Key West Area Guide

Welcome to Key West, Anglers! When you’re not fishing, we’d like to offer some recommendations for things to do on the island. Below are some our favorite places to eat, some of the nightlife and attractions you might like to visit, a few must see shopping destinations (there are more than t-shirt shops and tourist geegaws in the Southermost City!) and a few other highlights you might not want to miss along the way -- like quiet walking lanes, and pocket parks. Even if you aren't fishing Key West waters with Captain Rich, let us be your Key West guide!

Beaches Restaurants Nightlife Accommodations
Attractions Shopping Fishing Tales We Recommend

Get a great overview of the island aboard the trolleys that make their way up and down our quaint streets lined with gingerbread mansions, romantic cottages and lush tropical palms and trees, past our harbors, beaches and along the famous main drag, Duval Street. The great thing about the trolley tours is that you can hop on and off – stopping to shop along Duval Street, visit Hemingway House, have lunch at Blue Heaven and then hop back on for the next leg of the tour. By the end of the day, you’ll feel as though you know your way around the island!

Key West Beaches

Key West has some beautiful beaches – from the long white stretch of sand we call Smathers on the southeast corner of the island, to Higgs Beach just west of White Street Pier, and the small, but picturesque “dog beach” tucked between Louie’s Backyard and the Coconut Beach Resort . The most beautiful beach and the best swimming is at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park on the southwest tip of the island.

The beach itself is a little rocky, but it quickly becomes deep enough for swimming and the rock just offshore provide terrific snorkeling. There are clean public bathrooms, outdoor showers, a concession for hamburgers, snacks, and even a beer, and you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas for the beach. You can even get a hammock to sling in the shade beneath the Australian pines.

The park is open until sunset and is a great spot to watch the sun slide into it’s watery slip for the night.

The Fort, which is a National Historic Landmark, has the largest cache of Civil War era coastal cannon. There are free daily tours at noon and 2pm but the historic fort -- which was once an island of Key West -- can be explored anytime you want a break from the sun and swimming!

Fort Zachary State Park
601 Howard England Way
Key West, Florida 33040
(305) 292-6713
8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.



Blue Heaven. If you go no place else, you want to have at least one meal at Blue Heaven. You only have to read one of the 3,700+ reviews to find out why it’s the most popular restaurant on the island: "Great service fun atmosphere food was incredible!" “Don’t let the whimsical décor fool you, the food is taken seriously here” are two. You will find chicks underfoot, and a true Key West ambiance. You will wait to be seated, no matter what time of day or year, and it will be worth the wait. There’s a bar to make the waiting better – sip a cocktail; listen to the live music, and imagine what it was like in Hemingway’s time. The building was once a saloon (with a bordello upstairs, legend says). In the backyard was gambling, cock fights, and boxing matches refereed by Papa himself in the 1930s. The cuisine is Floribbean, a meld of Caribbean and Florida styles showcasing fresh local seafood. The Lobster Benedict is divine and very popular. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 729 Thomas Street (on the corner of Petronia and Thomas Streets in Bahama Village. (305) 296-8666. Reviews and Map.

*Don’t miss the quaint apothecary next door to Blue Heaven on Petronia Street. Besame Mucho is carries one of a kind merchandise, fine toiletries and curions. One of the finest stores on the island.

Camille’s – Popular with locals for breakfast, and great food anytime. Everything’s the special, since Camille’s has a new menu every day. On the corner of Catherine and Simonton. Open everyday, for breakfast, lunch, & dinner. Reservations accepted: (305) 296-4811. Reviews and Map.

Abbondonza – next door to Camille’s on Simonton, Abbodonza offers huge portions of pasta and Italian specialties in an elegant, yet casual atmosphere. Dinner only. 1208 Simonton Street. (305) 292-1199
Open Daily 5pm-10:30pm. Reviews and Map.

Salsa Loca - Hand's down the best Mexican on the rock. Tucked behind Cowboy Bill's. Indoor/outdoor seating. Great food and service. Don't let the street address fool you, it's really on Angela Street, just off Duval. 624 Duval Street. Mon-Sat 11am-10pm; Sun 12pm-10pm. (305) 292-1865 Reviews and Map.

