There are a ton of things to see and do in Key West. Tourists know it for its beaches and water sports, but there’s a lot more to see here than meets the eye.
One of the best ways to get to know Key West is by taking a boat trip. Whether it’s dolphin watching, island hoping and camping, sandbar trips, or fishing and lobstering, fun in the sun charters offer a variety of experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
1. Smathers Beach
Smathers Beach is the largest public beach in Key West, stretching along South Roosevelt Boulevard (A1A). It's a popular spring break spot because it's a short drive from downtown and has a lot of amenities.
This stretch of sand is one of the best Key West beaches for families because it has a primarily sandy shoreline, and kids can easily get out into the water. It's also a great spot for snorkeling and water sports.
The sand is usually very clean, and there's plenty of shade. It's also convenient for getting food and drinks from vending trucks, and the area isn't overcrowded.
2. Truman Little White House
The Truman Little White House is one of Key West's most interesting historical landmarks. Located in Old Town, this former naval base compound was used as a retreat by President Harry S. Truman 11 times during his administration.
Before Truman, it had been a private residence for naval officers. But Truman fell in love with it and made it his official winter White House, spending 175 days there over the course of eleven trips.
The historic house is now a museum, open to the public. Guided tours with a historian explain the history of this unique property and how it played an important role in American history.
3. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
A National Historic Landmark and Florida's southernmost state park, Fort Zachary Taylor is a must-visit. Better known as Fort Zach to locals, this 87-acre state park offers Civil War-era history, beautiful beaches and amazing views.
Its rocky beach is a little hard to navigate, but recent visitors say it's a great place to snorkel (the waters are clear and pretty Caribbean blue), and the beachfront cafe makes a perfect spot for lunch or a cold drink.
It's also a fun place to bike and enjoy the short nature trail within the park. You can even fish from the rock jetty adjacent to the main shipping channel.
4. Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum
Located in Key West, Florida, the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and thrill seekers. It combines actors, films and genuine recovered artifacts to tell the story of shipwreck salvage, which was the foundation of the city’s economy during the 1800s.
Step back in time to the era of the wreckers at this two-story re-creation of a 19th century warehouse. A 65-foot lookout tower and a variety of audio-visual displays create windows into the treacherous world of salvaged sunken cargo.
Learn about the mesmerizing story of the Isaac Allerton, one of the richest shipwrecks in Key West history. View genuine artifacts from the 1985 rediscovery of this vessel, including a 64-pound silver bar that guests are encouraged to summon all their strength to lift.
5. Tropic Cinema
The Tropic Cinema is a volunteer-run theater which offers quality movies to those who want to watch something other than the mainstream box office hits. They also have a great selection of snacks and popcorn.
- The theater is a real gem in Key West and one of the reasons it has such an enthusiastic following is that it offers good, quality films at very reasonable prices. Most arthouse theaters seem intent on gouging you at the ticket booth, but the management here really seems to want good, quality films available to everyone, which is a refreshing change.
- You will definitely be glad you visited this movie house and it is not just because of the cool aesthetics (the theatre has a very retro-looking neon sign) or the lovely pastel color scheme, but because the staff are very friendly and seem to enjoy their jobs. It is not uncommon to see a couple of them working the ticket booth and concession stand at the same time, which makes the whole experience even more enjoyable.