craving. It doesn’t hurt that Blue Heaven is also regarded as having some of the best Key Lime Pie around!
Planning fun after dark: Old Town turns magical at night when live music and vendors move into Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration. To get there, simply get to the waterfront in Old Town just west of Duval Street’s northern end.
3) Feel The Key West Vibe At Fort Zachary Taylor Beach
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is one of the most essential Key West attractions. The fort itself actually predates the Civil War. As an official National Historic Monument today, the fort contains the largest cache of Civil War armament in the world.
You won’t only be swimming in history when you come to Fort Zachary. The park is also home to what nearly everyone agrees is Key West’s favorite beach! You’ll see people swimming, paddling, fishing, or snorkeling on any given day when visiting this treasured spot.
Snorkelers and divers enjoy this beach for its exceptional collection of coral reefs. Visitors will discover starlet, tube, and knobby brain corals among the many coral species found between grassy beds and the shore here. This beach is also home to large populations of snappers and barracuda.
4) See Where The Past Is Buried In Key West
Visiting the Key West Cemetery, located on Passover Lane, definitely makes the list of unusual things to do in Key West. While such a macabre destination might seem out of place when planning an itinerary for sunny Key West Florida, this landmark is actually an important place to learn about Key West’s history.
Established on high ground far above sea level in 1847, Key West Cemetery is the final resting place of nearly 100,000 people who helped to define Key West as we know it today. Among the names of those buried here, visitors will find mariners, cigar makers, moguls, peasants, and soldiers. Due to Key West’s role as a headquarters for the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War, a number of Spanish-American War veterans are buried here.
Planning a respectful visit: The cemetery’s office hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Requesting an appointment ahead of time is highly recommended!
5) Tour Fort Jefferson At Dry Tortugas National Park
Located inside Dry Tortugas National Park of Florida, this fort is the largest brick masonry structure in all of the Americas! For those keeping count, the structure spreads 16 million bricks across 16 acres. Other places to visit within Dry Tortugas National Park include:
Important: Due to this attraction’s remote location, you’ll need to plan your journey thoroughly ahead of time. Currently, the fort is only accessible by boat or seaplane.
6) Get Lost In The Lushness Of Key West Tropical Forest
Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden makes the list of unique things to do in Key West due to its status as the only frost-free, subtropical natural conservation habitat in the United States. Here’s what’s waiting for you in this secret garden of treasures:
More than 15 acres of native garden and forest
ADA-compliant walking paths and boardwalks
The garden is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you’re coming with a group, you can book a group tour for up to 14 people in advance.
7) Get Close To Wildlife At The Key West Aquarium
If you’re excited to learn all about the marine species that inhabit the Florida Keys, there’s no place like the Key West Aquarium! Located on Whitehead Street within Key West’s famous Mallory Square, this highly-rated aquarium is home to:
The Key West Aquarium is the only public aquarium on the island. Since opening during the Great Depression in 1933, it has gone on to become one of the nation’s most enduring attractions and conservation centers!
You’ll definitely want to experience this attraction that combines the history and ecology of Key West!
8) Spend Time Exploring Key West’s Historic Seaport
There’s no place that embodies the spirit of Key West Florida quite like this lively waterfront area! You don’t want to skip the incredible surf shops, art galleries, restaurants, and fun events found here.
Consider Key West’s Historic Seaport the top spot to shop for souvenirs to bring home! You also might have the best meal of your life out on the marina if you’re “in the know.”
According to locals, Conch Republic Seafood Company overlooking the seaport and marina from Green Street is the best place for Caribbean-style fare on the island!
9) Bring The Fun To New Heights At The Key West Lighthouse
The majestic Key West Lighthouse invites guests to walk up 88 steps to the top to enjoy incredible views. Along the way, visitors can walk through history as they admire photographs, letters, and personal belongings that were owned by the lighthouse’s keepers over the years
If you really want to appreciate the history of Key West Florida, don’t miss the opportunity to stand in the place where generations of men and women bravely kept the island’s maritime heritage burning brightly throughout storms and historical turmoil!
Plan An Unforgettable Vacation To Key West Florida
If this is your first time visiting Key West, be prepared to be shocked by just how unique the experience of visiting the nation’s southernmost point can be! A dream itinerary can take you from lively bars and clubs in downtown Key West to remote forts that stand tall against battering waves. Of course, even people who have been to Key West before can still feel like they are discovering the island for the first time.
Don’t miss your chance to experience the best sandbar tours in Key West Florida! A private boat tour is an incredibly unique way to experience Key West. When you plan your dream boat tour with Key West Sandbar Tours, you’ll enjoy an elite experience that will stay with you forever. Book your Key West sandbar boat tour today!