10 Essential Tips For Your First Trip to Key West, Florida
If you are planning to visit Key West for the first time, then you have come to the right place!
In 2020, I got to live on this beautiful island for a few months, which allowed me to experience personally all of its magic and of course, learn a few secrets.
In this post, you will find ten important things that you should know before your trip to Key West and the Florida Keys.
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10 Essential Key West travel tips
in a hurry?
These are our favorite things to do in Key West:
- Key West Sunset Sail with full bar and live music
- Eating key lime pie
- Snorkeling on a Reef Half-Day Snorkeling Excursion
- Exploring Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
- Seeing sharks on a Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure
- Kayaking the mangroves
- Day trip to Dry Tortugas
- Sailing & Watersports (check out this tour!)
1- You have to watch the sunset from Mallory Square at least once
Watching the sunset from Mallory Square is an absolute must-do in Key West.
Make sure to get there ahead of time, though: It gets super crowded so it’s important to arrive early if you want to secure a good spot.
2- Sunset sails are totally worth it
Going on a sunset sail was one of the most fun things I did in Key West and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys good drinks and a beautiful sunset!
3- Buy your tickets to Dry Tortugas in advance
Dry Tortugas is a National Park located approximately 70 miles from Key West.
It is a fantastic day trip to take from the island but the tricky part is you have to get your tickets VERY early! They sell out super fast because there is a limited amount of people that can visit the island everyday.
4- Make the most out of Happy Hour
If you want to save some money on food and drinks, it is important to make the most out of opportunities like happy hour.
Happy Hour in Key West usually goes from around 4 to 6 pm, depending on the establishment.
5- Pick a hotel that has a pool
Key West is warm all year round, so do yourself a favor and book a hotel with a nice pool. Trust me, you will need it! If it has more than one, that is even better.
6- Get food at Publix or Winn-Dixie to Save Money
Another way to save money is by getting food at one of the big supermarkets on the island, like Publix or Winn-Dixie.
Many don’t even know that Key West has them because they are located a little distant from the most touristic part of the island.
7- Be nice to the chickens
It’s true: you will find (and hear!) chickens EVERYWHERE in Key West. They are a local treasure and protected by law.
8- Rent a bike
There is no need for driving a car in Key West, you can ride a bike everywhere easily!
9- Make the most out of Duval Loop
Duval Loop is a free bus that runs from the Gulf to the Atlantic adjacent to Duval Street, Key West’s most popular street.
You can track the buses live here.
10- Taxis are cheaper than Uber
Taking a pink and adorable taxi in Key West will cost you way less than an Uber.
11- Take care of the ocean
Key West is home to the only living coral reef in America! Please make sure to take care of it by always clean after yourself and avoiding touching the corals (:
Finding a Place To Stay in Key West
If you haven’t booked a hotel in Key West yet, that’s okay! Here are some of our favorites:
- Best Hotel: Pier House Resort & Spa
- Boutique Hotel: The Marquesa Hotel
- Pet-friendly: The Perry Hotel Key West
- For families: Southernmost Resort
- Hotel Pool: Hyatt Centric
- Oceanfront: Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
- Best Spa: Ocean Key Resort & Spa
- Adult only: H2O Suites
That’s a wrap! I really hope these Key West travel tips make your trip to this beautiful island even more amazing!