Explore Key West with our Travel Guide

Top attractions, the best restaurants, unique accommodations

Enjoy the laid back vibe of “America’s Caribbean”. Key West is famous for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture. The “Conch Republic” has a rich history, having been inhabited by the Calusa and Tequesta Native American tribes before being discovered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. It was also home to many pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries, including the famous Blackbeard.

This popular Florida tourist destination attracts visitors from all over the world. The island is home to the famous Duval Street with its shops, restaurants, and bars as well as Mallory Square where every sunset is a celebration. With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Key West is a must-see destination for any traveler.

Annual events in Key West

The Key West spirit can be found in annual events like the renowned Fantasy Fest and authentic Songwriters Festival. The island also plays host to a spectacular food and wine festival and celebrates “Papa” every year.

  • Fantasy Fest: This week-long festival, held in late October, attracts visitors from around the world. Fantasy Fest is known for its elaborate costumes, vibrant parades, and adult-themed festivities.
  • Key West Food & Wine Festival: Held in January, local chefs work alongside big-name culinary stars and wine experts to showcase the diverse flavors of the area. Tastings, wine pairings, cooking demos, and exclusive dinners hosted by top chefs.
  • Key West Songwriters Festival: This laid-back annual May event brings together songwriters from a variety of genres, performing in venues throughout Key West. Catch established and emerging songwriters.
  • Hemingway Days: Key West was home to American author Ernest Hemingway and he’s celebrated in July with everything from literary readings and a street fair to a look-alike contest and a marlin fishing tournament.

Attractions and Discoveries

Experience what makes Key West so special

This little island offers something for everyone. Discover new adventures, take a step back in time, or simply enjoy a stunning set on the water.

Outdoor adventure

With its tropical climate, crystal-clear waters, and diverse landscapes, you find a wide variety of outdoor activities available in Key West. Here are four favorites.

  • Kayaks & Paddleboards: Grab a rental from Lazy Dog Kayak and explore the mangroves and shallow waters. Take in the scenery both below and above.
  • Jet Skis: Sign up for an incredible guided jet ski water tour with Key West Water Tours, The 2-hour tour takes you around Key West and surrounding islands.
  • Snorkeling & Scuba: Explore Key West’s underwater world with Lost Reef Adventures. It’s a different way to experience the Conch Republic.
  • Bikes: Rent a bicycle at Lloyd’s Tropical Bike Tour and explore the historic Old Town. Take in the coastal views. The flat terrain makes this a bike-friendly place.

Air & Sea Excursions

You’ll come away with a different view of Key West with an air or sea excursion.

  • Sunset cruises: Key West is known for its sunsets. That’s why there’s a party every day at Mallory Square. Experience the beauty from the water with a tour on Classic Harbor Line.
  • Seaplane sightseeing: Take off for the nearby Dry Tortugas with Seaplane Adventures. Choose a morning, afternoon, or full-day tour.

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Let us at Conch Concierge bring you the ultimate romantic Key West wedding or vow renewal experience by seaplane or sail. View the options.

For history buffs

Explore a literary icon’s home, take in the history of the island, and stop by America’s “Little White House.”

For nature lovers

Experience the rich fauna and flora of Key West through its gardens, conservatory and aquarium.

  • Audubon House and Tropical Gardens: In the heart of Old Town Key West, This historic home museum is surrounded by lush gardens. It’s a tranquil oasis of exotic plants.
  • Key West Aquarium: This is one of the oldest aquariums in Florida. Showcasing the diversity of the Key’s marine life, guests of all ages will find something to enjoy.
  • Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory: The glass-enclosed habitat is home to thousands of brilliantly colored butterflies, tropical gardens, and cascading waterfalls. Pure Zen.
  • Key West Garden Club at West Martello Tower: Originally constructed during the Civil War, the tower is a picturesque backdrop for these meticulously maintained gardens. Take in a diverse collection of native and exotic plants, flowers, and trees.
  • Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden: Spend a little time connecting with nature by wandering the trails of this serene garden.
  • Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden: This is a truly different type of garden. It’s an enchanting sanctuary for rescued and rehabilitated parrots in the heart of Old Town Key West.

For treasure seekers

Tales of shipwrecks and buried treasure around Key West date back to pirate times. Be amazed by what’s been hauled up from the sea.

  • Mel Fisher Maritime Museum: Dedicated to legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher, discover the treasures he and his team recovered.
  • Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum: Through interactive exhibits, learn about the techniques of wrecking, view artifacts from shipwrecks, and climb to the top of the observation tower for panoramic views of Key West.

