It’s easy to feel the pressure of seeing and doing it all when you’re on vacation, but it’s really a time for you to relax and take it easy. This is especially important when vacationing in a place that values a slower pace and making the most of your time, like Key West. Use these ideas to build your itinerary of things to do and you’ll be guaranteed of seeing the highlights without feeling rushed.
People love to snorkel in Key West. Whether you are new to the sport or have enjoyed it for years, the waters here stand out for being extremely peaceful and shallow, with plenty of underwater sea life to explore. Lots of travelers make it a point to visit Dry Tortugas National Park, which is a short ferry ride from Key West. Space is limited though, so it’s important to book your ticket well in advance of your trip. Swim around coral reefs and over aged shipwrecks where schools of fish make their home. If you’d rather not leave Key West, you can also explore the waters off of the island’s Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. If you don’t have your own snorkeling gear, you can rent it from the park; you can also do the same at several of Key West’s public beaches.
It couldn’t be easier to go fishing in Key West, even if you’ve never been fishing before. Dedicated fishing charter companies such as All In Fishing Charters provide guests with all you need, including fishing rods and reels. Most chartered boats go out for half-day trips, and you can choose from deep water, back country, wreck or reef fishing, depending on the kind of fish you want to catch. What’s more, Key West is home to many fishing tournaments that run over several months, so if you make an amazing catch, you can enter it, even if you’re only in town for a short time. Many local restaurants offer a cook-your-catch menu option for guests who go fishing and come back with enough to share, family-style.
While there are lots of places to eat in Key West, there are only a few restaurants that stand out for their seafood menus, and Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant is consistently rated top among them. The Old Town Key West location is convenient, and the outdoor seating is comfortable and spacious. Daily deliveries of freshly caught fish and shellfish ensures you get the tastiest dishes, and the grilled lobster, fish tacos, and conch fritters are legendary. If you’d rather, and your accommodations include kitchen amenities, you can also buy your fresh seafood to prepare it yourself.
Key Lime Pie
Wherever you go, don’t miss the key lime pie. That’s actually pretty hard to do in Key West, since it’s offered on just about every restaurant and cafe menu. But if you want the best of the best, you’ll need to visit Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. Its distinctive key lime green and yellow exterior makes it easy to spot, and the delicious, freshly baked pies will keep you coming back. The quaint outside seating next to a koi pond is peaceful and welcoming so you can truly savor your pie. And beyond the traditional key lime pie, Kermit’s also makes creative variations such as strawberry key lime pie, so there’s plenty of reason to come back multiple times during your stay so you can try them all. While you’re here, pick up all your key lime treats. Kermit’s sells key lime products like chutneys, jellies and jams, dressings, bake mixes, cookies, candies, and even lip balm and skin care.
For an authentic local experience, book a sandbar charter to one of the many secluded sandbars that offer swimming, sunbathing and a great place to party. These half-day trips take you to some of the hidden gems that you’re unlikely to find without a local, where gentle waves lap against the sand and beach swings make you feel like a kid again (in addition to offering you totally Instagrammable pictures). Boats generally include Bluetooth speakers so you can connect your favorite playlist, and typically allow you to stock the on-board coolers with your choice of beverages, including adult beverages, practically guaranteeing a great time.
Instead of feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation, keep it simple on your next trip to Key West. This list of activities is a great way to explore and experience the best that the Conch Republic has to offer without leaving you feeling breathless in hurrying from place to place. And what you don’t get to this time, leaves you with a great starting point for when you return soon, because Key West is the kind of place you want to return to again and again.