What To Do In The Keys: 12 Must-See Attractions

What To Do In The Keys: Just south of Miami is a string of islands called the Florida Keys that extend for 110 miles along a sun-drenched coastline. If a sunshine-filled vacation is what you’re in the mood for, then a trip to the Florida Keys is one you won’t regret. Each of the Keys has its own unique ‘personality’ so to speak with its own natural or cultural attractions, so exploring the Keys can be the icing on the cake if you’re road tripping through Florida. Let’s take a look at what to do in the Keys, and believe us when we say there really is something for everyone to enjoy!

Top 12 picks of what to do in the Keys:

1. Tour Ernest Hemingway House and Museum

What To Do In The Keys: Visit the Hemingway House
What To Do In The Keys: Visit the Hemingway House

World-famous novelist and Nobel prize recipient Ernest Hemingway called Key West home in the 1930s, so if you’re a literary buff you’ll love visiting his perfectly preserved former home. The yellow house with its many windows and bright yellow shutters will not only transport you to another era, you may stumble upon some six-toed cats while you’re touring the home (just don’t pet them, they’re wild after all!).

2. Snorkel at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The coral reefs and underwater statues in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are truly spectacular, teeming with tropical fish, stingrays and more. The park operates glass-bottom boat tours that are approximately 2.5 hours long daily, giving you 1.5 hours to snorkel and explore the reefs.

3. Explore Bahia Honda State Park

What To Do In The Keys: Explore Bahia Honda State Park
What To Do In The Keys: Explore Bahia Honda State Park

Veer off Seven Mile Bridge and you’ll find Bahia Honda State Park, an oasis of natural beauty with gin-clear sea water beckoning you in to swim. As a nature lover’s paradise, the park is a popular campsite with great facilities and a relaxing atmosphere all-round.

4.   Watch the Sunset at Mallory Square

The sunset in Key West is incomparable to anywhere else in the Keys. It practically looks like the sun is melting into the horizon as it sets, bathing the sky and water in a balmy orange and pink light. Each night there is a Sunset Celebration in Mallory Square with live music and social gatherings that flow into the many bars and restaurants in the square.

5.   Take a Catamaran Cruise to Dry Tortugas National Park

What To Do In The Keys: Visit Tortugas National Park
What To Do In The Keys: Visit Dry Tortugas National Park

Being around 70 miles away from Key West, Dry Tortugas is often left off itineraries which is a real shame. When you’re planning on what to do in the Keys, a catamaran cruise to Dry Tortugas National Park is a must. While on the island be sure to hop in the crystal clear water and snorkel around the reefs to spot the coral, seagrass and numerous shipwrecks. You can also join a tour around the hexagonal 19th-century Fort Jefferson that takes up much of the island.

6.   Spot Deers at National Key Deer Refuge

In Big Pine Key you’ll find a thriving population of the pint-sized Key Deer, due in part to the National Key Deer Refuge and their conservation efforts. These sweet little deers were close to becoming extinct in the 1950s and the sanctuary helped keep the species going. Nearby the deer sanctuary is a natural, freshwater rock quarry called Blue Hole which attracts sea turtles and alligators.

7.  Swim with Dolphins at Dolphin Research Center

If you’re deciding on what to do in the Keys with kids, do plan a stop at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key. Watch the trainers interact with these clever mammals or get to experience a special close encounter with the most gentle creatures in the ocean.

8. Visit the Turtle Hospital

If you’ll be stopping in at Marathon, take the kids to visit the Turtle Hospital, Florida’s most renowned turtle rehabilitation centre. You can join a 90 minute guided tour and see the rehabilitation tanks, hospital and help to feed the resident turtles.

9. Book a Fishing Charter in Marathon

Marathon is known as one of the best places in the Keys for fishing with a lot of big catches lurking beneath the waters. Organising a deep sea fishing charter or a boat trip out to the reefs is easily arranged. Marathon also has the best natural beaches in the Keys so be sure to also carve out some time for the beach and watersports.

10. Stroll down Duval Street

Duval Street is the main street in Key West and home to the island’s art galleries, hip cafés and boutique stores. It is also lined with lively bars and clubs so a night spent bar hopping along Duval Street could result in hazy memories and a sore head!

11. Zen Out on Boca Chita Key

What To Do In The Keys: Visit Boca Chita Key
What To Do In The Keys: Visit Boca Chita Key

Boca Chita Key is a small but beautiful uninhabited island in the Keys where you can dock your boat and explore the natural beauty. There are no facilities on the island so be sure to pack what you need for any stopover. The island is usually a quick stop on charter and boat tours so find out if your tour company will be stopping there or put in a special request! However you are also permitted to camp on the island so if camping on a remote and beautiful island is what you’re in the mood for, jot this one down!

12. Snap a Picture at the Southernmost Point

At the end of Duval Street you will find the southernmost point buoy painted in bright colors, marking the southernmost point in the continental US. If you’re in Key West you’ll want to snap a picture at this famous landmark.


When deciding what to do in the Keys you are truly spoilt for choice. From fascinating historical and cultural landmarks to watersports and natural attractions, there is something for everyone in the Florida Keys.


See Also:

Best Island In The Keys: The Top 10

Is Key West Worth Visiting? 15 Reasons To Visit

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