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Spring Break is just around the corner! If you’re looking for a fun spring break destination to spend your vacation, then look no further than Key West in the Florida Keys. There are plenty of things to do in this laid-back Florida town, and we’ll cover 22 of them here. From snorkeling and exploring shipwrecks to enjoying local seafood and taking a sunset cruise, there’s something for everyone on this list!
Spring breakers have long flocked to Florida for the warm weather in March and April. The southernmost city in the US is no exception. From college students to families, Key West can cater to anyone for a good time.
1. Have a drink at Sloppy Joe’s Bar
This open-air bar is a Key West Tradition and was even visited by Hemingway. It still has his key hanging on the wall with a plaque that reads “Hemingway slept here.” While popular with college kids and adults alike, families are also welcome here.
It also has live music every day and attracts people from all walks of life so you’re sure to have a great time when visiting here during Key West spring break.
There are lots of other great key west spring break bars to check out, so you’re sure to find one that suits your tastes. It’s a good idea just to walk around Duval Street and see what takes your fancy as there really is something for everyone!
2. Explore Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
This fort, built shortly before the Civil War, gives you great views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay. During low tide hours, there are all sorts of activities like shelling or swimming.
The key lime pie wasn’t invented here but this fort was where one particular key lime tree lived that gave us our delicious treat! There are also cannons from when France owned Florida that are still intact at the fort. You can explore the trails that lead to some great views of the key as well as a beautiful beach area where you can take a swim if you want.
There are also hiking trails through mangroves and salt marsh where you might see some native wildlife such as crabs, hermit crabs, sea turtles, raccoons, and birds.
3. Visit the beaches
if you’re looking to relax on the sand, then head down to one of the many beautiful beaches! There are some free options as well as ones where you have to pay a small fee for parking etc., so make sure you take your pick and enjoy yourself in the sun!
Popular choices include Smather’s Beach, South Beach, and Higgs Beach.
4. Ride the Conch Tour Train
The Conch Tour Train is an all-day hop-on-hop-off train with over 100 points of interest. It’s a great way to explore the tiny island and learn everything else there is to see and do here.
Prices start at $35.87 for adults and $16.02 for children 12 and under.
Book the Conch Tour Train here.
Also available is the Old Town Trolley Tours, the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour or combo packages with glass bottom boats, or the Shipwreck museum.
5. Visit Ernest Hemingway House
This is another must for all those who love history and literary figures! Ernest Hemingway lived here in Key West from 1931 until his death in 1961 and this 19th century home has been restored to look like it did back then, complete with furnishings and decor he chose himself. This house was key in some of his books, including Islands In The Stream. It’s a great way to learn more about him and see where he lived. You can even have your picture taken next to one of his many cats that are on-site as well.
It truly gives you an idea of what life was like during that time period both inside and out on the porch overlooking Whitehead Street which is now known as ‘Pilar Way’ because Pilar, one of Papa’s fishing boats, would dock there.
6. Party at Duval Street
Key West is party central during spring break so be sure you check out all the bars and clubs here when it comes time for nightlife! There will almost certainly be lots going on with live music from local bands or famous headliners coming through town just like they do every year around this time. Just beware though: there isn’t much in terms of security so if you drink too much, keep an eye on your belongings.
7. Go snorkeling or Diving
The key west area has some of the best reefs in Florida and is a great place to explore marine life. You can find all sorts of fish, coral, and other sea creatures while swimming along the shoreline.
Smathers Beach is a beautiful beach with colorful coral reefs. You can go exploring with the aid of a professional guide who will show you fantastic creatures in their natural habitat. You’ll need proper equipment, which you can either hire or buy on the spot.
Looe Key reef is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and, as such, has been protected since 1997. It’s teeming with marine life so if you’re a diving enthusiast, this is definitely one place you don’t want to miss! There are depths for all levels of divers, making it perfect for everyone.
There are four popular shipwreck diving locations here, including one sunk in 2009 by an eco-diver who set out into the sea with a 50-pound concrete block chained to his ankles! If you’re feeling brave (or a little crazy) then Key West diving is the perfect place to test your limits. Just be aware of the conditions before heading out as they can change rapidly, making it dangerous for even the most experienced divers.
Key West Snorkeling tours:
8. Take a fishing charter
This is a great way to spend a day out on the water and catch dinner at the same time! There are plenty of charters to choose from and they can take you just about anywhere in the Keys.
There are also plenty of places where you can fish onshore, so there’s something for everyone!
9. Ride bikes around town
Key West is a very bike-friendly town with designated bike paths throughout. It’s a fun way to see more of what this eclectic island has to offer and it’s also a great way to work off all the food you’ll be eating!
You can find bikes to rent pretty much anywhere in town so it’s easy to get started. The best thing about cycling is that you can go at your own pace and take in all the sights and sounds that key has to offer.
10. Take a sunset cruise
What better way to end your day in Key West than by taking a relaxing cruise as the sun sets? There are many companies that offer this service and most of them depart from the pier at Mallory Square. You can choose from dinner cruises, sightseeing trips, or just cocktails with friends on board.
11. Eat some Key Lime pie
This is, of course, a must when in Key West. The key lime pie was invented here so you know it has to be good! You can find slices or whole pies almost anywhere on the island but for an authentic experience, head to Kermit’s Key West Lime Pie Shoppe.
Fun fact: did you know that Kermit’s Key West Pies are actually made in DeLand? I discovered this on my trip to DeLand Florida. Due to limited space on the island, the factory is located in Central Florida.
