Family Vacation: 5 Can’t Miss-Destinations in Key West

Family Vacation 5 Can’t Miss-Destinations in Key West from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Key West is an iconic vacation destination that families have been enjoying for generations. There’s plenty of sunshine, amazing food, and exciting activities that showcase the unique natural charms of southern Florida. Here are 5 places to add to your Key West itinerary the next time you and your family visit this postcard-perfect island city.

See Mallory Square and Duval Street

While Key West is known for its annual festivals, there’s no need to worry if you miss Hemingway Days or Fantasy Fest, for example. The nightly Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square offers the same opportunity to live it up. Two hours before the sun goes down every night, the party begins with performers, musicians, artists, and food vendors for a fair like no other, culminating with the sun sinking beneath the horizon. While you’re waiting for the Sunset Celebration to begin, do a little souvenir shopping around Mallory Square or grab a bite to eat. Hop the Conch Train Tour for a 90-minute trip around the best of Old Key West, covering major landmarks introduced by tour guides with great insight and expansive knowledge of local history and lore. 

Tour a Historic Island Fort

Dry Tortugas National Park offers visitors a rare chance to see corals, plants, and fish in their natural environment. The park is around 70 miles off the coast of Key West and is only accessible by ferry or seaplane. The park includes a few small islands and many acres of underwater real estate where visitors can go snorkeling on wrecks and among coral reefs. On Garden Key, you can tour Fort Jefferson which was built in the 1800s. Novice and experienced snorkelers and divers can find several sites to explore. Off Loggerhead Key, the coral formation called Little Africa, shaped like the continent it’s named after, is a great place for snorkelers and divers of all skill levels. There are several shipwrecks in the Pulaski Shoals Area. And for added excitement, try night snorkeling at the moat wall; nocturnal creatures that you might see include starfish and octopi.

Dine on Fresh Seafood

Being a city on an island, Key West is famous the world over for its seafood. And while there are dozens of places to eat on Key West, whether you want to enjoy seafood for lunch or dinner, the Key West Seafood Market should be your number one stop. It’s located in a historic building yet the restaurant’s offerings are fresh and innovative. Step inside the restaurant to see glass cases of full shrimp and crab, lobster, and fish. The menu features classics like lobster roll with a local twist with the addition of key lime mustard. Don’t miss the fish and shrimp tacos, grilled lobster, and fried conch basket. Select grouper, hogfish, snapper, and more; the skilled team at Key West Seafood Market will prepare your seafood expertly for you to dine in or take with you. As an added treat, you can order from the Key West Seafood Market from home for delivery across the country.

Book a Charter Fishing Trip

The natural features around Key West where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of Mexico creates one-of-a-kind opportunities for world-class fishing. Experience the thrill of fishing for swordfish, mackerel, grouper, tarpon, tuna, and more. By booking a charter, you and your family can enjoy all of the fun while leaving the planning to the captain and his crew. All of the necessities, like rods and reels and fishing permits, are taken care of by the charter crew. Book a half- or full-day charter for deep-sea, flats, reef, offshore, or wreck fishing. Some area restaurants will even cook your catch; call in advance to make arrangements. 

Get in Touch with Nature

At the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, you and your family can explore the lush greenery of native plants, flowers, and trees on a series of walks around 16 acres of protected lands, the only one of its kind in the continental U.S. Set just outside the main part of the city of Key West, this garden is worth the trip. While hurricanes in recent years have taken out some of the champion trees, the garden has been in recovery and is bouncing back. Many of the plants are endangered and this is one of the few places you’ll get to see them. Be sure to pack a pair of binoculars for birdwatching at some of the few freshwater ponds in the area, a popular spot for migratory birds.  

Family vacations are a wonderful chance for families to reconnect and recharge, and Key West offers a variety of occasions to spend quality time together. From cultural celebrations to fishing excursions, seafood dining, and visits to historic landmarks and gardens, you’ll get the chance to share new experiences together, building memories, and strengthening your relationships.

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