Salute - On the beach at Higg's Beach, this popular seafood restaurant is owned by the proprietors of Blue Heaven. Expect the same excellent service and food, except you will be seated in the open air next to the Atlantic Ocean. Get there before sunset on the weekends, and start with the tropical experience of fresh coconut at the stand outside the restaurant. 1000 Atlantic Boulevard, Key West, FL 33040-4852 (305) 292-1117. Open Daily 11am-11pm. Reviews and Map.

Bo's Fish Wagon - A piece of old Key West, preserved on the corner of Caroline ...801 Caroline Street, Key West, FL 33040 (305) 294-9272 . Reviews and Map.


Sloppy Joe's - The bar that Papa Hemingway made famous is no longer located in the tiny saloon where Papa drank with his gang, but Sloppy's is Key West's best known bar for more reasons than that. Live music entertains patrons from noon until 2 am. If you like raw and raunchy comedy with your music, you won't want to miss the Pete & Wayne show, a nearly nightly tradition from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. At 10 the bar rocks the rest of the night. 201 Duval St at the corner of Greene. 365 days a year from 9:00am–4:00am Monday through Saturday and noon-4:00am Sundays. Schedule. Reviews and Map.

Green Parrot - Not to be missed. Playboy magazine says: the search for the definitive Key West saloon ends at the Green Parrot. Go for the blues and the "local" atmosphere. It's a bit of a dive, but it's got true Key West character and characters. You're also likely to catch the best blues outside New Orleans. The line up often includes a shorter "sound check" set from 5:30 to 7 pm. Check the schedule.

Despite its slogan, No Sniveling Since 1890, the building on the corner of Southard and Whitehead was a grocery store from 1888 until 1927 when it became the Brown Derby Bar. It was renamed the Green Parrot in 1970. 601 Whitehead St. Key West, 305-294-6133 Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-4am / Sunday noon-4am / Happy Hour 4pm-7pm. Reviews and Map.

Hog's Breath Saloon - A Key West institution. Raw bar and grill, with live music from 1 pm to 2 am. 400 Front Street (305) 296-4222 Reviews and Map.

Ghost Tours - No, not a bar or music venue, but ghosts are very much a part of Key West's nightlife and have been since the "Isle of Bones" was the site of an Indian battle that left no survivors. You can experience Old Town's eerie phenomena, ghostly stories, and at least one true and truly macabre tale that will make you shudder on one of the evening tours. Some tours are on a trolley, others are walking tours. Read the Reviews to decide which one is for you.


Hemingway House - The house itself would be of historical and architectural interest even if Ernest Hemingway had never lived there. Built by Asa Tift, wrecker and successful merchant, in 1851, its colonial architecture is a departure from the Classic Revival or Victorian styles of most Key West mansions. Add the 5 toed cats, and the legendary lifestyle of its literary resident, and you have the most popular attraction in Key West. Hemingway had the rough brick wall built to keep tourists out, but they're all over the place now. Open Daily 9am to 5pm. 907 Whitehead Street (305) 294-1575 Reviews and Map.

Oldest House - One of Key West's treasures, the Oldest House was built circa 1829 by a ship's carpenter. It was one of eight houses left standing after a major hurricane in 1846 leveled most of the 600 or so structres in Key West. A sea captain and his wife raised seven daughters in the Classic Revival structure on Duval Street. Tours of the home are free and offer a glimpse of the pioneer settlers life in Key West and an overview of Key West's colorful history. The Oldest House is owned by the State of Florida and managed by the Old Island Restoration Foundation (OIRF). The foundation raises funds to support the museum and its beautiful garden through its popular House and Garden Tours offered monthly December - March. Open 10 am to 4 pm. Closed Wednesday and Sunday. 322 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040-6510 (305) 294-9501 Reviews and Map.

Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters - History buffs will enjoy learning about the lifestyle of Key West's earliest lighthouse keepers, and the view of Key West from the top is well worth the climb of only 88 steps. Some local tour guides may tell you this was originally a waterfront structure, but the lighthouse was built inland in 1847, after a major hurricane in 1846 washed away the first lighthouse built on Whitehead's Point. That hurricane also wiped out all but 8 of the six hundred or so buildings in Key West. Short video on the lighthouse. 938 Whitehead Street (305) 294-0012 Reviews and Map.

Audubon House



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Quick Guide to Key West Hotels, Resorts and Attractions

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703 Catherine Street
Key West, FL   33040

Key West Fishing
(305) 293-8565

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1801 N. Roosevelt Blvd
Key West, FL   33040

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