If you’re fortunate enough to spend 3 or 4 days in Key West, you have the opportunity to go off the beaten path in your sightseeing and adventures. From outdoors activities to visiting local landmarks and cultural sites, Key West has something for everyone. And with the extra time you get in a long weekend, it’s easy to find it.
Snorkel at Dry Tortugas National Park
Plan ahead to visit this amazing park 70 miles off the coast of Key West, most of which is underwater. You’ll need to catch the ferry out to the island from Key West, or arrange for a charter boat or seaplane to get you there. Wander Fort Jefferson, still standing since the 1840s. Or camp on Garden Key. But it’s the snorkeling that keeps people coming back again and again.
Well-known shipwreck sites here include the Windjammer and the Avanti. Snorkel along the Little Africa coral reef or Texas Rock reef. Night snorkeling along the Moat Wall introduces swimmers to a side of sea life you don’t normally get to see. Birdwatching and stargazing are also popular activities at the park.
For an extra special weekend, pair your visit to Dry Tortugas with a Sieze the Day Charters trip. A charter fishing trip will enable you to fish for tarpon, grouper, tuna, and more, without having to worry about fishing licenses or packing your own gear. If you do nothing else, it’s the snorkeling and fishing alone that keep people coming back to Key West again and again.
Tour Old Key West
The iconic Conch Tour Train is an open-air ride around Old Key West. Guests can hop on or off at three stops: Front Street, Truval Village, and Flagler Station. Friendly tour guides offer an overview of the history and culture of Key West while passengers get a passing view of shops, restaurants, and landmarks to visit afterward.
Step Back in Time
History buffs will enjoy the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum. You can make the 88-step climb to the top of the lighthouse and imagine what it must have been like to provide the essential safety net to seafarers around the island. The 360-degree view alone is outstanding. Guests can also learn more about how the lighthouse worked and all of the effort that went into maintaining it through artifacts and exhibits.
Or, visit Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. This Civil War-era fort also played an important role in the Spanish American War. In addition to walking the paths trod by American soldiers, witness historic reenactments, walk or bike park trails, and enjoy picnic lunches and swimming on the grounds.
Timing is Everything
Plan your trip right and you could be in Key West for one of the many festivals that the city is known for. Events happen throughout the year and attract visitors with an interest in sports, fishing, music, theater, art, food and wine, storytelling, and more. The most famous might be Hemingway Days, held every summer, although Fantasy Fest in October is a close second. The “Bight” Before Christmas is a special way to get into the holiday spirit. And for those who happen to book a trip to Key West in between festivals, don’t despair – the nightly Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square off Duval Street provides visitors a chance to party any time, with live music, performances, arts and crafts, food vendors, and more.
Enjoy a long weekend in Key West and never run out of things to do, from snorkeling to fishing, shopping, historic tours, and cultural events. Plan ahead to make the most of your time on this island city.