The sun and fun of the Florida Keys provide the ideal spot for a family vacation. From small children to teenagers and multi-generational family trips with the grandparents, Key West is the laid-back vacation spot with something for everyone.
The best time to visit Key West is from March through May, with great weather and smaller crowds. However, there really is no bad time to visit. Ocean breezes in the summer help to keep temperatures at a tolerable level.
Let’s take a look at the top seven fun things to do in Key West with kids for your next great vacation.
1) Visit The Key West Aquarium
Any great trip to Key West with kids should include a visit to one of Florida’s oldest aquariums.
Since 1935 the Key West Aquarium has been providing family fun with an educational twist. Over 100 species of fish, turtles, and sharks are at home in the aquarium.
Younger kids will enjoy the hands-on touch tank exhibit, where they can touch conchs, sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, and horseshoe crabs.
The shark exhibit features Key West’s most common shark, the nurse shark. There are three presentations each day with the nurse sharks that include a feeding. At each presentation, ten guests get to help to feed the sharks!
Additional exhibits include a sea turtle presentation focused on turtle conservation and an exhibition of a Key West native, the moon jellyfish.
The Key West Aquarium is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
2) See The Key West Butterfly And Nature Conservatory
In Old Town Key West, on Duval Street, is the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, a fully enclosed facility dedicated to butterflies, exotic birds, and two friendly resident flamingos.
Once inside the glass-domed building, you’ll walk through a rainforest with flowering plants, waterfalls, streams, and tropical trees. Hundreds of butterflies and colorful birds roam free throughout the atrium. The two resident flamingos watch the guests stroll by and smile for the camera.
The conservatory is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Just around the corner from the butterfly conservatory is the Southernmost Point of the Continental US. Step in front of the concrete buoy for a touristy Key West family picture.
3) Mallory Square With Kids
Mallory Square is a lively Key West meeting point. You’ll see cruise ships docked at the pier next to the square when they are in port. Hang out, shop in the local boutiques, and enjoy a Key lime pie at one of the restaurants.
One of the free things to do in Key West with kids happens here every night at sunset.
Each night at around two hours before sunset, the square comes alive. Local vendors line the square selling arts and crafts, including paintings and handmade jewelry. Street performers dance, play music, juggle, perform acrobatics and showcase their fantastic pet tricks to the crowd.
The main attraction is the stunning Key West sunset. People will crowd the square just in time to ooh and ah as the sky becomes a blaze of color and the sun dips into the sea.
4) Climb The Stairs Of The Key West Lighthouse
There are over 6,000 individual coral reefs in the Florida Keys. A lighthouse was built in Key West to help ships navigate the potentially treacherous waters.
You’ll find the lighthouse on Front street, in the heart of Key West. A great way for kids to expend some of their seemingly endless energy is by walking up the stairs to the top. There are 88 stairs in total.
There’s a small museum inside the lighthouse, run by the Key West Historical Society, with photographs and household items from the former lighthouse keepers.
The historic lighthouse is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
5) Check Out The Key West Shipwreck Museum
During the golden age of Key West’s history, an average of 100 ships per day sailed past the town. An average of one ship per week would wreck.
Men kept watching from atop tall watch towers, ready to signal the alert when a wrecked ship was spotted. Salvagers would rush to the ship to recover whatever cargo was on board. The salvaged goods were then sold at auction, with salvagers receiving a large percentage of the money.
The Key West Shipwreck Museum shares the story of those men and how they forged a living through salvage operations. You can climb the steps to the top of the 65′ lookout tower and check out the impressive Key West view.
Artifacts on display include those from the wreck of a ship called the Isaac Allerton. The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
6) Jet Skiing In Key West With Kids
Rent a jet ski or take a guided jet skiing tour for a fabulous Key West adventure! Depending on where you rent from, you can explore the warm waters of either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean.
More than a dozen rental companies are available in the Key West area. Most rentals can be found on the beaches or around the cruise ship marina.
Boat tours offer another great option for families. Spend the day on a sailing catamaran that offers water sports like snorkeling, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and jet skis.
7) Snorkel At The Key West Sandbars
Do a little island hopping. Get away from the crowds and visit some of Florida’s unique sandbars. The most popular sandbars include Boca Grande Key, Snipes Point, Marvin Key, Marquesas Key, and Woman Key.
Sandbar hopping is the perfect family vacation activity, as it offers something for everyone. You can swim in the shallow water, relax on the beach, enjoy a picnic lunch with a cold adult beverage, and snorkel among the colorful tropical fish.
The experienced captains with Laid Back Key West boat tours will take your group of up to six people out to explore the best sandbars. You may even see dolphins or black-tip sharks as you move between the sandbars!
Book now or call us today to get your family’s fantastic boat tour reserved! We look forward to taking you out on an adventure in Key West!