[gmap address="key west, fl" html="key west, fl" zoom="7"]

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Key West Dolphin Tour

 Dolphins and humans have a special bond and here in Key West you have the chance of a lifetime- to experience these marine mammals in the wild. A Key West dolphin tour should be at the top of your agenda if you love nature, animals, and the ocean. Choose from several dolphin tours that will have your whole family or group feeling the bond with these amazing creatures!

Dolphins are truly incredible, and the more you learn about them from your Key West Dolphin Tour guide, the more you’ll agree that dolphins and humans really do share a natural affinity for one another. Your tour guide and captain will be knowledgeable of dolphins and their habitat, so ask as many questions as you can think of! Learn about physiology, anatomy, behavior, and communication patterns of these sociable mammals whose curiosity sometimes brings them right up to the boat you’re in.

Key West Dolphin tours pride themselves on their awareness of how delicate the natural world really is. They respect the dolphins and their habitat and attempt to be as non-intrusive as possible. Therefore, we offer Key West dolphin tours where the boat goes to the dolphins’ natural environment, usually in the Gulf of Mexico or close to shore on the Atlantic side of Key West. Dolphins are never held in captivity in Key West, so when you see these wild creatures, you’ll know they’re happy, healthy, and having a great time in their own element, free and undisturbed.

Dolphins run in groups of up to a dozen in size, and these groups are called pods. Key West has resident dolphin pods, so your dolphin tour guide will have a very good sense of where to find the pod each day. And our guides are completely dedicated and professional…they go out almost every day of the year! Of course they love their work. Who wouldn’t?

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Key West Tours

 There’s rich culture and lots of history throughout the tiny streets of Key West. This may be a small island at four by two miles, but there’s so much going on, and so much fascinating history to learn about, you’ll have fun creating a travel itinerary from Key West tours alone! Of course you will want to explore the reef while you’re here, but save some time for a few Key West tours and discover the charm that makes the Southernmost City so special.

Key West has a rich history which has a fascinating mixture of things Cuban, military, famous authors, sunken treasure, and sport fishing, sprinkled with a bit of pirates, bootlegging and other illegal trades that have come and gone through the years. Key West tours offer a sampling of these intertwined histories. As you ride through the streets your tour guide will offer stories that will help bring Key West’s history alive as you ride past the very locations where famous people once lived or events once took place.

 For Key West tours of Old Town, there are trolley tours and Conch Train tours. Each features open-air seating and a tourguide who is also your driver, and very also very knowledgeable about Key West history and culture. Roll past Hemingway House, Sloppy Joe’s, and on up Duval Street and you’ll get a great tour that gives you a fine sense of Key West and an understanding its particular charm. And best of all, you save your feet for later, when you’ll want to stroll down Duval Street yourself and check out the boutiques, shops, bars, and dining.

Other types of tours in Key West include a Key West Ghost tour, which naturally only happens at night! This is a walking tour of Key West, starting out in Old Town and making its way to the Key West Cemetery. An old favorite of many visitors, the Key West Ghost Tour is a wonderful way to learn about Key West and its history.

There are also walking tours of Old Town, and a bicycle tour of Old Town. These are run by small private organizations and offer a personal view of the island. Any way you go, Key West tours will leave you with a sense of the city, the island, and its unique history.

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Key West Snorkeling

The colorful coral reef, the schools of tropical fish, magnificent sting rays- the wonders of the marine world are yours to explore on a Key West snorkeling trip. Imagine floating blissfully along the warm subtropical waters of Key West, gazing down at incredible sea life just a few feet below you. This is what a tropical vacation is all about, and we’re here to help you make it all happen for you. Book Key West snorkeling trips online and save money by getting discounts, and low price guarantees.

The island of Key West is lined with coral reef on the south side, so Key West snorkeling can take you to many different areas of the reef for different snorkeling experiences. To start out, however, Sand Key Light is the top destination. And no wonder – with shallow reef that comes right up to the historic lighthouse within a foot or two of the water’s surface, you’ll be able to see so much! Sand Key Light has a wonderful diversity of coral, fish, rays, barracuda, eels, and other marine life living in the abundant coral ecosystem. It’s the ideal spot for first time snorkelers.

 If you just can’t get enough of Key West snorkeling and you want to venture out another day, the reef extends in both directions from Sand Key light. Heading east, there’s Rock Key, known for its calm waters even when it’s a bit windy out there. The rocks here stick out of the water, breaking any waves that might come rolling in from offshore. It’s protected, shallow, and an ideal spot for your next Key West snorkeling spot.

