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 activities, 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.
Note: Some tour providers on this list may be running more limited operations due to COVID-19 or may impose testing or vaccine requirements. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
Fury Water Adventures Key West – 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. Some tourgoers say the reefs aren’t colorful and report seeing few fish.
Departures are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from September through March. From March through August, trips leave at 9 a.m. as well as 12:30 and 5 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $70 for participants ages 11 and older and $55 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 about local marine life.
Two-hour tours operate at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. every day. Paddleboards are an option 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 complimentary piece of Key lime pie at the end of the tour. Reviewers applaud the entertaining and informative guides, who they say pack a lot of history into a relatively short ride. They also describe the cycling pace as leisurely and manageable for most fitness levels.
Tours are offered daily at 10 a.m. 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 nightly 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; discounts are available for members of the military.
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. 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 5 to 12; kids younger than 5 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.
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, and a variety of wines and beers to choose from. Plus, tours are capped at 25 participants – a highlight for reviewers, who appreciate the small-group feel. 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 4:30, 6 or 6:30 p.m., depending on the time of year. Prices start at approximately $110 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 Southernmost Point buoy and the Harry S. Truman Little White House. Travelers enjoy the informative drivers and say the tour is a good value. They also appreciate the convenience of the trolley and say this is a great activity for your first day in Key West. Others note there are long wait times for trolleys and crowded vehicles. Without hopping off, tours last approximately 90 minutes.
Tours operate daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $60 for adults and $25 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. Two-day tickets are also available, along with a nighttime Ghosts & Gravestones Tour.
Lazy Dog Adventures – Key West Kayak Eco-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 $55 for adults and $30 for children 11 and younger; discounts are available for locals and members of the military. Lazy Dog Adventures also offers paddleboard and eco-boating excursions.
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 $25 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 10:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Sebago Watersports – Key West Reef Snorkel – Morning
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. They also report seeing a variety of fish and marine life.
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 included. Tickets start at $40 for adults and $35 for children ages 4 to 11. Sebago Watersports also operates catamaran sunset sails, among other tours.
Key West Extreme Adventures – Shark and Wildlife Tour
If you’re hoping to see sharks in the wild, consider this two-hour catamaran tour with Key West Extreme Adventures. You’ll cruise a few miles off the coast keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins, stingrays, turtles and birds before the captain drops bait into the waters to attract lemon and nurse sharks to the boat. Tourgoers praise the knowledgeable captain and crew and report seeing a plethora of sharks.
Tours generally depart Thursday through Tuesday at 10 a.m., though they may be available daily, depending on the month. Tickets cost approximately $90 for adults and around $50 for kids ages 6 to 16. Children 5 and younger can ride for free.
Catamaran Echo – Adults only Champagne Celebration Sunset Cruise from Key West
Reviewers regularly call this two-hour sunset cruise relaxing and lovely. This adults-only tour includes unlimited Champagne, as well as red and white wine, beer, soft drinks, water and a cheese buffet. Though the catamaran can accommodate up to 28 passengers, capacity is capped at 14 people to create an intimate atmosphere – another highlight for tourgoers.
Cruises are available daily; departure times vary by season. In the summer months, the tour departs at 6:30 p.m. In the winter, the boat departs at 4 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $75 per person and include all beverages and food. All ages are welcome on private sunset charters, as well as the company’s dolphin and snorkeling tour.
Honest Eco – Dolphin Watch & Snorkel
Eco-conscious travelers may want to book this four-hour tour, which takes places on a custom-built electric catamaran. Along with the hybrid boat, the tour is led by marine biologists. Reviewers praise the guides for their vast knowledge of the animals and ecosystem and also appreciate that the electric boat doesn’t scare off dolphins thanks to its quiet motor. During the four-hour excursion, you’ll watch dolphins swim alongside the boat, and then get a chance to snorkel with a member of the crew as your guide. According to the company, this tour is suitable for novice and beginner snorkelers.
Tours are available daily at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $110 for adults and around $90 for children ages 2 to 11. Honest Eco also runs a sunset sail, among other options.