Key West is one of the most INCREDIBLE places on earth. Why? For more than a few reasons.
Number 1, the water looks like a dang Impressionist painting that dreamed up by Monet. It literally looks fake. The pictures that come up when you Google ‘Key West water‘ speak for themselves, and these are not photoshopped. It is real, you have to see it.
Number 2, the people are so friendly and laid back, always willing to help. Whether it was our stay at Boyd’s Campground, bar-hopping down Duval Street, adventuring with people from all over the world on our Fury trip, or exploring the Seafood Festival, everyone we talked to was so open and wanting to help us have the best time ever.
Number 3, there is SO. MUCH. TO. DO. We literally talked to a couple from New York City who told us they come to Key West because New York can get boring. We were pretty taken back by that. New York has nothing to do? Sounds like a stretch… But to be honest Key West packs a HUGE punch!
The island is just over 7 square miles, and literally around every single corner is a new adventure! We spent 5 days in Key West, and felt like we did 10 days worth of activities! Here are our favorites:
Now, what comes to mind when you think of the Florida Keys? Must be something to do with weather, water (snorkeling, fishing, jet skis, etc), or partying.
In all 3 areas, Key West is up there with the best on earth. We did all three, and we’re going to share with you everything you need to know to have the time of your life.
Key West has a few different offerings for daytime adventure excursions, but for our money there isn’t anyone better than Fury. We ourselves have done two of the adventures: the Jet Ski package and the Ultimate Adventure!
The Jet Ski trip is amazing because you legitimately get to do an entire lap of the Key West island! Of course, you get to cruise as fast as you want, swim wherever you want, and coast along water that looks like Glacier Freeze Gatorade.
The Fury Ultimate Adventure was an INCREDIBLE day. Probably our favorite day in Key West.
The day started with a delicious breakfast spread and a cruise out to the snorkeling reef. On the cruise we met a bunch of amazing fellow travelers from all over the world (as far as Europe and the Middle East!) who were excellent adventure buddies.
Once we got to the reef, we strapped on our snorkel gear and hit the water! The reef is the 3rd LARGEST REEF ON EARTH! We could barely believe that! 3rd largest on earth! And it was absolutely gorgeous.
After snorkeling, we had a delicious lunch and cruised to Fury’s inflatable water park in the ocean! We jumped on trampolines, slid down slides, swam in the water and relaxed for a bit!
Once we were all relaxed-out, we jumped on the Jet-Skis to rip around the ocean, having the absolute best day ever! Can’t say it enough, Jet-Skiing on crystal waters will NEVER get old. It is SO FUN!
After a joy-ride, we got back on the boat and were surprised to learn we got FREE beer for the ride back! What a great pregame before hitting Duval street! Needless to say, we put back a few beers before the tour ended and we were on our way!
Check out this post for more and swipe for a video of our Fury Adventure!
Fort Zachary Taylor
Fort Zachary Taylor is a State Park located at the tip of Key West. Built as a Civil War fort, this seriously has withstood the test of time.
Fun Fact: Fort Taylor, though the southernmost Civil War fort, was held by the North!
Modern day, the fort is an amazing monument to walk around and explore. The walls are so cool to walk around, and of course the ocean view doesn’t hurt!
Also on-site is a pristine sandy beach to spend the day on. Walk along the coast, drink it in, and even take a dip in the pristine blue waters!
One of the main reasons people visit Key West: the nightlife is as good as any on earth. Seriously, let’s go through a list of things you can do in Key West:
- Live Music — Check!
- 2 for 1 Beer Specials — Check!
- Delicious Island Cocktails — Check!
- Open Container (drink in the street) — Check!
- Amazing Fresh Seafood — Check!
- Naked Bars — Check! — seriously
- More Live Music — Check!
- Street Performers — Check!
Did we mention live music is our favorite thing to seek out in new cities? It just makes every bar/restaurant better! And Key West has live music on tap! At least 10 bars have live music every single night.
Our recommendation to have an amazing night is to not have a plan. Head to Duval Street with an open mind and a desire for fun, and see where the road takes you! There are so many amazing bars, food stands, shopping, and street performances, you are guaranteed to have an amazing night no matter what!
Where We Stayed
We chose to camp at Boyd’s Campground for our stay in Key West, and legitimately couldn’t be happier with our decision. We had SO much dang fun and met so many fun people!
Have you ever met an unhappy camper or hiker? We haven’t!
Living the van life, we’ve met countless people camping and hiking throughout the USA. One thing is for sure: campers and hikers are on average very happy people. They just are! They are willing to give recommendations or lend a helping hand, and ALWAYS down to have fun!
Boyd’s has one thing going for it that can’t really be duplicated at another site: the location. Beautiful coastline property, we had a tent-site where we camped in our van and we were legitimately right on the beach! We walk 10 steps and our feet hit the sand, 10 more and they were in the water.
