Must-Have Key West Packing List - What To Pack & What To Ditch

Nothing is worse than packing the wrong things or leaving behind essential items when traveling to a tropical paradise.

You literally feel like catching the next flight back for that favorite bikini or summer dress.

So, if you don’t want to be tormented when you visit Key West, go through the best packing light tips for your trip to the Florida Keys.

We’ve got you covered, from what to wear in Key West to what to leave behind.

To experience the true magic of the island, whether it’s hopping sandbars or bar hopping on Duval Street, use this packing list for Key West for the perfect trip.


What To Pack For Key West: Tops, Coverups, And Dresses


Lightweight Sundresses

To beat the heat and stay stylish, you need lightweight sundresses.

Strolling along the famed Duval Street or exploring landmarks like the Earnest Hemingway Home and Museum requires light and comfortable clothes.

Even if you are going for a lively event or festival like Fantasy Fest, having a wide variety of sundresses on your packing list is wise.

Lightweight Sundresses
Lightweight Sundresses

Light Cardigan

Let me spill the beans! Cardigans may not be part of the dress code when visiting an island, but you best include a light sweater in your Florida Keys escape.

Remember, despite the beautiful tropical weather at Key West, you can still find yourself amid hurricane season. It typically runs from June to November.

It can also get a bit cold at night, so a lightweight jacket or cardigan can make for the perfect ensemble to beat the sudden change in weather.

Light Cardigan
Light Cardigan

Breathable Shirts

What better way to stay cool on the island than with a breathable shirt? The lightweight and breathable fabrics of cotton or linen will allow you ample airflow and keep you fresh under the scorching Florida rays.

So, if you plan to hit the beach or stroll on the charming Key West streets, put on your collared shirt made of lightweight material, and you are good to go.

Breathable Shirts
Breathable Shirts

Tank Tops

Show off that summer tan in a stylish tank top! It’s the best way to beat the heat and still maintain a stylish look.

So, if you are planning for a fun day in the sun, you’ll feel free and fresh to embrace the tropical vibes. Don’t miss out on watching the sun dip down at Mallory Square in your stylish ensemble.

Tank Tops
Tank Tops

Dinner Dress

Are you traveling with your sweetheart?

Packing an elegant dinner dress is an absolute must for your Key West escapade. So, when the sun sets and the candle lights light up your evening, you better elevate your style game.

Whether it’s a romantic waterfront dinner or attending a lively night event, be ready to look chic and ready to make a statement.

Dinner Dress
Dinner Dress

Cute Coverup

Imagine enjoying the turquoise waters and warm Florida sand on the stunning Key West beaches in a high-cut bikini. But now you want to take a break from the sun.

So how do you grab a refreshing drink at the beachside bar without your butt cheeks showing? A coverup.

You can pack anything from a flowy sarong, a trendy kaftan, or a simple stylish coverup to add flair to your overall beachside look.

Cute Coverup
Cute Coverup


What To Pack For Key West: The Perfect Bottoms


Skorts Or Shorts

We are all covered on the tops, but what should you carry for your bottoms?

Let’s start with shorts or skorts; these are amazing add-ons to your list that will give you more room for flexibility.

Skorts are basically shorts with a flap in the front or back, making them look like a skirt.

So, if your trip to Key West includes horse riding or riding hydrofoils, you should include tank tops shorts, or skorts on your list.

Maxi Skirts

A great alternative to a maxi dress? A maxi skirt paired with a nice tank top!

A maxi skirt gives you the perfect versatility to switch up your look during your vacation. So you’ll have more packing space!


Yes, jeans! You never know how the weather can switch up, especially from June to November.

They are also the perfect fit if you travel during the winter season.

The Perfect Bottoms
The Perfect Bottoms


What To Pack For Key West: Footwear


A Comfortable Pair Of Sandals

To properly immerse yourself in the relaxed and carefree lifestyle of the Florida Keys, you need proper sandals.

Sandals offer the breathability, flexibility, and freedom to let your toes wiggle in the sand.

Water Shoes

Since Key West is a prime destination teeming with thrilling water activities, you shouldn’t leave your water shoes at home.

Picture yourself wading through the crystal waters and exploring the beautiful underwater. They are perfect for maintaining a perfect grip during snorkeling or paddleboarding. You’ll also be well-protected from sharp objects.

Sneakers Or Tennis Shoes

Lace up your sneakers or tennis shoes for the perfect Key West adventure.


Key West means a lot of walking! There are plenty of historical sites that will require comfortable footwear.

The cushioning and support of sneakers are great for helping you take on long walking distances.

Flip Flops

Your packing list can’t miss a pair of stylish and comfortable flip-flops. It’s almost impossible to explore the vibrant streets and sandy beaches without these shoes.

To keep your feet happy and free, find the perfect slip-on shoes to help you casually transition from the beach to the bar.

Because they are lightweight and easily fit in your suitcase, you will have more room to pack your souvenirs or treasures.

Flip Flops - Beach Destination
Flip Flops


What Accessories Should You Add To Your Key West Packing List


A Sun Hat

Combining style and practicality, a hat is the perfect accessory to shield your face, neck, and head from the scorching sun.

