A trip to Key West, Florida is unique and memorable for all ages. The southernmost point of the continental United States is home to many one-of-a-kind attractions, natural beauty and opportunities for family fun. Read on to learn more about how to see Key West on a budget.
While Old Town Key West is the place to be with shops, restaurants and museums, it’s not the most economical location for accommodations. Hotels located in the New Town area of Key West are generally less expensive. Some even offer free shuttles to take you into Old Town, saving you parking and taxi fees.
Ride the Conch Tour Train – www.conchtourtrain.com
So you want to see Key West on a budget? For the splurge of the trip, check out the Conch Tour Train. Fortunately, children age twelve and under can take the tour for free, and adults can save a few bucks by purchasing tickets online. This Key West icon since 1958 takes you to all of the attractions in town, and you’ll learn about the island’s history along the way. Parking can be difficult to find and expensive in Old Town, where many main attractions are located, so taking the Conch Train might actually end up being a time and money saver for your family. With your ticket, you also receive a coupon booklet full of discounts for many local favorites, including restaurants and excursions you might want to work into your itinerary.
Tour Mallory Square – www.mallorysquare.com
One of the stops on the Conch Tour Train is Mallory Square. The Square is the hub of Old Town Key West, and home to many inexpensive must-do’s in the city. During the day, your family can visit the Key West Aquarium, sample conch fritters at the Conch Fritter Stand in Mallory Square and enjoy all the island sights. If you’re in Key West on a budget, don’t mass up Mallory Square!
Visit the Key West Aquarium – www.keywestaquarium.com
At the aquarium, you can see turtles, stingrays and other marine life. A highlight is the shark feeding time, where guides teach visitors all about sharks and guests have the opportunity to touch one. The Key West Aquarium is the first aquarium to use an open-air concept, where natural light fills the rooms and exhibits. Online, tickets are discounted to $13.54 for adults and $7.73 for children. This means you won’t have to purchase an expensive snorkeling trip ticket to get up close and personal with Key West sea creatures.
Stroll Down Duval Street – http://www.liveduvalstreet.com/crowdcam.cfm
Another Conch Train stop is on the corner of Truman Annex (where the Truman Little White House is located) and Duval Street. Strolling up and down Duval Street is a Key West staple, and window shopping won’t cost your family a penny. Of course, if you’re interested in picking up a few souvenirs, you will find plenty of unique items to take home on Duval Street. Pop into Key West icons such as Sloppy Joe’s and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville while you’re there. Even though they are bars, both are family friendly and have one-of-a-kind gift shop items. The Southernmost Point Buoy, marking the southernmost point of the continental United States, is a short walk from Duval Street. Don’t forget to snap a picture here with your family since this is the most popular Key West photo op.
Explore Ft. Zachary Taylor – http://www.floridastateparks.org/forttaylor/
There are several other inexpensive attractions in Key West as well. Ft. Zachary Taylor is a National Historic Landmark and state park. It’s $6 per vehicle or $2 per pedestrian or cyclist. Here, you can learn about Civil War history and take some time to enjoy one of the most popular beaches in Key West. There are walking trails and places to picnic, bike, swim and even fish. Rock formations in the water are fun for children to climb on and play with, but be sure to pack a pair of water shoes since these areas can be rocky.
Experience the Garden at West Martello Fort – http://www.keywestgardenclub.com
West Martello Fort on the island boasts one of Key West’s last remaining free tourist attractions – the Key West Garden Club. The trees, plants, flowers, beautiful arches and gazebo shouldn’t be missed. These sights are all part of an imaginative and lively space for families.
Check Out Fury Water Adventures – www.furycat.com
If someone in your family is celebrating a birthday, Fury Water Adventures offers a free trip for the birthday guest. You can choose between snorkeling, a sunset sail, parasailing and many other adventures. This is definitely a deal to check out for birthday trips to Key West.
Don’t Miss The Sunset Celebration
In the evenings, be sure to attend the world famous sunset celebration near Mallory Square. It’s completely free, and local artists and entertainers come to perform for the crowds. Watch the sunset with your family after a long day of enjoying Key West and take in the beauty of island life. Now that’s Key West on a Budget!
Check The Calendar For Festivals – http://web.keywestchamber.org/events
Finally, the key to Key West on a budget is to check the city’s calendar before you visit Key West to see if there are any free street fairs or festivals happening during your trip. Many times, the streets will be lined with intriguing sights at no cost for your family. With all of these attractions, your family will have a full itinerary and fun adventure in Key West without breaking the bank.