Best Area To Stay In Key West: Key West is the perfect combination of sun, sand, sea, culture and history with a generous dash of quirk. As the southernmost point in the continental US and with an array of offbeat attractions, Key West attracts tourists from all over the world. It’s also a popular destination for those already in the USA, especially Miami, as a quick flight into Key West’s international airport makes it easy to get to. The most important thing to plan before your arrival is your accommodation which is why you’ll need to figure out where the best area to stay in Key West is.
The island is small, only 8 miles long, so it is great to explore on foot or on bicycles. As you stroll along palm-lined streets and cross paths with the odd rooster (we aren’t kidding!) you’ll notice a clear distinction between historic Old Town and the modern, trendy vibe in New Town. Old Town, also known as the Historic District, is where most people tend to stay because it’s where most of Key West’s main draw cards can be found. However, despite its size there are a number of neighborhoods and zones that each offer something different. New Town is a little quieter while Downtown and Old Town are bustling, especially by night.
Central Old Town is the best area to stay in Key West if your goal is to explore the island’s main attractions. Here you will find thousands of historical buildings in every color of the rainbow, some dating back to the 1800s. There are plenty of bed and breakfasts in this neighborhood, all with a homely feel and old world charm. Explore Ernest Hemingway’s former home or take a stroll through what can only be described as the most cheerful cemetery in the world!
Truman Annex is home to some of Key West’s most famous historical buildings, most notably Little White House where former president Harry Truman stayed in the winter during his term. A short stroll to Mallory Square and Historic Seaport will lead you to the original Pan Am Headquarters, a spectacular aquarium, the Maritime Museum and the 1840s-era Audubon House.
Key West is known for being a relatively pricey destination but visiting Key West on a budget is still possible. The northern part of New Town has some well-priced hotels or you can stay in a backpackers hostel. Smallest Bar Inn is a cute guest house that captures the essence of Key West perfectly with very reasonable rates.
If you’re visiting the island for your honeymoon or for a romantic getaway with your love, then the best area to stay in Key West is in fact a tie between Old Town and Historic Seaport! There are some fantastic adults-only resorts in Old Town, one of which is the NYAH Key West Adults Only resort, which balances traditional Key West architecture with contemporary decor.
While the nightlife in Key West is nowhere near as wild as what you’ll find in Miami or Daytona, the bars and restaurants in Key West are abuzz at night. Mosey on to Downtown Duval Street and you’ll find the action. Most dive bars around town have live musical performances every night of the week, so you’ll always be entertained while sipping on those frozen mojito’s. Rick’s has 8 bars in one venue with the upstairs section transforming into a nightclub. Duval Street offers a free shuttle service called the Duval Loop which will make sure you don’t miss out on seeing anything in the area.
On a side note, there’s more to Downtown than just the nightlife. It’s also where you will find the enchanting Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, along with the Shipwreck Museum and Key West Nature Preserve.
If hopping aboard a boat is your goal, then the best area to stay in Key West is the Historic Seapoint. Yacht charters and sailboats set off daily from the dock for everything from fishing charters to day trips and sunset cruises (did we mention Key West has one of THE most spectacular sunsets?). Forgot to book a sailing trip in advance? No problem! Stroll along the dock and 9 times out of 10, you’ll be offered a great deal on a snorkeling tour or sunset cruise.
You’ll find Casa Marina close to the southernmost point. The neighborhood is within walking distance to some of Key West’s most well-loved beaches including Smathers Beach and Higgs Beach. Dog lover? Head to Dog Beach and watch gleeful pooches frolic on the pet-friendly beach with their owners while you sip cocktails on the sundeck at Louie’s.
New Town is without a doubt the best area to stay in Key West if you’ll be traveling as a family. After a busy day of snorkeling, hitting the beach or touring the attractions, retiring for the night in the quiet and laid back New Town will be just what you and your kids need to recharge. There are plenty of homely bed and breakfasts along with well-known hotel chains, depending on what you prefer.
As a more relaxed and quieter city than Miami and it’s counterparts, there isn’t any area in Key West you should avoid. As a small island, no matter where you stay you’ll still be in relatively close proximity to main attractions. Plus biking across town isn’t half bad, especially when it’s as pretty as Key West!