Getting to Dry Tortugas National Park may not be easy, but it’s worth the adventure. Floating just west of the Florida Keys, you’ll need to take a ferry or seaplane to experience this stunning 19th-century fort and its surrounding waters, teeming with sea life and perfect for snorkeling. If you’re not down to set up camp around the fort walls, stay at these nearby hotels – bookable with Culture Trip – and visit Dry Tortugas National Park at your leisure.
The Reach Key West, Curio Collection
4.1/5 (180 Reviews)
Courtesy of The Reach Key West, Curio Collection / Expedia
Beaches are in short supply in Key West, but the Reach comes prepared with the only private natural sand beach on the island. With such an extravagant exclusive perk, the beachfront pool, floating gazebo and Sunday oceanfront brunch seem like icing on the cake. Speaking of, it’s a cakewalk making your way from the hotel to Duval Street, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and the Southernmost Point, all of which are only blocks away.
Pledge your allegiance to the Conch Republic at An Island Oasis in Key West. These Bahamian-style digs are a short breeze away from the Southernmost Point, which you can instantly access atop a complimentary bike. High ceilings and large windows keep these beachy rooms cool throughout the day. You’re free to stick your toes in the dipping pool if the half-mile jaunt to Higgs Beach seems a little far, but a few extra minutes under the sun is a fair trade for a dive into the ocean.
Happy hours, heated pools and high privacy walls – that’s the adults-only Almond Tree Inn in a nutshell. Crack the door open and you’ll discover lush tropical landscaping, a whirlpool spa and chill suites that grant you instant access to Old Town. Duval Street and the Conch Train Tour stop are right outside, while the historic lighthouse and Hemingway House are only a block away, proving that their guests don’t need to fall far from the Almond Tree to find a good time.
Travelers Palm Inn wants you to know that it’s perfectly acceptable to stay away from both Duval Street and the beach. This little ecofriendly oasis was designed for easy-going relaxation. Your suite has a dining room and kitchen, so you’ll never need to leave the comfort of your air conditioning until you’re ready. The solar heated pool is the ideal spot to catch up on your reading – and, no, it doesn’t have to be one of Hemingway’s yarns.
An equal distance between Duval Street and the beach, Alexander Palms Court feels like you’re staying at your uncle’s winter home. Suites with fully furnished kitchens are ready to help you stay on budget by eating in – though the Lobster Shack around the corner will sink those plans. Silence descends on the property between 10pm and 10am, and with no groups allowed, you’re guaranteed a quiet stay where you can rest and recharge.
Nab the obligatory Southernmost Point photo before the crowd arrives with a little help from the Southernmost House Hotel. Located in full view of the popular buoy, this boutique mansion has treated presidents, royalty and even Ernest Hemingway to unforgettable overnights. The zero-entry heated pool looking out into the ocean is a fitting way to wade into the waters of Key West. Grab a slice of world-famous lobster pizza at Seaside Cafe, order up a Mansion Mojito and muse about what ol’ Ernie must have been thinking when he called this mansion home for the night.
A refined and relaxing abode so close to boozy Duval? The Gardens Hotel offers a calmer, lighter touch of Key West hospitality. Saunter into your private cottage and revel in the jacuzzi tub, Italian linens and outdoor veranda. A masseuse will gladly make the trip to your room, so you’ll only have to roll from your Hemingway bed onto the massage table. Get your libations without leaving the property at the Wine Bar and sample as many bottles as you wish.
Don’t let the name fool you – the swanky Saint Hotel will gladly give a room key to someone who may or may not be on the naughty list. Strut your new swimsuit at the pool before heading out to find fun at the many bars, clubs and discrete destinations on Duval Street. Cobalt-blue LED lighting in your suite will set the mood for your return with new friends from the Tempt bar downstairs.
Street performers, fresh fish right off of the line, and a dedicated space where you can view the sunset and people watch at the same time – Ocean Key Resort & Spa’s Mallory Square location is prime. When you’re not taking the historic district by storm, unwind with Javanese Rituals and Key Lime Margarita Pedicures at the waterfront SpaTerre. Wake up every morning with breakfast on your private balcony, and spend every evening embracing an amazing sunset from the pool deck.
Waterfront luxury is the name of the game at the Marker. Not one, not two, but three crystalline pools will give you every excuse to wear all of the swimsuits you packed. A harbor view room isn’t necessary, but who wouldn’t want to leave the water views behind simply because you’re turning in for the night? Drinks at the Starboard Bar are a must, though, because local rum and gin taste better with a salty sea breeze.