Top 4 Areas To Stay In Key West
Key West might be small, but it is an incredibly diverse destination when you scratch beneath the surface. Each of Key Wests neighbourhoods offers something different from the rest, and where you stay can really make or break your trip. Thankfully, getting around is super easy even for those that dont have a car. Its even easy to get to Key west international airport with the shuttle service.
Old Town: The Key West historic district, also known as the Old Town, is the beating heart of the area. For first-time visitors, the Old Town is a great place to get a sense of what Key West is all about, with loads of attractions concentrated in the centre. Youll also find most tour operators are based in Key Wests old town.
New Town: Lying to the east of Old Town, New Town is a more modern neighbourhood that is growing in popularity with visitors. Previously a residential area, its one of the cheapest places to stay on the Keys and is ideal for anyone travelling on a budget as youll find some of Key Wests best hotels at a reasonable rate here.
Still undecided? Weve got some more information about each neighbourhood below, as well as our top accommodation picks and things to do in each area.
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Historic Tours In Key West
Youll find the Key West is one of the most historic towns in Florida, and as such there are lots of types of historic tours. I talked above about audio tours being the more affordable Florida Keys tour option, but if thats not your style, you can always book something more personal.
Expect to pay $20-$50 per person for different types of walking or tram tours in Key West. We live in Saint Augustine, the oldest city in the USA, and have lots of our visitors do guided tours in town, and the MOST POPULAR is always the ghost tour. And yes, Key West has ghost tours too. You can book a private walking tour of Key West for your group too, and that saves quite a bit versus paying for individual tickets.
Hop-on-Hop-off tours are a great way to explore towns without your own car . Key West has both the Conch Train and the Old Town Trolley for this. The Conch Train only has a few stops that you can get on and off, but the history and stories are great. The Old Town Trolley covers the whole town and has lots more boarding options. They also do the Ghosts and Gravestones tour.
Affordable Hotel In New Town The Capitana Key West
This hotel is a more affordable option for couples and solo travellers. Youll also get to enjoy all the additional services and convenience associated with staying in a hotel. Located right on North Roosevelt Boulevard, youll be within walking distance of some of the most budget-friendly shops and restaurants in Key West.
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Key West Historic District / Old Town
Best area to stay in Key West for first-time visitors
First time on Florida Keys favorite island? Set your sights on the Key West Historic District. Also referred to as Old Town, this U.S. Historic District encompasses Key Wests main historical sites. And with over 187 of them hidden throughout the area, theres plenty to explore!
The Historic District blankets nearly the entire western third of the island. Although often labeled as a single entity in guidebooks, the preservation district is a collection of distinct areas. Many of the top neighborhoods to stay in Key West fall within the boundaries of Old Town.
Wherever you stay within Old Town, youre never far from all the action. Walking north to south, coast to coast as it were, only takes about a half-hour. Along the way, youll hit up several of Key Wests main attractions.
In the districts southern fringes, check out the Southernmost Point of the Continental US. Practice patience as you line up for your obligatory selfie with the colorful buoy.
Beach lovers wont be disappointed either. On the western edge of the Historic District lies Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. Its a wonderful detour for both history buffs and beach bums. Check out its pre-Civil War fortress before taking to its waters. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park dazzles with one of the best beaches on Key West.
Recommended hotels in the Historic District
Dont Forget Travel Insurance For Key West
Dont forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. Theyre easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once youve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Its good to get lost sometimes, but its also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
Theres one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans World Nomads!
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Where To Stay In Key West Florida: The Best Hotels & Areas
The westernmost island in the Florida Keys, Key West is one of Floridas most popular travel destinations. And with its acclaim among visitors, choosing where to stay in Key West can be challenging.
For travelers, the best hotels in Key West sit within its city center. Although compact, central Key West comprises a range of areas, each with its own vibe. Low-key neighborhoods like the Key West Historic District and Bahama Village are ideal to dig into the islands history. Other districts like Duval Street and the Historic Seaport buzz day and night. Wherever you choose, youll never be far from Key Wests most charming moments.
Ready to launch your Key West accommodation search? Find the perfect hotel with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Key West.
Looking for more ideas for your trip? Check out our other hotel & accommodations guides and our Florida Travel Guide for recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
New Town Fl Stay In Key West On A Budget
The area of Key West that is called New Town is the part of the island that is located east of Old Town. Unlike if you stay in the Historic District you dont have most attractions on your front step if you stay at Key West hotels in New Town.
