The 12 Best Key West Tours

Explore everything from busy streets to tranquil waters on one of these guided adventures.

U.S. News & World Report

The 12 Best Key West Tours

Best Key West Tours

Hop on Fury Water Adventures' boat to see local wildlife both from the boat and the water.(Courtesy of Fury Water Adventures)

When you imagine a vacation to Key West, Florida, you'll likely think of days spent on white beaches surrounded by turquoise waters and swaying palm trees. While lounging on the sand is an excellent option, there are also plenty of outdoor pursuits, attractions and culinary delights to keep you entertained while visiting the southernmost point in the country. U.S. News consulted both traveler reviews and expert opinion to compile this list of the best Key West tours.

Fury Water Adventures – Key West Dolphin Watch and Snorkel Tour

Fury Water Adventures' three-hour tour combines two popular Florida activities. First, watch Atlantic bottlenose dolphins as they playfully swim near the catamaran. Then, snorkel in the clear, turquoise waters of Key West, keeping your eyes peeled for stingrays, tropical fish and a variety of coral. Reviews are mostly positive for the dolphin watching portion of the trip, but travelers are less impressed with the snorkeling. Tourgoers say the reefs aren't colorful and report seeing very few fish. Departures are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from September through March. From March through August, trips leave at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $80 for adults and $60 for children ages 4 to 10. Children 3 and younger can participate for free, but do need a ticket. Tickets include beverages; beer and wine will be served after snorkeling. Fury Water Adventures also operates sunset cruises and parasailing adventures, among other options.

Key West Eco Tours – Backcountry Kayak & Paddleboard Tour

Paddle through mangroves as you learn about the marine life and tropical ecosystem of the Florida Keys on this guided kayak or paddleboard tour, which begins just a short drive from downtown Key West in Geiger Key. Opportunities for wildlife viewing include turtles, dolphins, iguanas and rays, as well as birds and fish. Tourgoers remark that the experience provides a nice break from the city and offers a different perspective of Key West. They also say the guides are very knowledgeable. Two-hour tours operate at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. every day. Paddleboards are an option on the 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. excursions for participants ages 13 and older. Prices start at $65 for adults and $50 for children 12 and younger. The company also provides a complimentary shuttle to and from Key West hotels. Half-day tours and sunset sails are also available.

Key Lime Bike Tours

Take in the colorful sights and sounds of Old Town with this approximately three-hour bicycle tour. You'll ride around town on a bright green bike (complete with a basket for personal items) and receive a piece of Key lime pie at the end of the tour. Reviewers appreciate the unique photo opportunities they have with this type of tour. They also say it's an informative and enjoyable bicycle ride. The number of tours offered per day varies by season, but there's at least one morning tour at 9 or 10 a.m. daily year-round. Prices start at $45 per person and include a helmet and bottled water.

Key West Ghost & Mysteries Tour

As one of Florida's oldest cities, it's not surprising that ghosts could be lurking in Key West's streets. This spooky 90-minute walking tour departs at 9 p.m. and explores the haunted parts of town that most visitors don't see. Among the stops featured are Key West's oldest graveyard and Hemingway's first home, Casa Antigua. Tourgoers say that overall the stories are entertaining, though not particularly spine-chilling. Prices start at $23 for adults and $15 for children ages 6 to 12, with discounts for members of the military. Tours run Wednesday through Sunday. If you dare to bring them along, children 5 and younger tour free.

Key West Food Tours – Southernmost Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour

Visitors say the food sampled on this excursion is delicious and that the trip is the perfect introduction to Key West's culinary scene. The three-hour tour spotlights the Cuban and Caribbean influence on the city's food and culture. Samples could include fish tacos, Cuban roast pork, conch fritters, and of course, a rum drink and Key lime pie. The tour narrative also includes local history and fun facts about Key West, which tourists appreciate. Capped at 14 participants, the walking tour covers almost 1 1/2 miles with stops at five different venues. Prices start at $75 for adults and $49 for children ages 7 to 12; kids younger than 6 can join for free. Tours operate daily at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., though additional tour times may be added. In addition to food tours, the company hosts a Key West bar crawl for cocktail enthusiasts.

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Danger Charters – Wind & Wine Sunset Sail

Climb aboard Danger Charters' 65-foot schooner for the company's nightly Wind & Wine Sunset Sail. The two-hour cruise features tropical music, a selection of hors d'oeuvres, eight different wines and five types of beer to choose from. Plus, tours are capped at 25 participants. Visitors enjoy the sunset views, beverages and bites. They also suggest bringing a jacket as it gets cool once the sun goes down. Tours depart daily at 5, 6 or 6:30 p.m., depending on the time of year. Prices start at $85 for participants ages 13 and older. The company also offers a full-day sail, kayak and snorkel tour.

