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Top 15 Things To Do In Key West With Kids

things to do in key west with kids

Hitting the road in your RV for a Florida Keys getaway? Key West, the southernmost point in the continental US, beckons with its vibrant energy, quirky charm, and endless sunshine. But is it a good fit for a family vacation, especially with little ones in tow? Absolutely! This guide is here to show you that Key West offers a treasure trove of experiences that cater to all ages, especially wide-eyed youngsters. Whether you’re a seasoned RV adventurer or a first-time Keys visitor, this itinerary will transform your Key West vacation into a whirlwind of unforgettable family fun.

We’ve got the top 15 things to do in Key West with kids that will definitely complete your Key West adventure.

 

1. Catch Sunsets & Street Performers at Mallory Square

Mallory Square, Key West, Florida Tour 2023 by Fantabulous Travels

 

A trip to Key West wouldn’t be complete without taking in the Sunset Celebrations in Mallory Square, which feature lively crowds, gorgeous skies, and eye-catching entertainment that will astound parents and young children. 

This place is home to many people, including musicians, jugglers, flying cats, and psychics. Many local artisans are also setting up shop in the square, where you can purchase beautiful mementos like underwater photos, t-shirts painted by hand, and silver jewelry made by hand in addition to conch fritters and coconuts.

2. Escape to Dry Tortugas: History, Snorkeling & Fort Adventure!

Explore Dry Tortugas National Park by VISIT FLORIDA

  • Location: The ferry terminal and ticket booth location are at 100 Grinnell Street, while the parking location is at 300 Grinnell Street.
  • Website: www.nps.gov/drto

 

The Dry Tortugas National Park, which spans the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico, is well-known for its shallow beaches and popular sites for snorkeling, particularly around the remnants of Fort Jefferson.

Moreover, the only ways to get to Dry Tortugas are via seaplane or ferry, which adds to the excitement, especially for kids. You may escape to remote islands and tropical beaches at Dry Tortugas National Park, which makes for an extended boat ride and gives you an excellent view of the islands and ocean.

It costs $15 per person to enter Dry Tortugas National Park, and the pass is valid for seven days in a row. No admission fee is required for anyone under sixteen (including international tourists).

Discover hidden-gem beaches,  explore the Florida Keys food scene, find the perfect accommodation, experience the Keys’ stunning waters, and much more.

3. Explore a Butterfly Paradise at Key West Conservatory

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory Walking Tour by The Villages In Video

Encounter hundreds of fluttering butterflies, exotic birds, and two magnificent flamingos while strolling through the towering glass-domed tropical butterfly habitat. Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory has actually been named “Best Attraction in Key West” and “Best Place to Take the Kids.” 

A fascinating introduction to the world of butterflies can be experienced at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory’s Learning Center. To set the scene, a fifteen-minute clip will explain the life cycle and salient features of butterflies.

Then, wander through a welcoming and exotic setting home to hundreds of butterflies among nature’s most exquisite flying animals. You will see an amazing assortment of trees, bubbling waterfalls, and blooming plants on your exploration.

See their ticket prices below for reference:

Ticket

Price

General Admission

$17.50

Local (Monroe County)

$15.00

Seniors 65+

$14.50

Military

$14.50

Children 4-12 Years

$12.50

3 years & Under

Free

4. Dive into an Underwater World at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center

The Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center – Key West by Small City Expo

 

The Eco-Discovery Center in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has been open to tourists and locals since 2007. Now, 6,000 square feet of exhibit space have been reimagined, maintaining the original entry fee-free experience while offering a modern, immersive experience!

While guests can take a self-guided tour of the Eco-Discovery Center, professionals and volunteers are also available to answer questions about the Florida Keys. On weekends, educational carts with skeletons of different sea animals teach about animal adaptations.

5. Step Back in Time at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Tour of Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park by Tampa Jay

 

The biggest collection of Civil War weapons in the world is kept in Fort Zachary, a National Historic Landmark that predates the Civil War. Tour guides and interpretative panels explain the fort’s significant contributions to the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.

While finding immaculate beaches in Key West is not guaranteed, you can definitely find them at Fort Zachary. You’ll discover clean, well-kept sand, umbrellas, beach chairs, and water sports here. The 54-acre state park teems with colorful coral reefs and natural paths that excite snorkelers and environment lovers alike.

Please refer to the entry fees below:

Admission

Fees

One vehicle with up to 8 people (A Monroe County surcharge of 50 cents will be added per person)

$6

Single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle (Monroe County surcharge included in this price)

$4.50

Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass (Monroe County surcharge included in this price)

$2.50

6. Uncover Shipwreck Treasures at the Key West Shipwreck Museum

Location: 1 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040, United States

Contact: 305-292-8990

In the heyday of sailing, more than a hundred ships visited Key West daily. But they knew full well that the waters they were on were among the world’s most dangerous. On average, a ship would capsize somewhere along the Florida Reef every week.

