Key West Lighthouse & Keeper's Quarters Museum

#11 in Best Things To Do in Key West
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Key Info

938 Whitehead St.

Price & Hours

$10 for adults; $5 for kids 6-12; free for kid...
9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily

Details

Museums, Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 2.5Value
  • 2.5Facilities
  • 2.5Atmosphere

If you can fend off the claustrophobia and don't mind heights, the climb up the tiny and constricting 88 steps to the top of the Key West Lighthouse is worth it for the views, say recent visitors. Once you're up there though, be patient: According to past travelers, the viewing balcony at the top is very narrow. After taking in the views (a must, according to recent visitors), take a look around the keeper's quarters, which have been around since 1848. The cozy house is now a museum that surveys the history of lighthouses in the Keys, with photographs and various artifacts. One visitor noted that the gift shop is a great place to find locally made art.

One ticket gets you access to both the lighthouse and the museum. Admission for adults costs $10; kids ages 6 and up get in for $5, while children 5 and younger can enter for free. Visitors are divided on whether the admission price is worth the local history provided in the museum, but most agree that the panormaic views seen from the top of the lighthouse are unbeatable. The lighthouse and museum are open daily (except Christmas) from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Situated across the street from the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the lighthouse is located in Old Town. Reviewers say there is a parking lot located on Truman Avenue, but most recommend walking in from town.

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#1 Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

For the cleanest beach and best waters in Key West, you should head for the westernmost point of the island to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. There, you can sunbathe, hike, bike, fish and get a dose of history all in one place. Recent visitors favor this shoreline over Smathers Beach (the water is clearer, making it an ideal snorkeling spot), but travelers also warn that the sand is not soft and that beach shoes are needed to traverse the rocky terrain safely. While the beach might not be as powdery soft as some other Florida beaches, it does offer some great snorkeling opportunities, according to recent visitors. Along with your snorkel gear, pack some grilling food and charcoal: This beach has plenty of barbecue grills and rental equipment.

If you get tired of hanging out beachside, stop by the historic fort located within the park. The fort was built in mid-1800s and was used during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Guided tours are offered twice a day.

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