10 Affordable Activities for Exploring Key West on a Budget
July 1st 2021
Key West, FL, is a gorgeous island paradise known far and wide for its stunning crystal-clear waters, abundance of wildlife and watersports adventures, natural beauty, and so much more. With credentials like that, one may assume that a trip to this dazzling destination would surely cost a fortune. However, there are plenty of ways to save big when visiting this tiny tropical oasis.
For those in search of ways to explore Key West on a budget, you’re in luck! From paddleboarding through majestic mangroves, to riding in style on a fun and informative city tour, there are plenty of ways to have a blast on the island without having to break the bank. Keep reading and discover 10 affordable activities for exploring Key West on a budget, and make this trip to the Florida Keys one for the books!
Table of Contents
- Catch the Sunset
- Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum
- Visit the Beach
- Hydrobike Tour
- Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
- City Tours
- Key West Aquarium
- Bike Tour
Catch the Sunset
Stunning sunset in Key West, FL
If you only have one day in Key West, you will want to be sure to catch one of their famous and fabulous sunsets! This is one of the top things to do when exploring Key West on a budget, and is a must when visiting the Florida Keys. When witnessing one of these whimsical sunsets, you’ll feel as if you’re a part of it while being encompassed by vibrant colors of blue, yellow, pink, orange, red, and more!
Not only that, Key West’s sunset celebrations are iconic, as the city comes together to celebrate the end of another magical day on the island. Since the 1960’s Mallory Square has been hosting their Sunset Celebration each evening, attracting locals and visitors alike. If you’re ready to witness one of these stunning sunsets for yourself, consider heading to one of the following locations for an extraordinary view:
Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum
Image of the Key West Shipwreck Museum from Flickr
When exploring Key West on a budget, be sure to stop by the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum! This marvelous museum is home to more than 400 years of history with amazing artifacts, exhibits, and even a below-sea-level theater. Combining history and fun, a trip to the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum is an affordable way to take a deep dive into the city’s past.
This magnificent museum is housed in a recreation of the famous 19th century wrecker tycoon Asa Tift’s warehouse, which includes a 65-foot lookout tower. Not only does this add to the museum’s historical significance, but it also provides spectacular views of the island you will have to see to believe! And with ticket prices at under $20.00 per person, this awesome Key West attraction doesn’t have to break the bank.
Visit the Beach
Breathtakingly beautiful beaches of Key West, FL
When in Florida, do as the Floridians do, and spend a day at the beach! A trip to the beach is a quintessential part of any Florida vacation, and is a great way to explore Key West on a budget. Spending a day at the beach is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature, take in spectacular scenic views that stretch as far as the eye can see, and make a splash in the area’s incredible and inviting blue-green waters.
And when it comes to the beaches in Key West, there are plenty of options, so finding beachside bliss is a cinch when on the island. Smathers Beach is one of the largest beaches in the city, and one of the most popular, hosting about 150,000 beach-goers each and every year. This is the perfect place for swimming, snorkeling, paddling, and simply soaking up the sun and relaxing!
Key West is also home to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, which is Florida’s southernmost state park, and is known for its stunning beaches and historical relevance. Completed in 1866, Fort Zachary Taylor played an important role in both the Spanish-American War and the Civil War, making it popular for not only its beaches, but also U.S. military history. Whichever beach you decide to visit in Key West, you’re sure to have a fun, affordable, and unforgettable time!
Hydrobike tour in Key West, Florida, at sunset
If you’re wondering how to go about exploring Key West on a budget, but also in a fun and unique way, consider joining in on a Hydrobike tour! Hydrobikes are the newest trend, and are an exciting way to get out on the water in Key West. This is a great way to try something new, and witness the island from a whole new perspective.
Family snorkeling adventure in Key West
When exploring Key West on a budget, be sure to dive into the area’s stunning and sparkling waters on a snorkeling tour! It doesn’t get much better than snorkeling in Key West, either, as this area is home to 2,800 square nautical miles of barrier reef that’s just waiting to be explored. The local waters are teeming with colorful colors, wonderful wildlife, shipwrecks, and ample amounts of underwater adventure!
