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Where to Stay in Key West: 6 Best Areas & Neighborhoods


Colorful, quirky, and stocked stuffed with key lime every part, Key West is as near the Caribbean as you may get with out a passport if you happen to stay within the United States. If you’re planning a trip to the Florida Keys, you’ll need to learn beneath to see the place to remain in Key West.

The small island on the finish of the Florida Keys was found by Ponce de Leon round about 1513. It gained prominence (or wouldn’t it be notoriety?) when it declared secession from the remainder of the U.S. in 1982 and took on the aptly-chosen moniker of Conch Republic.

This act of secession was in protest to a border patrol by the U.S. Government, which prompted a 17-mile backup. Who is aware of what they had been on the lookout for (medication, weapons, aliens, Elvis …. ?).

This unprecedented roadblock (inside the precise United States) actually made of us mad, as vacationers apparently began canceling reservations and plans to go to the Florida Keys and Key West. Hence, the Conch Republic was born as a sovereign mind-set. But, sure, it’s nonetheless a part of the United States.

The Southernmost City within the contiguous United States is a mere 4 miles by two miles extensive. But inside that small area sits a world of nightlife, sport fishing, nightlife, watersports, stay music, wonderful seafood, nightlife, gingerbread structure, nightlife, and beautiful sunsets. Don’t neglect that nightlife.

Key West is world-famous for its tropical panorama, literary ties, a historic seaport, the vigorous ambiance of Duval Street, and an abundance of watersports and out of doors actions. The island and its southernmost level are popular among family, group, and LGBTQ+ vacationers.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean’s coral reefs (the third largest barrier coral reef system on the planet, by the way in which) and the Gulf of Mexico’s glowing shades of sapphire, emerald, and aqua, Key West is roughly 159 miles southwest of Miami (the closest mainland metropolis) and about 90 miles from Cuba (by water, in fact). Visitors steadily tkae half in diving, snorkeling, fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and a ton of different water-related actions.

Locals and vacationers embrace the island’s eclectic and freewheeling historical past of pirates, bootleggers, and a big selection of artistic former residents with names like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Jimmy Buffett.

Life is just a bit totally different in Key West –and that’s precisely why we prefer it! 

TL;DR Our Favorite Accommodations in Key West

Best Areas to Stay in Key West, Florida

  • Best space for first-timers/vacationers: Uptown
  • Best space for price range vacationers: Mid Town
  • Best space for luxurious vacationers: Sunset Key
  • Best space for security: Truman Annex
  • Best space for households: New Town
  • Best space for nightlife: Old Town/Downtown

1. Best space for first-timers/vacationers: Uptown

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory Entrance

picture by Sandy Allen

Uptown is a superb alternative if you happen to’re questioning the place to remain Key West first time. Uptown is the realm round higher Duval and the Southernmost Point within the Continental United States. This southern edge is only a quick stroll from eating places, bars, and outlets on Duval Street.

Uptown contains the residential Bahama Village, a restored historic district providing an eclectic array of eating places and shopping options. If you’re planning to remain in Key West, right here are some things to do whilst you’re there.

Things to do in Uptown

  • Brunch with chickens (sure, actually) at Blue Heaven Rendezvous. You’ll in all probability have to attend in line, so head on over earlier than you get actually hangry.
  • Stop in for a slice of key lime pie on the Southernmost Key Lime Shop.
  • Stroll by the historic restored Bahama Village and purchase your self a straw hat or memento on the Bahama Village Market.
  • Visit butterflies, birds, and flamingos (Rhett and Scarlett) on the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
  • Visit a Civil War fort, unique vegetation, and tropical gardens on the West Martello Tower and Key West Garden Club. The fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Go to Higgs Beach, which provides a restaurant, restrooms, a volleyball courtroom, and the Higgs Beach Memorial Pier. There’s additionally a fenced-in space, Higgs Beach Dog Park, for the four-legged seaside bums. The close by Dog Beach is one other place for Fido, Rex, or Spot to run round and sniff.
  • Visit the Key West AIDS Memorial Bridge (at White Street and Atlantic Boulevard), situated on the Edward B. Knight Pier. Installed in 1997, granite plaques commemorate the names of people that have died as a consequence of issues from AIDS. The unique set up held 730 names. Side partitions had been added in 2014 to permit for extra names. As of 2020, there are 1,240 names.
  • Don’t neglect to attend in line to pose for a pic with the well-known southernmost level waterfront buoy, which proudly proclaims its location: 90 miles from Cuba.

