You’ve booked your cruise vacation and Key West is a port of call. You’re in for an amazing adventure. So what should you do with only one day in Key West while the ship is in port? While Key West is only 8 square miles, that’s still a lot of ground to cover on a quick stopover. To get a true taste of Key West on a cruise vacation, experiencing the water is just as important as experiencing the land.
If you opt for a shore excursion arranged by your cruise ship, this is the perfect opportunity to go snorkeling or parasailing in Key West. How much time do you want to spend on the water? Parasailing is an hour long trip, while snorkeling is three hours. If you opt to go parasailing, you can easily squeeze in a few activities on land. If you go snorkeling, that might be all the time you have.
Cruise Duval Street
Your ship will dock near Mallory Square, which is also at the foot of Duval Street–Key West’s main thoroughfare. If your time is limited, stop at the Conch Fritter stand in Mallory Square and sample one of the island’s favorite treats.
On Duval Street, you’ll find rowdy bars, casual restaurants and a wide variety of shops. You won’t have to walk very far before you reach Sloppy Joe’s, one of Key West’s most famous bars (it also serves lunch). Nearby on Greene Street, you’ll see Captain Tony’s, which was home to the original Sloppy Joe’s. Have a drink in both and decide which spot you like best.
Explore Greene Street & Sample the Food
For a quick lunch of tacos with plenty of people watching, you could stop at Amigo’s Tortilla Bar directly across the street from Captain Tony’s. Farther down Greene Street, you’ll find Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe. You absolutely must sample his frozen key lime pie on a stick dipped in chocolate. For a twist on the original, he also has a frozen strawberry key lime pie on a stick dipped in white chocolate.
Across the street from Kermit’s is the Conch Republic Seafood Company, known as the Conch Farm by locals. It’s a great open air bar and restaurant with a view of the marina. Order a fish sandwich and a rum punch and while the afternoon away. When you’ve finished your meal, take a stroll along the wooden docks overlooking fishing boats, yachts and charter boats.
Rent Bicycles & Get Off The Beaten Path
The nice thing is that Key West is a walkable island city. If you’d like to explore more off the beaten path destinations, rent a bicycle so you can get around more efficiently. Peddle to Bahama Village for French crepes at La Creperie or a cocktail at Blue Heaven, and make sure you stop at Besame Mucho for some sophisticated souvenir shopping. You can also explore the Key West Cemetery, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park & Beach or just get lost along the back streets amidst pastel conch cottages and blooming bougainvillea.
No matter what slice of Key West life you want to discover on your Key West cruise vacation, take some of this helpful advice while planning your day in Key West. Whatever you don’t get to will just be an excuse to come back and spend more time on the island!