Taking a trip down to the Florida Keys is a great way to experience the sights and sounds of Key West, the southernmost island city in the archipelago. The shopping in Key West is the greatest in the area, bar none, with unique souvenirs around every bend. If you’re hoping to buy some special gifts for yourself or your loved ones during your cruise to Key West, look no further than the following list of our top picks.
1. Handmade Sandals
You can’t go to Key West without picking up a pair (or two) of their iconic handmade sandals. The perfect accessory to go along with your beachwear, sandals made in Key West come in a seemingly endless variety of styles and colorful designs. Typically crafted of natural leather, these sandals will keep you fashionable while you enjoy the shores of Key West and withstand long strolls on the deck of your cruise ship on the way home.
2. Key West Cigars
With over a dozen cigar shops found throughout the area, the cigars in Key West shouldn’t be missed. A perfect gift for friends back home, Key West cigars are reasonably priced and come in many different varieties. The island’s proximity to Cuba makes tobacco farms here especially popular for fine hand-rolled products. Visit a local shop to pick out some fresh cigars to take home with you or sit back and enjoy one at one of the many local establishments. To add to the experience, you can also purchase a nice cigar cutter as a souvenir.
3. Locally-Sourced Food
Wondering what to eat in Key West? Lucky for you, the possibilities are endless. The local cuisine boasts true island fare, such as conch fritters and hogfish sandwiches. Of course, it wouldn’t be easy to take these classic dishes home. However, one food item that’s certainly portable (and delicious) is some famous key lime pie! Guests can bring prepackaged, unopened food onboard the cruise ship to take home, so be sure to pick up this popular dessert to share with your friends and family. If you’re in a spicier mood, many visitors enjoy buying sauces made from local peppers. Either way, there’s certainly something for everyone!
4. Key West Jewelry
Whether you’re looking for a handmade piece crafted from colorful sea glass or a unique locking “KW” bracelet, there are many specialty shops perfect for browsing and discovering unique jewelry pieces. Jewelry made with locally-sourced pearls is also a popular option and make a great gift for a loved one in your life or a fun matching piece for a group of friends. Key West jewelry serves as a wonderful reminder of an exciting cruise vacation.
5. Local Shells
The beaches of Key West make it a great destination for shelling. From lovely conch shells to colorful sea glass, there is a wide variety of treasures to pluck from the shore. Several souvenir shops also sell perfectly intact shells, making it easy to find a flawless gift or centerpiece to take home with you – especially if you aren’t having any luck on the beach! Shell shops often include other unique offerings, such as alligator heads and starfish for that perfect beach house decoration.
6. Books by Key West Authors
One of the things to do in Key West is explore the local art scene, including its treasure trove of local writers. Several book stores can be found in the area, selling books written by regulars of the island. Topics you can find during your cruise vacation include local history and stories written by famous Key West residents Ernest Hemingway or Judy Blume. Some local bookstores also boast signed copies, making this the perfect gift for the bibliophile in your life.
7. Key West Wine and Spirits
Another of Key West’s popular gifts is local rum, the delicious sugar cane spirit that runs like water on the islands. Rum distilleries are a great source of this popular liquor, and lucky for you there are several to explore in Key West. Whether you’re looking for the perfect mojito or margarita ingredient for your next stateside party or a classy gift for a connoisseur, Key West rum is a great and festive option. If rum isn’t quite your speed, local wineries are also an excellent place to pick up some regional vintages – some made with tropical fruit!
8. Cuban Coffee
Just 90 miles from Cuba, it’s no wonder Key West boasts some great Cuban coffee stands. Enjoy some cafe con leche or a traditional colada (espresso and sugar) at one of the many cafes or pick up some beans to take home and share. Cuban culture is well represented at these local stores, with items like traditional sandwiches, pulled pork, and pastries served alongside scrumptious drinks of espresso shots with frothed milk. For the coffee fans in your life, why not pick up a branded mug along with your delicious drink?
You don’t need to wonder what to buy in Key West with this list of unique, local items. So on your next cruise to Key West, take advantage of the local shops as you enjoy the sand and surf!
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.