For art enthusiasts

Key West is home to galleries, studios, and performance spaces offering a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, and photography.

  • Art on Duval: Procaccini Galleries features and represents Florida-based as well as international artists and photographers.
  • Effusion Gallery: A leader in South Florida’s art market, Effusion represents contemporary artists from all over the world.
  • Key West Art & Historical Society: The Society has four culturally distinct museums – Key West Museum of Art & History, the Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters, Fort East Martello, and the Tennessee Williams Museum.
  • The Studios of Key West: Take a free tour of this museum’s exhibits and check in on the artists in residence. Don’t forget to check the website for all their special events.

Enjoy a taste of Key West

Whether you’re looking for a delicious breakfast or a fine dining experience, you’ll find it here in Key West. Here are 10 favorites.

Antonia’s: This Key West culinary landmark offers classic Italian cuisine, handmade pasta, seafood, chops, steaks, and decadent desserts. The wine list is filled with award winners.

Bagatelle: Located in a historic building with a killer veranda near Mallory Square, you can find brunch 7 days a week and 2 happy hours – with one in the morning to help with the night before.

Blue Heaven: Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner al fresco at this Key West favorite. Whimsical decor and serious food. Savor dinner under the stars accompanied by live music.

Harpoon Harry’s: You’ll find breakfast all day long. Great selection of omelets, including a build-your-own. Awesome dinner atmosphere. Cash only.

Little Pearl: When you’re ready to take a break from Key West’s busy streets, head over to this neighborhood restaurant and bar. Enjoy freshly caught fish with a tropical twist.

Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar: Enjoy Contemporary American cuisine and an unobstructed marina view. Before dinner, settle in by one of the outdoor fire pits with your favorite cocktail.

Nine One Five Restaurant & Bar: Located in a magnificent Victorian house, this internationally acclaimed restaurant offers simple but lovingly prepared fare paired with a stellar wine list.

Seven Fish: Simple, good food is the motto of this contemporary bistro where everything is made from scratch daily. Try the house specialty Thai Curry Snapper.

Southernmost Beach Cafe: As part of the Southernmost Beach Resort, the cafe provides a stunning backdrop for any meal. Their Drunken Scallops are Key West comfort food.

The Stoned Crab: The most famous seafood in Key West is the stone crab. Located next to Bay Beach Resort, the restaurant has its own fishing boats delivering daily catches of stone crab, lobster, shrimp, and fish.

Unique Key West shopping experiences

  • Shopping in Mallory Square: While famous for its nightly sunset celebrations, Mallory Square also offers a unique shopping experience with local artists. You can also drop in on The Shops at Mallory Square.
  • Duval Street Shops: You’ll find everything from souvenirs to fine art in the heart of downtown Key West. The Duval Street Mall is a pedestrian-friendly shopping area with a collection of boutiques.
  • Key West Artisan Market: On select Sundays from November to April at Higgs Beach, you’ll find local artisans, live shows, fresh food, and even a local author’s nook.
  • Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Store: Take back a bit of treasure and maritime history. The shop includes jewelry, books, and artifacts related to the museum’s exhibits.

Unique accommodations

Complete your Key West experience by staying at one of the island’s charming properties.

  • Curry Mansion Inn: Located on Caroline Street, this iconic inn features 29 rooms in three distinct structures. Well-appointed rooms and pet-friendly.
  • Key West Villas: Inside the gates, you’ll find stand-alone villas and B&B-style accommodations. The villas are Caribbean-themed and accented by works from local artists.
  • La Te Da Hotel, Restaurant & Bar: This LBGTQ-friendly hotel features a piano bar and regular cabaret shows. The rooms are charming and many offer peaceful patios.
  • Perry Hotel: Watch the boats in the harbor from your secluded balcony at this award-winning hotel, inspired by Commodore Perry of the US Navy. Laid back, nautical, and pet friendly.

Let us take you on a Photo Adventure of romantic and colorful Key West

As you can see, Key West is an extraordinary backdrop for photography. Nobody knows Key West like we do. Let us escort you to multiple locations through our photo adventure. Options include iconic Key West spots such as Southernmost Buoy Marker, Mile Marker Zero, Historic Seaport and docks, Artistic Murals, Duval Street, Butterfly Garden, and more. It’s your personal Key West adventure. Feel free to suggest any place that inspires you. We can usually include 3-6 spots. Have questions? Click the speech bubble at bottom right to chat now, use our contact form, or call today, 305-922-2222.

A bride and groom share a romantic kiss in front of the Southernmost Point Buoy marker sign, captured beautifully by Key West wedding photographer, Rasa Tubyte of Conch Concierge Weddings.