Key West is one of our favorite places to drop off the edge of the country and hide for a few days. While it’s not a place I could ever see myself living for any extended amount of time, it’s definitely one of the best kept secrets when you need to get away from life, and explore a completely different perspective – island style! The real question is, what can you do if you decide to visit with your kids? Fortunately, there are plenty of options to keep those of you with tykes to those of you with teens happy.
Top Key West Activities With Kids
Little Kid Stop – I’d definitely head to the south end of the island, toward Fort Zachary Taylor, where the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is located. This FREE destination allows visitors the chance to see a fantastic variety of native plants and animals, as well as amazing aquariums, a model of the Aquarius – the world’s only submersible ocean lab, and a beautiful and relaxing video about the ecosystems in the Keys. http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/eco_discovery.html
Middle Kid Stop – The Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum is sure to be a hit! Learn all about history of the ship the Isaac Allerton, which sank off the Florida Keys in 1856, through an awesome combination of actors, films and artifacts that where brought up when the wreck was discovered in 1985. You can even climb to the top of the Observation Tower for an amazing 360 degree view of downtown Key West. http://www.keywestshipwreck.com/
Tween Stop – Believe it or not – one of our favorite stops on Duval Street was Ripley’s! It was filled with over 10,000 square feet of freakish exhibits and artifacts that are sure to entertain everyone in the family. You don’t have to worry about anyone being bored here – it’ll keep kids busy not only looking at the crazy artifacts, and reading what they’re all about too. http://www.ripleys.com/keywest
Teen Stop – If you’ve got sea-faring teens, I’d definitely suggest renting kayaks or paddle boards to explore the stunning waters of the Keys. There are several companies in Key West that rent clear-bottom kayaks, so you can actually see fish, rays, and the occasional nurse shark swimming along the crystal clear ocean floor, just a few feet below you! http://www.keywestpaddle.com
Hungry? Head to one of our absolute favorite stops – Blue Heaven! The breakfast menu is fabulous – try the Lobster Eggs Benedict with an outrageous Key Lime Hollandaise sauce – you’ll want to lick your plate! They have live music, funky artisans showing their works, a great little gift shop, a ping pong table, and rooster graveyard that are sure to keep everyone entertained! http://www.blueheavenkw.com/#!
Want to take it all in, stress-free? There are several trolley and train tours that will take you on a relaxing ride around Key West, where you’ll have the chance to jump on and jump off at your leisure. This way, you’ll be able to check out all of the sights, while you don’t have to worry about finding parking spaces at each stop. http://www.conchtourtrain.com/kids-key-west.html or http://www.trolleytours.com
Mallory Square is the ultimate spot to join in the Key West tradition of watching the sunset. Every single night, you’ll find vendors selling a fantastic variety of trinkets and artwork, street performers juggling fire, swallowing swords, and entertaining the crowds, and plenty of places to grab a quick snack or margarita as the sun goes down to the cheers of everyone around. http://www.mallorysquare.com/
Yes, there are beautiful beaches as well – I suggest Higgs Beach – the shallow, perfectly clear water is amazing – just remember to pack your water shoes! Smather’s Beach is breathtaking if you’re an early riser and want to take in an Atlantic side sunrise. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, and want to take part in a bucket-list side trip – head over to Dry Tortugas National Park, which is accessible only by boat or sea plane! http://www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm