10 Free Things To Do in Key West
There is no shortage of cool things to do in Key West, from taking a boat cruise to checking out some of the best seafood in the world to drinking into the wee hours of the morning at one of the island’s historic watering holes. Lucky for us, there are plenty of no-cost ways to have a good time in Key West. Live your best life without breaking the bank with these free things to do in Key West.
1. Sample the Merch at Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe
Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe’s locations on Elizabeth Street and Front Street offer free samples of their gourmet items. Enjoy the tart flavor of items like key lime jalapeño jelly, key lime citrus salsa, key lime peanuts, and a variety of sauces and dressings.
2. Tour the Key West Legal Rum Distillery
Key West Legal Rum Distillery makes their award-winning rum on site at their Simonton Street location. All the spirits are distilled with natural Florida ingredients, including vanilla bean and local key limes. The distillery offers free private tours every 20 minutes from noon to 5 p.m. daily (with free samples included!).
3. Sunbathe at the Beach
Besides the perfect combination of sun, sand, and saltwater, if there is one thing beach lovers can’t go through a vacation without, it’s that sun-kissed skin. Key West has quite a few beaches to choose from. Visit Higgs Beach and Smathers Beach on the south shore, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach on the west, and Simonton Beach on the north.
4. Join the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
Street performers, local vendors, and spectators gather nightly in Mallory Square for a few hours of revelry leading up to a spectacular Key West sunset. The Sunset Celebration hosts magicians, comedians, local musicians, stunt performers, artists, and food vendors to give visitors a chance to partake in some merriment before watching the sun sink below the Gulf of Mexico horizon. Enjoy a complimentary ride to Mallory Square in our air-conditioned shuttle when you book your Key West stay with The Gates Hotel. Just show them your key!
5. Take a Picture at US 1 Mile Marker 0
Located on the street corner of Fleming Street and Whitehead Street, Mile Marker 0 marks the beginning (or end) of US 1. The highway stretches from Key West to Maine and connects most of the east coast’s major cities. Get your picture taken in front of the green and white sign to commemorate your visit.
6. Visit the Southernmost Point Buoy
Snap a shot at the red, black, and yellow buoy that marks the southernmost point of the continental United States. The 12-ft tall buoy on the corner of South Street and Whitehead Street is one of the most photographed attractions in the country and draws quite the crowd. A line often snakes around the block, so we recommend arriving early.
7. Step Inside the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center features a 2,500-gallon reef tank and over 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits that explore and interpret the ecology of the Key’s habitats, plants, and animals. Admission and parking at the natural history museum is free to the public.
8. Get in Touch with Nature at the West Martello Tower
The historic Civil-War era West Martello Tower on Atlantic Boulevard was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Guests can take a hike through the Key West Garden Club’s grounds and enjoy the nature that has sprouted up to reclaim the abandoned fort.
9. Stroll down Duval Street
Nicknamed “The Longest Street in the World” as it runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, Duval Street is home to a vibrant collection of shops, galleries, outdoor cafés, bars, and entertainment venues. A simple walk down Old Town’s historic main thoroughfare is often the best way to experience its spirit.
10. Wander the trail at the Key West Wildlife Center
The rehabilitation facility that is the Key West Wildlife Center provides service to over 1400 wild birds annually. Visitors can walk along seven acres of land and a nature trail to explore the various flora and fauna onsite. A freshwater pond and two aviaries are great spots to observe herons, egrets, ibis, turtles, iguanas, and more.