We’ve collected just a few concepts for locations to remain in Uptown for first-timers. Choose from mid-range choices, boutique accommodations, and the luxurious hotel and personal seaside at Casa Marina. Hotels provide superbly embellished rooms with a non-public balcony, complimentary breakfast, and a heated swimming pool surrounded by palm timber and tropical flowers.

In addition to those featured, the Almond Tree Inn and the Santa Maria Suites are glorious luxurious choices for an island lodge keep.

Searching for an adults-only lodge if you visit Key West? The Orchid Key Inn provides an outside pool, continental breakfast, a bar, and complimentary completely happy hour. It’s on Duval Street close to the southernmost level, making it among the best accommodations for a honeymoon, anniversary, or romantic getaway.

The Caribbean House boutique lodge options colourful rooms with island names and tropical-inspired decor.

See Related: Best Day Trips From Tampa, Florida

2. Best space for price range vacationers: Mid Town

Kapok Tree in Key West
picture by Sandy Allen

Truman, First, Flagler, and Leon Streets kind a rectangle, of kinds, to make up the Mid Town district. Mid Town backs as much as New Town and the White Street Gallery District. This city heart space consists of residential houses and a few trip leases and is near Garrison Bight the place the fishing constitution boats hang around.

While in any space of city, be aware of the poultry inhabitants (hens, roosters, and chicks). These crowing and cackling creatures are just like the squirrels of city settings. Don’t hassle them they usually received’t hassle you.

They would possibly even pose for an image, if you happen to’re fortunate. Also, lizards and iguanas are steadily seen all through the Florida Keys. Hey, we stated it was totally different right here!

Things to do in Mid Town

  • Book a fishing constitution for the day.
  • The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum options treasures from wrecks of Spanish galleons such because the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the Santa Margarita, and the Henrietta Marie. You may even contact and raise an actual bar of gold. Interesting truth: the bar of gold was truly stolen out of its protecting plexiglass field at one level (it’s since been returned).
  • The Key West Museum of Art and History on the Custom House is situated in an Eighteen Nineties-era constructing. Check out native artwork, pictures, and historical past displays (together with gadgets belonging to Ernest Hemingway).
  • The Key West Nature Preserve, whereas small, is an effective way to see mangroves and, probably, island animals (in addition to the chickens and lizards). Two boardwalk pathways lead across the space and finish on the ocean. It was initially often called The Berg earlier than being acquired by the City.

Mid Town provides a boutique lodge, family-friendly resorts, and luxurious Key West accommodations with fashionable facilities similar to a continental breakfast, an outside swimming pool, and water sports activities entry. Families, teams, and enterprise vacationers will discover a few of the finest accommodations on this space.

3. Best space for luxurious vacationers: Sunset Key

Sunset Key and Wisteria Island Aerial View

You can’t get rather more luxurious than a non-public island. For the last word luxurious expertise, e-book a keep on Sunset Key. Secluded, serene, and located offshore, it’s 27 acres of tropical island ambiance.

Sunset is about 500 yards off Mallory Square (you may in all probability see it whilst you’re watching the solar slide into the ocean). Don’t let the situation intimidate you, you may get to Downtown Key West (through a 24-hour personal ferry) in about 5 minutes.

Things to do in Sunset Key

  • Relax in secluded luxurious on the white sand seaside.
  • Book a {couples} therapeutic massage or an indulgent spa therapy. The spa is situated on the Opal Key Resort & Marina on the mainland (close to Mallory Square).
  • Lounge the day away on the pool or by your personal plunge pool.
  • Practice your serve, forehand, and backhand on the tennis courts.

Part of the Opal Collection, Sunset Key Cottages is likely one of the finest accommodations in Key West for an opulent and unique expertise amongst a setting of orchids and tropical flowers

One, two, three, and four-bedroom cottages can be found. Cottages begin round $9,000, which is why we’re not together with price range and mid-range for this luxurious record (and likewise as a result of there aren’t any).

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Hollywood, Florida

4. Best space for security: Truman Annex

Shipwreck Museum Exhibit
picture by Sandy Allen (Shipwreck Museum)

While all areas of city are thought-about protected, we selected Truman Annex as a consequence of its gated neighborhood entry. The space is dwelling to the Truman Little White House (the winter dwelling of Harry S. Truman), making it a good selection to remain in Key West for historical past fans.

Truman Annex is only a quick stroll to the historic seaport, Mallory Square, and the points of interest, purchasing, and eating of Duval Street.

