If you’re looking for a budget-friendly trip, Key West offers many exciting activities and things to do that won’t break the bank. From museums to restaurants and outdoor adventures to local, state, and national parks, there is plenty here for solo travelers, couples, and families to enjoy. Discover some of the best ways to enjoy your time in Key West while saving money, too.
1.Focus on the Freebies
Duval Street is not only one of the most well-known streets in Key West, it’s also where a lot of the action is. This road is lined with shops, restaurants, boutiques, jazz clubs, art galleries, and more. Stroll along Duval to window shop freely. At the north end of Duvall, you’ll find Mallory Square. This is where the free Sunset Celebration happens every night. Join visitors from around the world as well as locals to say goodbye to another beautiful day in paradise. The celebration is distinguished by food, drink, and craft vendors as well as performers that include musicians, mimes, and jugglers, just to name a few.
Some hotels offer guests the use of bicycle rentals during their stay. Take advantage of this offer and explore the island at your leisure. This might sound daunting but Key West is a small island and very bike-friendly. Key West also has a strong public transportation system which puts all of the city within easy reach.
Throughout the year, Key West is home to a wide range of festivals. Many of these offer activities that are open to all, from parades to performances and special events. Plan your trip to coincide with the Key West Songwriters Festival or Hemingway Days, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
2. Choose Authentic Experiences
From beautiful parks to chartered fishing expeditions, Key West allows travelers to get a great deal on a day-long adventure. The area is home to not just Fort Zachary Taylor State Park but also a short distance from Dry Tortugas National Park, which is just a ferry ride away. Both offer plenty of activities with just the cost of admission, from beaches to swimming, snorkeling, birdwatching, and picnicking. Book a fishing charter and spend the day at sea. Guests of all experience levels are welcome at All In Fishing Charters, and captains sail out for wreck, reef, and deep water fishing for seasonal catches. You don’t even need to bring your own gear; the ticket generally includes everything you need to fish.
Local museums offer a unique view of Key West and plenty of insight into the history, culture, and people that make this island city stand out. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum offers a behind-the-scenes look at shipwrecks and sunken treasure recovery. Check out Ernest Heminway’s home; although the famous American writer lived in Key West for only around ten years, his influence can still be felt in this historic home, where family heirlooms still adorn the walls and the descendants of Hemingway’s own cats roam the property. Other area museum attractions include Coast Guard vessels, a lighthouse, and President Truman’s Winter White House.
For something truly one-of-a-kind, explore the Sheriff’s Animal Farm, where you can get to see rescued animals like alligators, lemurs, emus, tortoises, snakes, birds, turtles, sheep, and horses. Check out the Key West Botanical Garden, the only place in the continental U.S. where some of the tree specimens they have growing naturally here can be found. The garden has a full system of footpaths that allow you to stroll the garden at your own pace, and there’s a picnic area for lunch, too.
3. Select Local Restaurants
The local cuisine in Key West is second to none. This crossroads of the world’s flavors, creating a unique culinary landscape that features dishes from France, Spain, Vietnam, China, and more, offers diners a unique opportunity to enjoy the freshest seafood while seeing it prepared in so many different ways. Try the lobster roll, fish sandwiches, and fish tacos from Eaton Street Seafood Market. Stop by Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe for a slice of delicious, scratch-made key lime pie. Duetto’s Pizza and Gelato remains popular with visitors and tourists alike. Garbo’s Grill, previously featured on the hit cable show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”, is well-known for its specialty hot dogs.
If you’ve ever dreamed about the ideal picnic on the beach, reach out to Key West Picnic Company. They’ll set up everything you need for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This can range from hot coffee, orange juice, fresh fruit, pastries, and bagels for breakfast to a complete romantic dinner for two, including silverware, plates, a beach blanket, and even a Bluetooth speaker for your favorite music.
Making a trip to Key West is an affordable way to explore someplace new while still being mindful of your budget. It offers many activities that don’t cost much, like state and national parks, yet still ensure great experiences worthy of any social media feed and memories to last a lifetime.