10 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In Key West, Florida - Updated 2021

non touristy things to do in key west

Welcome to Key West, Florida. Florida is one of the most preferred destination for tourists from all over the world thanks to its culture, weather, and friendly people. Tourist also loves visiting this part of the world because it is full of incredible attractions including Duval Street, Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Mallory Square, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. For those who are visiting this part of the word for the first time, it is understandable that you may run out of ideas on things to do during your visit. For that reason, check out the top non-touristy things to do in Key West, Florida.

1. Enjoy the breathtaking sunset at Mallory Square

Best way to end the day? Watching the sunset from #MallorySquare ☀️ ••• 📸: @parksjd

Posted by Mallory Square Key West on Thursday, 11 April 2019

Make sure to head to Mallory Square on your Key West vacation. Choose your preferable spot and watch another day sink into the sea. Every two hours before sundown, Mallory Square transforms into a live entertainment plaza surrounded by artists, magicians, comedians and musicians. It’s so much of a tradition to the point that ordinances are issued to clear cruise ships from the port to allow everyone to enjoy a perfect view of the majestic sight.

Mallory Square

Address: 400 Wall St, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Website: Mallory Square

Opening hours: 6:30am - 11pm (daily)

2. Watch sharks at The Stoned Crab

Posted by The Stoned Crab on Sunday, 2 October 2016

Come to The Stoned Crab, a Key West seafood restaurant, to see and feed sharks. The restaurant allows guests to be involved in their daily routine of fish cleaning–a perfect opportunity to snap a photo. It all started when fishermen would come to the restaurant’s seafood market to clean the day’s catch and throw skin over the side therefore. Sharks started arriving for free food and so did people who enjoyed watching them eat. The Stoned Crab management then organized a feeding schedule and invited customers to watch and feed the sharks using bait and long tongs. With the help of a resident shark expert, visitors who come here gain new knowledge about the sharks.

The Stoned Crab

Address: 3101 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Website: Stoned Crab

Opening hours: 10am - 11pm (daily)

3. Stroll along Smathers Beach

Posted by Smathers Beach on Monday, 3 February 2014

Located off South Roosevelt Boulevard, Smathers Beach is a nice, clean, and beautiful seafront filled with white imported sands. Among all the public beaches in Key West, Smathers stands out for its convenient accessibility and plentiful parking space. Smathers Beach spans almost a mile (less than 2 km) and is speckled with waving coconut palm trees. The beach is an attraction to spring-breakers who normally frequent the beach thanks to its multiple volleyball courts, raft rentals, and picnic areas. Smathers Beach is definitely an all-day destination beach for active families with kids due to the fact that there is a wide variety of land and water sports activities available.

Smathers Beach

Address: 2601 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Website: Smathers Beach

Opening hours: 7am - 11pm (daily)

4. Explore the fascinating Dry Tortugas on a seaplane (from USD 190.0)

Go on a low-altitude sightseeing tour of the Dry Tortugas on a seaplane. This majestic spot is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world and lies just 70 miles (112.6 km) past Key West. Discover the brimming marine life and fascinating, long-standing folklore surrounding this place. Enjoy a window seat and headset narration from the pilot on this tour. See sunken Spanish ships, as well as an abundance of marine life, including turtles, stingrays, sharks and the occasional porpoise all from a bird’s-eye view.

Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip by Catamaran from Key West

Duration: 10 hours

292 reviews

5. Try water sports at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park's beach looking magnificent from the air Wednesday afternoon in Key West. Photo by Rob O'Neal. #flkeys #keywestnow #flkeys #floridanow

Posted by The Florida Keys & Key West on Thursday, 9 November 2017

Nicknamed as Fort Zach by the locals, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a popular state park and beach listed as a US National Historic Landmark because of its Civil War-era fort. Located on Truman Annex near the southern tip of Key West, the park has witnessed special events including Civil War reenactments that last for a week. The park is considered as one of the best beaches in Key West due to the fact that it offers beach equipment including chairs and water sports equipment such as snorkel gear and floats. Having several places to eat throughout the park, Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is the ideal place for a picnic wherever you are in Key West, Florida.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Address: 601 Howard England Way, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Website: Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

6. Have a hearty meal and a drink at Sloppy Joe's

Posted by Sloppy Joe's Bar Key West on Monday, 29 December 2014

Ever since it introduced in 1937, Sloppy Joe’s has been a landmark in Key West. The former hangout for Ernest “Papa” Hemingway and his “mob” is still one of the most preferred entertaining bars in Key West. The fun never stops at Sloppy Joe’s–even on Mondays you will find some of the best bands in town playing on the large stage. The high ceiling gives space for decent acoustics and the music never stops until 2am. You can stop by on a late afternoon and avoid the crowd or just pop into Joe’s Tap Room and choose from the wide variety of draft beers on tap.

Sloppy Joes

Address: 201 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Website: Sloppy Joes

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 4am; Sun: 12pm - 4am

7. See the parrots at Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden

If you’re in Key West, make sure to stop by at Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden. Here you will be able to take photos of uncaged birds as you hold them and ask questions about them freely. You will have lots of fun with the highly social birds by talking to them, singing and painting. Parrots love music, colour, and motion played on smartphones! Come along with your children and have fun interacting with the magnificent South American macaws.

Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden

Address: 518 Elizabeth St, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Website: Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden

Opening hours: 10am - 3pm (daily)

Price: 10 USD

8. Pay a visit to Blue Heaven Rooster Cemetery

Posted by Blue Heaven Rooster Gallery and Gift Shop on Sunday, 16 November 2014

Residents and visitors alike are familiar with the Blue Heaven restaurant. What many do not know, is that the courtyard of the Blue Heaven is a small graveyard for roosters and fighting cocks. Previously, Blue Haven operated as an ice cream parlour, a dancing hall, bordello, and even a pool hall with a boxing ring operated by Ernest Hemingway himself. Some of the writer’s famously polydactyl cat has also been laid to rest here. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path stop on your Key West itinerary, perhaps you can pay a visit to Blue Heaven Rooster Cemetery.

Blue Heaven Rooster Cemetery

Address: Petronia St, Key West, Florida

Website: Blue Heaven Rooster Cemetery

Opening hours: 8:30am - 10pm (daily)

9. Go on a Conch Tour Train excursion (from USD 39.0)

With so much to see and do in Key West, you are almost guaranteed not to get bored. But if you do, you can always enjoy the Conch Tour Train. During this tour, you will get to experience an entertaining and educational exploration of the top attractions of Key West. The train normally departs daily from the Front Street Depot and its final destination is usually the famous Mallory Square, where both visitors and locals come to hang out, eat, and shop. During this tour, you will discover the area’s top attractions as you learn the history of its residents both past and present.

Key West Conch Tour Train

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

208 reviews

10. Indulge in some wine tasting (from USD 135.0)

Who knew that wine and yoga would make a great combo? On this four-hour tour, get to do just that. The tour starts with a pick-up from your hotel, then you head over to Shakti Yoga for an hour of yoga. At Shakti Yoga, you will be provided with a mat, towels, and drinking water. When done with yoga, you will be transported to your wine tasting destination, where you will spend an hour-and-a-half sampling some of the best wine in the area.

Private Yoga and Wine Tasting Excursion in Key West

Duration: 4 hours

Discover Key West

Whenever you are visiting a new place you may want to indulge in the fun activities that the locals fancy. For that reason check out the top non-touristy things that you can indulge in whenever you are in Key West.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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