best things to do in the florida keys

16 Best Things to do in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a chain of islands located off the southern tip of Florida, stretching from the mainland to the Dry Tortugas. Stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere are the demonstrations of the best things to do in the Florida Keys.

The Keys are a popular destination for tourists, offering a variety of activities such as fishing, snorkeling, diving, and boating. Also, the Keys feature a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and a variety of birds.

This region area is also home to a number of protected species, like the Key deer, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee.

Their unique culture, with a mix of Cuban, Bahamian, and American influences is the best thing here as well that attracts tourists. Plus, the Keys are a great destination for those looking for a relaxing getaway. With its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and laid-back atmosphere, the Florida Keys are sure to provide a memorable experience.

Here is a list of some of the best things to do in the Florida Keys.

Table of Content
1. Dry Tortugas National Park
2. Florida Eco Discovery Centre
3. Key West Butterfly Nature Conservatory
4. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
5. Duval Street Key West
6. The City of Marathon
7. Bahia Honda State Park
8. National Key Deer Refuge Big Pine Key
9. Mallory Square Key West

10. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Museum
11. The Key West Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters
12. Dolphin Research Center
13. Turtle Hospital Marathon

14. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
15. Harry S. Truman’s Little White House

16. Audubon House Tropical Gardens

1. Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is a national park located in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. The park is made up of seven small islands, including the largest, Garden Key, which is home to Fort Jefferson.

This tourist spot is best known for its crystal clear waters, abundant sea life, and historic Fort Jefferson. Surely a popular destination for snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing fanciers. The waters around the islands are home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, and a variety of fish.

There is also a variety of bird species, including brown pelicans, frigate birds, and ospreys. Fort Jefferson is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere and was built in the early 1800s to protect the Gulf Coast from foreign invasion.

The fort is now open for tours. Dry Tortugas National Park is a great destination for those looking for a unique and beautiful place to explore. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day in the sun or an adventure in the sea, Dry Tortugas National Park is the perfect place to visit.

Dry Tortugas National Park florida keys

2. Florida Eco Discovery Centre

The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is an interactive environmental education center located in Key West, Florida. The center is dedicated to educating visitors about the unique ecosystems of the Florida Keys and the importance of conservation.

The center homes interactive exhibits, educational programs, and a variety of activities as well designed to engage visitors in learning about the environment. The center’s exhibits focus on the diverse habitats of the Florida Keys, including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, and hardwood hammocks.

Visitors can explore the habitats through interactive displays, videos, and hands-on activities. There are also offers of educational programs for school groups, families, and adults. These programs cover topics such as marine life, conservation, and sustainable living.

The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center also provides a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. These include guided kayak tours, snorkeling trips, and nature walks. So, there is a bunch of top things to do in Florida. Visitors can also take part in volunteer opportunities, such as beach cleanups and habitat restoration projects.

 Florida Eco Discovery Centre florida keys

3. Key West Butterfly Nature Conservatory


The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is a unique and beautiful attraction located in Key West, Florida. It is home to more than 50 species of butterflies, as well as other exotic birds, plants, and animals.

Tourists can discover the conservatory’s lush gardens and observe the butterflies in their natural habitat. Moreover, the conservatory is a great place to learn about the life cycle of butterflies and the importance of conservation.

The knowledgeable staff is always available to answer questions and provide educational programs. The conservatory also offers a variety of interactive activities, such as butterfly releases, guided tours, and photography opportunities.

Plus, the conservatory is open year-round and admission is free. It is a great place to spend a few hours and learn about the beauty and importance of nature. The conservatory also offers a gift shop, where visitors can purchase souvenirs and educational materials.

Key West Butterfly Nature Conservatory florida keys

4. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a historic house museum lying in Key West, Florida. It was the residence of author Ernest Hemingway from 1931 to 1939. The house is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in 1851 by Asa Tift, a marine architect, and salvage wrecker. It was originally a one-story structure but was later expanded to two stories. Hemingway purchased the house in 1931 and lived there with his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, and their two sons.

During his time in Key West, Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works, incorporating To Have and Have Not and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Today, the house is a museum and is open to the public.

Visitors can tour the house and view Hemingway’s personal belongings, including his typewriter, books, and furniture. The museum also features a gift shop and a café. Here, you can have a fine idea of must-do things to do in the keys of Florida.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum florida keys

5. Duval Street Key West

Duval Street is the main street in Key West, Florida. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its vibrant nightlife, eclectic shops, and colorful architecture.

The street is lined with bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops, and houses some of the most iconic landmarks in the city, including the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and the Southernmost Point in the United States.

