Key West Outdoor Activities Help Create Lasting Memories

Looking for warm weather and sunshine year-round? Look no further than Key West. Located at the southernmost point of the U.S. in Florida, this barrier island has a lot going on – especially for those who want some adventure. Read on to learn about the top Key West outdoor activities and pick some favorites.

Key West Outdoor Activities for Different Experiences

key west outdoor activities diving

Dive Deep

Scuba diving is perhaps the No. 1 Key West outdoor adventure. With so many reefs and marine life, water lovers find it difficult not to plan underwater excursions. Plus, dozens of companies hosts guided diving trips for different age groups and abilities.

To dive with some of the best, head to Dive Key West Inc. This company has provided safe diving excursions for more than 40 years and participates in local conservation projects. Visitors may select from morning, afternoon and evening trips. Expect to see reefs and wrecks up to 100 feet deep from the deck.

Fish for Giants

Key West’s waters are full of different fish species. The island has access to both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, offering the chance to explore year-round. Possible catches include tarpon, red fish, barracuda, snapper and mackerel.

The best way to fish Key West is to book a guided trip. Dozens of charters offer trips ranging from a few hours to a few days, and all are hosted by experts who know the waters best. In addition, anglers may choose the best type of fishing trip based on their interests. In Key West, visitors have access to deep-sea adventures, light tackle off-shore options, flats fishing and back-country locations.

Not sure where to start? Top-rated fishing guides include Key West Pro Guides, Boo-Ya, Key West Fishing Connection, ShadowCaster Flats Fishing, Linda D Sportfishing, Dream Catcher Charters and Gulfstream Fishing.

key west biking

Ride Bikes

The island measures less 4.2 miles long, so it’s easy to bike to attractions, shopping and dining. In fact, Key West welcomes bicyclers with low speed limits for cars and bike racks located throughout the area.

To explore independently, start at Southward Street and follow the path. For a more local feel, schedule an activity with Key Lime Bike Tours. This option lasts 2.5 hours and includes bike and helmet. During the tour, expect to learn about Key West’s history, major attractions, and finish with a slice of key lime pie.

Dolphin and Shark Tours

In addition to fishing, Key West’s location provides the perfect place to watch dolphins and sharks. Several tour operators host dolphin-watching trips for all ages. One of the most popular is Honest Eco Tours. This company welcomes small groups to watch dolphins and participate in guided snorkel adventures. This option last four hours complete with equipment and organic fruits and veggies.

For something more extreme, book a shark-watching trip with Key West Extreme Adventures. This local guide helps visitors explore back-country waters for wildlife viewing and shark-watching. In order to provide an up-close adventure, guides deploy scents that attract predators to the boat. During back-country rides, expect to also see turtles, stingrays, birds and dolphins.

key west outdoors sail

Sail All Day

Looking for something more relaxed? Sailing ranks among the top Key West outdoor activities. Area companies offer boat rentals as well as guided tours on the high seas.

Danger Charters – one of the most popular – offers daily sails limited to 25 guests. This ensures everyone has plenty of space to unwind and soak up the sun. Daytime sails explore lesser-known spots and include kayaking and snorkeling. To spice things up, book a romantic wind-and-wine sunset sail perfect for couples and sunset enthusiasts. All tours come with healthy snacks and refreshing beverages.

Those with sailing experience will find several boat rental options provided by Blue Ocean Yacht Charters. The company offers a variety of yachts models with sails or motors.

Fly High on a Parasail

Looking for something different? Fly high over beautiful water and marine life. Fury Water Adventures offers guided options, but parasailing ranks as a must.

Guests may fly two or three people at a time while getting a bird’s-eye view of the emerald green waters and island. In addition to parasailing, Fury Water Adventures offers jet ski rentals and custom water activities.

key west butterfly attraction

Key West Outdoor Activities at Major Attractions

Other Key West outdoor activities occur on land at the area’s top attractions. These must-sees welcome singles, groups and families to learn and play while fostering an appreciation for the environment. Some have inside exhibits, so everyone can cool off and recharge. Here are a few popular attractions in Key West:

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory: Walk among hundreds of colorful birds and butterflies. Admire more than 50 types of butterfly and bird species from around the world in a climate-controlled, glass-enclosed habitat.

Audubon House and Tropical Gardens: This historic home dates to the 1840s. Today, it offers a glimpse into maritime life. It was built by Captain John Huling Geiger who used various types of wood and created it in American Classic Revival style. Then stroll the home’s 1-acre tropical gardens.

Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson: This 100-square-mile park features mostly open water and seven small islands. Popular activities include diving and snorkeling, boating, swimming, and guided tours. Read about the top Key West tours.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park: Learn about Civil War history and see historic artifacts. Then head to one of Key West’s best beaches. Visitors may swim, snorkel, picnic and fish from the shore.

Read to make memories? Book a Key West vacation rental to start planning an escape.