Key West, Florida is an amazing destination to visit in America.
It has everything from sun and sand to culture and partying.
The streets of Old Town are great for walking and taking in the city’s tropical charm.
Historic buildings are full of striking Key West architecture and history.
The city has many specialty shops and eateries to try amazing foods.
The surrounding waters are teeming with marine life, wildlife, and thrilling adventures.
Attractions like Dry Tortugas and Historic Fort Jefferson are just a few miles away.
Key West has so many things to do that it is hard to see everything by yourself in a short time.
One of our favorite ways to make the most of a Key West trip is to take guided tours and excursions.
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Best Key West Tours to explore the island
There are several Key West tours for all types of travelers.
Take a wildlife watching tour and discover the flora and fauna of the Keys or have fun at a local bar on a food tour. Enjoy a cultural tour to know about the island’s famous locals.
Looking for something more?
Historical walking tour, hop on hop off tour of Old Town, a train tour of the island, a foodie tour, thrilling ghost tour, a private sunset sail cruise, scuba diving excursions, or snorkeling excursions – the options are endless!
Below are some of the best Key West tours to see the city
Self-Guided Walking Tour Of Key West’s Old Town
In our opinion, this is the best tour in Key West Old Town because it’s free.
The Old Island Restoration Foundation has a great DIY walking tour map and description called ‘The Pelican Path Self-Guided tour of Key West’.
We recommend printing the tour map before you go.
The walking tour takes you around many of the best Key West attractions including Mallory Square, Ernest Hemingway House and Museum, Oldest House Museum, and Duval Street.
The tour is pretty easy to follow and makes a great introduction to the city.
Key West Hop-On And Hop-Off Bus Tours
Hop-on Hop-off tour is a great way to explore Key West in a short time.
The tour stops at most popular Key West cultural attractions such as Southernmost point, Old Town, Historic Seaport, Key West Lighthouse, Mallory Square for sunset, and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park for the beach.
You can complete the tour in an hour without getting down or see at a leisurely pace with lunch stops!
We highly recommend this for families with small kids.
No need to walk the streets in the sun or carry strollers around the island. No need to search for attractions on your own.
The best part – kids under 12 ride free!
Old Town Trolley Tour
Key West’s Old Town Trolley is a great way to experience the island in a couple of hours.
The Old Town Trolley tour visits Key West’s 12 important stops including the museums, cultural and historic buildings, as well as primary attractions such as Duval Street and Mallory Square.
Visitors can spend as long as they like at each stop.
The trolley returns to each stop every 30 minutes and you can take it to the next stop.
We recommend starting the trolley tour early in the day, seeing the museums, having lunch on fresh seafood and key lime pie, and returning to Mallory Square in time for the sunset celebration.
Conch Train Tour
Key West is known as the Conch Republic!
Needless to say, it offers a fun Conch Train Tour to explore all the historic and cultural attractions.
This is also a hop-on hop-off type of tour – but you get to climb aboard a cool train!
The Conch Train tour guides narrate the city’s history and keep everyone engaged on the ride while staying out of the hot sun or rains.
Bike And Pedicab Tours
If your kids are into biking, then they will love the bike tours of Key West Old Town.
Tourists get to see Key West’s most popular sights, understand the history of the island, explore its charming streets all the while indulging in a great bike ride.
The tour guides cater to the kids interest, keep an eye on everyone’s biking ability, and have great local knowledge about the city.
The tours offered by Key Lime Bike Tours are quite popular with tourists.
If you want to tour the city without breaking up a sweat, then you will enjoy the Pedicab tours.
Key West Ghost Tours
If you are planning on visiting Key West, Florida and want to learn about the history of this spooky city, then consider taking a ghost tour.
The ghost tour will take you through some of the oldest buildings around town while telling tales from years past about some of the more haunted spots in town.
The guides will take you through the dark back alleys where people have died or gone missing.
Whether it be voodoo priestesses who were burned at the stake or pirates who got their head chopped off, there is plenty to see and hear on a nightly excursion.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the stories are entertaining and keep your imagination guessing all night long!
