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71 Things To Do In The Florida Keys – From Key Largo to Key West

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Get ready to experience the vacation of a lifetime in the Florida Keys! This tropical paradise is a unique and exciting destination that offers something for everyone.

With its crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture, the Florida Keys are a must-visit destination for any adventurous traveler.

Did you know that the Florida Keys are home to some of the best fishing in the world?

You can catch everything from bonefish to tarpon to marlin and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner at one of the many waterfront restaurants.

But that's not all - the Florida Keys are known for their incredible outdoor adventures.

From kayaking through mangrove tunnels to hiking in the Everglades nearby to swimming with dolphins, you'll never run out of things to do.

And, of course, you can't forget about the famous Key Lime Pie - a delicious dessert staple of the Florida Keys.

Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, the Florida Keys have it all.

So, grab your snorkel gear and sunscreen, and explore the 71 best things to do in the Florida Keys - from swimming with sea turtles to sipping margaritas on the beach.

A Super Quick Overview of the Florida Keys

Florida Keys Aerial View from airplane

Today, I want to share our cheat sheet for the Florida Keys Attractions.

This will be a lengthy post simply because there are numerous sites to see and activities to enjoy along the keys. After filtering down the possibilities, the list still contains 70+ premier attractions across the islands.

Here's the thing about the Florida Keys: This isn't a cheap location. The rules of supply and demand are hard at play here.

There is only so much land available for hotels, and with so many travelers coming to enjoy the Keys, accommodation can get expensive.

That's not a long time, considering all the area offers. That's why planning ahead of time is so important.

To give you an overview, the Florida Keys are a group of small tropical islands connected by the Overseas Highway.

The chain of islands begins 15 miles south of Miami, with Key West as the southernmost city in the contiguous United States.

The first island is Key Largo, and the last connected one is Key West.

This is a classic road trip: driving along the highway to Key West. If you don't want to drive, organized tours can take you there.

The road along the Keys is 113 miles long, connecting the Keys with bridges.

The famous Seven Mile Bridge between Marathon and Little Duck Key is the longest bridge. In case you were wondering, it is not a toll road.

If you plan a trip to the area, you may want to bookmark this page and return to it.

All set? Grab a coffee and maybe a slice of key lime pie. This is a long read.

Here's a list of the Florida Keys Tourist Attractions in the order that you'll encounter them driving from Key Largo to Key West.

Key Largo

The first key on a drive down US-1 is also the longest.

Key Largo is home to 10,000 people and lives up to its name with a “largo” length of 33 miles.

Celebrated for its superb snorkeling spots, this key is only a 1.5-hour drive from Miami, making it a popular day-trip destination.

1. The Grecian Rocks Snorkeling Site

Florida Keys Underwater Reef

A famous coral reef called the Grecian Rocks is located off Key Largo's eastern shore.

Measuring about half a mile, Grecian Rocks is an exceptionally good snorkeling destination on windy days thanks to its shallow depth and durable wind protection.

In addition to common sponges and colorful coral, tourists often report seeing parrotfish, hogfish, and grouper on their tour.

Be sure to inquire at the nearby John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for Grecian Rocks transportation info.

2. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Kayak station of John Pennkamp coral reef state park in Florida keys

Of all Key Largo’s premier diving locations, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park deserves special attention.

This vast park (25 miles long and 3 miles wide) is one of Florida's most popular, with about one million annual visitors.

Although diving and snorkeling are John Pennekamp’s top draws, visitors could also take advantage of glass-bottom boat tours, an indoor aquarium, and camping facilities.

Flamingo tongue cowry on a purple sea fan attached the the shipwreck the Benwood in Key Largo, Florida located inside of the John Pennekamp State Park

To help plan your trip, visit the official John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park website.

Admission fees are as follows:

  • $8 for cars with no more than eight passengers.
  • $2 for pedestrians, cyclists, and additional passengers.
  • $4 for solo drivers in vehicles and motorcyclists.

3. Dolphins Plus Bayside

Have you ever wondered what a dolphin kiss feels like? Dream no longer because Dolphins Plus Bayside offers dozens of supervised dolphin swims.

Dolphins Plus Bayside

Whether you want to swim with dolphins, paint with dolphins, or get a dolphin smooch, a tour package at Dolphins Plus is sure to fit your preferences.

To see a full list of tour packages and prices, visit this Dolphins Plus Bayside link.

4. Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary in Tavernier. The sanctuary in a part of Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center is a fantastically feathery (and frugal) Key Largo attraction.

Home to hundreds of rescued and wild birds, this center has an outdoor sanctuary and bird hospital that are free to visit.

Besides gawking at all those birds, many travelers enjoy strolling on the center’s boardwalk during sunset.

For more info, check out the Mission Wild Bird website.

Islamorada

Aerial 4k view of tropical paradise Island, Islamorada, Florida Keys

Home to about 6,000 residents, Islamorada is a collection of six islands smack dab in the middle of the Florida Keys.

Best known for its fantastic sport fishing, these central islands are a great home base for tourists interested in conquering all the Keys.

5. Islamorada Founders Park

Islamorada Founders Park

The largest of Islamorada’s parks is Founders Park, located north on the Key’s bayside.

Measuring a massive 45 acres, this park is home to many sporting facilities—including an Olympic—sized swimming pool—picnic benches, and a Visitor Center.

Entering this park costs $8 per adult and $5 per child.

You can learn more about the Islamorada Founders Park facilities on this website.

6. Rain Barrel Village

Betsy the Giant Lobster, anatomically correct Florida spiny lobster, made of fiberglass by sculptor Richard Blaze roadside attraction at Rain Barrel Artesian Village.

Even if you didn’t read our list, you’d probably visit Rain Barrel Village. Why? Well, a colossal lobster statue outside is screaming for selfies!

