Top 10 Things to Do in Key West

If your Bahamian cruise has a port of call in the Florida Keys, you’re in for a fun-filled adventure. Get showered by the warm sun and enjoy the salty air dancing over your skin as you take advantage of the welcoming Florida weather. The island has plenty of activities you won’t want to miss spanning from land to sea. When the ship docks, head out and experience 10 of the top things to do in Key West.

In and On the Water

The city is surrounded by water, and chances to dip your toes in the temperate Atlantic Ocean are vast and exciting. Of course, if you prefer to stay dry, Key West also offers up some of the best seafaring vessels for sightseeing.

1. Parasailing

What’s an excursion without an adrenaline rush? Fly above the turquoise waters and spot the island’s attractions from a bird’s eye view as you parasail over Key West.

two people parasailing near the coast of key west

2. Kayak Tour

The energy of a cruise ship is fun, but so is an afternoon of serenity, and you deserve both. A kayak tour in The Keys is just what the doctor ordered. You’ll paddle from the Gulf to the Atlantic, enjoying nature sounds and creature sightings along the way.

couple on a blue kayak smile as they paddle in key west

3. Glassbottom Boat

The colorful sea life off the coast of Key West will make your eyes go wide and your heart skip a beat. Among the most impressive sights are the coral reefs, which are easy to spot from the comfort of your air-conditioned glass bottom boat trip.

people looking at the coral reefs underneath a glass bottom boat in key west

4. Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Beginners are welcome at stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), which gives you the chance to glide on water. Leaving from a dock with an instructor in tow, you will also get the chance to stop and look at conch shells, rays and more. You may even spot a manatee.

woman smiles as she paddles on a stand-up paddleboard in key west

Land Adventures

Landlubbers aren’t left in the cold on a cruise to the Florida Keys — quite the contrary. For all the adventure found on the open water, there are just as many chances to investigate the candy-colored shops and palm-lined streets of Key West by land.

5. Pub Crawl

Nothing can help you get your sea legs back like sampling a few local beers on a tour of the island’s best bars and pubs. Make some new friends while you learn about the favorite haunts of everyone from former presidents to famed authors. The pub crawl will take you through Key West’s historic seaport area.

two women drink cocktails during a pub crawl in key west

6. Bike Tour

A leisurely bike trip around the island is the surest way to generate endorphins while you get to know the nooks and crannies of Key West on your own. Rent a bike and embark on a trip along the waterfront and into the quaint city. Perhaps you’ll stop along the streets of Old Town, or take a break to see what the local pier has to offer — the possibilities are endless.

man holds his bike as he stands in front of the southernmost point of the continental usa

7. Hop-On, Hop-Off Trolley

If you want to see the island with an expert at the helm, get a ticket for a hop-on, hop-off trolley. Your open-window trolley ride around Key West reveals 100 historic sites and a peek into the eccentricities of the island. Learn about The Keys’ unique blend of Bahamian, Cuban, and English heritage along the way.

old town trolley driving past sloppy joes during a tour of key west

Notable Sites

Let the family cruise to Key West also serve as a history lesson. Literary giants including Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams penned their great works here and President Truman had a Winter White House on the island. After a little history lesson, take in some of the modern attractions before making your way back to the ship.

8. Hemingway’s Home

A must-see for any trip to Key West is a stop at Hemingway’s former residence and favorite bar. Walk through the gardens surrounding the home where “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was first put to paper. Don’t forget to visit the museum that pays homage to the famous author’s life and career for some powerful and unique inspiration before heading back to the pier.

the front of ernest hemingway’s home in key west

9. Butterfly Conservatory

Key West is a bountiful haven for wildlife and areas of protected, unfettered nature. Spend a few hours at a world-famous butterfly and nature conservatory, where more than 50 variants flutter about and show off their vibrant wings.

hop on & hop off trolly stops in front of the key west’s butterfly and natural conservatory

10. Treasure-Filled Museum

Though Key West is an island of many modern attractions and adventures, you can still marvel at the tokens and treasures of the past at the local museums. Along the hop-on, hop-off train route, hop off and visit the island’s shipwreck-themed museum. You’ll be daydreaming and crafting your own salty pirate tales by the time you leave.

hop-on, hop-off train stops in front of key west shipwreck museum

A cruise vacation is exciting on its own, but certain experiences can take your vacation to a new level. In the sunny destination of Key West, you’re never at a loss for things to do. The island is the perfect place to visit all year. It defies winter with cloud-less skies and warm temperatures and, in the summer, the palm trees are just as welcoming.