First Time in Key West? Check Out These Top-Rated Destinations

First Time in Key West

Whether Key West, Florida is on your bucket list or you simply found a great deal on airfare and a hotel, your first time to this exciting island city is one that will leave you wanting more. To make the most of your visit, check out these top destinations, which are well-known for being a great experience.

Eaton Street Seafood Market

Seafood is one of the biggest culinary draws in Key West, and there’s no better place to explore the ocean’s bounty than Eaton Street Seafood Market. The quaint Art Deco exterior of its Old Key West is welcoming, and the extensive menu of freshly caught fish, lobster, and shellfish is enough to tempt even the most discerning diner. Don’t miss the fish tacos, grilled lobster, and fish sandwiches!

Dry Tortugas National Park

Just about 75 miles from Key West is one of the country’s newer national parks, Dry Tortugas. It’s a legendary location that includes multiple small islands and a historic fort that was instrumental in the early military history of the U.S. Accessible only by ferry, you’ll typically need to plan ahead and book your reservation in advance. One of the reasons why so many people flock to Dry Tortugas is the snorkeling. Because the surrounding waters are so calm and clear, it’s the ideal environment for new and experienced swimmers alike. There are coral reefs and authentic shipwrecks to explore, too.

Charter Fishing

Fishing in Key West draws anglers from around the world. Wreck, reef, deep water, and flats fishing are all available to charter fishing guests. All In Fishing Charters goes out daily, and the experienced captain and crew are dedicated to the comfort and enjoyment of their guests. Even if you have never been fishing before, you’re welcome on one of All In’s well-equipped boats for a half- or full-day trip where you can catch snapper, grouper, tarpon, amberjack, mackerel, and more.

And if you do happen to make a catch you can keep, there are plenty of local restaurants that offer a cook-your-catch menu option so you can enjoy your fish grilled, broiled or blackened and served family-style. In addition, there are typically one or more fishing tournaments going on in Key West that are open to entries over several weeks or even months; if you’re interested in competitive fishing, it’s worth looking into these opportunities while you’re visiting.

Sandbar Charter

One of the most popular experiences that are enjoyed by Key West locals is relaxing on a sandbar. With a sandbar charter, you can party like a local and play the day away by splashing in the water, lounging on the sand or even indulging in an over-water swing for a one-of-a-kind experience. Your sandbar trip generally includes water toys, loungers or beach chairs set up for you. Charter vessels often include Bluetooth capabilities so you can play your own music, and some include beachside lunch options.

Duval Street

This is Key West’s premier shopping destination. It runs the length of the island, and allows for easy strolling along independent boutiques, galleries and shops, along with name brand retail stores. Whether you have a passion for art, food and wine, clothing, home decor or just want a special souvenir of your trip, you’ll find it on Duval Street. There are plenty of places to stop for a meal, and after dark, you’ll find several venues that offer live music, including a few jazz clubs. If you’d rather watch the sun set, check out the nightly Sunset Celebration in Mallory Square, located at the end of Duval Street. Enjoy live music, performers, arts and crafts vendors, and food and drink vendors, too. It’s an all-ages experience where you’ll find locals and tourlsts alike.

Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe

You’ll find Key West’s signature dessert served by practically every restaurant, cafe and shop in town. But for an authentic key lime pie that’s the ideal combination of sweet and sour, it’s Kermit’s for the win. Discover the joys of freshly baked key lime pie, and for non-traditionalists, creative adaptations like strawberry key lime pie. The charming setting and outdoor seating at the Elizabeth Street location is welcoming so you can linger over your treats while watching the koi in the nearby pond. Along with pie, Kermit’s does have an full menu of light fare, and the shop sells a wide range of key lime-inspired goods. Find cookies, bake mixes, candy, jellies, jams, chutneys, dressings, and even skin care products like lotions and lip balm.

A Great Get-Away to a Place You Won’t Want to Leave

Key West makes it easy to feel like you’ve entered a whole new world, with the abundant sunshine and relaxed vibe. Use this list of most popular destinations to build an itinerary that allows you to experience the best of the Conch Republic for yourself.