The Florida Keys is full of history, wildlife, breathtaking views, interesting people and good times. Here are 12 free and cheap things to do in Key West that will make your trip memorable.
1. Southernmost Point
Grab your camera and check out one of the most popular spots in Key West, the Southernmost Point buoy. The buoy marks the southernmost point and 90 miles to Cuba. Tourists stand in a line to take photos with the colorful landmark and beautiful ocean behind it.
A plaque dedicated to Cubans who have lost their lives trying to make it to the United States can be found next to the buoy. The buoy is located at Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040.
2. Mallory Square
It’s always a party, at Mallory Square, when the sun it setting. The sunset celebration began in the late 1960s and still goes on today. Two hours before sunset, a festival begins with magicians, clowns, jugglers, psychics, artists, local musicians and food vendors.
At no cost, you and your family can enjoy the entertainment and an amazing view of the sunset. Mallory Square is located at 400 Wall Street, Key West, FL 33040.
3. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Known as Florida’s southernmost state park, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a great place for snorkeling and offers the best beach in Key West. You will also find a historic Civil War fort and seacoast cannons.
You can give yourself a free tour with the brochure the park provides. Entry admission is $6 per vehicle, $4.50 for single occupant in vehicle, $2.50 for pedestrians and bicyclists. The State Park is located at 601 Howard England Way, Key West. For more information call 305-292-6713.
4. The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
Gain an appreciation and awareness of the importance in protecting and conserving South Florida’s ecosystem. At the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, you will learn about native animals and plants that are on land and underwater in the Florida Keys.
The facility is currently closed for renovations. Stay tuned for more information once it reopens in 2022.
5. The Historic Key West Cemetery
You can find the Historic Key West Cemetery, in Old Town, located in the center of the island. The cemetery was founded in 1847 and is free for anyone to walk through. Visit the small office on the northwest corner of the cemetery to pick up a walking tour guide.
Get to know Key West and its people through interesting stories written in the guide. Make sure to look for the monument to the U.S.S. Maine, the grave of the real Sloppy Joe, and quirky epitaphs like “I told you I was sick.” For more information call 305-292-6718.
6. Turtle Museum
This museum teaches kids and families about turtles, their role in the environment and how the business nearly exterminated them all. It is located in Historic Seaport which is great to explore.
Entrance is free but donations are welcome. It is located at 200 Margaret St. For more information call 305-294-0209. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Currently closed for the season and reopens in November.
7. San Carlos Institute
Here you’ll learn about the Cuba-Key West relations through Cuban Liberation speaker Jose Marti. The historic landmarks was founded in 1871 by Cuban exiles of Key West as an educational, civic, and patriotic center.
Today, it is a multi-purpose facility that serves as a museum, library, art gallery, theater, and school. Admission is free. Hours 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. 516 Duval Street, Key West.
8. West Martello Tower and Garden
This tropical garden sits on the site of a former Civil War fort. It has garden rooms with beautiful flowers and intriguing history.
The garden is open to the public and admission is free. The garden is located at 1100 Atlantic Blvd., Key West.
9. Key West First Legal Rum Distillery
Need a drink? Want to taste some delicious and authentic rum? Heat to this rum distillery where they claim to have run Rum to Cuba.
Tours are free daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week and last about 15-20 minutes. Free samples are also available daily. 105 Simonton St., Key West.
10. Animal Farm at Monroe County Sheriffs Office
The farm was started in 1994 in an open area underneath the jail facility. The Animal Farm is open, free of charge, the second and fourth Sunday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m. Groups may tour by appointment. For more information, call (305)293-7300 or email Farmer Jeanne Selander at firstname.lastname@example.org.. Also, please visit the Farm’s Facebook page for more information at https://www.facebook.com/KeysAnimalFarm/.
11. Oldest House in Key West
The oldest house in Key West was built in 1829 and is a great museum to visit! The house features family portraits and original furnishings, as well as other period pieces, ship models, and documents telling the story of old Key West. In the rear of the house is a spacious, peaceful garden, where benches invite you to sit and reflect. There, you will see the oldest surviving Cook House in South Florida.
Admission is $10 per person and children under 12 are free. Located at 322 Duval Street, Key West.
12. Higgs Beach & Smathers Beach
Two of the best beaches in the keys! There are great beach day activities for everyone to enjoy.
Higgs Beach is located at 1000 Atlantic Blvd. Free and always open.
Smathers Beach is located at 2601 South Roosevelt Blvd. Open dawn to dusk and free. Metered parking is available along the beach.