Heading east from Rock Key, you’ll find Eastern Dry Rocks, which are part of the main reef and therefore provide lots of snorkeling grounds. If you’ve opted for a Key West boat rental and you’re on your own, anchor up and explore the area. Don’t get too far from the boat, and watch the current!

Still heading east, you’ll run into The Sambos- western, middle and eastern. These also make fun destinations for a day of Key West snorkeling. The main reef is about six miles from Key West, and between the island the reef are gazillions of small patch reefs. If you’ve rented a boat, explore and find your own private snorkeling spot to make your Key West vacation exciting and complete.

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Key West Fishing

 The 220 miles of coral reef the run the length of the Florida Keys and beyond Key West to the Dry Tortugas form the backbone of the most diverse and abundant marine ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere. Visitors here enjoy countless activities related to the coral, reef, but nothing compares to the thrill of Key West fishing. From bonefishing on the flats to hunting the big game fish that run offshore and all the coral reef fishing in between, Key West fishing will make your vacation one the most exciting vacations you’ll ever experience!

 Exciting is the perfect word for Key West fishing- just ask anyone who’s had the pleasure of heading out to sea in a sport fisher for a day of chasing tuna, marlin, wahoo, or mahi mahi. Or ask the flats fisherman who tosses out a lure in front of a bonefish and watches it grab the lure and take off. Salt water sport fishing is serious fun, and the fish are serious fighters. You gotta be strong to live in the ocean!

 Key West fishing can also take you to the back country, where anglers target permit, tarpon, sharks and bonefish. There are dozens of tiny uninhabited islands covered in mangroves and set in shallow water. You could spend weeks, even months exploring the rich abundance of life that lives in the back country, and your Key West fishing guide will show you how to target each species. From the elusive bonefish who requires precise placement of the bait or lure, to the might bottom-feeding sharks that cruise around, there’s a special method and a unique thrill to catching each one. Key West fishing guides will take you there and coach you through each technique until you feel the thrill of an awesome catch on the line.

  While on vacation in the Southernmost City, why not try each type of Key West fishing? Wreck and Reef fishing, flats fishing, offshore fishing, or back country fishing- they’re all different but the one thing they have in common is great thrills and excitement that make for the best memories ever.

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Key West Diving

key west diving

Miles and miles of coral reef, dozens of explorable shipwrecks, and plenty of marine life to observe…what’s not to love about Key West diving? We’re blessed with North America’s only living coral reef and the abundancy of sea life that exists around this incredible ecosystem. Key West diving makes this tiny island a true paradise, if you ask any diver!

And now, Key West diving is even more exciting because there’s the newest artificial reef, the USS Vandenberg. Sunk in May 2009, this 327 foot ship sits in 130 feet of water six miles south of Key West. All the dive companies in town now feature Vandenberg dive trips – book online for better deals and discounts.

If you’re new to diving, then you can opt for a resort course. Learn the basics of diving in a day, and you can be out on the reef exploring the amazing underwater world in no time! The marine world and its incredibly beautiful creatures are not to be missed – imagine yourself on vacation in Key West, exploring a whole new world! Sea turtles, rays, schools of tropical fish, curious and harmless barracuda, eels, and the occasional pelagic fish like mackerel will make appearances on the reef or wrecks frequented by Key West diving boats.

From complete beginners to advanced technical divers, Key West diving has something for everyone. Some of the shipwrecks are in deep water with strong currents, like the Curb Wreck. Curb is 180 feet down, so only advanced divers can attempt this wreck. The Vandenberg is also deep, but even if you can’t go that deep, you can still enjoy this new artificial reef. The satellite towers come up to 50 feet from the surface so even snorkelers can see them when the visibility is good.

Why miss out on one of the best things about the Southernmost City? Key West diving is one of the top ten activities here, and it’s accessible to almost anyone who wants to try. From resort courses for novices to advanced technical dives for those of you who’ve been diving for years, we have a dive package for you. Come and witness the beauty of the underwater world of Key West and rediscover how exciting your vacation can be!

Key West Boat Rentals

Cruising the open seas, zipping around the Back Country, finding your own private spot on the reef for snorkeling or diving… it’s all part of the perfect tropical vacation in Paradise, and made possible with Key West boat rentals. Go where you want to go and on your own schedule and choose from a wide range of reliable, comfortable rental boats. From a 17 foot to a 30 foot center console, you can get exactly what you need to pursue your dreams of diving, snorkeling, Boat Rentals or private sunset cruises in Key West.