Things to do close to Truman Annex

  • Take a guided tour of the Truman Little White House, Florida’s solely presidential museum.
  • Touch rays, feed sharks, and find out about sea turtles on the Key West Aquarium.
  • Spend the day snorkeling, swimming, and sunning at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. It’s among the best seashores (and positively the largest) on the island. There’s a concession stand, picnic tables, and plenty of shady timber to get out of the solar. This is a terrific space to observe dolphins leaping the bow wake of cruise ships heading out to sea.
  • The Key West Shipwreck Museum is crammed with artifacts, movies, and different gadgets on the historical past of shipwrecks (together with pirate booty like items of eight and different cash). You also can climb the lookout tower, however be careful, that vertigo will get ya!
  • Take a selfie by the Mile Marker 0 signal. Yes, you’ll in all probability have to attend in line. It’s not as common of a web site because the southernmost level, however it will possibly get shut.
  • Grab a slice of key lime pie on the Key Lime Pie Bakery. Located close to Duval Street, you’ll additionally discover native souvenirs and reward gadgets.

You’ll discover family-friendly accommodations and weekly trip leases in Truman Annex. For a romantic getaway, honeymoon, or particular anniversary, an adults-only lodge just like the Cabana Inn is a terrific alternative and amongst Key West’s finest accommodations.

The Hyatt Residence Club has a lodge pool and suites with totally geared up kitchens, which is a good place to remain in Key West for an prolonged trip.

5. Best space for households: New Town

Scenery from Fort East Martello Museum
picture by Sandy Allen (view from the Fort East Martello Museum)

New Town is one of the best space to remain in Key West for households who prefer to be close to every part whereas nonetheless being away from the hustle and bustle. It’s the primary part of the island of Key West you enter after leaving Stock Island. While most areas of city are nice for households of all sizes, we selected New Town for its proximity to points of interest and actions.  

The factor to grasp about Key West is that whereas it’s tropical and Caribbean-like, it’s not likely your typical “seaside” city. In different phrases, if you happen to’re a tried-and-true seaside bum, it’s possible you’ll be a bit dissatisfied (I’ve to confess, I kinda was the primary time I went – however now I am keen on it, so all is nice).

Let me clarify. You received’t discover lengthy strands of wide-open seashores just like the East and West Coast of mainland Florida. The seashores are small, rocky, and pretty shallow (and sometimes come full with seaweed).

And you definitely received’t be browsing. That being stated, you may nonetheless get within the water, loosen up on a lounge chair, take pleasure in a tropical drink, and go snorkeling. The shallow side will enchantment to oldsters of young children (so, we’ll tally that one up on the plus aspect).

Smathers Beach or Fort Zachary Taylor State Park are going to be your finest bets for seaside days.

Things to do in New Town      

  • Grab a hogfish sandwich on the Hogfish Bar & Grill on Stock Island.
  • The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden is simply throughout the bridge on Stock Isle. Stroll by tropical gardens with unique flowers, a small pond, and native vegetation.
  • The Key West Golf Club provides a tropical setting to observe your swing. Golf architect Rees Jones designed the 18-hole par 70 course.
  • Take an Old Town Trolley Tour to find out about island historical past, Key West’s gingerbread structure, and different tropical websites round city.
  • Fort East Martello Museum, situated in an 1862 Civil War fort, options displays on native and maritime historical past similar to cigar making and shipwrecks (in addition to some actually cool steel sculptures). It’s additionally dwelling to the supposedly haunted Robert the Doll (the notorious character Chucky was primarily based on him).
  • Book a sightseeing day cruise, snorkeling journey, or sundown booze cruise.
  • Gather the crew and take a day journey to Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key. It’s about 37 miles north of Key West.
  • Relax on the sand at Smathers Beach. There are restrooms, which is an enormous bonus if you happen to’re touring with youngsters.

New Town provides quite a lot of hotels and resorts with tiki bars, indoor swimming pools, and balconies for price range, mid-range, and luxurious vacationers. Parrot Key Hotel and Villas, Sunrise Suites Resort Key West, and Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Key West are just some to select from.

Located close to the Key West International Airport (EYW), Margaritaville Beach House Key West is our favourite Key West resort. It’s among the best resorts in Key West for households for its on-site restaurant, out of doors pool, sizzling tub, garden video games, hammocks, and comfort to Smathers Beach (which is true throughout the road). Kids’ actions embody hearth s’mores, fresh-baked cookies, and poolside smoothies whereas adults get to take pleasure in rum tastings and paint-and-sip occasions.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Miami, Florida | Top Attractions

6. Best space for nightlife: Old Town/Downtown

Crowd and a Performer in Mallory Square
Benny Marty / Shutterstock.com

Also known as the historic district and historic seaport, Old Town (or downtown Key West) is the place you’ll discover the nightly sundown spectacle at Mallory Square and the party finish of Duval Street (although, the phrase “party” might apply to the entire island, not simply Duval Street). This central location contains the Key West historic seaport.