If pulled over, you might as well check out all the lovely local art, handicrafts, and souvenirs inside this eccentric store.

7. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Uprooted tree at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

While it might not look like much, Windley Key played a big role in Florida’s past. Indeed, this former limestone quarry helped build the state’s historic Overseas Railroad.

Park organizers have placed authentic machinery throughout the key’s five walking trails to help transport guests to the early 20th century.

You must pay $2.50 to enter this park and another $2 for a guided tour.

Anyone can learn more about Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park on this official website.

8. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park

Explore a hidden paradise at Lignumvitae Key, featuring a virgin tropical hardwood hammock and a historic 1919 homestead. This secluded island, accessible only by boat or kayak, offers a peaceful retreat with self-guided tours.

botanical park in the Florida Keys. (1)

Discover nature's untouched beauty in Islamorada.

9. History of the Diving Museum

History of Diving Museum, A Group of Old metal diving helmet, dusted in room

From the Epic of Gilgamesh to William Beebe, the History of Diving Museum is one of the world's most comprehensive collections of diving artifacts.

Although focused on South Florida, this pet-friendly non-profit strives to inspire visitors with the story of man’s eternal quest to fathom the fathomless depths.

Tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for children between the ages of 6-11.

Pro tip: visit the History of Diving Museum’s website beforehand and print the coupon on the “Ticket Information” page.

10. Islamorada Distillery

Islamorada Brewery & Distillery building

Enthusiasts of artisanal brews should seek out the vibrant yellow structure of the Islamorada Beverage Distillery during their expedition.

Located at 82229 Overseas Highway, this local emporium is starting to garner national attention for its tasty tropical-themed concoctions.

To see all the thirst-quenching beverages available at Islamorada Distillery, check out their official website.

11. Florida Keys History & Discovery Center

Aerial Panorama of Islamorada in Florida Keys

For a comprehensive overview of the Florida Keys, look no further than Islamorada’s Florida Keys History & Discovery Center.

From Native American artists to pineapple-growing pirates, you’ll learn much as you explore the rare artifacts and interactive exhibits here.

This museum also has a theatre that plays a fascinating hour-long documentary four times per day.

General admission costs $15 per person, but there are discounts for seniors, students, and military personnel.

Click on the Keys Discovery Center’s website for more details on special exhibits.

12. Florida Keys Brewing Company

Draft beer taps at Florida Keys Brewing Company.

Florida Keys Brewing Co. might be new to the craft brew game, but it’s certainly making its presence felt.

Upon arrival, you can unwind in the establishment's lounge or enter the splendid beverage sanctuary. Regardless of your chosen spot, you will indulge in a revitalizing ambiance.

Be sure to look at the Florida Keys Brewing Company’s website before your visit.

13. Indian Key State Historic Site

Aerial photo Indian Key Historic State Park Florida Keys

Indian Key is a tiny 11-acre island near Islamorada’s 78.5-mile marker.

Although it’s deserted nowadays, this island has quite a colorful history, including Spanish shipwrecks and intense Seminole War battles.

Those not interested in the island’s history will enjoy its many outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, and swimming.

Most people who journey to Indian Key rent a kayak or take a boat ride. Entry to this historic site costs $2.50.

Click on this link to Indian Key’s official webpage to plan your trip better.

14. Anne's Beach

Aerial shot of Anne's Beach in Florida

Officially located on Lower Matecumbe Key, Anne’s Beach has become quite popular in the kite-boarding community thanks to its shallow waters.

Anyone who hasn’t tried this intense water sport can safely test it on this laid-back beach.

If kiteboarding isn’t for you, Anne’s Beach has plenty of space for sunbathing, picnicking, and swimming.

15. Highway Piers Historical Marker & Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail

Historic railroad bridge, Lower Sugarloaf Channel Bridge at The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.

In 1935, a massive hurricane slammed Islamorada and claimed roughly 420 lives.

You can find a chilling reminder of this natural disaster at the Highway Piers Historical Marker near Anne’s Beach.

The easiest way to visit this area is to walk or cycle on the long Overseas Heritage Trail.

To learn more about riding this trail, follow this link by Florida State Parks.

16. Lorelei Restaurant

As the sun sets over the horizon, there's no better place to dine than at the Lorelei Restaurant in Islamorada.

Its picturesque waterfront views and delectable seafood offerings make it a favorite among locals and visitors.

Known for its iconic mermaid statue that greets guests upon arrival, the restaurant has become a landmark in the area.

This restaurant is also recognized for its commitment to sustainability, sourcing local ingredients, and promoting eco-friendly practices.

Pull up a chair, enjoy live music, and feast on the day's freshest catch.

17. Robbie's of Islamorada

If feeding tarpons, shopping for local crafts, and enjoying great food sound appealing, then Robbie's of Islamorada should be on your list.

Not only is it a hotspot for tourists, but Robbie's also boasts a marina where visitors can rent boats, kayaks, and paddleboards to explore the surrounding waters.

This iconic spot in the Keys offers a unique blend of activities that cater to every kind of traveler. It's a one-stop destination for fun, food, and Florida Keys flair.

Long Key

Ocean View from the Campground at Long Key State Park, Florida Keys

Sandwiched between Islamorada and Marathon is a small island that’s curiously named “Long Key.”

In the early 20th century, Long Key gained a snobbish reputation due to its association with America’s wealth.

Today, anyone can enjoy the “high life” on this idyllic island’s campgrounds.

18. Long Key State Park

Beach scene with driftwood at Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys.

Gilded Age industrialist Henry Flagler founded a ritzy vacation club on Long Key that was popular until a hurricane blew through in 1935.

Today, the remnants of Flagler’s camp have become what we know as the Long Key State Park.

Besides camping, popular activities on Long Key include paddling, fishing, and snorkeling.

