35 Things to Do in Key West with Kids
So you’re looking for things to do in Key West with kids. You’re in the right place! You may think of Orlando when considering a Florida vacation with kids, but there is so much more to the state of Florida than Orlando and the theme parks.
Key West is the southernmost of the Florida Keys. Yes, this sunshine-filled island is known for its nightlife, but there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Key West too. When you’re done here, don’t forget to check out the 40 best places to eat in Key West Florida.
So, whether you fly down to Key West and rent a car or drive there, you will have a full itinerary. Keep reading for 35 things to do with kids during your Key West family vacation.
Rent a car for your Key West Adventures
If you decide to rent a car during your Florida vacation, I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental. Of course, you can fly directly into Key West, but wouldn’t it be more fun to fly into Miami and make a road trip to the Keys? We think so! You’ll enjoy seeing all the small islands and beautiful scenery on the way.
If you’re driving to Key West, check out 30 things to do from Miami to Key West.
Things to Do in Key West with Kids
Here are the best things to do in Key West with kids, listed in no particular order. Of course, not everything will be an excellent fit for your family, but you can pick and choose fun things for the entire family to do in Key West.
Wander Around Duval Street
Duval Street is only a mile long. It’s an excellent option for families with plenty of things to do in Key West with kids. The kids will love grabbing souvenirs from the stores. In addition, you may want to peruse the artwork in the art galleries.
Everyone will agree eating key lime pie is a must at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. Oh, and don’t forget to arrange for a ghost tour. It’s a great way to learn the spooky history of Key West.
Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
The kids might not be thrilled reading Ernest Hemingway in school, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit his home and museum in Key West.
You will love the memorabilia inside the house, and small children will fall in love with all the cats. Okay, any cat lover will enjoy the cats!
Hemingway had a white six-toed cat, and now sixty polydactyl cats live at the museum. They love the attention they receive from guests.
Walk Around the Key West Cemetery
This cemetery is located in Old Town. The tombstones all have unique inscriptions. One states, “I told you I was sick.” Another, “I’m just resting my eyes.” Ask the kids which one is their favorite.
Check Out the Marine Life at the Key West Aquarium
It is always about the marine life in Key West. Key West Aquarium might be small, but there are many native animals to see. I recommend taking one of the scheduled tours during your visit. Attending a presentation may even have you feeding a gentle nurse shark.
Most of the creatures at this aquarium are being cared for until they can be returned to the wild.
Take a Conch Tour Train Ride
Do the kids love trains? If they do, then one of the best things to do in Key West with kids is a conch train tour.
These train rides are approximately 75 minutes long. Your family will learn much about the island’s history on this tour. It’s a great way to find out where everything is so you can return to your favorites later.
Take a Selfie at the Southernmost Point
You can’t visit Key West and not head to the Southernmost Point in the continental United States. This striped buoy is the most popular attraction in Key West. It can get crowded here. Arrive early in the day if you want a picture without many people.
If you’re wondering where the actual southern most point is located, it’s in the aptly-named South Point, on the Big Island of Hawaii!
Visit the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens
Not all kinds will be thrilled to wander around the Audubon House. However, the antiques make it a must-see for adults too.
Once you have checked out the inside, it will be time to head out to the tropical gardens. The kids can run around a little. You can spend your time dreaming about how you might be able to have a garden this beautiful back home.
Go to the Top of the Key West Lighthouse
Climbing to the top of the Key West Lighthouse is considered one of the best things to do with kids in Key West. Just be careful if you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights! This is the best way to get a birds-eye view of the island.
There are 88 very tiny steps that lead to the top of the lighthouse. After you check out the panoramic views, it will be time to head back down to the keeper’s quarters.
Visit the Harry S. Truman Little White House
More history can be found at the Harry S. Truman Little White House. This home was given this name because President Truman spent so much time working there. Before that, the house was used as naval command headquarters during three wars.
The Little White House is now a museum. Numerous exhibits share the history of the house and the events that occurred there.
Spend Time at Smathers Beach
The beaches in Key West aren’t always as amazing as you would think. However, Smathers Beach is worthy of your time though.
Your family will love swimming and building sandcastles. But, of course, there are plenty of amenities like bathrooms, picnic tables, and food trucks too.
One of the best things about this beach in Key West is it is close to the airport. So, you can all watch the planes take off and land during your visit.