The street also features a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Fantasy Fest and the Key West Pride Parade. Moreover, Duval Street is a great place to explore and experience the unique culture of Key West.

Whenever you’re looking for a night out on the town or a day of shopping and sightseeing, Duval Street has something for everyone.

 Duval Street Key West florida keys

6. The City of Marathon

The City of Marathon is a small city which is situated in the Florida Keys, about halfway between Key Largo and Key West. It is the largest city in the Middle Keys, with a population of approximately 8,000 people.

Its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and abundance of outdoor activities are the popular things in the Florida Keys. Marathon is a popular destination for tourists, especially those looking for a relaxing getaway.

Additionally, the city is home to several resorts, restaurants, and attractions, including the Dolphin Research Center, Crane Point Museum and Nature Center, and the Turtle Hospital. You can also enjoy fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

There is a variety of unique shops and galleries, as well as a vibrant nightlife. Therefore, it is the perfect destination for a fun in the outskirts.

 The City of Marathon florida keys

7. Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park is a state park located in the Florida Keys, in Monroe County, Florida. Lying on Bahia Honda Key and famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters.

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, manatees, and a variety of birds as well. Thanks to the interest-grabbing fun things to do in Florida keys such as swimming, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, and camping.

There are also several trails for hiking and biking, as well as a nature center. You will explore a variety of educational programs, such as guided tours and nature walks here. Bahia Honda State Park is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.

The park is open year-round and offers a variety of amenities, including restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and a concession stand. The park also offers a variety of lodging options, including cabins, RV sites, and tent camping. Bahia Honda State Park is a great place to visit for a day or a weekend.

Bahia Honda State Park florida keys

Bahia Honda State Park florida keys

8. National Key Deer Refuge Big Pine Key

The National Key Deer Refuge Big Pine Key is a protected area located in the lower Florida Keys. It was established in 1957 to protect the endangered Key Deer, a small subspecies of white-tailed deer.

The refuge consists of almost 9,200 acres of hardwood hammocks, mangrove wetlands, and pine Rockland habitats. Also includes a variety of wildlife, the Key Deer, American crocodiles, bald eagles, ospreys, and a variety of migratory birds.

The refuge is open to the public for wildlife viewing, photography, and environmental education. Visitors can explore the refuge on foot, by bicycle, or by boat. There are several trails and boardwalks that provide access to the refuge’s habitats.

It also gives numerous educational programs, including guided walks, lectures, and workshops. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Moreover, It is also part of the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes the Key West National Wildlife Refuge and the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors will discover a safe haven for these species to thrive which is an integral part of the Florida Keys ecosystem.

National Key Deer Refuge Big Pine Key florida keys

9. Mallory Square Key West

Mallory Square is another Florida best thing to do, located in Key West, Florida. It is a waterfront plaza located at the end of Duval Street and is known for its nightly sunset celebration.

The plaza houses several shops, restaurants, and attractions, including the Key West Aquarium, the Key West Shipwreck Museum, and the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. It plaza offers a variety of food vendors, offering everything from seafood to ice cream.

Plus, Mallory Square is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. No matter whether you’re searching for a fantastic place to shop, eat, or soak up the sunset, Mallory Square is the perfect place to do it.

Mallory Square Key West florida keys

10. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Museum

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Museum is a maritime museum located in Key West, Florida. The museum is devoted to saving the history of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham, a 327-foot Treasury-class cutter that served in World War II and the Vietnam War.

The museum is located on the grounds of the Truman Annex, a former naval base in Key West. You will find a variety of exhibits and artifacts related to the Ingham and its service on the go.

Visitors can explore the ship’s bridge, engine room, and crew quarters, as well as view a variety of artifacts from the ship’s service.

Again thanks to the variety of educational programs and events, including lectures, workshops, and special events. The museum also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including a Memorial Day ceremony and a Veterans Day celebration.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Museum is a great way to learn about the history of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Ingham. The museum is open to the public and admission is free.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Museum florida keys

11. The Key West Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters

The Key West Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters is a historic lighthouse located in Key West, Florida. The lighthouse was built in 1847 and is the oldest standing structure in Key West.

The lighthouse is a conical brick tower that stands at a height of 85 feet and is topped with a black lantern room. The lighthouse is still active and absolutely a popular tourist attraction.

The lighthouse was constructed to help guide ships into the harbor of Key West. Furthermore, the lighthouse was originally lit with whale oil lamps but was later upgraded to a kerosene lamp. The lighthouse was automated in 1969 and is now powered by solar energy.

The Keepers Quarters is a two-story building located adjacent to the lighthouse. It was built in 1876 and served as the home of the lighthouse keepers and their families. The building is now a museum and is open to the public.