Usually, are 60 campsites available for rental, but Hurricane Irma caused significant damage in 2017.

Please visit Long Key State Park’s website ahead of time to check the status of camping areas and fees.

Grassy Key

Grassy Key is formally classified as one of the Marathon Islands but has a different feel from its cousin Keys.

Although best known for hosting the Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key is beloved for its small-town atmosphere and RV park.

19. Dolphin Research Center

Dolphin Research Center on Marathon Key in the Florida Keys

As hinted in the intro, the Dolphin Research Center is a big deal on Grassy Key.

Indeed, this research institute is often listed as the top attraction on the Marathon Islands.

In addition to dolphins, guests who visit this center can watch entertaining educational shows with tropical birds and sea lions.

General admission to Dolphin Research Center costs $28 per adult and $23 per child.

There are also more expensive tour packages that include interactive dolphin encounters.

For more info on ticket pricing, here’s the Dolphin Research Center’s website link.

Marathon Islands

The Marathon Islands are a cluster of thirteen Keys about a one-hour drive north of Key West.

Home to almost 9,000 residents, these islands are more developed than other Keys, especially on the central Marathon Island.

20. Marathon Visitor Center

Aerial view of the Seven Mile Bridge facing Marathon, FL.

On central Marathon Island, you’ll find a cute Visitor Center full of friendly locals who are more than willing to help you plan your trip.

Whether you have questions about attractions, places to stay, or good restaurants, the Marathon Visitor Center is here to ensure an enjoyable vacation.

21. Curry Hammock State Park

Bird standing in branch at Curry Hammock State Park

Although the Marathon Islands are quite developed, Curry Hammock State Park boasts 1,000 acres of uninhabited land ideal for campers.

It has become especially popular with nature tourists interested in activities like paddle-boarding, hiking, and star-gazing thanks to Curry Hammock's untouched scenery.

Driving into Curry Hammock State Park will cost $4.50 for the driver and an additional $0.50 for each extra passenger. Pedestrians and cyclists only have to pay $2.50 to enter.

Find out more about camping on Curry Hammock State Park on this official website.

22. San Pablo Catholic Church

aerial view, looking to the east, of Boot Key and boating marinas in Marathon, Florida

No matter your faith, you will be inspired on a walk through Marathon’s stained glass-filled San Pablo Catholic Church.

Take a few extra moments to stroll through this church’s rosary gardens and meditate on nature's beauty.

For those lucky enough to visit in December, schedule a nighttime stop at San Pablo to see the highly reviewed Christmas light displays.

23. Sunset Park Beach

A small pier at Sunset Park in Key Colony Beach, Florida, USA

Situated on the Atlantic edge of Key Colony Beach, Sunset Beach is best known for (surprise, surprise) its sunsets.

While tourists say a few docks are here, don’t expect anything fancy.

However, there have been a few impromptu musical performances here, so you might enjoy a sunset serenade.

24. Oceanfront Park

Aerial drone photo of the Oceanfront Beach Park Boynton Florida

Oceanfront Park is an almost 8-acre park on Marathon Island’s Atlantic side. It features boardwalks, tiki huts, and picnic tables.

Besides fishing and launching a kayak, everyday activities on Oceanfront Park include kite flying, hiking, and bird-watching.

Best of all, there’s no fee to enter this pet-friendly park.

25. EAA Air Museum

EAA Air Museum

Anyone with even the slightest interest in aviation must visit the EAA Air Museum at Marathon International Airport.

Although it looks small outside, this museum has loads of flight memorabilia, a fire engine, and even a few planes you could hop inside.

As a bonus, the EAA Air Museum is free to visit.

26. Crane Point Museum & Nature Center

Color orange train in Crane Point Museum & Nature Center

Situated on Key Vaca, the Crane Point Museum & Nature Center was created in the 70s to preserve the area’s natural beauty from residential development.

This non-profit is still strong today and welcomes anyone interested in exploring its bird rehabilitation center, nature trail, and museum.

Discover what Crane Point Museum offers by clicking on this website.

27. The Turtle Hospital

Injured Sea Turtles in Turtle Hospital Marathon, Florida

For over 30 years, Marathon’s Turtle Hospital has helped hundreds of injured turtles reclaim their health and re-enter their natural habitat.

Those who would like to see the center's current turtle patients should book a guided tour in advance on the Turtle Hospital’s website.

It costs $27 per adult and $13 per child to tour the Turtle Hospital.

28. Pigeon Key Foundation Marine Center

Aerial stock photo of Pigeon Key Florida

Pigeon Key is an extremely small key south of Marathon that played an important role in housing workers during the Old Seven Mile Highway construction.

Today, visitors are welcome to tour the historic buildings (one of which is a museum) on Pigeon Key.

To take a ferry ride to Pigeon Key, visit the official Pigeon Key Visitor’s Center at the 2010 Overseas Highway Marathon.

Please note: a $12 fee is charged for a historical tour. For more information on the Pigeon Key Foundation, visit its official website.

29. Old Seven Mile Bridge

Old Seven Mile Bridge florida

One of the most photographed bridges in the Keys is the Seven Mile Bridge between Marathon’s Knight’s Key and Little Duck Key.

Although it’s not the longest bridge in the world, this seven-mile-long stretch is an impressive engineering accomplishment.

As you’re driving through this area, you’ll notice two Seven Mile Bridges—one solely for pedestrians and another for cars.

Unfortunately, the pedestrian-friendly Old Seven Mile Bridge is currently undergoing refurbishment.

Little Torch Key

Nestled in the lower Florida Keys, Little Torch Key is a serene and relatively undeveloped island that measures roughly three miles in length.

Home to an estimated population of around 7,000 residents, this gem offers seclusion and pristine natural beauty.

It's a haven for locals and visitors, with quaint private homes dotting its landscape and access to prime offshore fishing spots.

