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5 Great Things to Do in Key West, Florida

| Updated May 31, 2023

Want to know some of the best things to do in the southernmost point of the United States? Key West has so much to offer.

The drive through the keys to Key West makes for a bonafide tropical road trip, with spectacular beaches, numerous natural attractions, wildlife sanctuaries, and plenty of fresh seafood from nearby roadside shacks.

There are so many great things to do in Key West that we recommend you spend at least two or three days in the area.

How to Get Around Key West, Florida

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Mike, Jen and Bo on their golf cart touring Key West

When we came here, we stayed at Boyd’s Key West Campground on Stock Island which is about 2 miles outside
of Key West proper but almost 5 miles from Key West staples like Mallory Square and Duval Street.

I wouldn’t recommend driving your RV through Key West. From what I saw there is almost no parking, especially for a larger vehicle like an RV.

To get around we rented a golf cart and, I have to say, after that experience, we wouldn’t do it again. It was
uncomfortable, loud, bumpy, and we paid an arm and a leg for it!

Plus you can only go about 20 miles per hour on a golf cart and the speed limit is 35 miles per hour so we had people
passing us constantly on the road.

We’d highly recommend that when you come here and want to move around the island easier just use a service like Uber. You can also rent a car but parking can be difficult to find and is about $4/hour!

Some of the Best Things to Do in Key West, Florida

Everywhere you look there is something interesting to do. Take an ocean cruise, or a walking/trolley/food tour, explore the historic Old Town and marvel at the architecture.

There's so much to do that we can only cover some of the highlights in this article. But be sure to check out our 7 Day Adventure guide listed at the bottom for even more great things to do and see.

Hogfish Bar & Grill

Nearby Boyd’s we’d also recommend stopping by Hog fish Bar and Grill. The tagline is, “A great place… if
you can find it” and they mean it.

It’s a local’s spot with great seafood at extremely affordable prices and we were lucky enough to be camping at Boyd’s
with it right around the corner.

Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Also on Stock Island is the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. This is a great place to stretch your legs for a morning walk before heading into the city.

Spread out over 8.5 acres, the garden serves as an educational and interpretive center for native plants and wildlife of the Florida Keys and Caribbean.

Here you can take a self-guided tour and explore the diverse Florida Keys ecosystem filled with plants and trees native to the tropical habitat, including palms, orchids, and numerous flowering plants. Much of the flora and fauna are protected, endangered, or threatened species.

There’s also a freshwater lake, which is a popular place for local and migratory birds. You’ll find herons, egrets, and many other water birds here as well as fresh-water turtles. To see what different types of birds have been sighted recently, check out their Bird Sightings Page.

The Garden is open daily from 10am-4:30pm and admission is $10/person.

The Southernmost Point

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Key West Buoy

At the very bottom of the island, there’s another classic Key West landmark. The massive, brightly painted buoy that marks the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States!

From this point at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets, there are a mere 90 miles to Cuba.

 The Southernmost Point buoy was erected in 1983 and although the line can be long to get a  photo, it’s a landmark and must-see for any traveler to Key West.

Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

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Butterfly Conservatory

One block away from the buoy is the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory!

The main attraction here is a 5,000 sq ft glass-enclosed conservatory where 50-60 different exotic butterfly species flutter freely through tropical flowers and leafy trees.

There are what seems like hundreds of butterflies of every size, shape and color.

Inside there’s also a Learning Center with exhibits on different butterflies of the world and where they are located, butterfly anatomy and life cycle, as well as the Monarch Butterfly’s migration path.

Admission is $12/person and hours are 9am-5pm daily.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

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Fort Zachary

For your second day head out to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park on the far west side of the island.

Because there’s only one road in and out (Angela St) and it’s hidden behind the Naval Air Station Truman Annex, this gem is not as well known to the parades of tourists that visit Key West each year and only visited by people who seek it out.

Named for President Zachary Taylor, construction began in 1845 and took 21 years to build. With secession and the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Fort Taylor remained under Union control and was a key tool in enforcing the blockade that prevented supplies from reaching Confederate ports.

The fort stayed on active duty status through 1947 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973, containing the largest cache of Civil War era cannons in the United States.

You can take a self-guided tour or there’s a daily free guided tour at 11am (check this as they are currently not running tours). On the third weekend of each month, local re-enactors run historic demonstrations (check this before you go).

The beaches in Key West are a bit lackluster however the beach at Fort Zach is considered the best! The water is a clear aquamarine blue with lots of shaded area near the beach.

The bottom is quite rocky if you’re going swimming but the advantage to that is there is great snorkeling.

There are several rock formations offshore which attract a variety of tropical marine life such as parrot fish, yellowtail snapper, lobster, and various hard and soft corals. Snorkeling equipment can be rented near the picnic area.

There’s also a great little cafe called Cayo Hueso Café right by the beach. The food is pretty cheap and makes for an easy beach day lunch.

If you spend part of your day here you can leave and come back for the sunset! The park stays open to just past sunset each night with great views and much more elbow room than you’ll have at Mallory Square.

(Speaking of which, be sure to check out the 6 Best Things to Do in Mallory Square in Key West)

Admission is only $6.50 per car which makes it probably the most affordable thing to do on the island!

7 Day RV Adventure Guide to the Florida Keys or the whole Florida Bundle!

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This list was just SOME of the best things to do in Key West, and only a fraction of the great things to do in the Florida Keys. For a more complete guide, download our 7 Day RV Adventure Guide to the Florida Keys.

Planning an RV trip can be very time-consuming so we’ve done the research for you! Just take our guides and use them, we’re sure you’ll have an RV trip for the ages! Instant download. CLICK HERE for information on our Florida Keys RV Travel Guide

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Or CLICK HERE for our Florida RV Adventure Guide BUNDLE.

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-06-11

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

6 Responses to “5 Great Things to Do in Key West, Florida”

June 11, 2021at4:59 pm, Larry said:

“Want to know some of the best things to do in the southernmost point of the United States?”

“Continental,” if you please.
The southernmost point of the United States is Ka Lae, Hawaii, by a far stretch.

June 11, 2021at10:46 am, Michael Corlis said:

My wife and I have spent a month or more in the Key West area five winters since I retired and we love it. You mention some good highlights, here are a few more: #1 To get around, bicycles are the best. The streets are small, parking is expensive and hard to find #2 The trip to the Dry Tortugas is amazing and worth it. We have promised ourselves to try to get a camp site there and stay over a night or two at Fort Jefferson because the day trip only gives you the middle of the day. #3 Aids Memorial pier is a wonderful place to watch the sunset without the crowds of Mallory Square. #4 If you are around Mallory, the Sunset Pier is a few hundred feet away, on the water, decent bar food and drinks and often has great live music #5 Our favorite place to eat is Salute’ on the beach. Good food, outside, right on the sand and also a fine place to go for a sunset in the winter.

June 11, 2021at8:58 am, wayne anderson said:

great place to go. I’ll be in Key West on Jan 1st and I’m staying for a whole year

June 11, 2021at7:35 am, Bobby Howell - Jennings said:

Great info. I sm looking forward to more great tips and experiences while traveling in my Rv.

June 11, 2021at7:25 am, Bill said:

Just wondering if you have ever gone to Dry Tortugas National Park from Key West?

June 11, 2021at11:41 am, Pete said:

I have been there, its is a great way to spend a day. There is an old Fort where Dr. Samuel Mudd was held after the Lincoln killing. Quite an interesting story behind that.

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