Key West is one of the most exciting destinations for a family vacation. It’s close by, with connections from nearly every major airport across American or an easy drive south from the city of Miami. And because there’s so much to see and do there, it’s a great place to get away with the kids and try new things you’ve never done before.
Image by Michelle Maria
Explore Sea Life Up Close
Whether you’re new to snorkeling or have been many times before, no trip to Key West is complete without a day spent at Dry Tortugas National Park. This virtual all-underwater national park is just a short boat ride away from the city of Key West and is made up of several tiny islands. On one of them stands the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson; you can experience historical reenactments, tours, and nature walks. The surrounding waters are filled with coral reefs, shipwrecks, and old Navy pilings for snorkeling and undersea exploration.
Learn to Fish
A trip to Key West is the ideal time to introduce your children to the sport of fishing. Even if you’ve no experience of your own, simply book a fishing charter and let the charter boat captain and crew take care of the details. Guests with any level of experience are welcomed, and fishing charters include all the fishing gear, licenses, and permits necessary for a half- or full-day charter. The type of fish in the area vary according to time of year, and many fishing charters specialized according to a type of fishing, like wreck, reef or deep water fishing.
Visit the Best Beach in Key West
Long known as one of the most popular destinations in Key West, the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park has recently been named the best in the city. It’s a relatively large beach compared with the other public beaches in the area, and while rocky, offers a gorgeous seashore where beachgoers can swim, snorkel, and sunbathe with beach chairs and umbrella rentals. You can fish off the jetty, bike or walk the nature trails, or enjoy self-guided tours of the historic fort.
Taste the Best Lobster
Even though the key lime pie is the signature dish in Key West, it’s the lobster roll that keeps people coming back to Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant. From glass cases full of the freshest lobster, fish, shrimp, stone crab, and more to thoroughly enjoyable take out menu that showcases lobster rolls and grilled lobster, plus plenty of fried seafood choices, Eaton Street stands out for its commitment to the best seafood from local waters, its knowledgeable staff, and it’s comfortable outdoor seating with plenty of shade.
See Butterflies Up Close
Even if your children insist that a butterfly garden holds no interest for them, even the most stoic teen will find it hard to resist marveling at the aerial adventures of common and uncommon butterfly species that flit and fly all around them. Guests of the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory are invited to walk among the butterflies. The habitat is also home to tropical birds and flowers unlike any you’ll see anywhere else in Key West. Exhibits teach visitors about the lifecycle of butterflies.
Try Authentic Key Lime Pie
There’s no leaving Key West without sampling what might be the most notable dessert in the area, key lime pie. While there are dozens of places that serve it, Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe is the best. It’s made fresh daily, with the perfect crust and tart filling that’s just right. Take a slice to go or if you can’t wait, sit at Kermit’s patio.
Enjoy a Family-Friendly Party Every Night
At Mallory Square, families gather for the nightly Sunset Celebration, a fun way to say farewell to the day’s adventures. From street performers and musicians to arts and crafts vendors, and food and drink vendors, it’s a whirlwind of excitement that culminates with everyone’s attention turning toward the sun as it sinks below the horizon.
Take an Adventure Tour
Breakaway from the rest of the tourists by arranging for your own self-guided tour of the island. Book a Jeep, bikes, or kayaks, for example, and head off for yourselves to see where the day takes you. Follow pre-planned itineraries or make up your own as you explore out of the way spots and undiscovered gems like scenic outlooks.
Key West offers an abundance of fun and exciting activities that make wonderful memories to last a lifetime. Whether you seek the adventure of snorkeling with fish or the serenity of sunbathing on the beach, you and your family will be able to fill your days in Key West with non-stop action. The exciting array of attractions are sure to engage even this most discerning family.