The Best Time to Visit Key West: An Unforgettable Guide

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Visiting the Keys is a place that everyone should have on their bucket list. Not only because celebrities love hanging there, but because the Keys have gorgeous weather, lots of beach space, and clear skies.

There are plenty of reasons why this beach has become so popular with time. It’s not to blame that this is definitely a gem in Florida with a unique place to hang out and spend your vacation at.

Here is a simple guide helping you plan for the best time to visit Key West. If you are considering planning a trip this year or next year, the best time to start planning a vacation is NOW!

Find out what the weather will be like during the time you plan on visiting. Find out how the crowds will be and do your homework. Here we will break down when you should be planning for those trips and what to expect when visiting the Keys. 

Best time to Visit Key West

Key West, just like the entire state of Florida, can experience some pretty interesting weather. Yes, hurricanes do happen in the Keys, though not as often as people think.

Some hurricanes did cause damage such as Hurricane Irma in 2017. They don’t happen every year and they don’t always hit Key West.

Since hurricane season is expected from June to December, it’s better that you plan anywhere from November or December up to March or April. Many locals know that the busiest time to experience the high peaks is surprising during these same months. Everybody knows that the weather is the best. 

Finally, because Key West has fluctuations of weather, the best time to visit Key West Florida or plan any trip or vacation is during late Fall or early Spring. The temperatures are nice and the weather is warming. Its no wonder so many people love visiting during this time.

What makes Key West Unique?

One of the things key west is definitely known for is the interesting amount of Roosters roaming the island. You can see them on the island roaming around the beaches. The thing is that nobody knows where they come from, but they do get fed by locals or find food to eat.

You won’t want to miss these little guys roaming around. 

If you do find yourself in Key West then don’t forget to try the Key Lime Pie. One of the yummiest things this Island is known for. Most restaurants serve it. Even some shops specifically sell it. So you can stop and ask for it.

Trust me. If you are in Key West then definitely make sure you try it. 

Where to Fly In?

If this is your first time visiting Key West, then take note. There are several options for getting to Key West. If your one and only destination are Key West and nothing else then you may consider flying into the Key West Airport.

Though there are some limitations as to what kind of airlines fly into there. For one, some of the major airlines will definitely fly in there. So think, American Airlines, Delta, United, British Airways, and Virgin Galactic! Be sure you double-check where you are going and whether your airline will fly into there. 

The next option is to go to Miami’s International Airport. This is probably one of the most popular options due to the proximity to the Keys.

If you plan on checking out the Miami Beach Vibe and then heading down to the relaxing vibes of Key West then this may be a perfect plan for you. 

Of course, you would have to rent a vehicle when you land and then make your way to Key West. This is probably one of the most gorgeous road trips out there.

Driving on the US-1 gives you the opportunity to see the gorgeous blue waters on either side while passing all the neighboring islands of the Key West before getting to the end. It really is a beautiful drive! 

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It is approximately 170 miles distance wise. Furthermore, the approximate drive can take you 3.5 hrs or more depending on the traffic and what time you plan on going. It’s always better to take your time and go when rush hour is not at the peak.

Also if you decide to do the drive then you can take your time and stop at the other islands to take pictures or check out the gorgeous scenery!

Things to do in Key West

Key West has a lot of things for you to try and check it. Though most people don’t really know how to spend their time. Basking in the sun and enjoying the local cuisine is probably the first thing on your list. Here are some of the most popular things to try out!

As some locals realize, the beach options in Key West can be a little scarce. Many locals swear that Key West is not famous for its beaches at all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time on the water. There are some nice beaches to check out while you are here.

If you are short on time and don’t want to cram a whole lot of things into your list.

Here is what is recommended to do.

Top 3 choices for those short on time

1. Snorkeling or Paddle Boarding at Key West Beaches

2. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

3. Trolley Tour of Key West

If you do have more time…

Be sure to check out these other things to do

  • Key West Aquarium
  • Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden
  • Rent a Scooter or Bike 
  • Southern Most Point of the Continental US
  • US-1 Mile Marker 0
  • Truman Little White House Museum
  • Key West Lighthouse
  • West Martello Tower Garden
  • Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

Key West Beaches?

There are just a couple of popular beaches on this island, but well worth checking out. The first pick or one that my family and I visited was Higgs Beach. There are enough parking and picnic tables and plenty of palm trees.

This is probably where you will notice many roosters wandering around.

I know I did. 

Higgs Beach has an Island Vibe and is perfect for snorkeling. So if you do own your own snorkel, bring it and make a choice to visit. If you don’t want to check out the shallow water then you can walk the Higgs Pier. You will see many people either walking or riding bikes on it. 