Visiting the Southernmost Point is a highlight for many travelers' trips to Key West.(Getty Images)

Old Town Trolley Tours – 1-Day Key West Tour

Ditch the car and hop on this narrated trolley tour, which features 13 stops at popular Key West attractions. At any stop, visitors are welcome to get off the trolley to explore and hop back on at a later time to continue the tour. Highlights include Mallory Square, Duval Street, the Key West Aquarium, the Southernmost Point buoy and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Travelers enjoy the informative drivers and say the tour is a good value. They also appreciate the convenience of the trolley. Without hopping off, tours last approximately 90 minutes. Tours operate daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $50 for adults and $20 for children ages 4 to 12 for one-day, unlimited hop-on, hop-off rides. Tickets also include complimentary admission to the Sails to Rails Museum and Papa's Pilar Rum Distillery, Hemingway Rum Company. Two-day tickets are also available, along with a nighttime Ghosts & Gravestones Tour.

Lazy Dog Adventures – 2 Hour Guided Kayak Tour

Lazy Dog Adventures' guided mangrove tour begins 4 miles from downtown Key West on Stock Island. The slow-paced excursion is ideal for beginners and paddlers of all ages, and you can even bring your pup. During the two-hour tour, guides share information about the geology and animal inhabitants of the Florida Keys. Marine life sightings may include jellyfish, crabs, sea stars and tropical fish, as well as aquatic birds. Tourgoers appreciate the casual pace of the tour and find it both educational and fascinating to see the wildlife up-close. Some reviewers call it the highlight of their trip. Tours begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Prices start at $50 for adults and $25 for children 12 and younger; discounts are available for locals and members of the military. Lazy Dog Adventures also offers paddleboard and eco-boating excursions.

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Conch Tour Train

A staple in Key West since 1958, the open-air Conch Tour Train makes three stops along a narrated, 75-minute route. The first stop lets patrons off at Truval Village near the Key West Lighthouse and the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. The second stop is the Historic Key West Seaport and the final stop is the Sails to Rails Museum, where train passengers can take advantage of complimentary admission. Along the way, passengers can disembark and explore Key West attractions before catching the next train. Visitors give mostly positive reviews of the conductors' knowledge and remark that the train ride offers a great way to get an overview of Key West in a short amount of time. Ticket prices for single-day passes cost approximately $50 for adults and $20 for kids ages 4 to 12; children 3 and younger ride free. Discounted tickets are available if purchased online. Two-day passes are also available. The train operates daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sebago Watersports – Key West Florida Reef Half-Day Snorkeling Excursion

This morning snorkel begins with a 7-mile sail to the Florida Reef, the only living coral barrier reef in the U.S. Enjoy the warm ocean breezes as you cruise on the company's 69-foot catamaran. Then, view tropical fish, turtles and lobsters as you snorkel in the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Visitors commend the crew's professionalism and the enjoyable catamaran ride, but describe the snorkeling as average. Some reviewers caution that you need to be an experienced snorkeler as the water can be rough. The three-hour tour begins at 9 a.m. daily and includes snorkel gear and instruction. Complimentary soft drinks, water, and wine and beer (available after snorkeling) are also available. Tickets start at $50 for adults and $30 for children ages 4 to 11. Sebago Watersports also operates catamaran sunset sails, among other tours.

Secret Food Tours Key West

Secret Food Tours offers a delicious exploration of Key West's most delicious local dishes. Tasty bites could include a blackened mahi-mahi taco, a shrimp sandwich, a daily secret dish (hence the company's name) and Key lime pie. Water or select nonalcoholic beverages are paired with the dishes, but you can purchase an upgraded drinks package, which includes local craft brews and agave margaritas. Along the way, guides share stories about Key West history, architecture and the town's former famous residents, such as authors Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. Visitors enjoy the anecdotes and history as much as the food and rave about the overall experience. The approximately 3 1/2-hour tour stops at five spots and is limited to 10 people. Tours, which depart at 2 p.m. daily, start at $79 per person. Participants must be at least 21 to purchase the upgraded drinks package, which costs approximately $25.

Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip by Catamaran

This full-day tour sails 70 miles west of Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park onboard the Yankee Freedom III ferry. After your boat ride to the park, explore historic Fort Jefferson, snorkel in shallow turquoise waters or spend the day relaxing on pristine white beaches. You can also camp overnight (with an advance booking) and return the next day. Tourgoers warn that the boat ride can be long (about five hours total) and that the seas can be rough in transit. However, they do enjoy the experience upon arriving at the park. Daily tours begin at 7 a.m. and return to Key West around 5:15 p.m. Prices start at $180 for adults, with discounts available for seniors, students and children. Fares include breakfast, lunch, a 45-minute narrated tour of the fort, entry fees to the park and snorkeling equipment.

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