Little Torch Key beckons if you're searching for a tranquil retreat or an angling adventure.

30. Little Palm Island Resort

Have you ever wanted to sip on a tropical drink surrounded by pristine waters and breathtaking views? Little Palm Island Resort is your go-to spot.

This luxurious resort offers an exclusive experience. You can unwind at their bar with a refreshing cocktail and let the Keys' beauty wash over you.

Nestled on a private island, it's only accessible by boat or seaplane, ensuring a secluded getaway.

Known for its world-class spa and fine dining, it's truly an oasis of luxury amidst the natural splendor of the Florida Keys.

Big Pine Key

The aerial view of the crystal clear blue water by the beach at Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Florida, U.S.A

Home to about 5,000 people, Big Pine Key is the perfect key for nature enthusiasts.

Believe it or not, this island’s main claim to fame is protecting the world’s largest population of endangered Key deer.

Pullover here if you’re interested in wildlife adventures.

31. Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park - Calusa Beach, Florida Keys - tropical coast with paradise beaches - USA

Crystal clear water. Swaying palm trees. Scintillating sunsets. All the hallmarks of a Caribbean beach retreat can be found at Big Pine Key’s Bahia Honda State Park.

From bicycling and bird-watching to snorkeling and sunbathing, you won’t have any difficulties finding some way to relax in beloved Bahia.

Admission to Bahia Honda State Park costs $8.50 per vehicle, provided there are more than eight passengers.

Although Bahia Honda is open to visitors, remember that Hurricane Irma hit this park.

You should visit Bahia Honda State Park’s website to check for availability during your trip.

32. Key West Visitor Center

Overseas highway to Key West island, Florida Keys, USA. Aerial view beauty nature.

That’s right, Key West’s Visitor Center is located on another key. Go figure.

If you’re passing through Big Pine Key and searching for reliable Key West information, this visitor center is the place to go.

For those using GPS, the official address of the Key West Visitor Center is 31281 Overseas Hwy.

33. National Key Deer Refuge

Deer getting out of bushes in National Key Deer Refuge

Anyone interested in seeing those endangered Key deer we mentioned should stop at Big Pine Key’s 9,200-acre National Key Deer Refuge.

While the Key deer are the highlight at this refuge, many other endangered animals are on the property, including Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly and the Lower Keys marsh rabbit.

When you are here, please resist the urge to feed the adorable Key deer because it is against the refuge’s policies.

Check out the National Key Deer Refuge’s official website for more information on visiting this wildlife wonderland.

34. The Blue Hole

Blue Hole Panograph. The blue Hole is a famous cave diving site in the itichitucknee state park in Florida USA

Three miles north of the National Key Deer Refuge, you’ll come across a small but significant wildlife area called the Blue Hole.

Named for its circular pond, the Blue Hole is an excellent area for wildlife watching, especially if you’re looking for various reptiles, iguanas, birds, and more Key deer!

Cudjoe Key

The mysteriously named Cudjoe Key is a world away from the excitement of nearby Key West.

Only about 1,000 people live on Cudjoe Key, making it a perfect island for a secluded getaway.

35. American Shoal Lighthouse

American Shoal Lighthouse

Anyone taking a boat ride from Cudjoe Key should keep their eyes peeled for the bright red American Shoal Lighthouse.

Although this lighthouse was deactivated in 2015, visiting for the fantastic photo ops and snorkeling opportunities is worthwhile.

Before your visit, please keep up-to-date on the latest news surrounding the American Shoal Lighthouse.

Recent reports suggest the lighthouse was deemed an “excess” by the US Coast Guard and might be dismantled soon.

36. Veterans Memorial Park

Palm tree on Little Duck Key at Veterans Memorial Beach, Florida, USA against blue sky with clouds

People looking for a small beach retreat during their trip to Cudjoe could drive 25 minutes north to Little Duck Key’s Veterans Memorial Park.

The positives of visiting this beach include free access, free parking, and beautiful shallow waters.

Just be forewarned: many visitors complain of limited parking, so it’s best to get here early and claim your territory.

Key West

With a population of about 25,000, Key West is by far the most populous, most visited, and most politically significant of all the Florida Keys.

Internationally known for its quirky character, this southernmost key is jam-packed with unforgettable attractions, hot restaurants & clubs, and lovely nature retreats.

Since Key West has the most attractions in the Florida Keys, we’ve conveniently arranged our itinerary into three distinct groups:

  • Landmarks & Unique Attractions
  • Historic Homes & Museums
  • Gardens & Animal Attractions.

We hope this organization will make pinpointing the perfect Key West destinations for your preferences easier.

Key West Landmarks & Unique Attractions

37. Key West Historic Seaport

Key West Historic Seaport - Popular Bight Marina with restaurants and charter boats available for hire in Key West.

A great place to begin your Key West adventure is at the 20-acre Historic Seaport.

Used for hundreds of years as a trading port, this coastal area is home to dozens of the city’s finest shops and restaurants.

You’ll also find convenient access to water sports excursions, snorkeling tours, and hop-on, hop-off trolleys from this seaport.

Find out more about what’s going on at Key West Historic Seaport on this website.

38. Mallory Square

Busy dock of Mallory-Square, florida

Mallory Square is hands down the most popular place to watch Key West’s stunning sunset.

Located on the key’s northwest tip, this square is equally well known for its dramatic (and sometimes kitschy) evening street performers.

If you visit Mallory Square for sunset, be prepared to deal with crowds of cruise ship tourists.

To learn more about the restaurants and attractions in Mallory Square, you can visit this official webpage.

39. US-1 Mile Marker 0

The Mile Zero marker at the end of U.S. Route 1 in Key West, Florida

Looking for a fantastic and free photo-op? Visit the US-1 Mile Marker 0 between Whitehead and Fleming Streets.

