While part of the state of Florida, the island city of Key West truly stands out as unique. As the largest of the Florida Keys, it’s been a popular vacation destination for decades. And it’s easy to see why people keep coming back. The wide variety of exciting things do to here are unlike anywhere else. Check out this list of five one-of-a-kind things to do in Key West.
- Charter Fishing
Sure, there are charter fishing opportunities in nearly any place there are fish; however, it’s the geographic location of Key West that sets it apart. It’s situated where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet, which offers visitors a wide range of fishing to do. Book a trip with All In Fishing Charters and take on wreck, reef, flats or deep water fishing. Depending on what’s in season, you could find yourself out for grouper, tuna, mackerel or mahi mahi, among others. And when you book a charter fishing trip, it couldn’t be more convenient. Guests of all experience levels are welcome, and everything you need–from rods and reels to bait and fishing permits–is included. Knowledgeable and skilled captains and crew ensure everyone has a good time. And don’t worry if you land the catch of the day, Dante’s restaurant in Key West offers a cook-your-catch menu item where your fish will be prepared family-style for you to enjoy.
- Visit a Museum
At first thought, the idea of visiting a museum on vacation may not be appealing. But the sheer variety of museums in Key West makes the idea tempting. Whether you’re into books and literature (Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum), politics (Harry S. Truman’s Little White House), the Key West Lighthouse Museum and Keeper’s Quarters, USCGC Ingraham Maritime Museum, or even shipwrecks and lost treasure at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, there is really something for everyone. Guided tours, exhibits, and self-guided walks offer up-close access to what interests you. Hours are sometimes limited, especially with some of the smaller museums, but it’s worth rearranging your itinerary to ensure a trip to some of the most engaging and inspiring museums around. And even though they’re not technically museums, check out the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery and the Rodriguez Cigar Factory for tours, tastings, and hands-on experiences that showcase important elements of Key West’s history and culture.
- Try the Conch Fritters and Key Lime Pie
It’s hard to say which food item best represents Key West–conch or key limes. Fortunately, you’ll never have to pick just one, both are in abundance on the island. But that’s why it’s so important to choose the best. At Eaton Street Seafood Market, the conch fritters are freshly made from the day’s latest catch. Served for al fresco dining or to-go, this expertly prepared seafood is truly a taste of Key West. And don’t miss the key lime pie at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. The Elizabeth Street location is charming and offers a full menu of light fare, too. These pies are scratch-made and baked to perfection. And the best part is, both of these restaurants sell and ship their most popular items so you can enjoy a taste of Key West from home any time of year.
- The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Children’s Animal Farm
Lots of places have petting zoos but how many of them are filled with animals rescued from unsafe or inappropriate homes? At this animal sanctuary, guests can get close to animals that include an ostrich, lemur, kinkajou, fox, tortoises, and more. Admission is free, and animals are cared for by a team of inmates who support these beautiful creatures with caring upkeep so they can live safe and enriched lives free from violence and neglect. The hours are limited so it’s best to plan your visit in advance to ensure you can fit it into your itinerary.
- Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden
This special nature preserve is the only one of its kind in the continental U.S. It’s a great opportunity to walk among native trees, plants, and flowers in their most natural state. While the park took a heavy hit from a series of hurricanes over the last few years, the vegetation is recovering and it’s worth the trip. Be sure to pack a pair of binoculars, too; fans of birding find many species also enjoy these trees and plants for food and shelter.
With so many notable activities in Key West that just can’t be found anywhere else, the island is remarkable for everything it offers visitors in just a few square miles. Whether you want to enjoy the familiar, like your favorite legendary author’s home or delicious key lime pie, or you want to try something new and exciting, like charter fishing or petting a rhino at the animal sanctuary, you’ll find it in Key West. Don’t wait–book your trip now and start looking forward to the vacation of a lifetime.