Take a trip to Key West

Located closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West is Florida’s independent and spirited southernmost subtropical paradise. It’s a unique confluence of history, climate, natural beauty, cultural diversity, architecture and unabashed romantic appeal. Embrace luxury on the island’s resorts, be amazed by the wealth of flora and fauna and wander the shopping streets of the Old Town. This is a destination far removed from the rest of the world.

History

Martin Hellings House

This unique historic house was constructed in 1892 by Captain Martin Hellings and is one of few historic houses in Key West not built of wood. It’s also the site of Key West’s first public library.

Key West Lighthouse & Keepers’ Museum

Climb the 88 steps to the observation deck for one of the best views of the island and the beautiful water that surrounds it. The museum houses artefacts collected since the lighthouse was built in 1847 and tells the many stories of the keepers who lived there. The quarters, grounds and the lighthouse itself have all been faithfully restored following the lighthouse’s decommission.

Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum

Step back in time and discover Key West’s unique maritime heritage and learn how it became the richest city in the United States. The museum combines actors, films and actual artefacts from the 1985 discovery of the wrecked vessel Isaac Allerton, which sank in 1856 on the treacherous Florida Keys reef. Join master wrecker Asa Tift and his wrecking crew as he tells you the story of how the early Key West pioneers earned their living by salvaging the shipwrecks.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum

Discover the history of one of the country’s most decorated ships at this floating museum. The Cutter Ingham served in World War II, Vietnam and the Cuban Crisis and now serves as a national memorial to those killed in action while it was at sea. The ship is recognised as a National Historic Landmark.

Key West Firehouse Museum

Learn about colourful Key West through its fire-fighting heritage. The museum is housed at the former Fire Station No. 3, which was active from 1907 until 1998. Many features remain or have been recreated. Dating back to the days of horse-drawn fire engines, you will see indoor coal pits and a steam-powered water pump which is one of just a handful remaining in America.  

Visitors can see a demonstration of a ticker tape alarm system from the firehouse’s heydey. They also can walk through the old living and sleeping quarters to discover what life was like for firefighters in the early 20th century, and see some of the old uniforms and badges worn by Key West’s bravest. The island’s fire chiefs are recognised on the Chief’s Wall that has pictures, uniforms and badges dating from the 1800s.

Audubon House and Tropical Gardens

Take a trip back in time to Key West’s golden age with a tour of the elegant mid-19th century home of Capt. John Geiger, a wealthy maritime pilot and wrecker. Don’t miss the lush tropical gardens that evoke J.J. Audubon’s paintings of the birds of the Florida Keys.

CULTURE, ARTS & CRAFTS

Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House

Towering over the historic seaport, the Custom House is as stunning a sight to visitors today as it was when it opened in 1891. Originally home to the island’s customs office, postal service and district courts, this four-storey architectural marvel was built to accommodate the increasing population and wealth accumulating from Key West’s lucrative trade routes and maritime industries. Today, the award-winning museum weaves together two centuries of history, art, people and events.

BEACHES, SURFING, PARKS & RIVER CRUISES

Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson Ferry

Go snorkelling, bird watching or just kick back on the pristine beaches of this group of islands 7km west of Key West. At Fort Jefferson, walk amongst the 25-tonne cannons and imagine life inside the walls of this colossal fort where Confederate Army soldiers, officers and their families lived alongside prisoners, slaves and civilian workers.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Florida’s southernmost state park offers something for all the family. You can head to the beach with a picnic and swim, snorkel and fish, or walk and cycle along the nature trail around this designated National Historic Landmark. You can also learn more about US military history with a tour of the Fort.

HEALTH, WELLNESS & SPA TOURISM

In virtually any area of the Keys, you’ll find rejuvenating day spas, massage therapies, yoga classes and alternative healing treatments for those looking to reconnect mind, body and spirit.

Key West Wellness Center

A holistic clinic featuring acupuncture, massage, vitamin injections, skin care and herbal medicine.

Pier House Resort & Spa 

Slow down and get pampered at this full-service spa experience. The menu includes massages, facials, body treatments, hair, nail and makeup services.

SpaTerre

Find Indian and Thai therapies to calm, restore, energise and beautify.

Stay Fit Studio 

Take a Pilates, spinning or yoga class or choose one-on-one personal training.

Yoga

There’s yoga for all levels across the Island. Shakti Yoga provides vinyasa, hatha, restorative and kids’ yoga classes. Yoga on the Beach invites you to connect to inner peace with the pulse of nature around you.  Classes are held daily November-May at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and year-round at the Southernmost on the Beach hotel.

ECOTOURISM, WILDLIFE & THE GREAT OUTDOORS

The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Spot hundreds of different butterflies, birds, plants and beautiful flowers including many endangered and threatened flora and fauna. The forest has two of the last remaining freshwater ponds in the Keys and is a major migratory stopping point for birds from places as far away as South America, as well as being home to many rare birds that are native to the Florida Keys.

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

Let your senses be stimulated by the huge array of flowering plants, colourful birds, cascading waterfalls and trees that set the stage for butterfly species from around the world.

Riggs Wildlife Refuge & Observation Deck

Bird lovers will appreciate the observation deck with its excellent views of herons, egrets, ibis and ospreys.

Sonny McCoy Indigenous Trees & Birds Park

This sliver of land facing the Atlantic Ocean is home to over 100 species of trees and plants that are native to the Florida Keys. The natural freshwater pond attracts a colourful parade of wildlife, including freshwater turtles and herds of non-native iguanas. At the wildlife rehab facility, see native animals and birds as they recover.

sport

Key West Golf Club

Take on 18 holes over 200 acres of beautiful Florida Keys foliage and wildlife. Designed to challenge players of all abilities, the course includes the ‘Mangrove Hole’ played completely over a field of thickly intertwined tropical mangroves.  

Fishing

Charters will guide you to catch fish inhabiting the island’s shipwrecks, reefs, inshore channels and uninhabited mangrove islands. You can follow in the footsteps of author Ernest Hemingway, who lived and wrote in Key West throughout the 1930s and was an enthusiastic fan of game fishing here. Offshore captains will also show you the Florida Straits, a 90-mile-wide trough of deep water beyond the reef that Hemingway dubbed the ‘Great Blue River’. And if that’s not enough, put your muscles to the test against challenging fish like marlin.

Hotels

Little Palm Island Resort

This piece of paradise discreetly located off the fabled Florida Keys coastline is so remote it’s only accessible by seaplane or boat. A favourite of Presidents and celebrities, this is a place to unplug, with no phones and no TVs. You can relax in your thatched roof bungalow suite, enjoy an outdoor shower or a dip in your private hot tub and stroll among nearly six acres of tropical flowers, palm trees and sandy beaches. 

The Saint Hotel

An upscale hotel just a short walk to the charming boutiques and art galleries of Duval Street. Lively Smathers Beach is 3 miles away.

Pier House Resort & Spa

This resort is perfectly located on the edge of Duval Street but also has its own private beach. Lounge by the heated outdoor pool overlooking the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, escape to the spa, sip a cocktail at sunset and dine on the waterfront at noted restaurant One Duval. After a day of relaxing, stroll through the Old Town to soak up the local vibes.

Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa

This chic hotel on the waterfront features contemporary guestrooms which are flooded with light. You can hire jet skis, boats and scooters directly from the resort, which is just two blocks from Duval Street.

H20 Suites

Experience Key West luxury at this chic adult-only oasis. Enjoy sweeping views at the rooftop pool and bar, relax by the waterfall and landscaped courtyard or take a short stroll to the attractions of Duval Street.

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