There are a few popular restaurants in New Town that have appeal to both locals and visitors. But with that said, most of the priorities when you visit Key West are located on the western end of the island.
Because of that New Town is not the best area to stay in Key West if you want to be close to things to do. Then the Key West hotels in Old Town are much more convenient.
Still its just a few miles from Key West hotels in New Town to the islands Old Town attractions. So you have decent access to most things to do when you stay in the New Town area as well.
Further from Duval Street also tends to mean cheaper Key West hotel rates. So you often find lower rates in New Town than at Key West hotels in Old Town. Therefore the New Town area is a very good alternative if you look for a more inexpensive place to stay in Key West.
In short, New Town is not as convenient as an Old Town stay when it comes to access to Key West entertainment. Still New Town is a great option for where to stay in Key West if you dont need the very best access to the islands sights. Away from Duval Street also means that New Town is an option for where to stay in Key West on a budget.
Pick New Town for: Key West hotels on a budget.
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Charming Townhouse In Lower Duval The Foundry
We cant get enough of the gorgeous interiors of this historic townhouse! Located in the Truman Annex part of town, this is actually a super quiet neighbourhood despite only being a stones throw from the main nightlife area. Perfect for when you need a good night of sleep after days spent partying!
Most Affordable Hotels In Key West:
Key West hotels can be really expensive, so most people need to look for more affordable options.
When you stay at one of the more affordable hotels in Key West, consider that either the quality of the hotel or the location will have to be compromised on.
I tend to compromise on location, because many of the hotels further out from Duval are half the price and offer free shuttles. However, if you dont care about large rooms or having a big pool area, then you may compromise on amenities in order to stay right near Duval.
Here are some of my favorite affordable Key West hotels, both close to Duval and further out.
Keep in mind that every Key West hotel is a bit more expensive than resorts in other areas, so youll still spend at least a few hundred dollars a night. If youre looking for cheaper options, scroll down further to check out some of my favorite VRBO options.
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Budget Boat Tours In The Florida Keys
Getting out on the water in the Florida Keys is amazing, but its difficult to do it on a budget. There are not a lot of inexpensive options for boating in the Keys, but there are ways to make it fit into your affordable travel plan.
As you enjoy your road trip through the Florida Keys from Miami to Key West, youll pass by countless marinas where youll find a variety of charters, commonly for fishing. There are some great small operators that dont do a lot of advertising that you can find simply by happening into a marina or one of the visitor centers. If a company isnt booked up, you might find a great deal for an outing for your family.
One of the best values for a boat tour in the Florida Keys is actually doing one of the tours out of John Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo. There are snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours that go to the reef and are some of the most affordable Florida Keys tours.
Top Pick: Private Boat Charter in Key West
One of the great things about focusing on making a Florida Keys trip affordable is that by saving on accommodations, dining and daily activities you can set aside some budget for doing one or two INCREDIBLE adventures. To date, the best tour/experience/adventure weve done in all of our travel as a family was a private charter boat into the backwaters of the Florida Keys with Island to Island Charters.
- 4 HOUR CRUISE $550
- 6 HOUR CRUISE $750
- 2 HOUR SUNSET CRUISE $350
Fishing Tours in the Florida Keys NOT budget friendly
Be Flexible About Where You Stay In Key West
Sure, the Key West dream is a room overlooking the water, but you’ll pay for the privilege. Staying in the backstreets, and choosing guesthouses and B& Bs over hotels and motels can bring savings. Hotels on the east side of the island tend to be cheaper, but youll either have to pay for taxis or use a hotel shuttle service or rental bike if you want to get to the main drag of Duval St.
Booking far in advance can sometimes bring savings, but youll still find many rooms topping $200 per night, even in low season. A more reliable method of slashing costs is staying in a property with shared bathrooms the Key West Bed & Breakfast is a reliable choice.
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Parrot Key Hotel & Villas
Though the Parrot Key Hotel & Villas is a bit further out from Duval Street, its still quite walkable. The distance makes the property a bit larger this is one of the most upscale hotels thats close enough to walk and isnt insanely expensive.
The Parrot Key Hotel is great for large groups since you can get up to 3 bedroom villas. Most of the rooms have a lot of private and private porches.
