Key West Tourism Guide, Everything you need to Know!
Key West is a magnificent place to visit. Certainly, a place that you’ll love. Over the next several minutes will be discussing everything you need to know about Key West so you can make the best out of your trip basically a Key West tourism guide if you will.
Key West is a relatively small island so getting around will be pretty easy. With Google Maps you’ll have no problem finding what you need. We’ll discuss places like Mallory Square the historic Waterfront, Duval Street, Key West Lighthouse and more. We’ll talk about all the best things to do, the best places to eat, and the best bars. Get ready because Key West is amazing. Be ready to be on Key West time!
If you want to visit Dry Tortugas National Park and really don’t want to camp out there. The only place to stay is in Key West. It is 68 miles from Key West to Dry Tortugas National. It’s about a 2.5-hour boat ride or 45-minute seaplane ride. There is no better place to stay than Key West. You’ll have a large variety of things to do and places to visit on such a small island. You’ll feel that a week wasn’t enough.
One of the coolest statuses in the world is outside the Key West Museum of Art & History. That’s no optical illusion! It’s really that big. As you walk around the outside of the museum you’ll see other statues as if people were frozen in time. You’ll be right next to the Margaritaville hotel and other hotels. Mallory Square is close by just a short walk. Follow the pier over and you’ll see some amazing cruise ships and sailboats. Definitely one of the best sights in Key West.
How To Get Around!
Okay, Let’s talk about the best things to do in Key West. this is really a matter of opinion but as we go through this you’ll be able to get an idea of all the things there are to do in Key West. First, let’s start by going to Mallory Square. I like to start at Mallory Square for several reasons, one it is within walking distance to everything fun, two it is really simple to get to by walking or whatever and three Mallory Square sometimes has events, street performers, souvenir shops and more.
From here you can get around Key West several ways. You can rent a cart, walk, uber or whatever. I took an uber from the airport to the hotel and then just walked everywhere. We did end up renting a cart for the fun of it. Carts come in different sizes. There are several places where you can rent a cart. Here are the current places to rent a cart. If you want to take a neat little train ride you can take the Conch Tour Train. You’ll be in the area and definitely will see it or people riding it. We decided on the cart rather than the Conch Tour Train. There are several options you can take. Check out the video below for a tour of Key West via a cart. It was really fun!! I know you’ll enjoy it too!
Historic Places in Key West
If you like history then you might want to take the Harry S. Truman Tour. Harry S. Truman was the 33 President of the United States during which he had to make some really tough decides. I’m sure as a human some of the tough decisions he made in his past were thought of over and over perhaps like nightmares. Key West had to feel like a true paradise to him. He stayed in Key West for several weeks and really enjoyed it. Click to see the Google Street View to see the Truman little white house.
Next, a popular place to visit is Ernest Hemingway’s House. He was born July 21th, 1899 and died July 2nd, 1961. He was fairly young when he passed. During his life, he earned the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He lived in this house from 1931-1939. Some of his best works were written in this house. In 1968 the house was designated a US National Landmark. There are tours you can take for details check out the Hemingway Home & Key West Butterfly Museum.
The Key West Lighthouse
While you are in the neighborhood you’ll be able to see the lighthouse. The Key West Lighthouse was built in 1847. It is an icon of the island and cool to see. If you rent a cart you’ll easily be able to visit all these places. Remember Key West is a small island. It is 7.24 square miles so getting around is really easy. The lighthouse is 73 feet high. You can go up in it although it does cost money. $10 bucks for adults, and $5 bucks for kids. The view is worth it because you can see the entire island.
Choosing a Place to Stay
I stayed at Margaritaville. There are a lot of great hotels that have ocean views though. Honestly, finding a good hotel in Key West is very easy. It’s really about how much money you want to spend. Do a simple google search and you’ll see all kinds of different hotels in Key West. I recommend getting a hotel over by Mallory Square and all the fun stuff. If you get a hotel by the airport you’ll have to take a cab or Uber over. Being in walking distance to Duvall Street and Mallory Square will help you save money on cabs and Ubers. All the best restaurants and bars are within walking distance.
Below are several hotels that are at this location and you might be interested. There are literally dozens of hotels all with a great view.
Pier House Resort and Spa: They have package deals that are great. You’ll be right there on the pier.
Ocean Key Resort and Spa: This hotel is next to Mallory Square. The view of the ocean is incredible. Definitely a luxury hotel.
The Marker Key West: They do have specials and several vacation packages if you book directly on their website. Schooner Wharf Bar and Half Shell Raw Bar are close by.