Key West boat rentals are available daily, weekly or monthly. It’s the perfect complement to a vacation rental with a boat slip! If you come to Key West for water sports, Boat Rentals, or any activities that involve getting on the water, then an Key West boat rental can even be an economical choice. We know it’s more fun and more convenient to rent your own boat rather then relying on charter Boat Rentals boats or dive and snorkel tours. But if your goal is to be at sea or up in the back country as much as possible, tour guide and charter prices can really add up! At $1000 for a full day of Boat Rentals with a guide, a Key West boat rental really makes sense, budget-wise.

While it’s convenient to keep your Key West boat rental at your vacation rental that comes with boat slip, this is not an option for everyone staying in Key West. Compared to the rest of the Florida Keys, Key West has relatively few waterfront homes with boat slips. There are only two canals and most of the homes those two streets are not vacation rentals.

There are hotels in Key West the feature boat slips. One is Banana Bay, located on North Roosevelt. Down the street and take a right onto Eisenhower Street, is Harborside Motel and Marina. In Old Town at the waterfront, you have pricier options like the Westin Hotel and Marina, and the Galleon Resort and Marina. Key West is full of options for everything, and you can tailor your vacation to your own desires and budget…. start planning now and get ready for your dream vacation. Book online for Key West boat rentals and save money!

Key West Activities

So, you need to banish the cold weather doldrums and escape to a tropical island? Key West is the perfect solution to your winter blahs. Watching the sun melt into the horizon after a day of playing in the sun and in the warm sub-tropical waters on our coral reef system will chase away even the hardest case of the winter blues. And with dozens and dozens of Key West activities, to choose from, you’ll never be bored!

From Key West Activities to Duval Street bars and shopping, the list of fun things to do in Key West runs the gamut. You can choose Key West activities that require you to just show up and enjoy the ride, like trolley tours of Old Town. Or you can join in adventure kayaking trips, snorkel adventures, or salt water sport fishing.

If you’re in town for more than a day, then you have even more Key West activities to choose from. At night, join a Key West Ghost Tour, which takes guests through the dark streets of Old Town, past haunted houses and winds its way to the Key West cemetery. Bicycle tours of Key West are also a wonderful and eco-friendly way to discover the secret corners and tiny lanes of Old Town.

Booking online for Key West activities will definitely save you lots of money. By booking in advance, you get discounts and a low price guarantee. Just click on the “Book Now” pictures you see on this website and you’ll be taken to our sister booking sites. It’s an easy way to get started on planning your Key West vacation. Those winter doldrums will disappear the minute you arrive in Key West!

Dry Tortugas Fort Jefferson

dry tortugas

Dry Tortugas is a group of ten islands west of Key West. When the US decided there was a need to control the traffic through the Gulf of New Mexico, they decided to construct a fort on the ten acre Garden Key of the Dry Tortugas, so named because there was no fresh water available. The result was Fort Jefferson, a unique six sided fort using over sixteen million bricks to construct a perimeter fifty feet high and eight feet thick, and the largest brick building in the western hemisphere. This fort at Dry Tortugas was a behemoth in its day.

 

The fort at Dry Tortugas was used as a prison for Union deserters during the Civil War, as well as housing prisoners such as Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was arrested as a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. It’s later history included a quarantine station for infectious diseases.

1935 saw Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas declared as a national monument by President Roosevelt, and it became a national park in 1992.

Today, Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park is open to the public for tourists, and over 70,000 people make the trip each year. However, it can take some planning to get there.

There are a couple of options to get to the Dry Tortugas, either by boat or by seaplane. There are both public ferries and sea planes in daily operation. You can also charter or take your own boat.

dry tortugas sea plane

The Yankee Fleet operates the Yankee Freedom daily to the Dry Tortugas, departing from the Historic Key West Seaport at the northend of Margaret Street and arriving at Garden Key. Departures are at 8am (you must check in by 7:30am) and returns at 5:30. The ride to the Dry Tortugas is 2 hrs 15min each way, and the trip includes breakfast and lunch. Snorkeling equipment and a 45 minute tour of Fort Jefferson are also included. Reservations are recommended www.yankeefleet.com

Seaplanes of Key West offers a quicker trip for up to ten passengers to the Dry Tortugas, with a 40 minute flight each way. Passengers can choose either a four hour trip or an eight hour trip, and snorkeling equipment is also available so you can explore more of the Dry Tortugas. Reservations of at least a week in advance are recommended. www.seaplanesofkeywest.com

Both Yankee Fleet and Seaplanes of Key West offers a unique camping experience for the self-sufficient camper who wants to stay longer at the Dry Tortugas. Campers must bring all their own food, water and supplies, and can stay for a maximum of fourteen nights. There is also a $3 fee per night, payable to the National Park Service. There are eleven first-come first-served camps sites available at Fort Jefferson, each with a picnic table and grill (using self starting charcoal only) for camper’s use. There are restrooms available, but no sinks or showers. You must also remove all garbage with you when you leave the Dry Tortugas.