Smathers Beach is another beach where most tourists also love exploring. It appears like a little “strip” on the boulevard and beach rentals. You can get rentals for paddleboarding, kayaking, umbrellas, and chairs. It’s the place you need to rent your equipment.

Since there are hardly any food places within distance it’s best to bring a good 20-Qt Cooler when you come. Or just eat beforehand. 

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach is probably one of the best ones to visit. Just keep in mind that you do have to pay an admission fee when you enter. Though it is definitely worth it since it is probably one of the best beaches in all of Key West. 

Where to Eat in Key West?

Though there are plenty and plenty of restaurants to eat out in Key West due to its very popular tourist location, only a few really stand out. Of course, anyone with a particular taste will be able to find something for their liking no problem. Here are some restaurants worth checking out the next time you visit. 

Place 1 : Santiago’s Bodega

Place 2 : Old Town Mexican Cafe

Place 3 : Sunset Pier 

If you’re still unsure of where to eat or want to open up your options further, then don’t forget to check out Mallory Square. What is really neat about this place is that there are lots of places to eat and dine.

Little stores and restaurants surround this place. It is known as the bustling plaza with gorgeous sunsets!  It is the perfect place to check out the view while dining. If you are looking for some bar options, this place also has it. There are a lot of street performers there which is pretty cool!

Key West has a long list of bars, restaurants, and shops to check out. It’s a nice way to pass the time. 

Where to stay in Key West?

Key West has a lot of hotels that fall in the $100-400+ range per night. If you plan on traveling during the off-peak season like August or September, then prices will be slightly cheaper.

However, if you plan on going during the peak seasons like February or March, expect to be paying any from $350- 450 per night. It really depends on what season you choose to go.

On average a two-week vacation hotel expense can be anywhere from $2,000- $7,000+ depending on which plan you choose during peak season. 

 Since Key West is a very touristy area, the prices tend to be on the higher end. There are also some Airbnb options that also range around the same price point. If you are going during the peak season, it is best you book as soon as possible so you can be sure to get those dates.

If you are more on a budget, then definitely plan on booking outside of the Keys. Many people choose to stay in either the outskirts of Miami such a Hialeah or even Fort Lauderdale. Either or, if you choose to stay in Key West then here are our top picks.

Top Picks worth checking out:

1 : Hilton Garden Inn Key West 

2 : Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Key West at the Keys Collection 

3 : The Reach Key West Curio Collection by Hilton

4:  The Laureate Key West 

5:  Margaritaville Key West and Resort and Marina

6: DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key Resort

FAQ

Here are your most common questions answered!

What is the cheapest time to go to Key West?

Key West is probably one of the business places to visit in all of Florida. With its gorgeous emerald blue waters, fun activities, and delicious food there is never a bad time.

In addition, the proximity to the south of Florida makes it really convenient to see more and explore more. Though most people who visit love going in the springtime, though prices are a bit more expensive.

If you are looking for the cheapest time to go, then look no further than June- August. These are typically cheaper and less crowded to go visit. Not too many tourists visit in the summer months. I have seen prices less expensive in August and September too. So all in all, the cheapest time to go to Key West would be during off-peak season. 

What is the peak season in Key West?

Key West has definitely peak seasons. Most people visit anywhere from October to November! Most people who escape the cold weather of Canada and other parts of the world would rather spend it basking in the sun.

Hence, you may find a lot of snowbirds during this time! It does get pretty busy in Spring too. 

How many days do you need in Key West?

3-5 days is sufficient for visiting key west. This will give you enough time to relax on the beaches. In addition, It will give you time to explore the top tourist attractions and check out everything you want to do. 

Conclusion

Key West has plenty to see and do, from snorkeling to sunbathing to visiting museums and just relaxing overall. There is a lot for you to explore if you want to escape the crowds.

All in all, the best time to visit Key West or any of its neighboring Islands is anywhere from November to April. Of course, this is also considered peak season which means there are a lot of people around this time. But could you really blame them? The weather and water are nearly perfect for that getaway.

Though if you’re looking to beat the crowds, then visiting during the nonpeak season is probably one of your better choices.

Don’t forget that it is amazing driving through the other famous Keys to stop and take pictures. Though most people’s destination is Key West, the other islands such as Islamorada, Key Largo, Duck Key, and Sugarloaf Key are wonderful to visit.

As a final note, whatever you plan on doing, then be sure to give yourself enough days to relax, stay, and enjoy the wonderful sunshine! Choosing for the best time to visit Key West Florida really depends on you and your time! Best of luck!

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Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️

 

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