7 Stimulating Things to do in Key West

Originally known as Cayo Hueso, Key West, Florida, was originally inhabited by the Tequesta and Calusa Native American tribes. Ponce de Leon arrived here in 1521. The potential for a deep harbor soon brought business executives to the area after Florida became part of the United States in 1845. Key West remained part of the Union during the Civil War because of its large naval base. This city located just 90 miles from Cuba contains the southernmost point in the contiguous United States. If you are planning to travel to Key West, then check out these fun things to do in Key West.

1. Snorkel at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

The fort at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park was completed in 1866 serving important roles in protecting the southern United States during the Civil War and Spanish-American Wars. Start your day with a ranger-led tour of the historic fort at 11 AM. Grab a snack at the concession stand while enjoying the scenic views. If you have always wanted to try snorkeling, then this park offers good opportunities with rental equipment available. The crystal clear water provides outstanding opportunities to view snappers, grouper, parrot fish and other marine life. After your snorkeling expedition, head to the west side of the park for some fishing fun. Finish the day with a nature walk through the woods or just relax on the sandy beach. Parking cost is $6.50 per vehicle.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: The park is open 365 days a year.
  • Address: 601 Howard England Way, Key West, Florida 33040.

2. Ride the Yankee Freedom III Ferry

Climb aboard the Yankee Freedom III Ferry, and you can tour the Dry Tortugas National Park. This park is home to Fort Jefferson which is one of the largest coastal forts ever built in the United States. Learn the fort’s history where Dr. Samuel Mudd who set John Wilke’s leg was imprisoned when it served as a prison. Seeing the 10,000 Sooty Terns and 4,500 Brown Noddy Terns gathering here from March to September is one of the most unique things to do in Key West. Look in the water so that you can see the large sea turtles. This activity involves lots of time spent outside, so bring sunblock and water. Tickets to the Ferry are $175 per adult and $125 for those under 16.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: This activity often fills up weeks in advance, book ahead through the website.
  • Address: Leave from the Ferry Terminal located at 100 Grinnell Street, Key West, Florida 33040.

3. See Artwork at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

The artwork of Sam Trophia will amaze you at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Each handmade piece contains butterflies suspended in acrylic boxes. Each outstanding piece of art contains a butterfly that has lived out its lifespan in South America, Africa or Southeast Asia. Touring the conservatory containing 50 to 60 species of butterflies and over 20 exotic bird species. Look closely so that you find the butterflies looking like they have eight wings. This unique butterfly behavior is called coupling, and it happens when butterflies are mating. The glass-enclosed habitat also is home to many unique plants gathered from around the globe. Tickets cost $12 per adults and $8.50 per child under 12.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • Address: 1316 Duval Street, Key West, Florida 33040.

4. Attend the Sunset Celebration

Watching the sunset at the Sunset Celebration held at Mallory Square is one of the best things to do in Key West. Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway both drew inspiration from watching the sun go to bed in Key West. This nightly fun event includes many artists who sell their wares including jewelry, photography, paintings, wood sculptures and home décor. Make your trip more memorable by getting some new body art is one of the most memorable things to do in Key West. Others enjoy having their fortune read. This party also includes many food carts, so there is no need to eat before you come to this event starting at 7 PM. Be amazed by the street performers including jugglers, sword swallowers, and knife throwers.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: Open year-round, daily.
  • Address: 400 Wall Street, Key West, Florida 33040.

5. Tour the Harry S. Truman Little White House

Originally constructed as a naval command post, President Harry S. Truman began using this white building in the late 1940s as the winter White House making 11 trips there during his presidency. Since that time, the Harry S. Truman Little White House has been used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John F. Kennedy, and President Bill Clinton. Go on a tour of the house to learn about important agreements that were reached within its walls. Step outside to enjoy the picturesque botanical gardens surrounding the home. Donations are being used to restore these gardens to the way that they looked in 1949. Cool down while watching the two documentary films showing more about the importance of the Key West area to world history. Prices for tickets are $16.13 for adults and $5.38 for children.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, daily. May be closed for governmental meetings.
  • Address: 400 Wall Street, Key West, Florida 33040.

6. Visit the Cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

More than 40 polydactyl cats live at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Seeing these unique cats with their six toes is one of the most fun things to do in Key West. Each cat is named after a famous person, so make sure to learn your favorite cat’s name. Tour the home built in 1851 that became author Ernest Hemingway’s home in 1931. View the stunning chandelier collection that Hemingway had shipped to the home from Paris. Walk outside to see the beautiful garden containing hibiscus, angel’s trumpet, bleeding heart and more. Go back inside to buy a book written by Ernest Hemingway when he lived in this home. Tickets are $14 per adult and $6 per child.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, including all holidays.
  • Address: 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, Florida 33040.

7. Play Bingo at the Green Parrot

For more than 100 years, locals have been coming to the Green Parrot to enjoy a cocktail or two. Locals and visitors alike have been coming to the bar since 2008 to play Bingo on Monday nights. Money raised during this lively event where cards cost just $1 a piece goes to support the MARC House where intellectually disabled adults enjoy spending their days. Each Monday finds a local celebrity caller host announcing the numbers. Alternatively, once a month come enjoy ukulele night where musicians will be glad to help you learn to play this instrument. This bar often hosts the hottest musicians in the area making this one of the liveliest things to do in Key West.

  • Best for: Adults, couples.
  • Season: Open year-round, 7 days a week, from 10 AM to 4 AM.
  • Address: 601 Whitehead Street, Key West, Florida 33040.

This city is a fun place to visit filled with many things to do in Key West. Enjoy a day outside at one of the parks. Alternatively, tour a famous home. Regardless of what you choose, consider ending it with a drink at the Sunset Celebration or at the Green Parrot. There are so many things to do in Key West that you will want to come back very often. Start by using the items on this list of things to do in Key West to plan your next adventure to the city originally called Cayo Hueso.

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