Key West

key westKey West isn’t the only place in the Florida Keys that offers resorts, or sportfishing, or museums, historical attractions, fine dining, fabulous sunsets, galleries and bars, but it is the only place that offers allthese things in multiples, plus more, in one place. Key West is the most happening place in the Keys, it’s the most populated, the most visited, and has the most preserved historical buildings in the Florida Keys. For some, this is the only destination in the Keys, and for most, it’s at least one spot they hope to visit while on vacation, discovering the Florida Keys.

Key West is the only real city in the Florida Keys, and boasts famous resident writers, artists, and pirates throughout history. There are more galleries, restaurants, museums, shops, guest houses, hotels, watersports outfitters, bars, live entertainment, and general partying going on here than anywhere else in the Keys. There are beaches, parks, bicycle paths everywhere, every kind of watersport rental you can imagine, and of course the famous Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square each night, where everyone gathers to cheer the setting sun over the water. What a way to kick off the evening! There is a constant parade of events here, such as Fantasy Fest, Hemingway Days, Conch Republic Days and too many fishing to even list. There’s a communal party-like atmosphere on Duval Street, which is Key West’s main hub of activity. Cruise Duval for bars, shops, restaurants, galleries, ice cream, and other surprises to get your vacation started. There’s a lot of discovering to do right from Duval, and then explore the side streets of Old Town for beautiful Conch houses, the epitome of Key West architecture, and for which Key West is famous. You might even be staying in a historic conch house that now serves visitors as a guest house. There are dozens of them in Key West and you can’t miss them as you stroll down the streets off Duval.

Key West has a charm that’s unique to this special part of the Florida Keys, and indeed the Conch Republic, was born here, with the Florida Keys having seceded from the US in the early 1980s. The dispute was over border issues and Cuban immigrants, but things have settled down since those days, and today the Conch Republic is more of a fanciful quirkiness and symbol of civic pride rather than a serious attempt to separate from the United States.

Key West really isn’t like any other place in the US, for it has a unique combination of historical preservation and love of freewheeling fun and anything goes attitude that some people find refreshing and others find strangely unsettling. This is a fun-loving town, and there’s no better way to witness the wonderful strangeness of Key West than to visit during Fantasy Fest, the week leading up to Halloween. This is Key West at its best, with parades, costumes, floats, and parties all week long. Book early, since accommodations fill up early. This is a popular event!

From tours of historical conch houses, to trolley car rides around the city to top tourist attractions, from offshore Key West fishing charters to dive and snorkel excursions, from deluxe resorts to quirky guest houses, from Key Lime Pie ice cream to exquisite shrimp feasts, Key West has so much to offer to everyone who visits. Discover Key West and you’ll have the time of your life!

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Shipwreck Historeum Tower
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Shipwreck Historeum

Shipwreck Historeum

Shipwreck Historeum

The Shipwreck Historeum is a highly visible Key West attraction, located right behind Mallory Square and across from the Key West Aquarium.  It is not, however, one of the Top Ten Things to Do in Key West.  The tour guides visitors through the dark hallway of salvaged goods from yesteryear, set up in a way so we can easily imagine the warehouse as it was back in the 18th and 19th centuries. You can purchase tickets at a booth just outside the building.

The tour guides are dressed in period costume and give the tour in character, but we would have been a lot happier with just a pamphlet or audioguide for our mp3 player.   The salvaged goods were strewn about in dark corners without much attempt at interpretation or museumship.  In other words, it seemed like it was still just a warehouse, the only difference is now there’s an admission fee which includes being led around by an irritable clown dressed up in costume.

The supposed big highlight of the tour was being able to watch clips from an old 1940s movie made about the salvaging industry in Key West.  We skipped it because it’s not that great of a movie, to begin with, and we’d seen it on Netflix.  Not even sure it was filmed in Key West.

The saving grace of this Key West attraction was the rooftop observatory, which back in salvaging days was used to spot ships wrecked on the reef.  Once spotted, these shipwrecks became targets of aggressive, competing for salvaging operations who raced out to be the first on the scene….not to save the men overboard, but to claim ownership of the treasure and management of wrecking activities. One can get nice views and snapshots over Key West from up there.

Shipwreck Historeum Tower

Shipwreck Historeum Tower