Key West isn’t exactly known for its beaches, which comes as a surprise to many tourists. But, if your vacation isn’t complete without a day sitting in the sun then visit Smathers Beach. This half-mile stretch of man-made sand is one of Key West’s few public beaches.
9. Take in History at the Hemingway House and Museum
The house that great author Ernest Hemingway spent a good deal of time in working and writing, is now a museum and a national landmark celebrating the life and work of one of America’s greatest literary contributors.
8. Drag Yourself Out To A Show
Key West is known for its anything goes laid back attitude. Perhaps this is why everyone, including drag queens feel at home in The Keys. Lucky for us they feel so uninhibited, this is the attitude that makes Aqua such an entertaining and popular Drag Show night after night. Catch it at 711 Duval Street.
7. Stop, Shop and Stroll, Or Roll Through Old Town
Walk through Old Town and enjoy fabulous shopping, historic sites and delectable dining. Or visit by bike. There are plenty of companies in Key West that offer both bike rentals and guided tours. Take your pick.
6. Drink It Down on Duval Street
Drinking on Duval Street is a right of passage for tourists in Key West. World famous bars line Duval Street including Sloppy Joe’s and Hog’s Breath Saloon. You will also discover the Bull and Whistle Complex which houses 4 bars including the “clothing optional” Garden of Eden, offering body painting and sunbathing during the day.
5. Eat It Up!
Cure your cravings in Key West from Caribbean to Italian and everything in between. You’ll easily find something that hits the spot. Key West has some of the most fabulous restaurants in the United States featuring the freshest seafood, talented chefs and creative menu options. A few to sample; Louie’s Backyard, Blue Heaven, El Siboney and Antonia’s.
4. SCUBA The Waters Of The Gulf
The reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are the third largest barrier reef in the world and North America’s only living coral reef. If you live to dive this is one you must do before you die!
3. Come For The Party
It seems holidays in Key West extend past the usuals (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day). Actually, there may be more holidays in the Keys than normal days. These people can always find a cause to celebrate. And, why shouldn’t they, they reside in Paradise? So just about any time you're ready to visit you’ll likely find some kind of festival happening from Hemingway Days to Fantasy Fest even their own Independence Days- yes plural- like I said, these people like to party, so this is a ten day event. The “Conch Republic Independence Celebration” commemorates the Florida Keys’ secession from the United States following a 1982 U.S. Border Patrol blockade that virtually stopped traffic on the only road to the mainland. So, if your travel dates are flexible, check the days around your scheduled vacation- your bound to find a celebration- of something.
2. See Sunset at the Southern Most Point
Mallory Square is where Key West originally became an active seaport, but it now offers exciting attractions, unlimited shopping, off the wall entertainers and food vendors peddling a carnival-like assortment of treats. Mix these elements together with tons of tourists and you have a nightly party that kicks off just before sunset. Watching a sunset here is an unforgettable and utterly spectacular moment.
1. Freak out at Fantasy Fest
Every October 70,000 costumed partygoers flock to Key West from all over the world for 10 days of wild and crazy antics. There’s a party every night, and more than one at that; Party in Plaid, Homemade Bikini Contest, Pet Masquerade & Parade, Sloppy Joe's Annual Toga Party, Pajama & Lingerie Party, the Monster's Ball, Masquerade March (through the Cemetery) just to name a few. Saturday night of the festival brings a procession of glittering floats, marching bands and dancing for Captain Morgan's Fantasy Fest Parade. The end of the festival is marked the next night by the "Fat Lady Sings" tea dance at La Te Da. Before she belts out the last note you will have witnessed things you never even dreamed of, after all, that’s why they call it “fantasy” fest. But you’ll be stocking up on body paint and booking your trip for next year before you ever depart the island.