Planning a vacation with children is always a challenge. It can be tough to find a place that’s fun for kids while also engaging for their parents. Fortunately, Key West, Florida, provides an array of exciting options for you to consider.
And even though this small island may seem far away, it’s really so close, whether you choose to fly or drive, that most families can get there with less than a full day’s travel.
Whether your family’s interests lay in nature, science, history, the arts, or just having a good time together, a trip to Key West offers a chance to be together and have new adventures.
One of the most important decisions you could make is where to stay when visiting Key West. And there are numerous hotels, motels, and resorts to choose from. But traveling with kids can provide unique challenges to parents, and selecting a rental home, townhouse, condo or apartment can be the ideal solution.
It can provide you with full kitchen facilities that make meals easier. Having private accommodations can also ease parents’ concerns about noise–whether your own children are being noisy or others’ noise is keeping your children from resting. And choosing a rental property can be a real problem-solver when your family size requires more than one hotel room.
Even if fishing is a regular part of your family’s activities at home, there’s nothing like fishing the coral reefs, wrecks, and deep waters off the Florida Keys. The good news is that even if you’ve never fished before, the capable charter boat captains and their crew at Fish All-In Key West take care of all the details, including all the gear you could need. Look for half- or full-day charters depending on your kids’ experience and interest.
It’s a fun and convenient way to introduce a new sport to your kids even if you’re not experienced at fishing. Typically, all you need to bring is your sunscreen and a packed lunch. Everything else will be on board and waiting for you.
Every Night’s a Party
One of the most popular activities for parents and kids in Key West is the nightly Sunset Celebration. It’s conveniently located at Mallory Square, which sits at the end of Duval Street. Every evening before dusk, tourists and locals alike gather to end the day on a high note.
They’re joined by musicians, street performers, vendors, and more. Because it wraps up after sundown, it’s a wonderful way to let your kids feel like they’ve had a late night out while still getting them into bed relatively early so you can still have some time to relax. Feel free to get there early and walk the shops along Duval Street for souvenir shopping.
Dine on Locally Caught Seafood
What fishing is to local activities, local seafood restaurants are to the culinary scene in Key West. And the best place to get your seafood is Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant. Enjoy light fare for lunch and dinner with charming shaded outdoor seating perfect for dining with children.
The Eaton Street Seafood Market menu includes a variety of popular items like crab cakes and grilled lobster as well as chicken tenders, a dining-out staple of kids everywhere. Don’t miss the conch fritters and conch chowder for a true local delight.
Get Close to Nature
Lots of kids enjoy spending time outdoors and exploring nature, and there might not be any better place for that than the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
This unique interactive experience offers guests the chance to walk through a screened-in conservatory where dozens of butterfly species are allowed to fly freely among their favorite plants, trees, and flowers. It’s a great place to take photos and learn more about these beautiful and delicate creatures.
Family Fun at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
This Civil War-era fort is located right in Key West, making it easily accessible to vacationers with kids. There are daily tours of the fort as well as self-guided experiences.
The park includes walking and biking trails to explore, along with a fishing jetty and a small beach for swimming. And if you’d rather pack light, you can visit the park’s on-site cafe for breakfast or lunch menu items.
Key West is a wonderful place to find new touchstones for your family. Vacationing with children can be a rewarding trip for everyone when you get to participate in fun and educational experiences.
Seeing the world through your children’s eyes at places like aquariums, museums, beach excursions, and even shopping trips, can strengthen your bond and allow you to find new ways of nurturing your relationship as kids grow and mature. And because it’s so accessible, it’s a great destination for return trips as your children continue to grow.