Key West Food Tours
If you are a tourist visiting Key West, there is no better way to get the most out of your vacation than by taking one of the food tours.
You’ll explore all the best restaurants and eateries in town on a two to three hour duration tour.
The tours vary depending on whether you’re looking for something more casual or formal, but all promise an unforgettable culinary experience with plenty of samples!
Key West Cultural Tours
Cultural tours in Key West are a great way to explore the history of this amazing Florida Keys destination.
Explore the architecture, visit historical sites and learn about key figures that have shaped life in Key West.
The knowledgeable guides will take you through some of the most interesting cultural attractions in town.
These tours take visitors back in time and offer an amazing experience.
Parasailing Tours in Key West
Parasailing is a popular activity for tourists visiting Key West.
A parasail ride takes off from the beach and then soars up several feet in the air, giving you an aerial view of this beautiful island.
It’s not just for people who love heights; there are plenty of other reasons why parasailing can be great fun!
You get to experience one-of-a-kind views, enjoy all that fresh ocean breezes have to offer, and you’ll feel like a bird soaring above it all.
Water based excursions in Key West, Florida
Spending a day out on the water aboard a ship or boat is one of our favorite things to do in Key West.
Visitors can discover wildlife, have fun in the winter sun, enjoy watersports like jet ski, and have a relaxing time on these Key West tours.
They are a great way to make most of the island life in the Florida Keys!
Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry Excursion
For the ultimate adventure, explore Dry Tortugas National Park and the Historic Fort Jefferson on a boat tour.
This is our favorite water excursion in Key West Florida.
The remote and secluded Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the least visited national parks in America.
It is located 90 miles to the west of Key West and can be reached only via boat tour or seaplane ride.
The full day trip aboard the Yankee Freedom III ferry includes food and drinks; visitors can purchase wine and beer from the bar.
Lunch is included in the ticket and has a wide variety of foods to keep kids happy.
The trip is breathtaking. You can watch out for sea turtles and seabirds on the hour long cruise.
Once on the islands you can explore historic Fort Jefferson, snorkel in pristine waters, swim on the beach, and hike the Moat trail.
Key West and the Florida Keys are surrounded by America’s only living coral reef.
This living coral reef is also the third largest reef in the world.
Visitors can snorkel to see colorful corals, sponges, schools of fish, stingrays, and sea turtles in the shallow water.
Occasionally, you can also spot lobsters, jellyfish, nurse sharks, and even tarpons.
Snorkeling excursion or tour is one of the best ways to explore the marine life of the Florida Keys.
But the wildlife isn’t the only attraction.
The water around the island of Key West also includes historic shipwrecks that can be seen on a snorkeling trip.
A variety of snorkeling excursions ranging from 3 hours to 6 hours can be arranged in Key West.
Many snorkeling Key West tours can be combined with a dolphin watch or swimming with the dolphins excursions.
You can also plan a late afternoon snorkel excursion and enjoy an amazing sunset for free!
Scuba Diving Tours
America’s only living coral reef is perfect not just to snorkel, but also to scuba dive!
Key West’s Scuba diving tours are available for certified as well as non-certified scuba divers.
If you choose a non-certified tour, you will be exploring the colorful coral reef under the supervision of a PADI-certified divemaster.
The non-certified tours are perfect for beginner scuba divers.
They offer an opportunity to observe marine life from close quarters – a breathtaking adventure!
Glass Bottom Boat Tours
Glass bottom tours are perfect for those who do not snorkel but want to see Key West’s rich marine life.
The crystal clear water surrounding Key West creates a perfect opportunity to watch stingrays, manta rays, sea turtles, corals, sharks, and other colorful tropical fish.
These tours are eco tours and do not harm the reef.
The tour is perfect for families with babies and toddlers as it provides a more inclusive experience.
Smaller kids can enjoy watching the fishes, sea turtles, and corals from the comfort of the boat.
Full Day Water Adventure Tours
Many companies including Sebago Key West offer private full day water adventure tours which are perfect for large families with kids.
The tour involves spending an entire day aboard a catamaran and includes a host of water activities.