This sign marks the official endpoint for one of the East Coast’s longest and most historic roads.

United States Route 1. America's First Mile, monument marks beginning of longest north-south road in the United States. Northern point on U.S. Route 1, U.S. Highway 1, US 1.

Now, you must travel 2,300 miles north to take a picture by “America’s First Mile” in Fort Kent!

40. Duval Street

Duval Street in the Key West part of Florida. Duval Street is a popular part of Key West for tourists.

Measuring 1.2 miles between the Atlantic and Gulf sides, Duval is Key West’s liveliest and most distinctive street.

Whether you’re looking for big-name restaurants, historic buildings, or souvenir shops, there’s a good chance Duval Street has just what you’re looking for.

Duval Street is also popular for nighttime ghost tours and parades during special events.

41. Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum

Key West old Lighthouse in Florida USA

The bright white Key West Lighthouse stands proudly on Whitehall Street, a position it has held for 170 years.

Since deactivated in the 1960s, the lighthouse has become one of the most iconic tourist draws thanks to its fantastic panoramic city views.

Just be forewarned: you must climb 88 steps to reach the top.

Tickets inside the lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarter Museum cost $12 per adult and $5 per child.

Visit the Key West Lighthouse’s website for more tourist information.

42. Higgs Beach

Wooden pier in Higgs Beach, a popular Key West beach in Florida known for snorkeling, tropical turquoise waters and white sand. Summer vacation in the tropics. Relaxing and summertime concept.

Anyone looking for a family-friendly beach near Downtown should consider visiting the Atlantic-facing Higgs Beach.

This 16.5-acre beach offers much to explore, including remnants of the 19th-century West Martello Tower, an old African burial ground, and two piers.

Plus, Higgs Beach has a restaurant, kiddie play area, and dog park to take advantage of.

43. South Beach & Southernmost Point of the US

Famous buoy in key west, Florida marking the Southernmost Point of the US

Taking a picture by Key West’s Southernmost Point is like standing in front of the Vegas sign.

You have to do it. Oh yeah, and don’t do anything embarrassing because there is a live webcam of the Southernmost Point.

Nearby the Southernmost Point, you will also find a small beach and pier conveniently named South Beach.

Although this beach is tiny, tourists say it has clean amenities and great views of ships and the sunset.

44. Key West Cemetery

The Key West Cemetery in the Historic District

Visiting the Key West Cemetery isn’t as macabre as it might seem. Indeed, some tourists say it's downright hilarious.

You’ll be surprised at what’s inscribed on some of the tombstones in this supposedly solemn area. It seems the fun-loving Key West spirit extends even into the afterlife!

Although visiting the Key West Cemetery is free, you could reserve a guided tour for a small fee.

Please click this link to the Key West Cemetery’s official site to learn more about the area and tours.

45. Smathers Beach

Key west florida Smathers beach palm trees in USA

About one mile from the Historic District, Smathers is Key West's longest beach and a well-known haunt for party-hardy spring breakers.

But it’s not all about debauchery here. Tourists who visit Smathers praise the area's cleanliness and fantastic amenities like volleyball courts, picnic benches, and jet ski rentals.

One potential downside of visiting Smathers Beach is that it’s near the Key West International Airport.

So, be prepared for planes always flying overhead. On the pro side, parking at Smathers Beach is free.

46. Key West's Mario Sanchez Street Experience

Don't miss the vibrant Mario Sanchez Street Experience in a recreated Cuban-American neighborhood when visiting Key West.

This lively installation features large-scale reproductions of Sanchez's colorful murals depicting scenes of old Key West.

As you stroll down the "street," stop to admire the bustling factory, sightseeing bus, local stores, boxing gym, and more. Vivid, lifelike scenes transport you back to decades past in the historic Cuban district.

Notable sights include the Pee-Roo-Lee Man selling his signature cone candy, the police chief chasing after a chicken thief, and locals engaged in a game of dominos.

Sanchez's intricate wood carvings inspired the exhibit and showcased his masterful folk art skills, which he honed from a young age.

Born in Key West in 1908, Sanchez created hundreds of paintings and carvings capturing his community's sights, sounds, and nostalgia. His works can be found across the Keys, but this expansive interactive exhibit brings his art to life.

47. Outback with Jack

Set sail with Outback with Jack. They're frequently navigating the mesmerizing maze of creeks and reefs near Sugarloaf Marina, just 13 miles from Key West.

During your adventure, you'll snorkel, fish, and might even savor a beach-cooked seafood lunch from your catch.

Their 23-foot tri-toon ensures everyone enjoys a comfortable journey, from kids to dogs.

All the essentials, from snorkel gear to beach chairs, are provided. So, hop on and let the Keys' beauty unfold!

Key West Historic Homes & Museums

48. Audubon House & Tropical Gardens

he Audubon House and Tropical Gardens offers visitors a chance to revisit life in Key West in the mid-19th century.

A stone’s throw from Mallory Square, the Audubon House is an essential stop for bird lovers.

Although the influential Birds of America painter John James Audubon visited Key West before the current Audubon House was built, it’s believed he stayed here when working on his famous tome.

Tickets to the Audubon House cost $14 per adult and $5 per child, but you could save $1 if you mention “save a tree.”

By visiting this link, find out all there is to explore at the Audubon House.

49. The Oldest House

Old house in St. Augustine, Florida. Built around 1829

Although it’s not the Oldest House in America (you’ll have to go to St. Augustine for that), Key West’s Oldest Home is still pretty remarkable.

Constructed in 1829, this Duval Street home will undoubtedly transport you to a different era.

Adults and children over 12 only need $5 to tour this legendary home.

For more facts on this charming residence, please check out the Key West Oldest Home’s website.

50. Harry S. Truman Little White House

Exterior of the Harry S. Truman Little White House, which has been used by American presidents for official state business.

