Sink your toes into the sand of this 7sqmi (18sqkm) island, and the world as you know it will melt away into a tropical paradise. Be swept away by the beautiful beaches, the charming pastel homes and plates of mouthwatering, fresh-caught seafood. The island life is calling, and these local tips are full of lively Key West-style fun that will make you understand why Hemingway never left.
Spice up your trip to Key West with a little visit to 801 Bourbon Bar. This Duval Street gay bar is famous for its nightly drag shows from 9pm to 11pm. After you’ve seen the World Famous 801 Girls strut their stuff, head upstairs to the cabaret bar for more entertainment (and drinks). If you just happen to be hanging out here on a Sunday afternoon, partake in a bit of bingo or, if you’re a little more adventurous, some karaoke. Recommended by local insider Alli Griffiths
Love a drink served up with a hearty helping of live music? If so, then Smokin’ Tuna Saloon may become your new haunt. This open-air hotspot (also on Duval Street) features two bars, some delicious local seafood (it’s not just its tuna dip that’s smokin’ good!) and live music happening all week long. Enjoy relaxed outdoor dining on its patio while soaking in the gorgeous Floridian weather and listening to some of the best live music from both up-and-coming and world-class musicians. Recommended by local insider Alli Griffiths
This eclectic little bar has tons of accolades, so it must be doing something right. It’s been voted “Best Bar in Key West” and the “Third Fave Bar in America,” so going to Key West without visiting Green Parrot Bar would be a major oversight. Wander away from Duval Street to mingle with the residents at this popular watering hole. Play bingo every Monday with a boat captain, or dance with a Key West politician to live honky-tonk music. Here at Green Parrot Bar, anything (fun) goes. Recommended by local insider Alli Griffiths
Spend some time soaking up those beautiful Key West rays while paddleboarding the crystalline waters of lush backcountry with Lazy Dog PaddleYoga. Glide through mangrove jungles, relax on a remote sandbar and discover marine life that calls this paradise home. Lazy Dog PaddleYoga also offers group evening meditation on paddleboards once a month during the full moon. Get out on the water to watch the sunset, and then find your Zen while meditating under the moon’s glow. Recommended by local insider Alli Griffiths
If you’re wondering where to find the residents of Key West, you’ll probably find them hanging out at Mary Ellen’s Bar. This neighborhood joint serves stiff drinks and late-night pub favorites such as grilled cheese and tomato soup, pizza and tater-tots until 4am. It even has offerings for its vegan patrons. With daily cocktail and drink specials, Tuesday Trivia and a drunken spelling bee on Monday nights, this bar may become the place where everyone knows your name. Recommended by local insider Alli Griffiths