Enjoy Quiet Time at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
There are between 50 and 60 different butterfly species at this conservatory. Add in the tropical plants and exotic, colorful birds, and you have an hour or two of things to see.
Experience Mallory Square
The best time to visit Mallory Square is a couple of hours before sunset when the Sunset Celebration begins. Check out the festival and then stay to watch the sun go down.
A word of warning, Mallory Square gets crowded at this time of day. So arrive early, keep the kids close, and grab your sunset viewing spot sooner than later.
Go On a Key West Boat Tour
There are a few different boat tours available in Key West. Finding one that has room for your family shouldn’t be too difficult.
Head out on the water to see dolphins, snorkel, or watch the sunset. The options are practically endless regarding these boat tours, and it’s one of the best things to do in Key West with kids.
Some of our favorite boat tours in Key West include:
- Key West Half-Day Snorkeling Tour
- Key West Shark & Wildlife Tour
- Dry Tortugas National Park by Catamaran
- Key West Dolphin Watch Sunset Sail
- Glass bottom boat tour
Explore Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is another wonderful place to stop when you want to spend time at the beach. The locals consider this beach area to be better than Smathers Beach.
If you don’t want to spend time on the sand or need a little time off the sand, there is plenty to do. You can hike the trails. Go for a bike ride. Or explore the historic fort.
Head Out to Dry Tortugas National Park
Visiting Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the best things to do in Key West with kids. Well, it’s not in Key West, so let’s call it one of the best things to do near Key West.
Check out our guide on How to visit Dry Tortugas National Park for everything you need to know.
This National Park is 70 miles from Key West, and you can take the ferry over to this park, or you can make a day trip by catamaran.
Your family will see all kinds of birds while visiting this park. However, snorkeling is the most popular activity. Head to Fort Jefferson to walk around when you’re finished with your snorkeling adventure.
Go On an Adventure on The Overseas Highway
If you drive to Key West, you will be very familiar with The Overseas Highway. The road takes you 113 miles from Florida’s mainland to Key West.
Now, if you flew into Key West, you will want to venture out on this highway. I recommend taking the Seven Mile Bridge to Marathon for a quick day trip.
It’s an incredible experience to drive over the water.
Explore the Key West Historic Seaport and Harbor Walk
Exploring the Key West Historic Seaport is one of the best things to do in Key West with kids. You will find the seaport on the Key West Bight Marina. History is everywhere at this seaport.
Your family will love checking out the attractions. There are lots of shops and restaurants too.
Don’t stick to just the history while here. This is a perfect spot for parasailing, scuba diving, jet skiing, and dolphin watching.
Head Out on a Key West Seaplane Adventure
You don’t need to stay close to the ground to have fun in Key West. These seaplanes take you above the islands to check out the views from a different vantage point.
One of the favorite views is of all the infamous shipwrecks near the Keys.
If you don’t want to take a ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park, you can take a seaplane instead!
Looking for even more things to do in Key West? Check out the top-rated Key West activities on Viator.
Go Snorkeling at Higgs Beach
Higgs Beach is another fairly nice beach in Key West. Most people visit this beach to go snorkeling. If your family enjoys snorkeling, this will be one of the favorite experiences on your family trip!
Check Out the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
This Eco-Discovery Center contains 6,000 square feet of space. It is a marine sanctuary full of native plants and animals.
Start at the reef tank exhibit before venturing over to the interactive exhibits. The highlight of the center is the model of Aquarius. If you are not aware, Aquarius is an underwater ocean laboratory.
Visit Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden
This secret garden is one of the best-kept secrets in Key West. The owner, Nancy Forrester, is an environmental artist.
She opened this garden in her backyard. The garden is full of rescued parrots and macaws.
I recommend visiting at 10 am. This is when Nancy does her Parrot 101 talk.
Wander Through the Key West Garden Club
When you go to Higgs Beach, take the time to check out the Key West Garden Club. You may hear this garden referred to as the West Martello Tower.
The entire garden is cared for by volunteers. The kids will love wandering around the brick pathways as you look at all the tropical flowers. After that, you might want to convince everyone to take a break at the waterfall.
Experience the Beauty of the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea
You don’t need to be religious to check out the beauty of the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea. The stunning architecture may inspire one of the kids to reconsider their future path!
Find Something Special at the Shipwreck Treasures Museum
One of the favorite things to do in Key West with kids is to visit the Shipwreck Treasures Museum. Guided tours are available if you want to learn more about each treasure.
