Florida Keys Neighborhood Guide
There are over 1,700 islands in the archipelago that makes up the Florida Keys, each of them unique and with their own attractions. This may make it a little hard for you to find the best Florida Keys accommodation for your vacation, but you just need to know which island best suits your travel style.
Key Largo is the best area for travelers heading to Florida Keys for the first time. Easily accessible from the mainland and with a great mix of amenities and adventure activities, theres something to suit everyone.
The second place to look at is Islamorada, a group of six islands that offers a more local, down to earth feel. This is our top pick for those traveling on a budget, so if you like fishing and other activities that dont cost a lot of money, this is where youll find them.
Next, Marathon is a collection of tiny islands that offers lots of family friendly activities, suitable for even the smallest members of your family. If you want to keep them occupied for a few days, this is the best place to base your vacation.
Finally, Key West is the best place to stay in Florida Keys for nightlife. This is probably one of the most popular islands, and for good reason its full of everything from beautiful beaches to popular bars.
Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite travel backpack is the Aer Travel Pack 2.
Best Area To Stay In Key West For History Buffs
Truman Annex is home to some of Key Wests most famous historical buildings, most notably Little White House where former president Harry Truman stayed in the winter during his term. A short stroll to Mallory Square and Historic Seaport will lead you to the original Pan Am Headquarters, a spectacular aquarium, the Maritime Museum and the 1840s-era Audubon House.
Things To See And Do In Islamorada:
- Enjoy a meal at Meze Morada, Calypsos, or Bayside Gourmet
- Go swimming with dolphins or snorkeling at Theater of the Sea, one of the best marine parks in the area
- Go swimming or enjoy the sporting facilities at the Village of Islands Founders Park.
- Take a boat tour to get to know the area from the ocean
- Have a picnic or BBQ at the Library Beach Park
- Explore the unique History of Diving Museum
- Grab your hiking boots and make your way through Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
Read Also: Houghton Lake Vrbo
Recommended Area: Key West Historic Seaport
The Key West Historic Seaport District is home to dozens of restaurants, bars, and things to do.
Located at the northwestern edge of the island, Key Wests historic seaport has long been a hub of activity, and nowadays it is considered the tourist heart of the city.
This area, Key Wests birthplace, is home to some of the citys most important landmarks, such as Mallory Square, Simonton Beach, the Key West Shipwreck Museum, Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, Key West Museum of Art & History, and the Key West Aquarium.
Not far, youll find the Truman Little White House, President Harry S Trumans winter residence, now a museum.
Around the Key West Historic Seaport, there are dozens of restaurants offering some of the freshest seafood in Key West. The area is also known for its many nightlife options, with several bars, cocktail lounges, and nightclubs.
If youre looking for shopping, The Key West Historic Seaport District is home to some of the best boutiques and art galleries in South Florida.
The boats to Dry Tortugas, as well as other island hopping, charter fishing, boating, and water sports excursions, leave from the Historic Seaport.
The Key West Historic Seaport District is the best area to stay in Key West thanks to its perfect combination of tourist attractions, historical sights, nightlife, shopping, and transportation options.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in Key West, Florida:
- Tourist attractions
Welcome To The Island City House
One of the best places to stay for families and groups, our Old Town Key West hotel has maintained a long-standing reputation for providing impeccable hospitality in a gorgeous setting with incredible amenities. Situated in Historic Old Town Key West, sits this unique property that is comprised of three separate buildings, The Arch House, The Cigar House, and the Island City House. The oldest operating Guest House in Key West, Island City House Hotel offers guests an exceptional experience.
See what’s new with our hotel policies and cleaning practices to provide a safe and relaxing place to rest and relax.
Also Check: Bed And Breakfast Winthrop Wa
Things To See And Do In Old Town:
- Duval Street isnt the only nightlife in the city. Hit up some local favorites in this tour of Key Wests alternative bars and clubs.
- Key West is home to the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States you can take a guided tour of the best attractions in the area on this experience.
- Famous writer Ernest Hemingway spent his late years in the Caribbean. Check out his Key West residence and learn more about his work at his former house.
- The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory has a huge selection of native insect life perfect for a family day out on the odd bad weather day.
The 3 Best Beaches Near Your Key West Vacation Home
1. Smathers Beach
Boasting close to 2 miles of shoreline, this mangrove-fringed beach is great for families. There’s lots of swimming, parasailing, kayaking, and snorkeling opportunities.
2. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
Beach Visitors often come here for sunbathing and snorkeling. Walk, run, or bike on the various nature trails. Take a guided tour of the pre-Civil War vintage fort on the grounds.
3. Rest Beach
Although only less than 1,000 feet long, the beach promises a tranquil experience. Visit here on early mornings for spectacular sunrises and beautiful views of the Atlantic. The beach also features a yoga deck where classes are held.
Also Check: Accommodation Winthrop Washington
Sunset Key Staying In One Of The Most Exclusive Key West Hotels
Our final destination of Sunset Key is a small island, located 500 yards off the north-western coast of the main island. Originally known as Tank Island, it was built in 1965 during the Cold War, both to create passages for submarines and other large vessels, as well as to be used as a fuel tank depot.
After eventually being sold in 1986 it continued to be developed and change hands for almost a decade until it was renamed Sunset Key in 1994. It is now owned by Tom Walsh, who also owns the Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina.
It has since become known as one of the most exclusive parts of the entire archipelago. The key consists of a collection of 69 family homes and vacant lots, each of which is valued at more than 1.5 million dollars.
A small fleet of 4 ferry boats known as Island Time, Lil Princess, Serenity, and Sierra are the only way to reach the island, all of which run between it and the Margaritaville marina.
A single resort is present on the island, the Westin Key West Resort. With a private beach, a small collection of waterfront cottages, a spa, and a restaurant, it is one of the most sought-after Key West accommodations, as a booking there is the only way to visit the island for non-residents.
Stay In Sunset Key If you want to stay in one of the most exclusive Key West hotels you arent worried about money you are happy to book well in advance you want a break in a secluded, tropical paradise.
Bahama Village If You Are Looking For Local Experiences
Bahama Village is located in the southern part of the island and a 15 minutes walk from the town center. It is a nice and less touristy neighborhood where you will be able to find more local experiences. The name of the neighborhood comes from the citys connection to the Bahamas and here you will also see the Southernmost point.
Bahama Village is a very fun neighborhood with its flea market, public swimming pool, and authentic cuisine. Foodies will love the food scene in Bahama Village so if you are looking for a local vibe, you should definitely stay in Bahama Village. Here also you will be able to find less pricey hotels compared to other parts of the island.
Also Check: Where To Stay Phoenix
Bahama Village Good Neighborhood For Food And Restaurants
Located in the south of Old Town, Bahama Village is named after the original population of the area, which was predominantly from the Bahamas. This allows the area to offer a slightly different feel and culture than the rest of Key West.
This can be seen everywhere from the abundant shops, restaurants, and hotels to the local people that still inhabit the area. With the southern section of Duval Street running through Bahama Village, it is also incredibly well connected to the rest of the city centre.
Perhaps the most famous attraction in the area is the Key West Light House Museum. Constructed in 1848 after hurricanes destroyed the first two lighthouses in Key West, it stands 50 feet tall and is one of the most iconic structures on the island.
Directly opposite the lighthouse, you will also find the Ernest Hemingway Home. Constructed in French Colonial Style just 3 years after the completion of the lighthouse, it has become the most visited attraction on the island.
The site where he wrote some of his most famous works, it has been fully restored and designated a National Historic Landmark. It now operates as a museum to his work and still features a population of polydactyl cats like those he owned, with many believing theyre descended from his actual pets.
Best hotels in Key West Bahama Village:
Best Places To Stay In Key Largo
Hampton Inn Key Largo Stay in this hotel and enjoy all the fun of being on the beach in the center of the area. The low-key, neutrally decorated rooms are comfortable and clean some even come with sea views. The hotel has touches of tropical style throughout and makes for a relaxing spot for a beach break. You can laze under the shade of the palm trees with the sand between your toes at the small beach, swim in the hotels outdoor pool, or even rent a kayak and go off adventuring. The hotel is just a five-minute stroll to top attractions like Dolphin Cove.
A hot tub and a heated swimming pool await you at Marina Del Mar Resort and Marina hinted at by its name, this 3-star hotel is actually located on Key Largos largest deep-sea marina, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for getting out onto the open sea yourself. Rooms here feature amenities like coffeemakers and mini fridges, whilst if you go for a suite, youll get a balcony with prime views. Arriving by boat? You can pay for overnight dockage at the marina.
Read Also: Holiday Inn Express Houghton Lake Mi
Hostels In The Old Town
A Hostel in the Old Town is another option for a cheap stay.
In the old town, you will find a few hostels and bunk-sharing accommodation options tailored to suit the needs and financial abilities of low-budget travelers.
