Top Outdoor Activities in Key West

aerial key west

Key West is known for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. It’s one of the warmest, sunniest places in the United States year-round. With such lovely weather, you’ll want to spend some time enjoying the outdoors on your vacation here.

Looking to get outside? Read along as we explore the top outdoor activities in Key West!

Key West by Air

Exploring Key West from the air offers unmatched views of the coastline and marine life below. Adding one of these high-flying outdoor activities to your itinerary will make your Key West vacation unforgettable!

Two of our favorite activities to recommend are parasailing and skydiving. Parasailing lets you soar over the clear waters and enjoy breathtaking views, while skydiving delivers the ultimate thrill, offering an adrenaline rush as you freefall from high above. Picture yourself gliding through the air with all of Key West below you—and just think of the stories you can tell your friends afterward!

Explore the Water

Key West is, of course, most well-known for its beautiful waters. They provide a great place to relax and unwind for the day if you so choose, but there are also a lot of outdoor activities on the water to enjoy!

Spend your day beneath the ocean’s surface on a snorkeling adventure. The vibrant coral reefs here provide an up-close look at the diverse marine life in Key West. The water here is so clear that it makes snorkeling easily accessible, even for beginners. Catch a glimpse of some of the thousands of marine species that call Key West home. 

For an adventure above the surface, add a touch of excitement to your trip's itinerary with a thrill ride on a jet ski. Even if high speed adventures aren't your thing, you can coast along and explore Key West at a leisurely pace, too.

Attractions On Land

Key West is home to many beautiful outdoor attractions that are well worth a visit. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Dry Tortugas National Park

dry tortugas

If you have the time to make a day trip, you'll want to spend some time at Dry Tortugas National Park. At 70 miles due west of Key West, just getting here is an adventure—you must travel by boat or seaplane! Either way provides an exciting excursion before you even arrive on the island. 

It may be worth your time and money to take the sea plane ride over the ferry; the plane ride from Key West takes about 45 minutes, while the ferry takes over 2.5 hours. Either way, once you’re here, tour historic Fort Jefferson, snorkel amidst sea turtles, and learn about the island's history. If you want to make a mini getaway out of it, you can camp overnight on the island to add to the memorable experience.

Sand Key Lighthouse

This landmark is a bit closer to the city, coming in at 7 miles south of Key West. Originally built in 1853, it has a storied history. Today, it’s one of the most popular sites for snorkeling in Key West.

There are multiple daily snorkeling trips off the coast of the lighthouse. The reefs here are part of the Florida Straits Reef, the 3rd largest in the world. Thousands of aquatic species call this reef home, including parrotfish, angelfish, stingrays, and more. If you want to get in some quality snorkeling, this is the place for you!

Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden

Take some time to visit and support the smallest parrot sanctuary in the United States! This secret garden is a hidden gem of Key West. Tucked away in a small backyard off of Elizabeth Street, it's curated by artist Nancy Forrester.

Nancy is an environmental artist, sustainability activist, and teacher who has nurtured this lovely garden to share with visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk through the lush tropical garden, listen to Nancy give a lecture on the environment or parrot behaviors, and observe the colorful parrots she gives sanctuary to!

Fort Zachary Taylor

fort zachary taylor

Fort Zachary Taylor is an important historical site in Key West. It’s been around for a long time, even predating the Civil War. Take a tour and learn about the fort's impact during both the Civil War and Spanish-American War.

Besides its history, the state park is home to Key West’s favorite beach, located at the park's southern end. Here, you can lay out and sunbathe, swim, snorkel, or go fishing!

Book Your Key West Vacation with Us!

With so many amazing outdoor activities, there's a lot to explore on your Key West Vacation. Dwell Key West is here to make sure your trip takes off without a hitch! Whether you’re looking for a rental with a full kitchen so you can cook a meal or a boutique with pool access, we’re here to meet all of your vacation rental needs. Browse our available vacation rentals today and book your Key West vacation directly with Dwell Key West!