One of the best ways to relax and truly get away from it all is to book a solo vacation. And if you’ve never done that before, Key West is an ideal place to go. Its convenient location and compact size make getting there and exploring the island easy. Indulge in all the things you want to do on your schedule. Here are some of the top things to do:
Just 70 miles off the coast of Key West, you’ll find one of the most mesmerizing national parks ever created. With clear blue waters that make snorkeling and diving a breeze, this is one of the most popular locations among vacationers here. The park is actually a collection of small keys surrounded by miles of underwater acreage, and you’ll need to book the ferry to get here. You can walk the grounds and sea wall at Fort Jefferson, which is nearly 200 years old. You can snorkel along coral reefs and shipwrecks as well as old naval pilings. The water is relatively shallow so the visibility is typically outstanding. Among the one-of-a-kind activities you can enjoy here is night snorkeling. Check out the birdwatching and night snorkeling possibilities, too. For those who’d rather not snorkel or who can’t make it to the park, you can book a fishing trip with a company like All In Fishing Charters and head out to nearby areas that give you a view of Dry Tortugas while allowing you to enjoy the top-notching fishing available here, too.
For charming shopping and a glimpse of yesteryear, visit Old Key West. This neighborhood is worth the visit, with shops, restaurants, and other attractions to keep your interest. While you’re in the neighborhood, make sure you stop by Eaton Street Seafood Market & Restaurant. Menu items are prepared with only the freshest seafood caught daily, and meals are available to eat al fresco or to-go. You can’t go wrong with the fish tacos, lobster roll or conch fritters.
Whether you choose a sailboat, catamaran or another vessel, booking a sunset cruise around Key West offers a chance to fully relax while taking in the dramatic seaside views of Key West at night. These excursions typically include live music, hors d'oeuvres, and drinks. A tour guide often narrates the history of Key West and sprinkles the story with charming anecdotes and startling revelations about the famous and infamous residents of this famous Florida playground.
At the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, you can gain a better understanding of how today's explorers locate undersea shipwrecks and how that practice has changed over time. In addition to myriad exhibits and artifacts, the facility also has an on-site lab and conservation center. It's a great chance to see gold coins and similar treasures, as well as learn how these precious objects can be used for learning about the past.
Key West's beaches may be small but they make up for it in beauty. Ribbons of white sand are accented by the striking green palm fronds that surround these natural areas. In addition to swimming, these beaches have ample opportunity for snorkeling, too, because the waters are so clear and shallow. Many of them offer the chance to rent beach chairs and umbrellas for daily use, and some include concession stands where you can grab a light lunch or snack and get a cold drink.
If you’re up to the 88-step climb, you can easily imagine yourself serving as the local lighthouse keeper nearly 200 years ago. This was a critical role to prevent ships from crashing into coral reefs around Key West. Check out the original lighthouse and the keeper’s cottage next door, full of artifacts and exhibits that reveal what life was like back when it was a working lighthouse.
Plan your trip right and spend time in Key West during one of the many festivals that the city is known for. Events happen throughout the year and attract visitors with an interest in a wide range of activities. There’s sports, fishing, music, theater, art, food and wine, storytelling, and more. From Hemingway Days to the Bight Before Christmas, Fantasy Fest, and more, there is always something to celebrate. And just to drive that point home, the city welcomes visitors with a nightly Sunset Celebration in Mallory Square nightly.
When planning for your first solo trip, it’s important to choose someplace with lots to do but won’t be overwhelming. Key West offers the chance to tailor your itinerary to your energy and interest levels. From high-end experiences to casual recreation, see all that this charming island can provide and feel your stress drain away.