With its wide brim, you will remain cool as you explore the beautiful beaches or outdoor activities. For extra protection, grab some sunscreen!

Simple Jewelry

Delicate necklaces, dainty earrings, and stackable bracelets can complement your ensemble without necessarily overpowering it.

Simple jewelry will add a touch of elegance that will help you transition from a day at the beach to a candlelit Key West dinner cruise.

A Small Backpack

A small backpack is a game changer on any vacation, especially the Florida Keys. Instead of lugging around with oversized luggage, this mini backpack will become a trusty sidekick.

For the perfect balance of functionality and style, keep all your essentials at your fingertips with a dainty backpack.


We don’t have to shed any light as to why you need to pack stylish sunglasses for your exciting trip to Key West.

With the paradise having year-round warmth and abundant sunshine, sunglasses are an essential accessory. Protect your eyes from the bright rays of the island while still adding a touch of flair to your outfit.

Sunglasses Are Essential
Sunglasses Are Essential


What Should Never Miss In Your Florida Keys Packing List


Bathing Suits

If you are a beach bum, you already have a clue about the best island wear – Bathing suits!

With pristine beaches and crystal clear waters, Key West is a tempting paradise that requires stylish swimwear.

So, if you visit Key West, a classic one-piece or a trendy bikini will accentuate the best packing lists.

Packing Cubes

If you want a stress-free and organized Key West trip, add packing cubes to your packing list.

They are excellent for keeping your clothes and belongings neat and tidy during the entire trip. So, no more rummaging while looking for elusive items.

Filtered Water Bottle

With high humidity and warm year-round weather, you will need to stay hydrated to keep your energy levels up.

Quench your thirst anytime and anywhere without worrying about the source by purchasing a filtered water bottle.


With plenty of thrilling water activities in Florida Key West, you must carry a few pieces of gear for a memorable experience.

On your packing list, make sure to include gear for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, golfing, or diving.

These will be your trusty Florida Keys companions that will add an extra level of thrill to your vacation.

Don’t Forget Your Snorkeling Gear!

Don’t Forget Your Snorkeling Gear!


Other Essentials To Add To Your Key West Packing List

  • A water-resistant case for your phone

  • Travel speaker

  • Portable charger

  • Noise-canceling headphones

  • Lip balm

  • Snacks

  • Beach blanket

  • Cooler bag

  • Hand sanitizer spray

  • Neck wallet

Key West Packing List - How Do You Pack For The Florida Keys?
Key West Packing List – How Do You Pack For The Florida Keys?


What Shouldn’t Be On Your Packing List


Heavy clothing

Unless you are traveling to Key West during the hurricane season, you really won’t have any use for heavy clothing.

Formal clothing

Unless you are the bridegroom, wearing formally on an island is a faux pas.


Let’s be honest, when is the last time you actually read a book on a weekend staycation?

Expensive jewelry

Remember when Kim Kardashian’s $75,000 diamond earrings fell into the ocean while on a Bora Bora vacation?

Don’t turn your friends into Kris Humphrey or Kris Jenner by carrying expensive accessories. It’s not cool.

Don't Wear Your Expensive Jewelry On Your Key West Vacation
Don’t Wear Your Expensive Jewelry On Your Key West Vacation


The Perfect Key West Packing List For An Exciting Trip

Now that you know exactly what to wear in Key West and what not to bring, you are all set to embark on a perfect Key West trip.

And to fully immerse yourself in the tropical paradise, you should go for the Sandbar Hopping Tour. You’ll enjoy the warm sun of the Florida Keys and explore incredible beaches with the most stylish and appropriate dress code! Bon Voyage!

Sandbar Hopping Tour
Sandbar Hopping Tour
3 to 4 hours
Group Size
Up to 12

Sandbar Tour For Large Groups

If your group is larger than 6 and you have a hard time finding a boat ride to the sandbars because of the 6 passengers limit, we are here to help. You can book our 2 identical Hurricane 27 foot deck boats and our captains will drive them side by side so you can take cool photos and they will raft up the boats on the sandbars so you can enjoy and share this amazing time together.

3 to 4 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Hopping Sandbars In Key West

What a perfect day to take a boat ride! You will see not one but several different sandbars on this tour! It will only take 25 minutes to get there on our epic adventure, and we can stop as long as you want at those sandbars that interest you the most. This is something you cannot miss!

Experience the mangrove trails of Mud Keys and hang out with locals at Snipe Point after. You won't want the day to end.

31 Reviews verify
2 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Key West Sunset Cruise

Ocean, meet our captain! One of the best things about the backcountry waters is how it’s never too crowded. So jump in and enjoy the peacefulness and remoteness as you stand in the "middle of the ocean" with nothing but water around you. Optionally, bring some champagne to enjoy with the sunset as a backdrop. Then, just sit back and relax as you cruise on out into the middle of nowhere, leaving behind any stress or worries.

2 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Mud Key Mangrove Safari

It's time for some adventure and excitement with a boat trip through the backcountry. After only a short ride, we'll take you on a leisurely cruise down to Mud Key Sanctuary, where you can enjoy the countryside and take in all the wonders of nature that surround you. Stop by the sandbar for a refreshing dip or just stroll around and soak up the sun. Capture your memories and cherish them forever.