The well-known Duval Street runs from east to west (from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico) by historic Old Town and Downtown to Uptown. While all of Duval Street is alive with nightlife, Old Town is our alternative as a consequence of world-famous bars like Sloppy Joe’s and the Hog’s Breath (“Hog’s breath is healthier than no breath in any respect,” as their slogan so elegantly states).

Things to do in Old Town

  • Take a tour of the Hemingway Home and Museum. The writer’s island house is the location the place he wrote a number of novels. Walk by the lounge, view his workplace, and find out about his life and instances within the Keys. You might even get a glimpse of the well-known six-toed cats.
  • The Key West Lighthouse, inbuilt 1848, is situated throughout from the Hemingway Museum. Climb 88 steps to the highest and discover pictures and artifacts from its historical past.
  • The Tennessee Williams Museum has a big assortment of artwork, books, and different media from the lifetime of the playwright. Williams lived in Key West for about 30 years.
  • Head to the Hog’s Breath Saloon for stay music, leisure, dancing, and drinks. The Hog’s Breath, and Key West generally, has seen impromptu performances by names like Kenny Chesney. You can think about the gang that collected for that!
  • Soak up that sizzling Florida solar at Simonton Street Beach or South Beach, one of many smallest on the island.
  • Dance, drink, bask in glorious meals, and hearken to stay music at nightclubs like Sloppy Joe’s, Margaritaville Restaurant, Fat Tuesday, the Hard Rock Café, Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, Coyote Ugly, and lots of others.
  • Don’t neglect the road performers, arts and crafts distributors, and meals kiosks on the nightly sundown celebration at Key West’s Mallory Square throughout your keep in Key West. After the solar goes down, it’s customary to maintain the party happening Duval Street.
  • Check out the waterfront scene alongside the historic seaport. You’ll discover a big selection of fishing charters, sightseeing cruises, and water sports activities like jet snowboarding, snorkeling, and diving journeys.
  • Get a slice of key lime pie at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. If you’re on the lookout for a suggestion, select the frozen model that’s coated in chocolate. Sit on the deck and revel in watching koi swim about.
  • Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery, situated close to the Historic Seaport, celebrates “Papa” Hemingway’s love of journey (and rum) with excursions, tastings, cocktail lessons, and a store.

You’ll discover quite a lot of luxurious accommodations, mattress and breakfasts, a historic resort, and trip cottages near all of the motion of Key West’s Old Town. Many declare to be haunted.

Maybe they’re, perhaps they aren’t. With the number of well-known and notorious people frequenting the realm, who is aware of (however it makes for enjoyable tales).

The Artist House on Fleming, Old Town Manor, and the Crown Plaza Key West – La Concha apparently have a ghostly presence. Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway each stayed on the La Concha historic lodge. I totally loved the lodge’s rooftop out of doors pool.

Amsterdam’s Curry Mansion Inn, at Caroline and Duval Street, is a beautiful mattress and breakfast retreat. Don’t miss the conch-style homes whereas touring alongside Caroline Street in your technique to Duval Street.

The Ocean Key Resort is likely one of the finest luxurious accommodations within the historic seaport. Within strolling distance to Mallory Square and the leisure of Duval Street, it provides a spa, a health heart, and the Sunset Pier restaurant.

Hotel facilities at these finest accommodations embody free Wi-Fi, out of doors swimming swimming pools, a solar terrace, tropical gardens, and extra (the ghosts are a bonus).

FAQ

Where is an efficient place to remain in Key West close to Mallory Square?

For quick access to the town heart and the nightly sundown celebrations at Mallory Square whereas visiting Key West, you’ll need to select a Key West lodge in Old Town close to the water.

What is one of the best space to remain in Key West?

It’s all about what you need to do! If you should be close to entry to watersports, offshore fishing, and such, the historic district of Old Town and the historic seaport are glorious decisions. To be inside strolling distance to eating, purchasing, and leisure on Duval Street, persist with Uptown or Downtown.

What are one of the best neighborhoods to remain in Key West?

Key West is such a small island, that you just’ll be capable to simply get from place to put. For a quieter vibe, and among the best locations to remain in Key West, select Stock Island, which is Key West’s next-door neighbor.

The southernmost level is one other glorious space to remain in Key West. Traveling with pets? You’ll need to keep close to canine seaside within the Uptown space.

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