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Is there ever a bad time of year to visit Key West? Of course the answer is no; but springtime is one of the best times of year to head to this island paradise. The skies are sunny, the water is warm and the attitude is as welcoming as it always is. There is a ton of fun in store for you in the Southernmost City. Read on for the top things to do in Key West in the spring.
One of the most unique places on the planet, the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson National Park is the perfect Key West adventure on a spring day. Just 70 miles west of Key West across the Gulf of Mexico, this small cluster of islands is home to a pristine beach, warm shallow waters just perfect for snorkeling and a massive Civil War fortress. To get there, take the Yankee Freedom III, the official ferry of the Dry Tortugas National Park. The Yankee Freedom III provides a complimentary breakfast and lunch, snorkel gear and a comfortable ride to your destination. Once there, explore Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century fort that was used as a prison during the Civil War. You can see the cannons, the lighthouse and walk into the cells where the inmates lived. Be sure to check out Samuel Mudd’s cell, the fort’s most infamous prisoner. Enjoy some time on the gorgeous white sand beach, do some bird watching or just take in the magnificent views from the top of the fort.
Old Town Trolley Tours have been entertaining visitors for more than 25 years. It’s the most comprehensive sightseeing tour in Key West and will transport you to more than 100 points of interest. On the orange and green trolley, you’ll be able to get off and take your time exploring the most popular Key West attractions including the Ernest Hemingway House, Mallory Square, the Key West Lighthouse, Harry S. Truman’s Little White House, Duval Street, the Southernmost Point and much more. Hop off at stop 3 and check out the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar and Ripley’s Believe It of Not! Pet a shark at the Key West Aquarium and check out the magnificent butterflies at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Learn the history of the Southernmost City and the many famous and infamous characters that have made the island their home. A great Key West outing for adults and kids, the trolley tour will entertain and enlighten you while showing you the best of the city.
Home to a Civil War tower and the Key West Garden Club, the West Martello Fort is a wonderful way to spend some time on a spring day. The tower was constructed in 1862 and is one of only three Civil War structures left on the island. Climb to the top of the tower and gaze out at the crystal waters. Enjoy a stroll through the gardens brimming with orchids, bromeliads and other flowers, trees, and exotic plants. Sit under the gazebo and feel the cool breezes coming off the ocean and stop by the water lily pond for a moment of tranquility.
There’s no place better for fresh local seafood than Key West. Head to the Historic Seaport and check out Turtle Kraals restaurant. This iconic island restaurant is a favorite among the locals, the sea captains, and visitors and offers the freshest seafood you can sink your teeth into. They serve a variety of succulent ceviche, shrimp, oysters that are shucked right in front of you, fish dishes and more. Be sure to head upstairs to their Tower Bar for a breathtaking view of the harbor, especially at sunset. There’s also live music and their famous turtle races on certain days.
The annual Key West Fishing Tournament is a popular spring pastime for visitors and locals alike. Now in its 48th year, the tournament promotes sports fishing and conservation in the Florida Keys. For kids, there’s a Junior Division for under 15-year olds and a Pee Wee division for those under 10. The best anglers win trophies, cash prizes and vacation fishing packages.
Each year, Key West celebrates the island’s rich history during the Conch Republic Independence Celebration. Tourists and locals enjoy a music festival hosted by the iconic Green Parrot Bar, naval parade, car show and more. This special tribute to the Conch Republic’s unique past, present and future shouldn’t be missed during a trip to Key West in spring.
The colorful and fun Taste of Key West is a delicious experience for all ages. Attendees gather on the Truman Waterfront Pier to sample menu items from more than 50 local restaurants and 100 wineries. Old Town Trolley Tours provide free shuttle services for the event from several locations around the island, including the Westin Key West Resort, La Concha, and Casa Marina.
During the first Saturday in March, watch enthusiastic contestants pucker up and demonstrate their shell-blowing talents. Sometimes called the Conch Honk, there is no cost to enter or to compete, and no experience is necessary. Conch shells are available for purchase for those who do not have their own.
Annually held in mid-March, the Key West Home Tours are conducted by the Old Island Restoration Foundation and funded in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. Each tour features lovely homes and gardens reflecting the varied tastes and originality of their owners. You will be enchanted by exquisite restorations, creative renovations, and delightful interiors.
Find more monthly events this spring by visiting our Key West events calendar.