If not, you can wander around on your own. A scavenger hunt is available, and it will keep the kids busy for a while.
The best part is trying to hold up a heavy silver bar. Although, you may prefer climbing to the top of the tower for the panoramic views.
Have your camera ready for both these things, because they are memories you will never want to forget.
Make a Quick Stop at the Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad
The Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad is now in ruins, so that you won’t be riding the rails any time soon. However, it is the perfect place to stop to see what was once a railroad over the water.
Head Out On Lloyd’s Tropical Bike Tour
This tropical bike tour lasts for approximately 2 hours. Your tour guide will be Lloyd. He makes each tour unique with all the information he shares as you all pedal along.
During this adventure, you will see the Key West Wildlife Center, a botanical garden, and the houses of Florida celebrities.
Dive to the Vandenberg Wreck
You may want to consider diving down to the Vandenberg Wreck if you have older kids. This old Navy ship was purposely sunk to create an artificial reef for marine life.
It is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This wreck is 7 miles off the coast of Key West.
Another popular dive is an actual coral reef, Western Sambos. You’re almost certain to find tropical fish and it will be a great time if your family enjoys diving.
Visit Robert the Doll at the Fort East Martello Museum
Robert the Doll is considered the evilest doll in Key West. His owner was Gene Otto. Robert the Doll would cause numerous problems over the years. There are many reports of this doll overturning furniture, mutilating toys, and doing other mysterious things.
The family didn’t believe Gene when he said Robert the Doll did these things. However, the family did hear the doll’s eerie giggles. And people passing by the house claimed they saw the doll moving between windows.
This doll now resides at the Fort East Martello Museum. You may be tempted to take his picture. Try to resist because Robert the Doll is known to place curses on those who photograph him. There are multiple letters from past guests begging for forgiveness around his glass case.
Visit the Tennessee Williams Museum
The Tennessee Williams Museum is not too far from the Ernest Hemingway House. Yet, this museum usually gets overlooked by families like yours.
The inside of this museum is filled with souvenirs, cartoons, and photos. In addition, there is an exhibit that includes William’s wicker chair and typewriter. The most popular display is the one that shares a copy of the coroner’s report and newspaper clippings of the rumors that pertained to his death.
Visit the Oldest House in Florida
The oldest house in Florida is called the Oldest House. This house was constructed back in 1829. It was owned by Captain Frances Watlington – a famous wrecker.
Photo is property of the Oldest House.
That meant he took valuables from all the shipwrecks around Key West. So you never know what is inside that may not have belonged to him.
Watch the Sunrise at South Beach
Before you head over to the Southernmost Point, go to South Beach. It is a beautiful place to watch the sunrise. Besides, visiting the beach is one of the best things to do in Key West with kids.
Buy Some Goodies at the Farmer’s Market
Going to the farmers market on Thursdays is one of the best things to do in Key West with kids. This market is held between 10 am and 2 pm. You can find tropical fruits and all kinds of fun things from local artists.
Take an Eco-Tour of the Mangroves
The mangroves in Key West are beautiful. One of the best ways to see them is by taking an eco-tour with a local nature guide.
Ride the Old Town Trolley
The Old Town Trolley is a hop on hop off trolley in Key West. There are 13 stops you can visit along the way, and you can purchase your tickets in advance here.
Take a Selfie at the US 1 Mile Marker Zero Sign
The kids will love knowing they are at the end of the road when you find this sign. It is located at the corner of Whitehead Street and Fleming Street.
Get a Workout In at the Truman Waterfront Park
The Truman Waterfront Park is an excellent place to walk or work out. There is a fitness trail that has different exercise stations.
Things to do in Key West with kids
These are some of the best things to do in Key West with kids. Did your favorite things to do in Key West make the list? If not, let me know in the comments!
More Florida Travel Tips
I hope this list helps you plan your Key West family vacation and make it the best vacation ever. Don’t forget to check out even more of our best Florida travel ideas:
- The 25 Best East Florida Beaches
- The best place to find sharks teeth in Florida
- 30 Things to Do in Miami for Kids
- The 10 best places to see sea turtles in Florida
- 12 best places to see manatees in Florida
- Unique things to do in Naples, Florida
- Things to do in St. Augustine with Kids
- First-Timer Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find here. If you want even more tips, join our mailing list. We’ll share any new tips and tricks we learn, along with Florida news and recent blog posts of our adventures.
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