Choosing a destination for family vacations can be a challenge. Everyone wants to do something different yet as a parent, you want to make it an opportunity for everyone to spend time together. With a place like Key West, there’s plenty to do to keep everyone engaged while also allowing a little freedom to older kids. Here are some of the best family-friendly activities, accommodations, and dining options in Key West.
Visit Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
This amazing seaside park has something for everyone. The Civil War-era fort offers a glimpse into military history and architecture; view excavated areas for an up-close view of the work being done to reclaim this piece of local history. Stroll along the beach or go for a swim. The park offers picnic and grilling areas which make it easy to spend the full day here, exploring everything the park has to do. There’s a small jetty for fishing and lots of walking trails. Biking trails are open, too, for visitors who rent bikes to get around the island. Snorkel rentals are available, along with beach umbrellas and beach chairs, too. And if you’d rather pack light, the park’s cafe offers light breakfast and lunch items plus ice cream and cold drinks.
Shop On and Off Duval Street
Duval Street has long been known for the shops, boutiques and galleries popular among visitors. But there are plenty of places off the beaten path that offer an array of handcrafted gifts and decor items, jewelry, clothing, artwork, cigars, wine and liquors, and food items for immediate enjoyment and meaningful souvenirs. Explore smaller streets to see the array of creativity possessed among Key West residents who offer their crafts for sale. Shop for sandals, cigars, handmade jewelry, pottery, and more.Take advantage of shipping, where available, to avoid having to force-fit items into your suitcase. As you walk, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy an ice cream cone, a cold drink or lunch from among the many small food shops, restaurants, and cafes that dot the main road.
Enjoy Local Seafood Favorites
Whether you choose to dine on-site at the shaded picnic tables or take your meals to go, don’t miss the local favorites like conch fritters and fish sandwiches from Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant in Old Town Key West. For those who aren’t big fans of fish, the menu includes old stand-bys like chicken tenders, too. The friendly and knowledgeable staff make it easy to choose a reliable favorite or something new. House-made sides and sauces are the perfect accompaniments to every dish.
Book a Fishing Charter
Have an adventure and go fishing with your family. There’s no need to worry that you’re not experienced enough, they provide all of the fishing rods and reels you need, plus expert guidance to ensure everyone has a good time. Book a half- or full-day trip depending on your schedule. The fishing varies by time of year but you could go out for mackerel, mahi mahi, snapper, tarpon or amberjack. Charter options include wreck, reef, and deep water fishing.
Get Spooked with a Ghost Tour
Key West is a very old city, and there’s plenty of local lore about strange goings-on if you know who to ask. When you go on a ghost tour, you’ll learn about Robert the Doll and other spooktacular Key West residents. Led by experienced and engaging tour guides who know a thing or two about the best haunts in Key West, believers and skeptics alike will have a frighteningly good time. It’s still a walking tour, though, so wear comfortable shoes and be sure to pack a camera because you never know when you’ll see something strange.
Try the Key Lime Pie
Blue Heaven is a quirky restaurant serving up creative American and Caribbean favorites accented with local ingredients for memorable dining. Don’t miss the seemingly mile-high key lime pie. Outdoor seating is dog-friendly, and takeout orders are honored, too, in case you’d rather pick up your meal and head back to your accommodations. From breakfast to late night, the menu includes vegetarian and gluten-free dishes sure to please. Depending on the time of day, there can be a bit of a wait but the delicious food and friendly staff make it worthwhile. The eggs Benedict is definitely one of the stand-out dishes. Dine indoors or out, and enjoy a full meal or sit at the bar to enjoy a drink and live music.
Stay at Pier House
PIer House Resort and Spa is an upscale experience that offers spacious rooms plus plenty of amenities like two restaurants, a private beach, and a pool. The secluded grounds offer a distinctive retreat feeling, and the full-service spa provides a chance for hard-working moms and dads to get a little pampering, too. The prime location of Pier House puts guests close to shopping, restaurants, and more. Attentive concierge services can help with recommendations and reservations to ensure you and your family can maximize your family time.
Taking a family vacation doesn’t have to be a headache. Choose a destination like Key West and find an array of things to do, creative dining options, and comfortable accommodations to ensure you’re free to concentrate on having a good time. Whether it’s a short weekend trip or a week-long vacation, Key West offers wonderful ways to make memories that will last.