Key West is truly home to an underwater wonderland, and snorkeling is a great way to see what lies just beneath the surface. Participants will be able to gain deeper knowledge of the area, and see this stunning slice of paradise from a whole new perspective. This bucket-list experience is a great way to get up-close with some marvelous marine life, as well, including dolphins, parrotfish, sea turtles, and more!
Father and son preparing to paddle through the mangroves in Key West, FL
Paddleboarding makes for an outstanding outdoor adventure, and is ideal for those exploring Key West on a budget. Paddleboarding is a great way to get active, while simultaneously feeling relaxed and connected with nature. This is also the perfect opportunity to soak up scenic views, and experience up-close encounters with local wildlife.
Paddleboarding is also one of the best ways to explore Key West’s unique mangrove ecosystem. Paddling through the mangroves is an experience like none other, and will have you feel as if you’ve been transported to a natural oasis of wonder and whimsy. From guided paddleboard eco tours, to paddleboard rentals where you can explore at your own pace, there are plenty of ways to get out and paddle in Key West!
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Image of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum from Flickr
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is a must-see when in the area, especially for those exploring Key West on a budget. The home is located in the heart of Old Town Key West, and is where author Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote for over ten years. This museum takes visitors traveling through time as they witness the rooms and gardens where Hemingway wrote many of his wonderful works.
When visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, be sure to take a stroll through the lush grounds and gardens. This area is home to more than 60 polydactyl cats, some of which are descendants of Hemingway’s beloved pet polydactyl cat, who was named Snow White. And with tickets less than $20.00 per person, this is a paw-some way to explore Key West on a budget.
Pictured above is a Key West city tour by trolley with Historic Tours of America
When exploring Key West on a budget, an optimal option to consider is booking a city tour. City tours are a great way to ensure you’re seeing the best of what Key West has to offer, all for one low price. Not only that, with a local and knowledgeable guide leading the way, you will gain a deeper understanding of the city as a whole, learn something new, and witness Key West from a whole new perspective.
City tours come in all shapes and sizes, as well, so finding the perfect excursion for you and your group is easy. From delicious food tours to sample the top Key West cuisines, to exploring the city from the comfort of a train or trolley, the options are practically endless. City tours will highlight multiple local landmarks, guaranteeing the best bang for your buck!
Key West Aquarium
Tropical fish at the Key West Aquarium
With tickets starting at less than $20.00 per person, a trip to the Key West Aquarium is an awesome way to explore Key West on a budget. This amazing aquarium combines learning and fun, as visitors will encounter magnificent marine life up-close, while learning about a variety of animals, ecosystems, and more. In fact, the aquarium itself is historic in its own right, as this was the very first attraction in the city!
This popular aquarium has actually doubled in size since opening its doors, which means double the fun! Visitors will see a wide variety of tropical fish, sea turtles, eels, sharks, stingrays, and more. Not only that, guests can enjoy a touch tank, as well, for a true up-close-and-personal encounter with gentle creatures of the sea.
According to a recent TripShock Traveler Story, Key West bicycle tours are an amazing experience, and a great way to see the city
Affordable and fun, bicycle tours are one of the best modes of exploring Key West on a budget. The size and maneuverability of bicycles means that participants will be able to explore areas that one may not be able to see on a standard city tour. This makes for a more personal and up-close experience with the city, providing a deeper insight into the local culture, and ample opportunities for fun and adventure!
With that being said, most bicycle tours will take guests to the top local landmarks, as well. The top sights you may encounter along the way include The Southernmost Point, Mallory Square, Ernest Hemingway Way Home and Museum, and more! This is the perfect activity for those who want to ride in style, and explore the city in a unique way.
As you can see, Key West, Florida, can be just as affordable as it is fun! There are plenty of awesome and cost-efficient activities for exploring Key West on a budget, so a trip to this tropical island oasis doesn’t have to break the bank! From catching a stunning and scenic sunset from Mallory Square’s nightly Sunset Celebration, to seeing what magical wonders lie just beneath the surface on a spectacular snorkeling adventure, the options are practically endless!
However you decide to spend your time in Key West, you’re sure to leave with memories that will last a lifetime. TripShock offers the best rates on the top things to do in Key West, so you can start planning your unforgettable and budget-friendly getaway today!
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