One of the challenges of taking a vacation with your family is keeping the kids entertained. It’s difficult to strike a balance between your kids sitting around bored and your family being burned out by all the excursions you’ve planned! Rest assured, if you’re visiting Key West with your family, there are a variety of attractions that will allow you to have fun and relax with your kids.
With the warm and sunny weather in Florida, Key West is a great place to visit any time of year. To help you plan for your trip, here are the 11 best things to do for kids in Key West.
11 Best Things for Kids to Do in Key West
Spending time in sunny Key West, FL, means being out in the sunshine. But if you want to beat the heat, there are also plenty of attractions where you can enjoy some time indoors or in the shade. Check out the best attractions for kids in Key West.
Key West Aquarium
No trip with kids is complete without a visit to an aquarium. The Key West Aquarium is a great place to take the kids year-round. In fact, it has been one of the top-rated attractions in Key West for many years.
This attraction includes exciting features such as a shark exhibit, sea turtles conservation tour, and a jellyfish exhibit. The touch tank is a place where kids can get close to sea creatures. They can get close to conchs, sea stars, sea cucumbers, giant hermit crabs, and more.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
When you’re visiting Key West, you won’t want to miss the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. At the Conservatory, you can walk through the gardens with hundreds of butterflies and birds. It has been rated the “Best Place to Take the Kids” and “Best Attraction in Key West.”
Your trip to the Conservatory can start at the Learning Center. There, you and your family will be able to learn and explore the world of butterflies. As you walk through the beautiful, climate-controlled habitat, your kids will love seeing all the different colors and species.
Dry Tortugas National Park
The Dry Tortugas National Park is a 100-square-mile park completely surrounded by water. This national park is located in the Gulf of Mexico and can only be reached by seaplane or ferry. Not only is it a beautiful sight to see, but it also holds a lot of history that can make your trip fun and informative.
This national park preserves Fort Jefferson, which is a former U.S. military fortress and the largest brick masonry structure in the country. When you visit the Dry Tortugas National Park, you can explore the fort with your family, snorkel in the beautiful water, and dive into the marine life and coral reefs. There’s plenty to do and see at Dry Tortugas, so it makes an excellent day trip for your family.
Mallory Square is a plaza in the center of Key West. It’s home to some of the best shops in Key West and also has art galleries, exhibits, and delicious food. But aside from shopping and eating, when you visit Mallory Square, it’s worth staying for the sunset celebration that takes place every night.
The famous sunset celebration at Mallory Square starts every night two hours before sunset. At the celebration, you can see performers such as magicians, jugglers, and clowns. It’s part of the culture of Key West and gives your family a chance to hear the stories from some of the locals.
Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum
The Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum is a great tourist attraction to visit with your kids. The museum has actors, films, and artifacts from the rediscovery of the wrecked vessel Isaac Allerton. During your visit, you’ll learn about how the ship was rediscovered and get to climb the 65-foot lookout tower.
There’s plenty of history shared in the museum, and your kids can learn about the wrecking industry while viewing actual artifacts from the shipwreck.
The Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway is another great place in Key West to watch the sunset. This 113-mile highway stretches from mainland Florida to the Florida Keys.
The entire highway consists of 42 bridges that will take you over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Overseas Highway also made history in 2009 after it was made Florida’s first and only All-American Road by the United States Federal Highway Administration.
Conch Tour Train
There are few things more exciting for kids than a train ride. When you visit Key West, you can tour the area with a ride on the Conch Tour Train. Visitors to Key West have been participating in this attraction since 1958 and it has remained one of the most popular Key West attractions.
The Conch Tour Train starts at the Front Street Depot. There are three total stops on the tour: Station Depot, Truval Village, and finally, Mallory Square. At the Station Depot, you can shop for ice cream or homemade fudge, and at Truval Village, you can see the Historic Key West Seaport, or stop to see the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
Old Town Trolley Tour
The Old Town Trolley Tour makes it simple to see all the sights and travel around Key West. When you purchase tickets to the Old Town Trolley, you can get on and off the trolley as many times as you’d like throughout the day.
It’s known for its entertaining tour guides and since the tours are always live, you get a new perspective each time. The trolley stops at many popular destinations such as the Hemingway House, the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, and the Truman Little White House.
When you travel to Key West, visiting the Southernmost Point is a necessity. The anchored concrete buoy may not look like much, but it represents the southernmost point in the Continental U.S. The buoy was established in 1983 and has withstood various hurricanes over the years.
The Southernmost Point makes for a great photo opportunity with your family and is only minutes away from some of the other popular Key West attractions. Stop by for a quick picture before visiting the rest of the city.
Key West Lighthouse Museum
Visiting a lighthouse is always a fun experience for kids. The Key West Lighthouse is no longer in use, but you and your family can climb all the way to the top to catch the beautiful beach views.
This particular lighthouse originally opened in 1848 but the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned it in 1969. When you tour the lighthouse, there are 88 steps to the top. You can also visit the Lighthouse Museum. There, you can see the belongings and photographs of the families who were originally lighthouse keepers.
Higgs Beach and Astro City Park
Higgs Beach has been rated one of the best public beaches in Key West. If you’re looking to spend the day in the sun, head to Higgs Beach to enjoy the clear water and beautiful sand. At the park, you can rent beach gear such as chairs, umbrellas, and paddle boards. There are plenty of amenities there and it’s a great place to swim, snorkel, or just lay in the sun.
After you’ve had fun at the beach, you can head to Astro City Park right across the street. There’s a playground for the kids and an athletic trail if you and your family enjoy hiking.
Key West is an exciting place to visit with kids, and there are plenty of attractions for the whole family. When you do visit Key West, plan on making a list of your must-see places. Depending on the time of year you visit, many of the attractions can become crowded and you may need to adjust your itinerary.
Some attractions across Key West offer packages to help you get the best deal on tickets. For example, if you’re visiting the Key West Aquarium, you can purchase a package that includes tickets to the Aquarium, Shipwreck Museum, and the Trolley Tour. Enjoy your time in the Sunshine State!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com.