Key West Activities and Things to Do
Whether you want to snorkel, dive, fish, jet ski, parasail, go to dinner or the theater, let us recommend activities, and even make your reservations for you! It is just one more thing to make your stay in paradise a perfect one!
Enjoy some of these great activities while you stay at our world class Key West guest house:
Key West Bars:
One thing Key West is not lacking is bars. There are over 40 bars on Duval Street alone, which is said to be the longest street in the world. Why? Because it goes from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Gulf of Mexico! The locals have a saying - Do the Duval Crawl. What does that mean you say? It means you start at the Atlantic side of Duval St. and work your way to the gulf side, stopping in every bar or almost every bar for the light weights. By the time you get to end you will be crawling! Actually, no local has ever made it from one end to the other. But everyone must have a goal. Here is a just a small list of bars in Key West:
Key West Beaches:
Although Key West is not known for its large, sandy beaches (we are an island afterall), there are several beaches and parks to choose from! Swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling are allowed at most beaches in Key West. Lifeguards are not present at beaches, so swimming is at your own risk. Fishing is allowed off the piers at most beaches as well, but please check fishing license requirements. Ask us for direction to the beach of your choice, or view the map of Key West Beaches.
Fort Zachary Taylor: An 87 acre state park with a pre-Civil War Fort. Wonderful sunset views. One of the best beaches in Key West. A little rocky but gorgeous. Public restrooms, food/drink available, chair rentals, shaded picnic tables and BBQ's. Small Admission charge.
South Beach: A favorite of locals. Nice sandy beach with shallow waters and a concrete pier. No restrooms or facilities. Located at the end of Duval Street on the Atlantic Ocean.
Dog Beach: A canine favorite though rocky and a bit slippery. The only beach dogs are allowed on. No restrooms or facilities.
Higg's Beach: Wide sandy beach with long wooden pier. Restroom facilities, covered picnic tables, full service restaurant, playground, chair rentals, rafts and water sports rentals.
Rest Beach: Soft sand and natural vegetation. Home of the White Street Pier where you can enjoy some great fishing. Wheelchair accessible. Restrooms within walking distance. Picnic tables. White Street on Atlantic Ocean.
Smather's Beach: Half mile stretch of sandy man-made beach. Restrooms, ample parking, concession stands, chair rentals, bike paths, picnic tables, volleyball nets, water sports rentals - jet skiing, parasailing, and wind surfing.
Key West Boating:
Boating a favorite activity among locals, and Key West sure offers a wide variety of boating options. Whether for a ride to the tropical reefs offshore, a sports fishing charter into the Straits of Florida or the Gulf of Mexico, a daytime or sunset cruise aboard a catamaran or tall ship, a nature tour of the back country flats, or an excursion to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, this is the place to be. You can privately charter your craft, join a small group, or sign on with a large group ... whatever you choose. Boating in Key West can be a great adventure. But, you want to make sure you are in good hands out on the gulf, or backwaters, so feel free to ask the Knowles House owners about their recommendations. They can even reserve your trip for you!
The waters around Key West are beautiful. The romance and adventure of the seas are here for the taking and sunsets are free for the viewing. Come take advantage of the breathtaking views surrounding Key West!
Key West Diving & Snorkeling:
The Keys are a diver and snorkeler’s paradise. Our reefs are located in 25 to 30 feet of normally calm, clear, and warm water. Often the visibility in the water approaches 100 feet, especially in the summer as the Gulf Stream pushes closer to the reef. Keep in mind this is the only reef located in North America and the world's third largest. Colorful fish and fascinating creatures swim by in this surreal world of color and beauty. Bring your underwater camera to record your reef experience.
An increasingly popular water activity is also SNUBA diving (Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus), which, unlike scuba diving, does not require any type of certification. At depths of up to twenty feet you can breathe air from tanks floating on the surface through long hoses and mouthpieces (regulators). You’ll be free from cumbersome tanks and breathing normally while underwater...just like a fish!
Snorkeling requires only a mask, snorkel, fins and a safety vest, all usually provided by the charterboats. If you’re new to the sport, no worries! On snorkeling charters the crews are always there to instruct you on how to enjoy snorkeling in Key West at one of many wonderful locations. All equipment is provided and when you’ve completed your snorkeling they will offer complimentary beer and wine. Bring sun protection, good sun glasses and a snack or picnic basket. Most boats offer early morning, early afternoon, or a combo snorkel/sunset trip that leaves in the late afternoon, and after snorkeling, returns to the Key West harbor for a sunset cruise.
Ask the owners about which dive, snorkel, or Snuba charters they recommend!