Kids can snorkel, jet ski, kayak through the mangroves, ride a banana boat, paddle board, and even parasail over the island.
Everyone in the family gets to choose activities based on their interest.
The full day adventure tours are expensive but a great choice to keep everyone happy while enjoying the water.
Key West Sunset Cruise
See a glorious Key West sunset with your loved one on a romantic sunset cruise!
These private sailing tours are perfect for honeymooners and couples.
Enjoy a sunset sail in the open sea in a catamaran and sip on a glass of champagne as you search for manatees and sea turtles.
As the day sets, the Key West sunset paints the sky fiery red – making this one of our favorite Key West tours.
Sail Boats And Schooner (Tall Ship) Tours
While the legendary Key West sunset champagne and dinner cruises are perfect for couples, the sailing tours that depart throughout the day are great for families.
The private tours are a great way to see and explore the island of Key West from the water.
The adventure begins the moment you climb aboard the boats.
You can see local historic attractions like the Key West Light and the southernmost point from a different vantage point.
Discover the city’s rich history from the friendly guides and have fun listening to the anecdotes.
Older kids can even try to steer the boat under the captain’s watchful eye!
Dolphin Watching Tours
The waters near Key West are a prime habitat for bottlenose dolphins.
Visitors can easily spot these playful creatures on a dolphin watching eco tour that departs from Key West.
The wild dolphins can be easily found in an area known as ‘Dolphin playground’; they come here to mate and feed.
The bottlenose dolphins are native to the Atlantic Ocean and travel in pods.
The small eco tour gives visitors a beautiful opportunity to see the playful creatures in their natural habitat.
Kids as well as adults love seeing the dolphins, making the dolphin watch eco tour a popular activity.
The private excursions offered by Fury Water Adventures combine dolphin watching with snorkeling over the Florida Keys coral reef with all gear being provided by the operator.
Kayak the mangrove islands
Need a break from snorkel excursion over the corals or jet ski thrills?
Try kayaking the mangrove islands near Key West for an exciting adventure!
Deep sea fishing charters and tours are very popular in Key West.
You can easily charter a boat from the Key West harbor.
The fishing trips take visitors out into the deep sea and can be taken throughout the day.
Some operators also have private night fishing charters.
The charters often include fish baits, fishing gear, and can even arrange fishing licenses.
Fish that are local to the waters include sharks, mackerels, and grouper.
The fishing trips are perfect for families too since they involve a fun day on the ocean.
With plenty of marine life, the Keys are a good destination to let the kids catch their first fish.
Key West Seaplane Tours
To get a different view of the southernmost city, we recommend taking one of the many available Key West seaplane tours.
The seaplane tours have a unique view of the coral reefs, rich marine life, and the buildings of Key West.
The tours are usually half an hour long and have spectacular views. The experience of open cockpit flying is a sure hit with the kids.
Tips to making the most of Key West Tours
The tours in the Keys are expensive, but you can often find deals within your budget if you are flexible about the time of your visit.
Private tours will always cost more; consider a group tour alternative to lower costs.
For wildlife and eco tours, carry binoculars and a good telephoto zoom lens.
For snorkeling and scuba excursions in the water surrounding the Keys, follow basic water safety while aboard including wearing life jackets.
Do not forget to arrange for food and drinks while aboard the sailing and boating excursions.
Do not go near wildlife or marine life; never attempt to feed the animals.
Follow leave no trace and keep the habitats just as you found them to help wildlife conservation.
Where to stay in Key West
There are many options for visitors looking to stay in Key West.
Some hotels provide free parking, which is a great way to save money when you’re visiting an island where everything is more expensive than usual.
The prices can range from $100-$300 per night so it’s important to keep that cost in mind while booking your hotel for your visit!
La Concha Hotel & Spa Resort is a great option. They have three pools on-site as well as hot tubs, restaurants, and bars if you want to enjoy drinks after hours.
Another popular option would be The Holiday Inn Resort. It is perfect for families looking for an affordable resort right on the water.
For those who prefer a more luxurious experience, try staying at The Sheraton Grande Suites Hotel & Spa.
We hope you liked our post about the best tours in Key West, Florida.
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