Your port excursions are one of the most exciting parts of cruising, so it’s wise to take care in making your selections. Key West is a popular port of call for cruises that travel near the Florida Keys, so check out some of the amazing ways to spend a day here. By reading up on these experiences in advance, you can book your excursions early and are less likely to be shut out of your first choice activities.
Key West is legendary for its very special ecosystems, which are rare or totally unique among the continental United States. It’s one thing to get a long-range view from your cruise ship balcony or upper decks, but it’s another to see what makes Key West special from up-close. Taking an eco tour where you kayak through mangrove forests brings you closer than you’ve probably ever been to shorebirds, turtles, established old growth trees, and many more plants and animals that are limited to this part of Florida. Tour guides lead with a deep respect for the delicate balance of these protected wetlands and shore areas, and a friendly approach to sharing information through storytelling that includes history, geology, biology and folklore. Eco tours are a wonderful opportunity to get a special kind of behind-the-scenes look at Key West and its one-of-a-kind place in Florida and America.
Fishing Charter Trip
Fishing is one of the most popular reasons why travelers seek out Key West and return here over and over again. This is a place where fish are abundant year-round, and the position of the Keys between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic means there’s always something different to go out on the water for. Fortunately, as a cruise ship tourist, there’s no extra fishing gear you need to bring when you book a fishing charter through All In Fishing Charters. As a local company led by an area native, you are welcome aboard with any level of fishing experience. All the gear you need is provided to you, and the friendly, experienced crew is always available for basic assistance to make sure you have an enjoyable morning or afternoon on the water. All In Fishing Charters’ guests experience a well-equipped and well-kept vessel where your comfort is paramount, making this a great experience for you as a single traveler, couple, and friends or family groups.
Key West has several public beaches that are open for locals and tourists. These offer generous sandy shores and refreshment stands, although to make your experience even better, make sure you stop to pick up a lunch order at Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant. This Old Key West restaurant makes every order fresh for you and uses local fish and shellfish that are caught daily. It’s a local legend, and the grilled lobster in particular is the stand-out menu item. Hit the beach and rent your loungers and umbrella here, and enjoy a savory Eaton Street Seafood Market lunch while you enjoy the sunny skies and sea breezes. Some of the beaches offer more amenities, like playgrounds and dog-friendly areas, too.
There are lots of places where you can snorkel in Key West. Depending on your interests and comfort level, you could snorkel at one of the public beaches; they typically offer on-site rentals of snorkeling gear. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park also offers snorkeling, and gear rentals, too. If you’re feeling more adventurous and the tour is available, make the most of this opportunity and visit Dry Tortugas National Park. It’s located about 75 miles off the coast of Key West and accessible by boat only. As it’s a national park, the waters are highly restricted to protect the natural landscape and wildlife here, as well as those who are enjoying the underwater features that draw snorkelers from around the world. The largest of the small islands in the park, Garden Key, has a historic fort and small beach available. Snorkelers enjoy exploring coral reefs and authentic shipwrecks that are hundreds of years old–a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for many.
See the Best of Key West on Your Cruise
While Key West is in fact a relatively small island city, it may be too big for you to explore fully in a single day, especially if your cruise ship will be docked here for only a few hours. It’s one of the most important reasons why your cruise ship excursion options are so essential–it’s the easiest way for you to truly experience the best the Conch Republic has to offer, and whet your appetite for a longer stay on your next vacation where you can truly immerse yourself in the dynamic activities, cuisine, and local adventures available here.