To date, no American president has been born in Florida, yet there is one presidential library in Key West.

History buffs might already know President Harry S. Truman used to retreat to a “Little White House” near Mallory Square during the winter.

Visit this fantastic attraction for an intimate view of Truman’s life and times.

Tickets cost $21.95 per adult and $10.75 per child, but check out the Truman Little White House’s webpage for online discounts.

51. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

The Ernest Hemingway House with garden in Key West in Florida.

Just behind the Key West Lighthouse, you’ll find the former home of a literary legend: Ernest Hemingway.

On your 30-minute guided tour, you’ll learn amusing anecdotes on the Nobel Prize-winning author’s time in Key West and tour his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer’s gardens.

Oh yeah, and dozens of cats are on the property, some of which might be descended from Hemingway’s original six-toed cat.

For the full Hemingway experience, consider visiting during the Hemingway Days Festival at the end of July.

If you’re not in town for the “Running of the Bulls,” grab a drink at Hemingway’s old haunt Sloppy Joe’s.

General admission costs $15 per adult and $6 per child, and this museum only accepts cash.

You can find out more about Ernest Hemingway Home online.

52. Fort East Martello Museum

Fort East Martello Museum East Martello Tower, a Civil War era fort, is noted for its vast collection of unique sculptures created by local Keys artist Stanley Papio - key west florida

The Civil War in Key West was complicated. Although officially under Union control, many residents were Confederates.

Fearing the Confederates might try to take the territory, Union troops worked feverishly on Fort East Martello till the end of the war.

Today, this former fort is a fascinating museum housing not only Civil War relics but also unique artwork and artifacts from Key West’s past.

Tickets to this fort cost $12 per adult and $5 per child.

Check out this link to Fort East Martello Museum’s website for more info.

53. The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea

The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea at Key West, Florida. The Church is one of the oldest Catholic parishes in Florida.

The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea is one of the Sunshine State's most historic Catholic churches, dating back to the 1850s.

According to tourists, this storied church, with its beautiful interior and serene garden, is well worth a visit, especially if you need a few moments to meditate.

The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea’s official website has a full map that can be downloaded.

The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West, Florida

54. Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum

Anyone interested in pirates, shipwrecks, and buried treasure should put the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum high on their itinerary.

The star attractions at this museum include Spanish ships and treasures from the 1600s, but there are also fascinating exhibits dedicated to conservation efforts and the history of Caribbean pirates.

Located near Mallory Square, this museum costs $16 per adult and $7 per child.

Learn more about special exhibits on the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum’s website.

55. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter INGHAM Maritime Museum

 Close up image of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham, one of only two preserved Treasury-class United States Coast Guard Cutters, now a Maritime Museum.

Alongside Truman Waterfront Park, you’ll find one of the Coast Guard’s most celebrated ships: the 320-foot-long USCG Cutter INGHAM.

This cutter served between 1936 and 1988, saw extensive action in WWII and the Vietnam War, and now it houses many artifacts from those heroic decades.

If possible, visit this ship’s artifacts later to enjoy a spectacular sunset view.

It will cost adults $10 and children $5 to step aboard this USCG Cutter.

This webpage lets you learn more about the USCG Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum.

56. Key West Art & Historical Society Custom House Museum

Museum of Art and History at the Custom House, a monumental civic building from 1891, restored as a museum for the Key West Art Historical Society. near Mallory Square

Another historical attraction near Mallory Square is the Custom House Museum.

This four-story building, dating back to 1891, once served as Key West’s central business hub and a strategic naval base.

Today, visitors can learn more about the essential roles this building played by touring the museum’s exhibits.

You can purchase tickets to this museum for $12 per adult and $5 per child.

Find out more info about the Custom House Museum on this website.

57. Blue Heaven Rooster Graveyard

Tucked away in the courtyard of the famous Blue Heaven restaurant in Key West lies a unique graveyard - the Blue Heaven Rooster Graveyard. This quirky cemetery is the final resting place for champion fighting cocks from the restaurant's historic past.

Dating over a century, the Blue Heaven first began as a notorious spot for cockfighting and gambling. Some of Key West's famous free-roaming chickens are said to be descendants of the prized fighting roosters that once battled here.

Over the years, the locale transformed into a lively ice cream parlor, dance hall, and tavern frequented by Ernest Hemingway.

The Blue Heaven is a popular restaurant today, but the rooster graveyard preserves its spirited history.

Spotting the vibrant gravesite in the courtyard, you'll notice each cock's grave is colorfully adorned and lovingly embellished.

While an unusual sight, the memorials pay homage to Key West's storied past and the valiant roosters of local legend. The rooster graveyard is truly one-of-a-kind.

58. The Key West Shipwreck Museum & 65’ Tower

The Key West Shipwreck Museum & 65’ Tower - The Shipwreck Treasures Museum is a popular tourist attraction in downtown Key West.

The most eye-catching museum by Mallory Square is the Key West Shipwreck Museum, designed to look like a shipwrecked vessel.

Inside this highly interactive museum, you’ll watch live performers tell the incredible stories behind authentic shipwrecks and treasures.

As part of your admission fee, you can climb the museum’s 65-foot Tower for an unforgettable view.

If you purchase your tickets at the door, you’ll pay about $16 per adult and $10 per child.

You can, however, save on ticket prices if you purchase from the Key West Shipwreck Museum’s website.

59. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Scenic view of Fort Zachary Taylor historic state park

A 15-minute walk from the Southernmost Point, Fort Zachary Taylor earns high marks with snorkelers thanks to its incredibly clear waters.

As the name suggests, this park also has a Civil War-era fort that you could tour alone or with a guide.

Tourists say it’s effortless to stay here swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and picnicking the entire day.

You’ll probably be walking or biking into this park, which will cost you $2.50.

