activities to do in key west Florida

Planning a family vacation can be a challenge; fortunately, visiting Key West makes it easy to find a wide range of activities, adventures, and dining options for your next vacation with kids school-aged and older. Even if they might not seem too keen on traveling with their parents, there’s a lot to like in Key West, and several things that might have them thinking a family vacation isn’t so bad after all.¬†

Tour Old Town Key West

The part of the island known as Old Town Key West includes the famous Southernmost Point, which is a great place to get the touristy photo in front of the huge cement buoy, as well as take in the panoramic views that are no joke. Nearby, you can visit the Key West Lighthouse. It’s fully open to visitors so you can climb all 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse, too, and see what it was like for early lighthouse keepers upon whom passing ship captains truly relied on for the safety of their cargo and crew. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park offers swimming, hiking, and biking trails, a fishing jetty, and a historic fort to explore. When you’re ready for a meal break, stop by Eaton Street Seafood Market. The Art Deco-inspired exterior is hard to miss, and the food is so good, you’ll be glad you stopped by. The highly regarded team at Eaton Street is made up of local seafood experts, taking the day’s catch and preparing lobster roll, conch fritters, fish tacos, and more; for those who aren’t into seafood, there are a few non-fish dishes, too. House-made sauces and sides are the ideal complement to every meal, and you can dine outdoors or take your order to go. 

Book a Family Fishing Trip with All In Fishing Charters

Fishing is one of the primary draws of Key West, especially for experienced anglers. But not to worry if you’ve never even held a fishing pole before–the captain and crew at All In Fishing Charters will make you feel welcomed. Book a half-day trip or a full-day trip, depending on your needs. All In takes care of everything from permits and fishing licenses to fishing poles and bait. The only things you need to pack are essentials like bottled water and sandwiches, hats and sunscreen, and sunglasses. A family fishing trip is a great way to make memories with your kids, especially if you’re all learning something new together. The crew of your fishing charter boat will even offer a few tips for those who are truly new to the sport. Several area restaurants even offer cook-your-catch menu items so if you make the catch of a lifetime, you can share it with your family at dinner for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Stroll Duval Street from Southernmost Point to Mallory Square

While this main street in Key West is known for lots of shops and boutiques, it’s also home to cafes, restaurants, bars, and landmarks. You can shop for pottery and housewares, clothing, jewelry, and art, as well as traditional souvenirs. Take a break with a glass of wine, a slice of key lime pie, or an ice cream cone along the way. At night, jazz clubs and bars offer live music and other entertainment. For an all-ages good time, visit Mallory Square for the nightly Sunset Celebration, where all are welcome for a lively street fair. There are food and drink vendors plus artisans selling crafts, street performers, and live music. 

Go Snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park

One of the best things about visiting Key West is its proximity to Dry Tortugas National Park, which is known for its snorkeling. The water is shallow and clear, giving swimmers and divers extensive visibility. Explore coral reefs and shipwrecks to see fish, plants, and other sea life in their natural habitats. You can also kayak to get an up-close view of shorebirds, tour the historic fort on Garden Key, swim, or picnic in the park. There are a limited number of campsites in the park, too, if your family loves to rough it. Be sure to take into account how quickly the ferry that runs between Key West and Dry Tortugas books up. Space is limited, and you can’t really count on getting seats at the last minute. 

Something for Everyone in Key West

Key West offers a great family-friendly vacation destination. From shopping to dining, snorkeling, fishing, and more, you’ll find that there is plenty to do for everyone’s interests. Build your itinerary with these highly-rated excursions so that you can relax and truly enjoy each other’s company, nurturing relationships and building bonds to last a lifetime. Traveling with older kids doesn’t have to be difficult when you consider everything that Key West has to offer for you and your family. 

By Hemant Kumar

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