Its also a great spot if you want to be right on the water. Most of the resorts are a bit further away, so the Parrot Key is the perfect mix between resort vibes and location.
The Parrot Key has a mid-sized pool with lots of chairs and a pool bar on site. Its one of the best hotels in Key West for a pool day thats also walkable to Duval.
The rooms themselves are very clean and private. You can get anything from a medium-sized one bedroom to a three level villa. The bedrooms are all decorated in neutral coastal decor.
Right outside each of the rooms, youll step into plush white sand. You can lay in a hammock, relax on a lounge chair, or chill on your porch and listen to the sounds of nature and Key West.
The Parrot Key is a great option for a hotel thats a bit larger/more resort-like but is still walkable to Duval!
Good For: Groups, anyone who wants larger/more private rooms
Price: Anywhere from $350-$800 a night, depending on the room and season. Check every weekend because the prices change dramatically.
Maximize Your Entertainment Dollar On Land And Sea
For $49, The Key West Attractions Vacation Pass from the Key West Attractions Association is a good deal if youre planning to take a sail excursion, ride a trolley, take a Conch Train tour, visit a museum or the aquarium, or, well, drink.
The pass gives you two-for-one deals on excursions tickets and drinks, as well as discounts on activities and attractions that will make up the upfront cost in no time.
Pro Tip: Thinking of doing a snorkel trip, renting jet skis or going parasailing? Do all three for one price with Fury Water Adventures Ultimate Adventure outing. At $125 for adults and $90 for kids, its cheaper than paying for all these activities separately, and the six-hour catamaran cruise includes playtime on a floating inflatable water park in the middle of the Key West Bight, plus two meals and drinks.
Free rides, free fun, and two-for-one drinks and cruises those are the keys to a budget-friendly trip to Key West!
Bob Curley is a travel writer specializing in New England, the Caribbean and beach destinations around the world. He writes for AFAR, Coastal Living, TripSavvy.com, Wedding Style, Business Travel and many other publications.
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Finding A Budget Key West Hotel Or B& b
Even in the summer off-season, your first search for basic Key West motels will come up with rooms starting at least $250 a night. Ive tried several strategies to beat that price some successful some not.
What didnt work very well: I used name your own price on Priceline twice in Key West. Both times I ended up in the eastern part of Key West, three miles from Old Town. There are eight or 10 hotels clustered on Roosevelt Boulevard at the entrance to Key West. They share a shuttle service into Old Town, which helps with parking.
The problem here is that the location isnt ideal and the price included add-on fees a $10 resort fee at the run-down Lexington and a $20 parking fee at the very nice Marriott Key West Beachside Hotel.
I had better luck finding accommodations in Key West where I compromised on amenities. One of the great charms of Key West is the historic bed and breakfasts in Old Town. Most go for $300 to $400 a night. But there are a few quality places where several bedrooms share a common bathroom, and the savings are great.
Americans love their plumbing, but if you can share a little as frugal travelers do elsewhere in the world you can stay in Key Wests Old Town at a great B& B.
We stayed at the Key West Bed and Breakfast, 415 William Street, Key West, a turn-of-the-century house decorated with original art, vibrant color and serving a spectacular breakfast of fresh fruits and homemade blueberry coffee cake.
Oceans Edge Resort & Marina
If you want to stay at one of the most upscale resorts in Key West then the Oceans Edge Resort is your place.
The property has incredible rooms and suites, swimming pools, various restaurants, water activities, and truly beautiful views. Downtown is just a short shuttle ride away.
The waterfront dining and bars are a special staple of the Oceans Edge Resort. The patios for dining are truly beautiful, and the fish is all served fresh, right off the boat.
Every single room has ocean views! This is one of the best resorts in Key West because the rooms are so new the property was recently built in 2017.
There are various types of rooms available, from single rooms to mini condos. The decor is very high end , though each compound features slightly different decor.
The Oceans Edge has six heated swimming pools with ultra-comfortable lounge chairs. I definitely recommend making use of the pools because there isnt a beach within walking distance.
The resort is only a short drive away from Duval Street. However, you can also rent golf carts to get around.
I really love how the Oceans Edge Resort is off the beaten path. It has a quiet vibe and feels more like your classic tropical resort than other resorts in Key West.
GoodFor: Anyone who wants a high end resort property.
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