At first thought, most people don’t think of Key West as a family-friendly place, but really it can be. Remember, families, live in Key West. But, aside from that, Key West is an amazing island with so much to see and do. If you are traveling with kids, or just kids at heart, these are the best things to do with kids in Key West.
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Since Key West is an island, let’s start with the really fun and amazing things you can do on the water. Imagine getting up in the morning and heading out to go snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, dolphin watching, or even an eco-tour. The options really are endless.
We have so many ideas on how to spend your time on the water. But, let’s look at a few of the most popular attractions.
- Glass Bottom Boat Tours – don’t want to go in the water, but want a full experience. Then check out a glass bottom boat tour. While onboard you can see the coral reef, tropical fish, and maybe even sea turtles.
- Want a private experience? Spend the day with the family on a sandbar? See an amazing sunset? Book a private charter. It’s so much fun.
- How about an ultimate experience? Enjoy a full day on the water and snorkel, parasail, jet ski, and enjoy an inflatable waterpark!
Historic Key West
Want to see the historic side of Key West? Did you know there are 18 museums to explore in Key West? Kids will love the see the cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home and climb to the top of the Key West LightHouse. The Key West Shipwreck museum at Mallory Square is a lot of fun. Learn all about the history of wrecking in Key West and climb to the top of the tower. There is an amazing view. The Key West Aquarium is also another great spot to check out. Looking for something a bit more quiet? Then head over to the Audubon House or Truman’s Little White House.
Want to include some beach time in your historic tour? Then Fort Zach is the place. Explore the fort and then plan to spend some quality time on the beach. It’s a great way to see the historic side of Key West and enjoy the sand and water.
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Want to explore the historical architecture of Key West? Then check out the self-guided Historic Marker Tour. It’s not a guided tour, but there are a lot of stops around town you can check out at your own pace.
Have a few foodies in the group? Then Key West will be your favorite foodie spot. There are so many choices of kid-friendly places on the island. You will not have time to try them all. Imagine picking from a fresh seafood place, or amazing pizza or some of the best ice cream found anywhere. Walking down Duval Street, be sure to stop off at Wicked Lick. It’s a show, it’s ice cream it’s the best. Watch as they “make” your ice cream to order. Yum and Yum!
But want to make your own Key Lime Pie, then check out the Key Lime Pie Company.
Spooky Key West
Depending on the ages of your kids, check out the spooky side of Key West. Go on a ghost hunt or ride a haunted theme tour bus to see the haunted places in town.
Although Key West is not known for its beaches, there are a few nice places to spend an afternoon. Fort Zach offers a great place to explore. The fort is fun to visit and see and the beach area is the perfect place to relax. The beach area can be a bit rocky so plan to bring water shoes to keep your feet from hurting as you walk along the rocks. Plan to be in the park for sunset. An amazing view of sunset can be seen at Fort Zach.
Smathers Beach offers a longer stretch of beach to enjoy. Rent a Hobie Cat and plan to spend time on the water. Higgs Beach also is a great place to spend time with the kids. There is a playground they can enjoy with a beautiful water view.
Other Fun Things
Want to explore the island, but tired of walking? Then book a spot on the Conch Tour Train or take the Trolley Tour. (Book your spot here and save) The Conch Train tour takes you around Old Town Key West, while the Old Town Trolley tour has more stops and explores a bit more of the island. Both are a lot of fun.
Want to walk around Key West with a local tour guide? Then book a walking tour. Pick from historical, ghost tour, and even a food tour.
Another amazing day trip is out to the Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson. This is a very popular tour and usually books up months in advance. Book the ferry or seaplane before you arrive to save your spot.
Head up the keys and see Bahia Honda, the Key Deer, or the Dolphin Research Center.
The Key West Butterfly Nature Conservatory is a wonderful place to see butterflies and meet the resident flamingos, Rhett and Scarlett.
Or check out an escape room, the local bookstore or think about renting a bike and ride around the island.
Free Things to Do
Not everything in Key West has an admission fee. A few budget-friendly ideas include the sunset celebration at Mallory Square. About an hour before sunset, the street performers start to set up. Come out and enjoy the carnival atmosphere and see the world-famous Key West sunset.
Or, head over to the Southernmost Point and grab a picture with the kids at the buoy. Early in the morning is a great time, the line is usually not as long.
If you are looking for a place to cool down. The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is air-conditioned and free to visit.
Best Places to Stay?
As you sort through the options for the best place to stay, consider a few things. Does it have a pool? We all know kids love to spend time in the pool. Is it kid-friendly? Some places in Key West are only for adults. Here is a site to help you sort through the many options available.
If you are driving down from Key Largo to Key West, check out our suggestions on where to stop and what to do.