What makes the location even better is that we could hop on our bikes and get to Key West in a flash! Located just outside Key West was a blessing, because we were close enough to bike in to see the sites and take in the city, but still far enough away that it felt like we were out of the commotion.
At Boyd’s, we met fellow campers from all over North America, including Minnesota, Washington, New York, and even Canada! We hung out at the pool with them, played games, watched movies, had a bonfire, it was incredible!
One thing Boyd’s does to set itself apart is schedule daily events for campers to partake in! While we were there, we joined a Baggo (bean bags, cornhole, whatever you call it in your neck of the woods) tournament! Unfortunately, we got annihilated by a nice retired couple who could SNIPE the bags.
Another event we joined was movie night! Everyone that joins brings their own snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels, margaritas, etc) and hangs out together for an awesome outdoor movie!
On top of the people and the events, Boyd’s has all the amenities you’ll need to have an incredible time. Free wifi, a beautiful pool, bathrooms, showers (with hot water!), laundry, and an on-site store that saved us when we ran out of propane!
Do yourself a favor and check out Boyd’s Campground! Camping in Key West is the way to go, and no one does it better than Boyd’s
Exploring the City
During the day, when you’re not exploring the wide open ocean or enjoying a margarita, there are many ways to explore Key West! Many of them are even free!
Mile 0 & the Southernmost Point
2 of the absolute must-dos as you explore Key West throughout the day! Best to do them one after the other, because they are pretty dang close to each other!
On their own, the 2 monuments aren’t incredible. One is a nondescript street sign and the other is a giant ‘Dots’ candy painted with stripes.
However, they are really fun to see and think about their meaning! Mile 0 is the symbolic start (or end, depending on how you think of it) of the American highway and freeway system! All roads lead to that exact sign!
The Southernmost Point is just what it sounds like: the southernmost place in the entire continental United States! Only 90 miles from that point to Cuba. You are legitimately closer to Cuba than to a Wal Mart!
Mallory Square & Harbor Walk
On the northernmost side of the island are a few areas that are a must-visit as well! Mallory Square and the Harbor Walk are home to a beautiful coastal view, awesome shopping (especially for souvenirs and gifts), and an array of things to do!
Street performers typically head to Mallory Square in the evening, which we highly recommend. During the day on the Harbor Walk you can feed the tarpons or hang out with the pelicans. Really, we recommend taking a stroll through each of these places once during the day and once at night. You won’t regret it!
Pelican Path Walking Tour
The Pelican Path is a walking (or biking) tour through the historic area of Key West. As you’ll see on the tour, Key West a ton of homes built in the 1800s and still in-use today!
Why? Because of a combination of factors, including strong building materials, forward-thinking homeowners, and the Old Island Restoration Foundation founded in 1960 to preserve and restore this section of town! Lucky for us, these beautiful homes have stood the test of time through hurricanes, floods, wars, and more.
Before you embark on the tour, you should know a few things.
- Key West has beautiful weather. You may be tempted to quit halfway through to head to the beach. If you do, no problem, continue the tour the next day!
- Key West has amazing nightlife (and daylife, if that is a thing). You may be tempted to quit halfway through to head to the bar. If you do, again no problem, continue the day after!
- Bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes. That beautiful South Florida weather can get hot!
- The tour will take approximately 2-4 hours, depending on how many stops you take and how fast you walk/bike
- The Pelican Path is a free/awesome/non-lazy version of the Conch Train tour that you’ll see driving around Key West. Thumb your nose at this train when you see it. Just kidding, but not really.
Now, to kick off the tour, you’ll want to stop at the Chamber of Commerce to pick up a map. While there, you may want to pick up a map of awesome bars and restaurants, tours, and more. Take advantage of the free resources at your fingertips!
Our best fun fact from the tour: The first international flight EVER was from Key West to Cuba! Started when Pan American World Airways was started right in Key West (at stop 7 on the Pelican Path!)
Stock Island is right next to Key West, close enough that most people associate it at being a part of Key West. If you golf in Key West, you will be doing it at Stock Island. [We hear that the golf is incredible, but we did not partake]
What we did do on Stock Island was take a jog around the entire thing! We started at Boyd’s, where we were camped, and did a large loop around the entire island! It was a beautiful jog, mainly past golf courses and palm trees, with glimpses of the crystal waters.
Even better than the incredible views? The jog gave us an excuse to hit the town on Duval street later that evening!
While we were in Key West, the yearly Seafood Festival was in full swing. Located right in the center of town, the festival was a great place to get amazing seafood (on sale!), learn about the seafood industry, soak in some live music, and immerse yourself in the local culture!
Now, of course the Seafood Festival isn’t every weekend. However, odds are that while you visit Key West there WILL be a festival going on! DO a little bit of research ahead of time and you should find a few things to do that will differentiate your trip from anyone else’s!
Head to Key West!
Key West is a city full of love, adventure, sun, and SO MUCH FLIPPING FUN! You will have the time of your life!
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