7 Unique Things To Do In Key West: If there’s anything that can be said about Key West, it’s that it is one unique town! From six-toed cats to shipwrecks, roosters roaming the streets and vibrant coral reefs, quirky Key West offers a bit of everything. Some might say Key West is a little bit weird…but in all the best possible ways! If you enjoy wandering off the beaten track when traveling, there sure are plenty of unique things to do in Key West that shy away from the regular tourist hot spots. Capture the essence of Key West and explore the weird and wonderful attractions in Key West.
The most unique things to do in Key West
Explore the coral reefs
One of Key West’s most wonderful natural attractions is the extensive coral reef system, home to a colorful array of fish, marine life and neon-hued coral. The best spot for snorkeling is off Fort Zachary State Park, which will keep you entranced for hours as you watch the sea creatures beneath you whizzing back and forth. As far as snorkeling safety goes, don’t touch the coral (ever!) and if you’re a newbie, book a guided snorkeling tour. Some of the sea critters you can expect to see include:
- Rainbow Parrotfish
- Sea Turtles
- Nurse, Lemon and Sandbar Sharks
Be spooked at Key West Cemetery
A cemetery is probably the last place you would have considered visiting while on a beach vacation but you don’t want to miss out on this one. Perched on Solares Hill, the cemetery was built in 1847 and holds gravestones displaying some of the quirkiest inscriptions you’ve ever seen, one of which states, “I’m just resting my eyes.” Rent a bike and make your way around the whole cemetery.
Go back in time and visit the historical homes
Being strategically located along main trade routes during the 1800s, the island is rich in history. One of the most unique things to do in Key West is taking a tour of the many historical homes.
- Hemingway House and Museum: Ernest Hemingway was a famous writer and Nobel Prize winner who was also a resident of the island in the 1930s. His French Colonial abode with it’s yellow hues and many windows is now open to the public for tours. Just beware of the six-toed cats! Yup, you heard right. A captain gifted Hemingway a six-toed cat and over a hundred years later almost sixty of these strange cats now reside in Hemingway’s former home. They may look cute but don’t pet them, they’re wild cats after all.
- Custom House: Just off Mallory Square, you’ll find Custom House which is now the home of the Key West Museum of Art and History. In the 1800s, the house was the US Customs headquarters, hence its name. Most of the exhibits date back to the Spanish-American War but there are some creepier exhibits for true crime junkies, such as the tale of a local doctor who lived with the remains of his deceased patient for 7 years – spine chilling!
Stroll through Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden
Nancy Forrester is an environmental activist, educator and wedding officiant who has created a sanctuary for rescued birds on the island, including parrots, macaws and cockatoos. You are able to pet and interact with the birds and you may even spot a flamingo or two. Nancy hosts all-faith weddings in her beautiful gardens with the birds acting as witnesses…boy would we love to be a fly on the wall at one of those weddings!
Take the perfect snaps for the ‘gram
Did your holiday even happen if it doesn’t land up on your Instagram grid? We’re kidding, but with that being said, there are some really unique and beautiful spots to snap perfect photos of your holiday to Key West.
- Key West Lighthouse: There’s just something about the contrast of bright blue sea and a bleached lighthouse that just screams “beach vacation” and Key West Lighthouse is no exception. Built in the 1800s, the historic lighthouse is in stark contrast to the tropical greenery that surrounds it which makes for some stunning photos. Be sure to climb to the top for panoramic views of the ocean and the yachts that sail by.
- Southernmost Point Buoy: Key West is the southernmost point of the continental US and you can in fact stand in the southernmost point yourself at the giant concrete buoy that marks the spot!
- Overseas Highway: The unbelievably long stretch of highway is literally over the sea – it will take you across the sparkling ocean back to the mainland. There are sections where you can pull over to snap a picture safely.
Embark on a ghost tour
Many consider Key West to be one of the most haunted cities in Florida, largely due to its history as a hideout for pirates, smugglers, refugees and a place that was at the centre of the Cold War. If you want to meet the island’s ghosts one of the most unique things to do in Key West is the chilling Trolley of the Doomed tour. Your guide will take you through some of Key West’s most haunted places and you could be sleeping with one eye open for the rest of the night!
Take part in Key West’s quirky events and festivals
Key West practically has some unique event or festival happening every month of the year. From the Key Lime Festival to Halloween’s Fantasy Fest, check out their official events calendar to see what tickles your fancy. The Conch Republic Independence Day celebrations are a real treat, taking place in mid-April, with offbeat activities like drunk spelling bees, drag races and parades to keep you entertained.
We could really go on forever when listing the many quirky and unique things to do in Key West. There really is no place quite like it that offers tourists such a range of weird and wonderful attractions and activities to enjoy!