Fishing in Key West:
Come and fish in the waters of Key West where fishing legends were born. Ernest Hemingway fished the waters of the Florida Straights between Cuba and Key West for giant blue marlin. Zane Grey applied his angling and writing skills to the in shore and backcountry of the Florida Keys, landing sailfish and giant tarpon.
But you don't have to be a legend or a writer to enjoy the thrill of big game fishing year round in the Keys. At the Knowles House bed and breakfast we can find and reserve the perfect fishing charter for you. Key West deep sea fishing experienced captains are waiting to take you into the Gulf stream just minutes away from the dock where you can test your skills against the sailfish and marlin. Key West back country guides have staked out the flats where tarpon and bonefish await the anglers preferring to use light spin or fly tackle. Or perhaps a party boat charter that offers a day or night fishing trip to the pristine coral reefs for snapper or grouper.
FREE (or almost free) Things to do in Key West:
Looking for some cheaper options during your stay on our island? Key West has several activities and lesser known things to do that might cost you nothing at all!
Bingo: Bingo at 801 Bar at 801 Duval St. 294-4737 – Bingo on Sunday at 4:30 p.m., no cover, proceeds go to local charities. Come join the fun as drag queens call the shots.
Bingo at Key West Senior Center, 1016 Georgia St. 995-5165. Games played on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $3.00 per game.
Bingo at American Legion, College Road, 294-7374. Games are on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Bocce: Bocce courts are set up at the indigenous park on White and Atlantic Streets in Key West. Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Played seasonally, starting in February.
Galleries: Key West and the Florida Keys have always been known as communities where the arts and creativity thrives. This is still true today, and you can see this just by walking down the streets or strolling into one of the many art galleries throughout town. For a list of local galleries Click Here.
Key West Botanical Garden: Located on Stock Island off College Road on the right side just over the bridge. This 11-acre, city-owned garden is opened from dawn until dusk and is free to the public. A great place to take a tour, bird watch or just hang out and have a picnic. On Saturday, volunteers are available to answer your questions.
Bayview Park: On Virginia Street in Key West, Five lighted, hard surface courts. Open from sunrise to 10 p.m. There’s a pro shop and pros are available for lessons; this is a great place to hang out if your looking for a tennis game.
Sunset at Mallory Square: Every night! Sunset hour varies with season; Tons of entertainment, no cost.
Wildlife Rescue Center in Key West: Come see the birds and other wildlife at the corner of White and Atlantic streets inside the McCoy Indigenous Park. Admission is free (although donations to help the birds are needed). Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Key West Cemetery: Located at Frances and Olivia Streets in Old Town. Take a self-guided tour through our burial ground. Plenty of history is revealed just by reading the tomb stones.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park: At the west end of Southard Street, Key West, 305-292-6713. Open 8 a.m. to sunset. Admission fee is $1.50 per person for walkers or bikers and $2.50 per person in a car. The fort was built between 1845 and 1866. Tours are available. This 87-acre park is great for beach fun, snorkeling and picnics.
Mile Marker 37 Bahia Honda State Park: Big Pine, 305-872-2353 – Open daily at 8:00 a.m. to Sunset. Cost: $1.50 per person for walkers or cyclists; $2.50 per person in a car; and children under six are free. Marina, dive shop, cabins, camping, hiking, picnicking, and bird watching.
Yoga by the Sea: On the platform at Higgs Beach next to White Street Pier, 305-292-1970. Monday and Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and Monday through Friday at 6:30 p.m. Per-class savings with membership.
Museums and Key West History
Natural history, culture, art, and local history can all be explored at Key West's local museums:
Audubon House & Tropical Gardens: Voted Best Museum in Key West. Features Key West's first restoration, 18th century antiques, original Audubon engravings, lush tropical gardens, museum store, and audio tour.
East Martello Museum: Civil War fort, artifacts & displays of Florida Keys history, and other local memorabilia. Across the parking lot of the airport and a neat place to spend some extra time.
Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum: Restored winter White House used by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, & Kennedy.
Key West Lighthouse & Keeper's Quarters Museum: Climb to the top of the lighthouse for an amazing view of Key West.
Key West Art & Historical Society at the Custom House: Florida Keys finest museum of historical and cultural objects, materials, & artifacts. The building alone is worth the small price of admission.
Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society & Museum: See the treasure from Spain's golden galleons discovered by Key West's most famous treasure hunter. Famous for his daily proclamation "Today's the day!", Mel Fisher is a revered Key Wester.
Wrecker's Museum: Known as "The Oldest House", this museum displays historic wrecking documents, ship models, sea-going artifacts, antiques, and an unusual doll house. Also serves as a great place for a wedding reception or other type of gathering.