When planning your first trip to Key West, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. Even though it’s a small island, there are so many things to see and do, it can be hard to decide what to include in your weekend or week in Key West. Here are some of the most exciting activities for first-timers.
See Key West Your Way
Booking a guided tour of Key West can feel limiting when the size of your group is large or you want to spend a little more time at a particular stop. That’s why choosing a self-guided tour can be so much fun. Choose your preferred way of getting around, whether that’s on a bike, paddleboard, kayak or even a Jeep, and set off for adventure. Many of these self-guided or adventure tour companies can provide you with pre-planned itineraries or you can map out your own. Some include packed lunches and gear so all you need to do is turn up and head out–but don’t forget your camera!
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A Front Row Seat at Dinner
Book the Tapas Theater Kitchen table at Tavern N Town for a behind the scenes look at the culinary magic that goes into preparing your tapas dishes. The upscale restaurant is located in the Marriott Beachside Hotel in Key West. Featured menu items include steakhouse, seafood, and pasta dishes. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and guests enjoy great hospitality alongside delicious food like shrimp fritters and tuna poke.
All of Key West, All at Once
It’s one thing to tour Key West by land or sea but quite another to see the entire island by air. A short helicopter tour is all you need to take in notable landmarks and the distinctive shoreline as your pilot shares insight about the geography and layout of the city. The water around Key West is so clear you might even catch an aerial glimpse of sea life moving through the currents far below.
No trip to Key West is complete with a fishing charter. Whether you go fishing regularly at home or you’ve never fished before in your life, all are welcome on a fishing charter. Trips are usually offered on a half- or full-day schedule. Book your trip according to what kind of fishing you’d like to do, like wreck, reef or deep water, and what kind of fish are in the area during that time of year. Fishing charter crews take care of all the details like fishing poles and permits. Guests only need to show up with a packed lunch and sunscreen.
Have a Picnic
Take your picnic to the next level with the Key West Picnic Company. This local business knows all the best spots whether you want a sunrise breakfast picnic for just the two of you, a family picnic lunch or a romantic sunset picnic. They’ll pack your basket with food, drinks, and all the supplies you’ll need so you can arrive and enjoy. They’ll even include Bluetooth speakers for a little music, beach blankets, and more.
Sunday Breakfast at Blue Heaven
This is another bedrock restaurant in Key West. While it serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s breakfast that truly stands out. Guests can dine indoors or enjoy outdoor seating. Don’t miss the shrimp omelette, Blue Hawaiian benedicts, and Betty’s banana bread. And of course the Key Lime Pie for dessert, even after breakfast–it is vacation, after all.
Snorkel in Dry Tortugas
While a bit of a distance from Key West proper, visiting Dry Tortugas National Park is worth the ferry ride. This national park is mostly underwater and offers outstanding snorkeling for experienced and novice snorkelers, alike. Explore reefs and shipwrecks that allow you to get close to sea life like you’ve never seen it before. For land-lovers, the park has walking and biking trails popular with birdwatchers. You can also kayak around the islands that make up the park, swim at the beach or tour Fort Jefferson, a Civil War-era fort built on the site.
The Best Casual Seafood Dining
With cases full of freshly caught seafood, Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant serves up some of the best seafood dishes in Key West. Whether you’re having the lobster roll, grilled lobster tail, stone crab, fried fish or any of the other made-to-order meals, you can be assured of great taste. Eaton Street even prepares its own sauces and accompaniments. Guests can take their orders to go or sit outside under shaded picnic tables for a casual experience. And the best part is that Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant offers fresh fish and shellfish shipped to you at home for that Key West flavor any time.
Key West is beautiful and exciting, and with so many things to do, it can be hard to decide how to spend your time, especially if you’ll only be there for a few days. Use this list for your vacation planning to ensure you don’t miss a thing, from tours to experiences and signature dishes.