If you’re traveling to Key West with the whole family, you’re in luck! In the past, the island had a reputation for being a party town, but in recent years it has become an excellent destination for family vacations. With exciting activities both on and off the water, casual restaurants and budget-friendly diversions like a day at the beach, it’s easy to keep a family of all ages entertained and happy on a Key West vacation. Read on for a family friendly Key West vacation guide.
The first step in cutting costs when it comes to traveling with the family is accommodations. When you rent a Key West Vacation Home, you’re immediately saving money over a hotel stay. Take advantage of the full kitchen where you can prepare your own breakfast, lunch and snacks, while offsetting the cost of dining out for every meal. Many vacation homes have pools and big back yards where you can relax and spend time together.
The beautiful thing about a day at the beach (aside from the scenery) is that it’s absolutely free. Whether you head to Fort Zachary Taylor Beach & State Park (note: there’s a nominal park entrance fee) or to Higgs and Smathers along the island’s southern edge, you can while away an entire day with a picnic, some sunscreen and a few beach toys.
The nightly Sunset Celebration is a Key West tradition at Mallory Square. Gather up your gang and watch magicians, tightrope walkers, and musicians perform for a crowd as the sun sinks into the western horizon. If you get hungry, vendors sell conch fritters (and mojitos for the grown ups in the family).
Some other family-friendly attractions that won’t break the bank include the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory where you can immerse yourself with these winged wonders, the Key West Aquarium to learn all about what’s under the sea and the Conch Tour Train for a history lesson while you get the lay of the land.
If you’ve got an adventurous bunch, there’s no shortage of thrills both on and off the water in Key West. Start with a family outing of dolphin watching. Fury Water Adventures whisks you out to the “dolphin playground” in the Gulf of Mexico where these playful aquatic mammals nest and breed. You can also embark with Fury on a parasailing adventure soaring 300 feet above the island for stunning bird’s-eye-views while tethered to a parasail.
Rent a jeep with Key West Jeep and plan an adventure up the Keys. They can stock your vehicle with everything from paddleboards to bicycles and coolers. You can even make it an overnight camping trip with one of the many campgrounds including Boyd’s and Leo’s in Key West, KOA in Sugarloaf and the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge.
Key West is filled with casual restaurants whose menus boast seriously delicious food perfect for family dining. Check out Charlie Mac’s on Southard Street for some finger-licking good BBQ. We’re talking beef brisket, pulled pork, Southern fried chicken and all the fixins. There’s even a kid’s menu. Roostica on Stock Island is a favorite destination for wood-fired pizzas and house made pastas in a cozy setting.
In the heart of Duval Street, take the family out for dinner at the Hard Rock Café. It’s a great way for the family to experience a more grownup side of Key West in a setting that caters to families. Enjoy everything from cheese burgers to nachos surrounded by Rock ‘n Roll memorabilia. When it comes to a sweet treats, look no further than Mattheessen’s for ice cream, cookies, key lime pie and marble slab fudge.