Key West is the ideal weekend destination. It’s just hours from practically anywhere in the US, making it convenient to get to. The weather is reliably warm and sunny year-round. The people are friendly and welcoming. And there’s plenty to do, whether your idea of a weekend trip involves sunning on a beach playing with ultimate frisbee discs, having ocean adventures or shopping the hours away. Here are the X top stops for two or three days in Key West.
Dry Tortugas National Park
You’ll need to plan ahead to book a spot on the ferry to this national park, but it’s worth it. Dry Tortugas is one of the newer national parks and what makes it so special is that it’s mostly underwater. There are several small islands with gorgeous hillside landscaping that make up the bit of land it includes, and the largest of these is Garden Key. On Garden Key, you’ll find a historic fort as well as a small beach for swimming. Snorkeling is the big draw here, and there are plenty of exciting sites for new and experienced snorkelers alike. Check out the coral reef known as Little Africa for its resemblance to the continent or explore old shipwrecks. Tourists also enjoy kayaking around the keys and birdwatching here. If the ferry’s not your thing, consider booking a sea plane ticket or a private tour by boat. This area is also popular for fishing, too, so think about a charter fishing trip. They have all the fishing gear you could need and offer expert guidance to ensure everyone can make the catch of a lifetime.
Duval Street and Mallory Square
Duval Street might be the best-known one in Key West. It runs the length of the island, with the southernmost point on one end and Mallory Square on the other. This area is known for the shops, galleries, and small restaurants that dot the way, spanning everything from quirky to eclectic to elegant offerings. Browse art, clothes, jewelry, photography, pottery, housewares, cigars, locally-distilled spirits, and more. There are plenty of restaurants along Duval, too, like Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant, just blocks from the main road and well worth the stop. Enjoy fish tacos, lobster rolls, and conch fritters made to order, and dine al fresco or take your meals to go. Once the sun sets, make sure you’re at the northern end of Duval to see the nightly Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Join tourists and locals for live music and performances while marveling at the glorious colors of the dusky sky.
Key West First Legal Rum Distillery
While Key West is known for fishing and key lime pie, it’s also known for rum. Enjoy a craft distillery tour and free samples at the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery’s hosted rum-tasting seven days a week. While it’s a small operation, the tour guide makes up for it with expansive knowledge about the history and role of rum in the area and what to look for when selecting a quality rum. The distillery offers several types of rum for sale and has a small shop where the various kinds of spirits covered on the tour or in the tasting can be purchased.
Key West Ghost Tour
In a city as old as Key West, it’s hard not to think about how much history these streets have seen. Book a nighttime ghost tour and walk the same paths as many of Key West’s most infamous residents. Learn about Robert the Doll, haunted houses, and even ghost ships. Whether you’re a skeptic or believer, the tall tales and spooky stories are a good time. Don’t forget to pack a camera to see if you can capture any proof of the paranormal on your tour.
Mangrove Eco Tours
Enjoy a view of Key West that many others don’t get to see with a kayaking trip through the mangroves that dot the backcountry. These tours are led by experienced guides who are not only skilled kayakers but knowledgeable about the geography, geology, and ecology of these special habitats. Pack your binoculars to view birds and other shore life as you might not have ever seen them before.
Sunset Cruise Around Key West
For a relaxing way to end your trip, take a sunset cruise around Key West. The sailboats that offer these tours often feature live music plus bar service and light snacks. The soothing sounds of the waves and ocean breezes set the stage for a spectacular sunset glinting off the waves, and it’s the ideal memory to come away from Key West with.
Book a weekend trip to Key West when you’re ready to get away from it all. Whether it’s a couples trip, a girlfriends trip or you’re going solo, there are so many wonderful sights, sounds, and flavors to experience, you’ll feel like you’ve discovered a new world. And because it’s so close, you can come back again any time you want.