Written by Missy Johnston
Key West has always been home to the renegade, those that preferred to stay just beyond the law, or perhaps were lawless such as pirates or rum runners. And it’s no secret that Key West offers plenty of beach activities and relaxation in the sun for yachties wanting to drop anchor and lay out a towel. But if you are looking to do something a little more unusual and quirky while you’re in town, head ashore, as Key West is home to the unusual and quirky and a lot of history.
Try some of these fun ideas while on your Key West yacht charter.
No need to wait in line for a dolphin tour. Just have your captain steer your yacht toward the Gulf waters surrounding Key West, which are known for wild dolphin activity, and keep your eyes peeled as there are plenty of playful wild dolphins in these waters. Your captain may follow in the wake of commercial tours because this is often a good way to get to prime dolphin-spotting locations. Or head out on the yacht and have the crew chum the water with some fresh fish, as wild dolphins are always happy for a free meal.
Get some exercise.
Key West is an excellent place to ride bikes. Include this on your itinerary and your crew will organize local rentals. Motor scooters for rent are also available for those less inclined for cycling. Biking through Key West gives you a healthy way to tour some of Key West’s architectural and cultural landmarks. It might sound strange, but the Key West Cemetery is a famous place to take a bike ride. Look for unusual and even funny gravestones while enjoying the hilltop views.
Visit the Dry Tortugas.
Plan at least one afternoon for a visit to this strange and beautiful national park. In 1846, construction began on a fort intended to be a post for military ships in the Gulf. It never functioned as it was intended, but was instead used as a prison and a refueling station. It’s worth taking a trip out there to learn about the fort’s history and to kayak or snorkel in the wildlife-rich waters, filled with beautiful coral. These are excellent snorkeling waters..
Learn about Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway’s residence, when he lived in Key West, was turned into a museum that is now known as Hemingway House. Take a guided tour or explore at your own pace by reading the conveniently placed placards. Be sure to stop in at Sloppy Joes, an iconic Key West bar, and Hemminway’s watering hole when he was in town.
Take a Walk Down Duval Street.
Whether it’s day or at night, Duval Street is alive with activity. This is a street filled with art galleries, shops, tattoo parlors, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium, and it is the center of Key West’s nightlife, with funky bars, including Sloppy Joes. If there is something happening in town, it is usually happening on Duval Street, the city’s epicenter of life.
Watch the Sunset at Mallory Square.
Key West is the last location in the eastern U.S. to see the sunset and, in typical Key West style, the locals make every sunset a party. They eagerly wait to see the “Green Flash”: an optical phenomenon seen sometimes when the atmospheric conditions are just right, just as the sun is setting, when the top edge of the sun appears as a flash of green before it disappears beneath the horizon. Celebrating the daily sunset are jugglers, pantomimes’, and other street actors that add to the general merriment of any street party. Show up when in town, before sunset: everyone is invited.
Dine on Cuban cuisine and key lime pie.
You can’t visit Key West without diving into a hearty, authentic Cuban sandwich and then finishing off the meal with a slice of pie made from local key limes. There’s just no substitute for the island flavors. The locals enjoy 5 Brothers Grocery for Cuban food and Kermit’s for key lime pie, but Key West offers so many options that it’s tough to pick just one recommendation for each. And don’t forget to try fresh sweet Gulf shrimp, cooked a wide variety of ways.
For a special treat, have your yacht’s chef pick up some local favorites so you can enjoy them on board as you cruise through the rest of the Florida Keys after visiting Key West on the rest of your luxury yacht charter vacation including Key West.