If you’re planning a family vacation to Key West this summer and wondering what to do with the kids, you’re in luck! There’s so much more than the nightlife and parties of Duval Street. From fun-filled tours and excursions to enjoying the island’s natural beauty, there’s a lot to choose from in Key West. Here are a few ideas to make your Key West family vacation with the kids your best vacation yet!
Where to Stay
Start your kid-friendly vacation off on the right foot by picking a Key West hotel that fits your family. The Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina is a great option for all members in tow. With plenty of spacious rooms and suites to choose from, it’s also in a prime waterfront location in Old Town. The best Key West watersports are right outside your doorstep and offer endless entertainment for the kids. And Duval Street is also just a block away, where (contrary to popular opinion) you’ll find an array of kid-friendly restaurants and attractions.
Where to Eat
Take the kids to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville to get a taste of the Key West spirit in an entertaining atmosphere. They can have their cheeseburgers in paradise and you can have your strawberry margarita with salt while a live band plays in the island life-themed bar. There’s an adjacent gift shop that makes for memorable souvenir shopping.
Spend the Day on the Water
It’s all about the water sports and getting offshore when it comes to fun in the sun in Key West. There’s no better way to do this than with Fury Water Adventures’ all day All Day Water Adventure trip. Running daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the trip includes snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing, and kayaking. Spend the day aboard a state-of-the-art 65′ catamaran and enjoy breakfast, lunch, and all you can drink. You’ll spend half of your day sailing to and from the reef with plenty of snorkel time, and the other half at Adventure Island where you and the kids can play on inflatable water toys and soak up the sun.
Take a Picnic to the Beach
Spend the day soaking in the rays at Key West’s most beautiful beach. Fort Zach is located at the southern edge of the island with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Beach chairs, kayaks and snorkeling equipment are all available for rent. Take a walk along the jetty to watch the boats come in and out of Key West Harbor. For those looking to have an adventure, hike along a nature trail shaded by Australian pines. It’s home to a Civil War fort that offers an interactive way for kids to learn about history and there’s a snack bar for when they get hungry.
Treat the Kids to a Classic Key West Pie
Key lime pie is a rite of passage in Key West that any kid can get behind. Head to Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe where you can order a slice of key lime pie with mile high merengue or opt for the frozen key lime pie on a stick dipped in chocolate. You can even buy a whole pie to take home with you for a taste of Key West once the vacation is over.
Marvel at the Sunset
Head to Mallory Square for the nightly Sunset Celebration where your kids will delight in the street performers, high wire acts, musicians and magicians. It’s a festive atmosphere with plenty to stimulate the kids in your pack. Best of all, it’s a front row view for Key West’s famously beautiful sunset. Look for food vendors selling everything from conch fritters to mojitos to tide you over until dinner.
See Key West from Above
Get a bird’s eye view of the island by scaling the Key West Lighthouse. The climb may tucker out your little ones, but once they’re atop the lookout tower they’ll enjoy the feeling of being on top of the world. Take in the sights of Old Town’s conch cottages, lush banyan trees and the crystal clear water surrounding the island.
Discover Buried Treasure and Shipwrecks
What kid doesn’t love a good buried treasure story? Well, Key West is home to a real life treasure hunter at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. Fisher spent 17 years in pursuit of ancient sunken treasure before he discovered the wrecks of two Spanish galleons on July 20, 1985. The Atocha and Santa Margarita sunk off the coast of Key West in 1622 and Fisher uncovered $450 million worth of buried treasure. Today, Mel Fisher’s Maritime Museum is devoted to this groundbreaking explorer and the treasures he found on the sea floor hundreds of years after they were left there.
Hop Aboard the Conch Tour Train
Get the lay of the land aboard the famous Conch Tour Train. Hop in your favorite car and weave your way throughout the island while you learn about the architecture, history, and quirky facts of the island. The 90-minute tour departs every half our from the Front Street Depot near Mallory Square and makes three stops along the way for sightseeing and shopping. You’ll truly appreciate everything Key Was has to offer after an introduction by the Conch Tour Train.
Hear the Island’s Eerie Tales
For a creepy and ghoulish way to experience the island, sign up for the Ghost Tours of Key West. This walking tour departs nightly at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. from Fogarty’s restaurant on Duval Street. You’ll learn about the island’s haunted history and walk inside haunted locations, like the Hard Rock Cafe, La Concha Hotel, and more. It’s a completely unique way to experience Duval Street at night. When the tour’s over, enjoy a meal on Fogarty’s expansive patio. The menu offers large portions and lots of variety. It’s a favorite amongst local and tourists alike.
Peddle Around on Two Wheels
Once you’ve gotten a sense of the island’s geography on the Conch Tour Train, get lost exploring by bicycle. There are bike rental shops all over the island and most of them offer kids bikes, baby seats, and other accessories perfect for the whole family. It’s the way locals get around and it’s the best way to enjoy the side streets and the charming pastel conch cottages that characterize Key West. Pick up sandwiches at La Creperie and ride down to Fort Zachary Taylor Beach for a family picnic.
Uncover the Underwater World of Key West
If your kids aren’t confident swimmers yet and you still want to discover the coral reef, try a ride on the Glass Bottom Boat. This is a great way to see the third largest coral reef in the world without getting wet! Excursions depart three times daily from 0 Duval Street and are two hours long. If you book the evening trip, you’ll enjoy the sunset at sea with a Champagne toast as an added bonus.