For more detailed info on attractions and pricing, please click on Fort Zachary Taylor State Park’s website.

Key West Gardens & Animal Attraction

60. Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

The Key West Garden club maintains the flora

Unlike the other Key West attractions listed here, the Key West Botanical Garden is a 20-minute drive from the Historic District.

Those who make the trip here, however, rave about the garden’s lush Caribbean gardens and the many rare birds, butterflies, and turtles.

Plus, since this garden is “frost-free,” there’s never a wrong time of year to visit.

Tickets to the Key West Botanical Garden are $10 per adult and free for accompanied children.

To get a sneak peek at all the fantastic flora, click this link to the Key West Botanical Garden’s website.

61. Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center

 coral reef fish tank with a variety of tropical saltwater fish

Every family visiting Key West should add a stop to the government-sponsored Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center.

A short walk from Fort Zachary Taylor, this 6,000 sq. ft. complex features interactive exhibits, films, and live fish that educate visitors on the wonders of the Keys’ biodiversity.

The best part of visiting this center is that there are no admission fees.

Click this link to the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center for more details.

62. Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory in Key West, Florida

Calling all lepidopterologists: Key West’s Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is near the Southernmost Point.

As you stroll through the conservatory’s beautiful walkway, you’ll encounter over 50 species of butterflies and dozens of exotic birds.

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Adult tickets cost $15, while kids can enter for $11 each.

Look for more info on the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory’s website.

63. Key West Aquarium

Key west aquarium building

First opened in the 1930s, the Key West Aquarium is a long-standing, family-friendly attraction near Mallory Square.

One of the most popular draws at this museum remains the touch tank, which is full of local critters like sea stars, hermit crabs, and conchs.

A few other creatures you’ll see (but thankfully not touch) include sharks, alligators, and stingrays.

Tickets to the Key West Aquarium cost $17 per adult and $10 per child, but you could save money by booking online.

64. Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden

Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden - Bright Blue Hyacinth Macaw

Only a five-minute walk north of Mile Marker 0, Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden is the best place to get up close and personal with some extremely rare macaws.

If you’ve ever wanted to feed, touch, or hear one of these colorful birds up close, look no further than this intimate setting.

The entrance fee to this secret garden is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Visit Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden’s website for more info on daily macaw showtimes.

More Things To Do Along The Florida Keys

As if all those attractions weren’t enough, here are a few more things to consider trying in the Florida Keys.

This final section will cover activities you could experience in multiple locations, from snorkeling sessions and sunset cruises to parasailing and plane rides.

65. Snorkeling In The Reef

Amazing colors of coral reefs in John Pennekamp State Park, Key Largo - Florida U.S.A.

There are very few “bad” snorkeling spots in the Florida Keys.

After all, the Keys are home to one of the world’s longest barrier reefs: the Great Florida Reef.

As mentioned above, Key Largo usually garners the most attention in snorkeling due to its phenomenal John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

There are, however, dozens of other fantastic snorkeling destinations such as:

If you go on a guided half-day snorkeling excursion, expect prices to be around $40 – $80 per person.

You can find more specific information on tour companies and snorkel rentals at your desired park’s official website.

66. Take A Cruise Along The Keys

View through the bottom of the Fury Glass bottom boat - Fury Water Adventures

Unfortunately, couples can’t go on those clichéd “long walks on the beach” in the Keys.

These islands are relatively small, and the sand can be somewhat rocky.

You can, however, easily book a romantic guided cruise in most of the major Keys.

Sunset and dolphin sightseeing tours are the most popular choices among the many cruises.

Here are a few highly reviewed cruise operators worth checking out:

Rates for sightseeing cruises that last a few hours are usually between $40 – $80 per person.

67. Kayaking Excursions

Couple kayaking and paddle boarding fitness man in ocean Paddleboard beach people on stand-up paddle boards surfing in Tourists kayakers woman and man enjoying SUP kayak waterspo

Outdoorsy types who don’t mind a bit of paddling might enjoy kayaking in the Keys.

Whether you feel like exploring lush mangroves or heading out into the open ocean, here are a few of the best-reviewed kayaking points throughout the Florida Keys:

Usually, kayak rentals only cost about $20 per day, but this could vary depending on the park you visit.

Of course, you must pay extra for guided kayak excursions.

For instance, most two-hour guided kayak tours in Key West are around $65 per adult.

68. Booking A Fishing Charter

Booking A Fishing Charter - key west florida

With a nickname like the “Sport Fishing Capital Of The World,” Islamorada has a reputation in the fishing community.

While other Keys, like Marathon and Big Pine, have fantastic fishing opportunities, nothing compares with an Islamorada experience.

A few Islamorada fishing charters that have earned high praise in recent years include:

Fishing charters tend to be a tad pricey compared with other excursions.

Expect a standard 4-hour skiff trip to cost between $400 and $600 for two people.

69. Water Sports For Adrenaline Junkies

Keys Skis Watersports in Key Largo, Group of jet skiers on the Florida

Are you looking for a rush? Don’t worry. Plenty of water & jet skiing opportunities will satisfy even the speediest of speed demons.

You’ll have the easiest time finding companies that offer water and jet skiing in Key West, but here are a few destinations throughout the Keys the check out:

Typically, these water sports excursions cost $100 – $200 per person for half a day.

70. Parasailing, Take Me Away!

Key Largo Parasail - Happy couple parasailing

For those who want to fly away, consider taking to the sky on a parasailing adventure.

A few highly rated parasailing excursions in the Keys include:

Parasailing trips usually cost between $60 and $80 per flyer and between $20 and $20 for friends and family members who want to tag along and watch you soar.

71. A View From Above: Helicopter Tours

A photo of Helicopter Drone Aerial Key West

Regarding helicopter tours, there’s only one major player in town: Air Adventures in Key West.