Hyatt Residence Club Key West: The picture below is the Hyatt. It’s right next to the Margaritaville. You’ll see the Marina where huge cruise ships are parked.
At the end of the day, all the hotels in Key West are nice. It really depends on your budget. There are budget hotels/motels in Key West that are easier on the wallet. Seashell Motel is $98 bucks and NyaHotel is $89 bucks. These hotels are nice too! You won’t be spending much time in the hotel anyways. Saving money while you can is always a good idea.
Where to Eat?
Getting something to eat in Key West is a really a matter of what you want. They have everything you can think of. The best seafood ever. Basically just walk down Duvall St. and you’ll see dozens of bars and restaurants.
Seafood In Key West
The best Seafood is in Key West. Everything fresh and delicious. Places such as Conch Republic Seafood Company, Half Shell Raw Bar, Seven Fish, Dantes Key West, B.O Fish Wagon, Schooner Wharf Bar, Red Fish Blue Fish, SHOR America Seafood Grill are just to name a few. Check out the Google Search for Seafood in Key West.
There are several famous and great local restaurants such as Sloppy Joe’s, Captain Tony’s Saloon, Sunset Pier, and Better Than Sex a dessert restaurant. There are many more but these are the spots that I thought we worth mentioning. I’d said Sloppy Joe’s is the most famous bar/restaurant in Key West. They have been around for a long time.
Bars and places to have a drink!
There are many bars you can stop at and have a drink or two. In fact, I’d say there are more bars to have a drink than there is anything else to do on the island. Just take a walk down Duval Street and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Below is just a short list of bars I visited and liked. There are so many bars I couldn’t list them all. Check out the google search for bars in Key West.
Smallest Bar in Key West: This is a cool little place between 2 buildings. It is a smart idea and the perfect place to stop for a quick drink as you walk down Duval Street.
Irish Kevin’s Bar: Whether you are Irish or not it is a fun place. They have live music and a variety of beer and drinks to chose from.
Rick’s Bar: Great live music! I personally thought the music and the atmosphere was great. They have a place where you can listen to live music and a dance club area as well.
Captain Tony’s Saloon: It’s been a Key West landmark since 1851. It is where Sloppy Joe’s Bar use to be back in the 1930s. It has a saloon feel and captures the true feeling of what it means to be on Key West time.
Hog’s Breath Saloon: They have live music and dancing. A covered patio and great bar food at a good price. It’s on Front Street in walking distance to Mallory Square and all the other bars on Duval Street.
Sloppy Joe’s Bar: If you go to Key West you have to stop at Sloppy Joe’s. It’s probably the most popular bar on in Key West. Live music, great food and drinks Sloppy Joe’s is definitely a place you will have fun guaranteed.
Best Beach in Key West
There are several beaches in Key West that you’ll love. Beaches such as Higgs Beach, Smathers Beach, Dog Beach, South Beach, C.B Harvey Rest Beach Park, and Monroe County Parks & Beaches. Click the links to see the beach through Google Street View. It will give you an idea of what they look like.
In my opinion, I think the best beach in Key West is at Fort Zachary Taylor. It is clean and open. The water is clear and what you would expect in Key West. Although it does cost money to get into Fort Zachary Taylor it is worth it. It cost $6.50 per car or just $2.50 if you walk in or bike in. You can walk around the fort, hike some trails, hang out on the beaches, and have a panic if you want to. It is a full day event. The Cayo Hueso Cafe is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily. They have breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks. Check out their menu for more details.
The park is 87 acres and great for swimming and snorkeling. You can actually rent mask, snorkels, and fins if you want to. You can snorkel off the beach and experience rich tropical marine life such as parrot fish, schools of yellowtail snapper, lobster, and various corals.
The fort itself began construction in 1845 and completed in 1866. It played an important role in the Civil War and Spanish American War. The fort was established as a Historic State Park in 1971. Most people would agree Fort Zachary Taylor does have the best beach in Key West.
You’ll fly into the Key West International Airport. It’s small and really easy to get through. As soon as you get there you’ll get a feeling of being on Key West time. Nice, slow, easy, and peaceful. The people are friendly and helpful. The food and drinks are plentiful. The things to do are endless. No question you’ll 100% enjoy Key West!
I hope this post helped explain everything you would need to know about Key West. Overall it is an awesome trip! The main reason I went there was to go to Dry Tortugas National Park. If you are interested in Dry Tortugas National Park, check out the blog Fort Jefferson, Florida. In it is everything you need to know about Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson.
Well, I hope you enjoy your trip to Key West and I’d love to hear about what you did. Please feel free to leave a comment or question.
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