Thanks to the guided tours of the lighthouse and the keeper’s quarters. Visitors can also climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area.

The Key West Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters florida keys

12. Dolphin Research Center

The Dolphin Research Center (DRC) is a not-for-profit marine mammal education and research facility located in the Florida Keys. Founded in 1984, the DRC is dedicated to the preservation and protection of dolphins and other marine mammals through research, education, and conservation.

If you want to visit a variety of dolphins, including bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and rough-toothed dolphins. The center is also homes to sea lions, manatees, and sea turtles.

The DRC offers educational programs for visitors, including interactive programs with the dolphins, educational lectures, and guided tours.

The DRC is also involved in research projects, such as studies on dolphin behavior, communication, and cognition. The center also works to protect dolphins and other marine mammals from threats such as pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction.

The DRC is open to the public and offers a variety of activities for visitors, including swimming with dolphins, educational lectures, and guided tours.

 Dolphin Research Center florida keys

13. Turtle Hospital Marathon

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida is an exotic facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of injured sea turtles. Founded in 1986 by Richie Moretti, a local fisherman, and conservationist, and has since become a leader in sea turtle rehabilitation and research.

It encompasses more than 200 sea turtles, including endangered species such as the green sea turtle, loggerhead, and hawksbill. The hospital provides medical care to injured sea turtles, including surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.

The hospital also works to educate the public about the importance of sea turtle conservation and the threats they face. Tourists will also find educational programs for school groups, as well as guided tours of the facility.

The hospital also works with local governments to protect sea turtle nesting sites and to reduce the amount of plastic and other debris that can harm sea turtles. So, it is a great example of how humans can work together to protect and conserve our natural resources.

14. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is a state park located in the Florida Keys, in Monroe County, Florida. The park is named after Dagny Johnson, a local environmentalist who was instrumental in the preservation of the park.

A wide variety of plants and animals, including the endangered Key Largo woodrat and the threatened American crocodile, are here as well.

Located on the northern tip of Key Largo and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Florida Bay to the west. The park is made up of a variety of habitats, including hardwood hammocks, mangrove swamps, and tropical hardwood forests.

So, do not miss these best things to do in the Florida Keys like various recreational activities, including hiking, biking, bird watching, and fishing. There are also several picnic areas and a nature center.

The park is open year-round, and admission is free. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is a great place to explore the unique ecology of the Florida Keys.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park florida keys

15. Harry S. Truman’s Little White House


The Harry S. Truman Little White House is a historic site located in Key West, Florida. It was the winter White House of President Harry S. Truman for 175 days during 11 visits between 1946 and 1952.

The house was originally built in 1890 as the commandant’s quarters for the Key West Naval Station. It was later used as a naval hospital and then as a residence for the base commander. In 1946, President Truman visited the house and fell in love with it.

Today, the house is a museum and is open to the public. Visitors can tour the house and learn about President Truman’s time in Key West. The house is full of artifacts from the Truman era, including furniture, photographs, and other memorabilia.

The Harry S. Truman Little White House is a popular tourist destination in Key West. It depicts a reminder of the time when the President of the United States chose to spend his winter vacations in the Florida Keys.

Harry S. Truman's Little White House florida keys

16. Audubon House Tropical Gardens

The Audubon House Tropical Gardens is a historic site located in Key West, Florida. It was built in the 1840s and is now a museum and garden. Captain John H. Geiger, a prominent Key West businessman was the original owner of this house.

The house was later purchased by Captain John James Audubon, the famous naturalist, and artist, who used it as a base for his ornithological studies.

The Audubon House Tropical Gardens is a lush oasis of tropical plants and trees, including palms, bromeliads, orchids, and other unique species.

Moreover, the gardens are home to a variety of birds, including the endangered Key West Quail-Dove, as well as iguanas, butterflies, and other wildlife.

The gardens are also home to a variety of historic artifacts, including a cannon from the Civil War, a replica of the original Audubon House, and a replica of the original Audubon studio.

The Audubon House Tropical Gardens is open to the public and offers guided tours, educational programs, and special events. The gardens are also a popular place for weddings and other special events.

Audubon House Tropical Gardens florida keys

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Florida

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4 thoughts on “16 Best Things to do in the Florida Keys”

  1. Key West is one of my favorite places of all time! This is an excellent list of things to do while exploring this amazing part of Florida.

  2. The Florida Keys is one area we haven’t yet visited, and would love to! To see where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote would be a dream. And of course the Dry Tortugas… and and and. Well, you can tell I really want to visit!

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