Key West is popular for being the southernmost city in the United States. As a beautiful island city, it attracts a lot of interest from tourists. However, before you pack your bags, there are a few important things you should know.
As a luxury hourly car service provider in Key West, we have firsthand knowledge of the best things about the island. Heeding our advice as you plan to travel to Key West and, of course, using our car service when you arrive can help make your trip a memorable one.
Things To Know When Traveling to Key West
Here are eight things to know as you plan your Key West trip.
1. Don’t Fly Directly to Key West International Airport
If you’re in no great hurry, flying to Key West International Airport (EYW) means missing out on must-see landmarks throughout the Florida Keys. For a better experience, consider flying to Fort Lauderdale or Miami, then driving to Key West through the entire island chain.
The drive from Miami to Key West is a five-hour trip. This might seem like a lot on paper, but it won’t take long to realize it’s completely worth your time. The three-hour trip from Key Largo to Key West on the Overseas Highway is a breathtaking experience you will never forget.
FYI: If you choose to fly with your pet, you’ll be glad to know that EYW airport is pet friendly.
2. The Bulk of the Fun Involves Water
If you intend to stay on dry land for most of your trip to Key West, you’d be shortchanging yourself. There are many things to do on or in the exquisite turquoise waters. Top options include stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
You should also add a sunset cruise on one of the glass-bottom boats to your to-do list.
3. Book Your Visit to Dry Tortugas National Park Months in Advance
Dry Tortugas National Park is a bucket list tourist destination. However, be sure to reserve your spot sooner rather than later. The park’s limited occupancy means it’s always fully booked. Also, keep in mind it’s only accessible by a two-and-half-hour ride on a ferry or a shorter journey on the costlier seaplane.
4. Avoid Traveling to Key West During Hurricane Season
Hurricane season in Key West runs from the first of June to the thirtieth of November. You can squeeze in a visit in the first few weeks of the season, but August to October are the red months.
November to March are the most expensive times to visit the island as tourists from around the country head to the island for a warm winter break. April to June are the least expensive months.
5. Don’t Miss the Trip to the Southernmost Point Buoy
The Southernmost Point Buoy sees countless visitors every year. Who doesn’t want a picture at the southernmost point in the country? There’s always a line, regardless of the season.
If you want to beat the rush and save time, visit the buoy before breakfast. Past noon, be prepared to wait an hour or more.
6. Fantasy Fest Isn’t a Family-friendly Event
Fantasy Fest is a 10-day event that takes place every October on Duval Street. In the carnival atmosphere, you can expect to find lots of costumes, live music, parades, and other activities. However, it verges on the extreme with nudity on display.
This is not an event to attend with the kids. More family-friendly events you can add to your list include the Speedboat Races and Hemingway Days.
7. Don’t Pack Too Much Beachwear
One of the biggest shocks for many visitors is that Key West beaches are neither large nor spacious. You’ll find enough space to spread out for a tan, but you’ll notice quickly that the beaches are much more compact.
8. Don’t Miss Out on the Conch Fritters
Conch (be sure to pronounce it “conk” to blend in with the locals) is a type of sea snail the island is popular for. Conch fritters are fried balls of sea snail meat mixed with jalapeños, key lime juice, hot pepper, and more. This delicacy made its way to the island via the Bahamas.
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You can also read more Key West travel tips.