You can travel back in time and learn about Key West’s distinctive maritime history and how it rose to become the richest city in the country by visiting the Key West Shipwreck Museum. The Isaac Allerton wreck, which sank in 1856 on the dangerous Florida Keys reef, was rediscovered in 1985 and is showcased at the Key West Shipwreck Museum through the use of actors, films, and real artifacts.

See ticket prices below:

Ticket

Retail Price

Online Price

Adult

$18.26

$17.99

Children (4-12)

$9.66

$8.99

7. Get Up-Close with Marine Life at the Key West Aquarium

Key West Aquarium Full Tour by Tom’s Road Trippin

 

One of the most well-liked attractions on the island for visitors of all ages is the Key West Aquarium, which is situated in the well-known Mallory Square of Key West.

In addition to interactive conservation presentations and animal feedings, visitors can experience this home to jellyfish, sharks, and many other marine species. With commentary from the knowledgeable guides of the aquarium, you will encounter sea cucumbers, conch, barracuda, grouper, tropical fish, and moray eels.

Visit the Key West Aquarium to have an amazing day in Key West and interact with some of the most fascinating animals in the Florida Keys up close and personal! The admission fee is $20.99, which involves shark and turtle feedings, a hands-on experience in touch tank, and seeing a wide variety of fish and wildlife.

8. Hop On, Hop Off for a Conch Train Tour Adventure!

Key West Conch Train & Walking Tour by TheDailyWoo

One of Key West’s most well-known and historic attractions is the Conch Tour Train. Engineers who are familiar with the city and enjoy sharing anecdotes about their homeland operate the train. 

The tour lasts 90 minutes and passes through Mallory Square and the Old Town. Among many other things, you will see the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum and the Key West Lighthouse. Make sure you grab some handmade fudge or ice cream for the kids at the first stop so they can snack on it on the way!

Aside from the individual entrance fees, there are ticket packages involving the Conch Tour Train Key West Aquarium, and the Key West Shipwreck Museum for a more comprehensive excursion.

Tour

Fees

Aquarium and Shipwreck Museum Package

$33.98

Aquarium, Trolley, Tour, and Shipwreck Museum Package

$90.08

Conch Tour Train

$42.84

Old Town Trolley Tour

$52.82

9. Peek into Hemingway's World: Tour the Author's Home & Museum

Inside Ernest Hemingway House Museum Walking Tour by MooMoo Away

 

Built in 1851 in the Spanish Colonial style, the Hemingway residence was constructed using locally quarried limestone excavated from the property. When the Hemingways acquired the house, it was in terrible disrepair, but Ernest and Pauline could see through the debris and ruin and recognize the home’s magnificent design and stateliness. The house was transformed into the National Historical Landmark that hundreds of visitors enjoy today because of the extensive renovation and reconstruction they carried out in the early 1930s.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is open year-round from 9 AM to 5 PM. The 20-30-minute guided tour will give guests full access to the home, gardens, and the writing studio where Hemingway created many pieces.

Admission

Fees

Adult

$18

Children (6-12)

$7

Children 5 and Under

Free

10. Explore History at the Truman Little White House

 

The only presidential site in Florida is the Harry S. Truman Little White House. Its most significant use was as Truman’s winter White House, where he resided for 175 days between 1946 and 1952 while serving as president. Among the challenges Harry Truman faced were rebuilding Europe, the Palestine issue, labor upheaval, civil rights, foreign policy shifts, and the end of the Cold War.

Currently on display at the Little White House is the 1950 Cosmopolitan Lincoln Limousine from President Truman’s presidential fleet. The White Glove Tour, provided by the Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation and the Little White House Museum, will include the Limousine.

See the tour rates and packages below:

Tours & Packages

Fees

Museum Tour

$22.95

VIP White Glove Tour

$645.00

Museum Tour, Trolley Tour & Shipwreck Museum Package

$90.54

Museum Tour, Conch Tour Train & Shipwreck Museum Package

$80.57

11. Meet Talking Parrots at Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden

Exploring Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden in Key West, Florida by Paul Beckwith

 

Among the top things to do in Key West with kids is to visit ​Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden. Talk, laugh, and dance with the orphaned parrots!

Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden is an educational haven for orphaned parrots. It is the smallest parrot sanctuary in the United States, among the first to open its doors, and one of the few that regularly provides public education in person. 

For thirty-five years, artist, educator, environmentalist, and plant and animal lover Nancy Forrester has been rescuing and finding new homes for orphaned parrots. Putting an end to parrot abuse is the goal of this establishment. 

