The Bucket List: Key West’s Top Attractions
Key West is a one of a kind destination that tends to attract returning travelers year after year. The food, the weather, the music, and the people all blend together to embody this relaxing and fun spirit that’s simply intoxicating. In addition, the island is stock full of intriguing history and culture. Throughout it all, there are spaces that no traveler should overlook, whether new or returning.
In hopes of helping travelers fill out their Key West bucket lists, we put together a collection of the island’s most essential attractions.
The waterfront Mallory Square is a popular gathering spot in Key West, most famous for its nightly sunset celebration. Taking in the sunset with a crowd, street performers, and boaters coming up to shore in Mallory Square is an experience that every visitor should seek out.
There are also several shops in Mallory Square well worth visiting. The most locally-inspired is the incomparable Shell Warehouse, home to the largest selection of shells in Key West. The Key West Sponge Market is another amazing shop in Mallory Square, selling natural sponges, nautical gifts, Key Lime products, and a whole lot more.
The Southernmost Point
There are certain destinations that require an obligatory “I’ve been there” photo, and The Southernmost Point is that destination in Key West. The attraction: a buoy anchored in concrete at the southernmost point in the continental United States.
The point used to just be marked by a small sign, but the now-famous buoy has been standing there since 1983. The buoy has, “Southernmost Point Continental U.S.A.” written on it, as well as an astonishing note marking the point as just 90 miles from Cuba. Putting yourself in that perspective with the world, getting a noteworthy selfie is well worth the short detour from Duval to The Southernmost Point.
Key West Beaches & Watersports
Key West has some absolutely beautiful beaches that travelers should take advantage of every trip. Guests of Parrot Key Hotel & Villas can take advantage of a complimentary shuttle to the sparkling blue waters of Smathers Beach. Once there, enjoy watersports activities like stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, and parasailing.
Around Key West, you can visit a number of other nice beaches including Higgs Beach, South Beach, and Rest Beach. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is a nice place to go snorkeling, and there’s a historic Civil War era fort there as well. We also highly recommend exploring the surrounding waters with a group like Key West Eco Tour for kayaking and stand up paddle boarding excursions out into nearby mangrove islands.
The Hemingway House
At 907 Whitehead Street, in Old Town Key West, Ernest Hemingway’s beautiful former home stands proudly, surrounded by lush greenery. The renowned American author lived here for more than a decade, and today its rooms and gardens are open to visitors. (Fun fact: the historic property is also open to feline visitors…it’s home to more than 40 cats!)
Worth stopping by: Duval Street
You won’t last too long in Key West without having someone mention Duval Street to you. The commercial street is located downtown, and it runs just over a mile across the island from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.The party center of Key West, Duval Street is the hub for the area’s dining and (particularly) drinking scene. While definitely the most raucous part of Key West, it can also be the most sociable and memorable. Stop by the legendary Sloppy Joe’s and see if the landmark establishment (which features live music nightly) is for you.
Discover more of Key West
Planning a Key West getaway? Learn more about our hotel here, so that you can experience Key West for yourself!