Family reunions are wonderful occasions to gather with parents, siblings, children, nieces, and nephews. But it can be hard to choose a destination with enough activities for everyone to enjoy.
Florida’s Key West offers an array of attractions to please children, teens, and adults.
The Conch Tour
For a nice leisurely tour of historic Key West without much walking, consider the hop on/hop off Conch Train Tour. In a little more than one hour, you’ll get a general history of the city of Key West and get to see some of the local highlights. There are several places where you can get off the “train”, walk around, and get back on. Knowledgeable tour guides offer engaging profiles and commentary that bring the unique characteristics and lively history of Key West to life. The tour is also a nice first-day activity that lets you window shop some of the boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and other places you might want to visit afterward.
Dry Tortugas National Park
This mostly-underwater park is sure to please thrill-seeking teens and adults. The small islands that make up this park are accessible only by ferry from Key West. Once you arrive, you can snorkel, kayak, birdwatch, and swim. The site is also home to Fort Jefferson on Garden Key, built in the 1800s, and offers tours, ecology walks, living history programs, and more. The snorkeling here may be the best in Key West. Novice and skilled snorkelers alike are welcome, and there are numerous opportunities to explore sea life among coral reefs, aged shipwrecks, and old wooden pilings.
Swim at Local Beaches
Key West’s beaches are comparatively small compared to some other popular vacation spots but no less beautiful. While some are natural, others are man-made. South Beach, off Duval Street, is known for the quality of its sand and the views. If you travel with your pets, Dog Beach is the best place to visit; it’s more rocky than sandy but your dogs are welcome there. Higgs Beach is great for families traveling with children because they’re a playground there, too. At Smathers Beach, you can play volleyball or try water sports like parasailing or jet skiing.
Held every night at Mallory Square, join fellow visitors and locals and party until the sun goes down. Everyone starts gathering around two hours before the sunsets. The area fills with people and vendors selling food and drinks. There are live performers, magicians, and more. The great thing about the Sunset Celebration is that young kids and older family members can feel like they’re enjoying a night out while still getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Older teens and adults can treat the Sunset Celebration as their “appetizer” and then head out for a late dinner or drinks.
The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden
This 16-acre site offers the best place for relaxing walks among the native trees and shrubs you’ll find no place else in Key West. Everything here grows naturally, and visitors are restricted to wooden walkways through the gardens. It’s like walking into a tropical wonderland. Bring a picnic lunch and your leashed dog and spend the whole day here. Explore on your own or access the pre-recorded tour through your smartphone and learn about the garden’s champion trees, migrating birds, and special exhibits.
Charter Fishing Trips
It’s easy to think that if you don’t sail into Key West, you’re out of luck when it comes to experiencing the legendary fishing it offers. But when you book a trip on a fishing charter, all the tough stuff is done for you. A fishing charter captain and the crew take care of assembling and preparing the gear, arranging for fishing licenses, and more. All you need to do is choose whether you’d like a full day or half-day tour and what kind of fishing you’d like to do. Key West offers deep water, flats, wreck, and reef fishing for novice and experienced guests.
Enjoy the Best Seafood
One of the things Key West is known for is its seafood, and conch in particular. Eaton Street Seafood Market in particular has the best fried conch strips basket, and with outdoor seating in the shade, it’s one of the best places to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Many of the dinner restaurants in the area feature locally caught fish and prepare it in numerous ways, from baked to fried, grilled, seared, blackened, and more. A select few may be willing to cook your catch, if you’ve gone fishing in Key West and returned with one of the many fish that swim off the waters of Key West. For those who prefer to skip the seafood, check out Duetto’s Pizza and Gelato, which is practically a Key West institution.
When planning your family reunion, it can be tough to find a destination with enough activities to occupy everyone, especially when traveling with children, teens, young adults and older family members. Key West offers all of this and more, with delicious seafood, beautiful scenery, and fabulous weather, every day.
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