You might find smaller operators in other Keys, but Air Adventures currently has the best reviews and the most extensive array of options for guests.

Helicopter tour prices vary widely depending on where you want to go. For instance, a five-minute tour of Key West costs about $70 per person.

At the high end, an hour-long tour of the Lower Keys will cost over $400 per person.

Enjoy the Florida Keys!

Okay, show of hands, who made it this far? If you have, please leave me a comment to let me know.

If you've already visited the Florida Keys, let me know what you think about our list. Is there anything that you would add?

Do you have any special recommendations? I'd love to hear them now so we can adjust our notes—thank you!

And if you could share this on social media, that would be fantastic! Here are a few images that you could use to pin this on Pinterest.

71 Things To Do In The Florida Keys – From Key Largo To Key West

 
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29 Comments

  1. For snorkel enthusiast try to arrange to get to the Christ Statue in John oennekamp marine park it is an awesome experience. It is a 9foot bronze statue given to the park from an Italian wet suit company. I have not been there since 1997. Hope it is still there. Your traveling made me realize how things have changed. Looking forward to returning & going to sites I missed back then .Thank you for such an interesting read!

    • Great list! I would say, as Key Largo seems under represented, that the Caribbean Club was where the Humphrey Bogart classic “Key Largo” was partially filmed, and nearby is the tiny steamboat used in another Bogart epic, “The African Queen”… The Keys are a spot for film buffs as well!

  2. Hi Deedria. We love the Keys. And one placed I think you missed is Dry Tortuga. While you mentioned snorkeling for Dry Tortuga, it was buried in the “snorkeling” bullet point. And there’s so much more. Fort Jefferson is a great historic monument for the history buffs. The beaches outside the fort are spectacular, and then there’s the lighthouses, one over at Loggerhead Island as well as Garden Key Light. Plus there’s the ride over by Hydrofoil, which is lovely!

  3. Wow you hit everything and in order at that. Been to the keys 3 times and headed down again soon. You taught me a few things I didn’t know with this read. Ty 🏝️❤️

  4. This was very helpful thank you for putting this together. One thing I would like to see is if things are easy to do for people with mobile issues (example getting on and off boat tour, swimming with the dolphins…) we are planning a trip this winter.

  5. I am working on getting there.
    Looks beautiful and lots to see.
    Thanks for sharing
    Is there a guide book available?

    • Hi Nancy,
      Writing a guide book will be an interesting endeavor! I’d have to get back to the Keys to do that properly 😉 I’ll look into getting a few books and reviewing them, maybe that will help people get the best one.

    • Thanks for the info. We’ve been to Key West 2x before, once for a week and once for the day. This time we’re spending a week at Marathon Key and planning to visit other areas as well. In the past we did Lloyd’s Bicycle Tour in Key West and loved it, but that was about 15 years ago and I don’t know if he’s still doing it.

  6. I visited the keys years ago and always wanted to go back and swim with the dolphins and snorkel. Thanks for your information on the keys, you helped me out a lot

  7. Very good info. I lived in Islamorada for 29 years from 1970 to 1999. In the ’70s a gentleman who’s last name was Humm, wrote a Paperback Book titled Humm’s Guide to the Florida Keys. I happened to meet him when he stopped at our family’s Oceanside Resort inquiring about advertising our establishment in his book.
    What should have been a quick sales call ended up being almost a 5 hour conversation as he was heading eventually to Key West.
    On his way back, he stopped by, this time for just over 2 hours.
    What transpired during our conversations was different historical facts and locations , some you mentioned an quite a few you didn’t. If you desire, perhaps you can contact me and privately talk about a few things.
    Remember, you can take the Conch out of the Keys, But Never The Keys Out of The Conch!
    A True Conch is born in the Keys.
    One that has or had lived there for 25 years or more, was given the Status of Being a Fresh Water Conch.

  8. This is a great list! Thank you so much for creating this. I didn’t realize how many free options there are in Key West. We are planning a 4 day trip in the next couple of months.

  9. Great collection of very helpful tips and information I’ve been to the keys several times and love them !! Don’t forget your keys 😂 can’t wait to take my grandkids to see them !! It’s really best experienced with time stopping along the way all the way to key west the conch republic is a different world and it’s really nice to soak in the laid back feeling of remembering how life should be ❤️

  10. This was amazing reading.I made up envelopes of all the places we are going to see and are filling them with the admission cost to each place we want to get into.

  11. Hi there we would love to invite you to stop by Hemingway Rum Co – Papa’s Pilar Distillery next time you are in Key West.
    Here you can take a distillery tour and hear some untold stories of Papa.
    Experience how we make Rum and the best part is you get to taste our award-winning rum. You can also relax in our Hemingway Social Club as you step back in time and taste some of our famous Papa’s Pilar Cocktails while listening to some great local musicians.
    Look forward to meeting you in the future!

  12. Whatever beach you visit, you need to wear footwear. Our trip got scaled back quite a bit by something thorn-like sticking into my boyfriend’s foot, leaving him unable to walk comfortably.We are not sure what it was or if he picked it up wading in the ocean, walking on the beach, or walking the path through scrubby bushes in flipflops to get back to the car. The Nurses Station on Big Pine Key gave him great care for it.

  13. This is fabulous. Thank you so much for putting all of this information together. We would like to be able to spend some days on the beach just enjoying the sand and the water. Are there any beaches you would recommend for a beach day? Thank you!

    • I’m glad you liked the post, Julia!
      Unfortunately, our Florida visit was canceled back then due to Covid concerns. We’re trying again this summer and I’ll update if I find anything interesting!

  14. Well done with this site! I can tell a lot of time and research went into this. There’s something here for everyone and the key points you use are very helpful. Usually, I have to do a ton of research, but your list has it all in one convenient place. Thank you so much for this!!

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