Top things to Do
A top spot recommended by innkeepers is the Eco-Discovery Center at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which is free to visit. Several innkeepers say you can’t leave Key West without watching the sunset from the top of the Crowne Plaza La Concha Hotel, and some also recommend watching a sunset from Ft. Zachary Taylor Beach.
If you’re an early riser, Eden House reveals that you can see an amazing sunrise at White Street Pier. The Banyan Resort says travelers should be sure to explore Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden (a parrot sanctuary) and the historic Key West Cemetery. They add that another fun activity is spotting tarpon, manatees, and parrot fish at Garrison Bight.
Love the outdoors? Key West Bed and Breakfast recommends taking a bike ride at night to smell the jasmine and other night-blooming plants. The innkeepers also suggest a trip to the Marine Sanctuary on the boat “Danger” and a visit to The Butterfly & Nature Conservatory.
The Mermaid & Alligator endorses a visit to the tropical garden at the West Martello Tower. La Pensione Inn recommends a visit to Mel Fisher’s Maritime Museum and The Harry S. Truman Little White House, a former retreat for President Truman and later presidents.
Most of the innkeepers who run Key West bed and breakfast inns say you can’t pass up a visit to Green Parrot if you’re looking for some evening drinks or live music at a bar. Other innkeeper-recommended Key West bars include Virgilio’s, Schooner Wharf Bar, Finnegan’s Wake, The Porch, and Sloppy Joe’s. La Pensione Inn adds Hog’s Breath Saloon and Irish Kevin’s. Atlantis House suggests Bottle Cap Groove Lounge.
For fun live entertainment, The Grand and The Mermaid & Alligator suggest seeing the drag shows at Aqua and at La Te Da. Several other innkeepers also recommend seeing a show at The Waterfront Playhouse, and Red Barn Theater. The Mermaid & Alligator adds that it’s fun to see a movie at The Tropic Cinema, where you can eat real buttered popcorn.
Top Day Trips
There are plentiful activities in the area surrounding Key West. The Mermaid & Alligator recommend touring Pigeon Key, taking a hike through Crane Point Nature Center, swimming with the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center, and having a fish sandwich at Keys Fisheries in Marathon, a quaint fish market/restaurant on a small working harbor.
Many of our innkeepers recommend a trip to The Dry Tortugas National Park (pictured above), a cluster of seven islands around 70 miles from Key West. You can get there by boat or plane, and one of the highlights is visiting Fort Jefferson, one of the world’s largest coastal forts. La Pensione Inn suggests a trip to Boca Chita, an island located in Biscayne Bay National Park.
Eden House, The Mermaid & Alligator, and Artist House all encourage a visit to Bahia Honda State Park, which has a wonderful beach, amazing snorkeling, and great beachcombing. For those who enjoy being on the water, The Grand suggests going on a full-day Florida Keys back country excursion on “The Prize” sailboat with Danger Charters.
Atlantis House’s own innkeeper, Captain Steve offers a day trip to Boca Grande. According to him, it’s “an outlying island 12 miles West of Key West, where half of the island is a bird sanctuary and the other half is a deserted beach. We pull the boat up on a sand bar and spend the day snorkeling, picnicking, and taking a casual stroll along the beach observing wildlife.” Steve tailors each trip depending upon guests interests.
Where to Eat
Here are some of the Key West restaurants that innkeepers love. If you're looking for an intimate dining experience, be sure to check out our guide to romantic restaurants in Key West.
- Alonzo's Oyster Bar
- Azur Restaurant
- Blackfin Bistro
- Blue Heaven
- Café Solé
- The Commodore Waterfront Restaurant
- El Siboney Restaurant
- Harpoon Harry's
- Help Yourself
- La Crêperie Key West
- Louie's Backyard
- Nine One Five
- Old Town Bakery
- Roof Top Cafe
- Santiago's Bodega
- Sandy's Cafe (The Grand says you should order a cafe con leche and cheese toast through a window at the laundromat here, as it’s one of only two such windows left in Key West!)
- The Flaming Buoy Filet Co. Restaurant
Where to Shop
Innkeepers recommend these stores for the best local Key West shopping.