12. Drink key lime margaritas
Another key lime specialty is the key lime margarita. This delicious drink can be found at most bars and restaurants in Key West and is a perfect way to cool down on a hot day.
13. See the sights
Key West is full of interesting architecture, history and tropical vegetation so be sure to take some time to wander around and see it all. There’s something new to discover around every corner! Sometimes simply walking around this US island city is the best way to see what this tropical paradise has in store for you!
14. Shop for souvenirs
Whether you’re looking for key chains, t-shirts, or postcards, there are plenty of shops throughout Key West that will have what you’re looking for. Most places accept credit cards but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash just in case.
15. Spend time at Mallory Square
This outdoor market has lots of shops selling souvenirs or t-shirts, restaurants serving food from around key west spring break world plus there’s also entertainment like street performers throughout the day. It really makes it worth paying a visit when here during key west spring break. So much happens here that people come back year after year!
16. Take a selfie with the Southernmost Point
This concrete buoy is located at the southernmost point in mainland America and is a popular spot for tourists to take photos. It’s easy to find just look for the long line of people waiting to have their picture taken!
17. Sunset Celebration
Every night at Mallory Square, street performers, food carts, and arts and crafts exhibitors gather to celebrate the sun going down. Locals and tourists gather to watch the sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico. It is by far the best way to celebrate this Key West Tradition.
18. Swim in the ocean
The water temperatures in March and April are usually pretty warm so take advantage and go swimming! The Atlantic Ocean has great waves for surfers and the Gulf of Mexico is perfect for those looking for a more relaxing swim.
The best place for sandy beaches is probably Higg’s Beach. it has restrooms, a playground, chair rentals, and water sports rentals. It’s at the end of Reynold’s Street.
19. Visit Dry Tortugas National Park
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not visit this park which is only accessible by boat or plane? This national park is made up of seven small islands that are situated 70 miles southwest of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. It has some amazing views as well as historic sites, trails for hiking, and more.
This national park is only accessible by boat or seaplane but it’s definitely worth making the journey if you’re in Key West for Spring Break. You can spot turtles, dolphins, and even sharks if you’re lucky! The key’s also home to key west snorkeling which makes it the perfect place for your trip.
20. Swim with the manatees
This is another great way to explore the water if you’re not interested in surfing or just want something a little less extreme! You can find these gentle creatures swimming around seagrass beds so all you have to do is lie out on your board, grab hold of it and they’ll come right up alongside you.
21. Go on a kayaking tour.
One of the best ways to explore wildlife and nature is by kayak. You can find several companies that offer tours, which will take you through some of the mangroves and Florida Key’s most beautiful scenery.
22. Eat some Cuban food
This type of cuisine is very popular in Key West and there are lots of restaurants where you can sample dishes like ropa vieja, plantains, and more.
23. Sample some of the local cuisine.
As well as Cuban food, there are plenty of other types of cuisine available in Key West, so make sure you try something new while you’re here! Sample the seafood, southern BBQ, and even pizza at one of the many restaurants located throughout town.
24. Visit the Butterfly Conservatory
This Key West attraction is a great place to spend an hour or so and it’s also very educational. You can find out more about the local butterflies as well as the plants they feed off of, how they reproduce, and much more. Learn more about the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory here.
25. Visit the Key West Shipwreck Museum
The Key West Shipwreck Museum is home to a variety of different artifacts from shipwrecks that have occurred around key over the years so it’s definitely worth taking a look!
26. Attend one of the many festivals
There are several events taking place in Key West during spring break time including Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration. This takes place every year around this time (March) with lots of fun activities like poetry contests, film screenings, and private tours of the Tennessee Williams Museum.
The CONCH REPUBLIC INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION also happens in April. “Every year visitors join Florida Keys residents for the Conch Republic Independence Celebration, a quirky event honoring the birth of the republic and its place in Keys history. The republic was founded in April 1982 to protest the installation of a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint that stopped traffic at the top of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, the only road in and out of the Keys.”
27. Visit a Lighthouse
Visit one or all six lighthouses scattered across the island of Key West.
These brightly colored buildings have been standing there for over 100 years so they’re really worth checking out during key west spring break. Each one is different from each others in that some still contain functional machinery inside while others were abandoned after WWII when lighthouses became obsolete thanks to lanterns fitted onto jetty poles. You’ll find them dotted all along the Key’s coastline.
The best way to explore these monuments is by bicycle as they stand at different key points across Key West. As you cycle around, make sure to keep a lookout for key deer too – these cute little creatures are endemic to the Florida key and stand at about three feet tall.
28. Jet Skiing
If you’ve never tried Key West jet skiing there is no better time to give it a shot than during spring break. There are plenty of Jet Skis companies that offer this activity and they all provide equipment for you so don’t worry about having the right gear or training beforehand! You can go out on your own or join up with other people who have booked onto the same tour, which means you’ll be less likely to get lost if anything goes wrong – plus it’s more fun when you’re in good company!
Key West Florida Weather
the average temperature in Key West during March is a high of 79 and a low of 69. the Water temperature averages 75.
Key West in April averages a high of 82, low of 72. Water temps are around 79.
Is Key West on your list of Spring Break Destinations? It’s a great way to get a full-scale island vacation in the United States.
Where to Stay in Key West
Make sure you take a look at the best hotels in Key West for your Spring Break vacation. We’ve added both couples and family resorts.