Key West is one of our favorite ports to stop at on a Caribbean cruise. The Conch Republic is known for key lime pie and being the southernmost point of the continental USA. There is also the much photographed 90 miles to Cuba marker. Key West is about a four hour drive from Miami, but we have only been there via cruise ship. It’s a great port of call that offers plenty of outdoor activities, history, and colorful buildings. This town is known for the crazy locals who ride out hurricanes, but everyone is super friendly and the people who live in Key West seem to really, really love it.
There are so many fun things to do while you’re here. Your cruise ship will also have many different shore excursions available, although we’ve never taken a shore excursion through the ship in Key West as everything is pretty easy to get to on your own.
Things To Do In Key West
- Beaches: There is no shortage of swimming and sunbathing in Key West. With plenty of sun and sand to choose from, this is a great port to make a beach day. Check out some popular beaches here.
- Water activities: Scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing, paddle boarding, sailing, glass bottom boat tours, laying on a float drinking a Mai Tai. All perfect ways to spend the day here.
- Trolley/train tours: There are many different trolley tour options available that are a relaxing way to see Key West. There is also the World Famous Conch Train hop on/hop off tour.
- Mallory Square: While Mallory Square is famous for its Sunset Celebration, there’s still plenty to do here during the day. This is a great spot to do some shopping.
- Audubon House & Tropical Gardens: This home was built in the 1840s and takes you back in time to the 19th century. The restoration of this home prompted the restoration movement in the Historic Old Towne District. The one acre Tropical Gardens house native plants, exotic trees, and lush foliage.
- Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum: This museum uses actors, films, and real artifacts from the discovery of the Isaac Allerton, which sank in 1856 and was found in 1985. The museum is located in Mallory Square.
- Hemingway Home & Museum: It is well known that Ernest Hemingway loved Key West. His home is located in Old Town Key West, and it is where he spent 10 years living and writing. This is also where you can see the famous six toed Hemingway Cats. There are about 40-50 that roam the property! After seeing his home, head to Sloppy Joe’s for a drink. That was his favorite spot.
- Harry S. Truman Little White House: This is the only presidential site in the state of Florida. Harry S. Truman spent 175 days of his presidency here, and other presidents have visited as well. It is now a museum and so much more.
Even just walking around, looking at the colorful buildings, and shopping on Duval Street is a great way to spend your day. We also highly recommend renting bicycles and riding around. That’s a really fun way to explore Key West and get some exercise!
A common complaint about Key West is that it gets really crowded when there are a lot of cruise ships in port. Our ship was the only one docked here last time we were here. We kind of forgot what it was like when it’s not crowded. It was so pleasant walking around! The busiest times to visit Key West are usually during spring break months and holidays.
Key West is also not cheap. If you are trying to be more economical, we suggest eating your lunch on the ship. We usually go out in the morning, head back onto the ship for lunch, and then head out again in the afternoon. (Or you can take this opportunity to actually get a chair by the pool onboard the ship!)
Have you been to Key West, either on a cruise or just for vacation? What did you like/dislike about it? Let us know in the comments!
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