The location also gives you access to affordable eateries like . This is a simple fusion cuisine restaurant that offers large quantities of delicious meals at really great prices.
If the budget is really tight I suggest using the common kitchen and stock at Faustos Food Palace, not the cheapest supermarket but, considering the distance from the mainland, its not that bad.
Seashell Motel and International Hostel is located in the Old Town district of Downtown Key West and offers great value for low-budget trips.
You have access to a beautiful outdoor shared lounge with dining spaces and a hammock.
The rooms are air-conditioned and feature partitioned bunks for privacy.
Alternatively, consider turning your trip into a camping one to save money. In this case, Boyds Key West Campground is the best option.
What Our Families Say
We stayed at the Casa Marina Key West A Waldorf Astoria Resort with our three kids this summer and loved it. Older, historic hotel, but its beautiful. They have two-bedroom loft rooms perfect for families heres our view from the balcony. My kids loved the small beach, and there are two nice pools one for families and one for adults. Onsite water sports rental company Barefoot Billys.
Debbie Craten Dawson
You May Like: Hotel In Winthrop Wa
Cute Houseboat In New Town Key West Yacht
It doesnt get any more Florida Keys than this! This boat is moored in New Town but you can take it anywhere you want around the city. Want to travel further afield? You can also hire an experienced Captain to take you on day trips around other Keys. Its powered mostly using solar energy, making it a great choice for more environmentally-conscious travellers.
Casa Marina Where To Stay In Key West On The Beach
The Casa Marina subdistrict is located on the southern side of the island, immediately to the southwest of Bahama Village. It is named after the luxury resort in the neighborhood that was founded by Henry Flagler in the late 19th century.
The highlight attractions in Casa Marina are Southernmost Point, Higgs Beach with a beautiful sunrise, and African Refugee Cemetery.
The area is known for its private beach and outdoor swimming pools. Often considered somewhat of a playground for the rich and famous, it is a fabulous choice for those who want a beach vacation with a stylish atmosphere and arent worried about spending big to pay for it.
At either end of the beach, beautiful piers jut out into the ocean. This allows you to stroll along, enjoying serene views while surrounded by nothing but water.
Attractions like a water sports company provide rentals for those looking to hit the waves and have some fun. Meanwhile, a sand artist creating sculptures to request on the beach offers a slightly more relaxing activity for those seeking a slower pace.
Then, no matter how you choose to spend your days, a great choice of bars and restaurants allows everyone to kick back and relax with some fine food and drink of an evening.
When you combine that with the shops and other facilities that are within close proximity, Casa Marina becomes one of the best spots on the island for those seeking a truly relaxing vacation.
Recommended Reading: Vrbo Houghton Lake
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 neighbourhood 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.
The Historic District, also known as the Old Town, is the beating heart of Key West. 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 this neighbourhood.
Lying to the east of Old Town, New Town is a more modern neighbourhood 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 traveling on a budget.
Key West is arguably the best place to stay in the Florida Keys for nightlife, thanks to vibrant Duval Street. It cuts right through the Old Town, with Upper Duval and Lower Duval forming two popular neighbourhoods. Youll find bustling parties, chilled-out bars, and everything in between in this neighbourhood. During the day, its a popular shopping area.
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.
Best Area To Stay In Key West On A Budget
Key West is known for being a relatively pricey destination but visiting Key West on a budget is still possible. The northern part of New Town has some well-priced hotels or you can stay in a backpackers hostel. Smallest Bar Inn is a cute guest house that captures the essence of Key West perfectly with very reasonable rates.
Don’t Miss: Cheap Hotels In Winthrop Wa
Best Places To Stay In Marathon
Tranquility Bay Resort A true slice of old-world luxury, this 4-star resort is all kinds of classic when it comes to decor: Tranquility Bay Resort is spacious, whitewashed, filled with beautiful furnishings, and elegant design details. Stay in one of the simply opulent rooms in the hotel or opt for your own 2 or 3-bedroom beach house. Amenities include a grill area, a Mediterranean cafe and a beach bar. Youll be just over a mile from the green space of Marathon Community Park if you stay here.
Captain Pips Marina & Hideaway Sat right on the waters edge, this place really is a little hideaway where guests can really get into life in the Keys. There are plenty of opportunities to hit the water by renting a boat or going on a snorkeling trip, or just simply whiling away the hours by fishing from the hotels dock. Rooms come with everything you need to make your stay run smoothly and the helpful staff will be more than happy to supply you with beach towels and equipment.