Key West, Florida should be on everyone’s bucket list. It is a dynamic and fun town perfect for couples and families alike. View some of the best restaurants, landmarks, beaches & more from the locals that know. Stay in one of our top rated affordable and family friendly villas in Key West for a truly amazing getaway to the Florida Keys.
Mile Marker 0, US 1 : Florida Begins in Key West
Key West is quite unlike any other city-its quirky southern atmosphere, friendly irreverence and historical charm give the entire island a vibrant and energetic feel that is truly irresistible. Where else will you see ancient Banyan trees, snoozing seven-toed cats and the occasional chicken perusing the brick sidewalks? Though the island is geographically small, celebratory crowds regularly fill up the streets, restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops during the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year.
No Matter What You Call It, Key West is Always Fun
During its colorful history, Key West has answered to many names both official and unofficial, including Cayo Hueso, the Conch Republic, Thompson's Island and "the southernmost city." Some of the best ways to get around the island include scooters and bicycles, but many people find it just as enjoyable to get around on foot-the northwest part of the island is very pedestrian-friendly. That's where you'll find plenty of restaurants and shops, as well as great spots for fantastic photos. Check out Duval Street for nightlife that frequently stretches until morning.
Of course, Key West also offers more than its share of solitude, culture and history. Ernest Hemingway found creative inspiration here, Harry Truman found a respite from the stress of everyday life, and you can find all that and more. There are almost always community theater productions to see, and the wide range of natural beauty, art galleries and history museums are sure to make you wish you'd brought your sketchbook.
Top Restaurants in Key West
Blue Heaven, a Key West tradition. They do breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But are probably most famous for their breakfasts. Even if you choose not to eat here, you should at least poke your head into this quirky, eclectic wonderland. Camille's, Southern Most Cafe, Harpoon Harry's, Pepe's (the keys oldest restaurant), Turtle Kraals, Santiago's Bodega, 915, Sandy's Cafe, the Cuban Coffee Queen, Latitudes, Off the Hook, Mr. Z's (late night takeout), Caroline's Cafe. Oh my, there is no way to visit all of our wonderful dining options, both casual, and some upscale. Stop in the office and we will help you choose the best one for you. We'll even make your reservation, if required. Bon Appetit!
Key West Bars
First off, what would a trip to Key West be without at the least having a cheeseburger in paradise?! We are speaking of Jimmy Buffet's original Margaritaville, of course. You must also visit Captain Tony's, where Jimmy got his start. Then there is Hemmingway's favorite hangout, Sloppy Joe's. The list that follows, are just a drop in the bucket of places to stop and have a cool beverage while here on this fun, well stocked, island.
Hogs Breath Saloon, Green Parrot, Smokin' Tuna, Schooner Wharf Bar, White Tarpon, Virgilio's, Aqua, and the back Bar, The Porch, The World's Smallest Bar (we'll help you find it), the Bull, Whistle, and Garden of Eden. The Flying Monkey, Hard Rock Cafe, the little Jazz Room.
These are JUST A FEW. If you run out of places to wet your whistle, we promise, we'll help you find more!
Best Beaches in Key West
The beaches are wonderful in Key West! View our favorites below,.
Smather's Beach is our largest beach. The sand is nice and soft, and easy to settle in for a nice, well deserved, nap. The beach is a mile long, so folks spread out well, if wanted. There are volley ball nets set up, and food trucks parked along the beach. You can rent paddle boards, kayaks, hobie cats, beach chairs, and umbrellas, right at the beach! it is good to know that the water is very shallow at Smather's Beach, really just good for wading, or sitting in the water. Good for the little ones. This beach is located in new town, the western part of our 2 by 4 island. Public restrooms are available. This beach is free to the public.
Fort Zachary Taylor
Fort Zachary Taylor is the best, all around beach on the island. It is a State Park, so they will charge you a small entrance fee. It is a nice deep water beach. Great for swimming, and even snorkeling. If you don't have your own equipment, you can rent it right there. There are some off shore rocks, and you'd be amazed at what you might see swimming around just below the surface. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. They have a nice concession stand for sandwiches, pizza slices, and even a cold beer, if you'd like! There are shaded areas, and of course, full sun, beach areas. A nice added bonus, is there is civil war fort in this park as well. Don't forget to check that out before, or after you beach fun. Fort Zachary is conveniently located in Old Town Key west. There are public restrooms at this park.
The activities are endless in Key West. You can do nothing, or do it all! It's your vacation.
There are beaches, Garden Clubs, Civil War Forts, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, bike riding, Trolley Tours, Conch Train Tours, walking tours, bar tours, and scavenger hunts, just to name a few.
You can take a ferry, or biplane out to the Dry Tortugas. A cool little island, with yet another Civil War Fort. The snorkeling is fantastic, and the Fort is not to be forgotten. The is now a National Park, located about 70 miles west of Key West. It is a 100 square mile park, accessible ONLY by ferry or plane.
Take a sunset cruise aboard a sail boat, or catamaran. Go out for a full day of snorkeling, kayaking, jet skiing, and parasailing with one of the same companies.
Key West offers some fantastic shopping and nightlife too.
There are some wonderful spas on the island also, if relaxation is in the cards for you.
Come visit us at the front office, we will help plan the perfect vacation plans for you!
Stay & Play a While
Of course when you here about Key West, Duval Street will probably be mentioned. Duval Street is home to many fun times, shops, bars, restaurants, night clubs, and colorful people. But we assure you, there is a lot more to Key West than Duval Street.
No trip to Key West is complete without our famous Sunset Celebration, down in Mallory Square! This is a free, nightly event. There are cats jumping through hoops of fire, sword swallowers, tight rope walkers, artists, and food vendors. Because when you go home and talk about Key West, your friends are sure to ask you “did you go to the Sunset Celebration?” Don’t be left out of this magical, nightly event.
Key West's rich history of shipwrecking is evident once you start roaming around town. Visit the shipwreck museum to learn more of this important part of Key West's History.
Key West also had a fantastic Cigar Manufacturing age. Explore some of the "off Duval" Streets, where you may wander in to Gato Village, or Jose Martin's old stomping grounds. There is much Cuban influence in Key West.
Take a historic tour of the Island on the Conch Tour Train or Old Town Trolley to learn more about the diverse history on this magnificent island. You might just be surprised.
So, stay and play awhile. We think you'll like what you find on this warm, welcoming, tropical paradise, we at Villas Key West, call home!
View our Key West specials & join us near Duval Street.