Families with kids and animal enthusiasts are always invited to visit the Secret Garden to discover more about other parrots and gorgeous South American macaws, four of which are critically endangered. Entrance fees are $10 for each adult and $5 for each child aged 5 to 11. 

12. Build Sandcastles at Higgs Beach

Higgs Beach by Walking Florida

 

Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park, maintained by the county, is situated on Key West’s Atlantic Oceanfront and spans roughly 16.5 acres. The 400-foot Reynolds Street Pier is located in the park.

Higgs Beach features a Civil War Era Fort, Fort West Martello, home of the Key West Garden Club, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a beachside café, the African Refugee Memorial and burial site, and an AIDS memorial. It also boasts stunning sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and tropical vegetation. Swimming, snorkeling, tanning, beach volleyball, tennis, pickleball, and a kids’ playground are offered.

13. Soak Up the Sun & Fun at Smathers Beach!

smathers beach - things to do in key west with kids

 

Smathers Beach is one of the Key West’s four beaches, and during spring break, many people go there. It sees about fifteen thousand visitors a year. It’s the biggest public beach in Key West, around fifty yards long. 

The beach is easily accessible from anywhere in Key West because it is next to Highway A1A. Plus, it’s free. Smathers is a great place for swimmers because of its tranquil waters.

Amenities include:

  • Beach volleyball nets
  • Jet ski rentals
  • Restrooms
  • Shower facilities
  • Volleyball courts

14. Snap a Photo at the Southernmost Point

Southernmost Point in the U.S.A. by Stunning Videos 4K

 

Although the Navy-owned Southernmost Point isn’t actually the southernmost point of Key West, it’s a famous location for photos—one of those shots you just have to have to show that you saw everything significant in Key West!

The colorful buoy is situated just ninety miles north of Cuba, near the intersection of South and Whitehead streets. The point honors the Cubans who lost their lives at sea attempting to reach American territory.

A photo opportunity at the Southernmost Point is strictly mandatory for tourists of all ages. The buoy is free to access, making it an affordable yet fantastic, family-friendly location to explore.

15. Hit the Waves with Sunset Watersports

 

Established in 1984, Sunset Watersports is the original watersports company in Key West. Award-winning Sunset Watersports is a watersports provider that is highlighted on numerous top travel websites. The family-run business has been designing and organizing the most reputable watersport trips in Key West for more than 38 years. 

Sunset Watersports only offers its customers the greatest experiences on the island. Every trip and tour has been carefully chosen and specially created to provide the best possible value at the lowest pricing on the island. Offering top-notch sandbar charters, reef snorkeling, parasailing, jet ski tours, dinner cruises, boat rentals, eco-kayak excursions, and more in the Key West!

Island Adventures In Key West For Kids

Key West isn’t just a destination; it’s a canvas of memories waiting to be painted. Whether the young ones were captivated by wildlife wonders or enchanted by sunset celebrations, each moment etched in the sands of Key West is a treasure that will linger in a kid’s heart. The little explorers have witnessed the wonders of marine life and delved into this tropical paradise’s rich history.

This tropical paradise has proven to be a treasure trove for families seeking both excitement and relaxation. So, as the sun sets over this vibrant isle, it marks the beginning of cherished recollections that will forever echo the joyous spirit of Key West for kids.

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Things To Do In Key West With Kids FAQs

Key West offers many family-friendly activities, from sandy beaches and aquatic adventures to interactive museums and wildlife encounters. The vibrant atmosphere and welcoming community make it a wonderful destination for families.

Yes, Key West is very suitable for families. The island caters to diverse interests with its historical sites, nature parks, and engaging activities. The family-friendly atmosphere and various dining options ensure an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.

The Florida Keys, including Key West, is generally great for kids. The region offers a mix of outdoor adventures, educational attractions, and water activities suitable for children. The laid-back and welcoming environment makes it an excellent destination for families seeking a relaxed, exciting vacation.

The best months to visit Key West are typically from December to May. During this period, the weather is pleasant, and the chances of rainfall are lower. The winter and early spring months offer a perfect balance of warm temperatures and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time for families to explore the island. However, it’s essential to note that Key West is a year-round destination, and each season has its unique charm.

Generally, Key West is considered safe for walking at night, especially in popular tourist areas like Duval Street. The island has a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere. However, it’s always advisable to stay aware of your surroundings and take standard precautions, as with any destination.

One of the biggest festivals in Key West is the “Fantasy Fest.” This lively and colorful event usually occurs in late October and is known for its vibrant parades, elaborate costumes, and lively street parties. Fantasy Fest attracts visitors from around the world and is a great time for families with kids.

Janelle
Author: Janelle

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