Key West, Florida - Exiting the Cruise Ship Dock

Key, West Florida. Photo Credit: Cheryl Leung List-Making TravelingMom

What does one do when you have limited time in Key West? My family recently cruised with Disney for 5 nights around the Bahamas on the Disney Wonder. Our first port of call was Key West, Florida.

We had a little less than 5 hours to explore this 4-mile-long by 1-mile-wide island.

Here’s our top 5 recommendations on what to do with kids in Key West, Florida when you’re pressed for time:


1. Visit the Key West Aquarium

The Key West Aquarium is located about a 5 minute walk from the port in Mallory Square.

Home to a variety of sea animals, visitors can get a good view of horseshoe crabs, conchs, sea urchins, starfish, sharks, and alligators.

This aquarium is fairly small and took us about an hour to see everything.

Key West Florida with Kids - Key West Aquarium

Key West Florida with Kids – Key West Aquarium. Photo Credit: Cheryl Leung List-Making TravelingMom

My kids really enjoyed the aquarium – especially the touch tank where they got to hold a conch, sea cucumber and sea stars.

They could have spent more time there but we moved on to other activities given our limited time in Key West.

TMOM Tip: If you plan on staying for the shark feeding, time your visit with one of the daily shark feeding tours.

2. Take a Ride on the Conch Tour Train

If you want a quick and relaxing way to see Key West, hop aboard the Conch Tour Train – the main station is located in Mallory Square just a few steps away from the aquarium.

In 1.5 hours, guests learn about architecture, Key West History and popular Key West attractions including Harry S. Truman’s Little White House, Ernest Hemingway House Museum, the Southernmost Point and several beaches.

There were two stops during our tour – each being a Conch Tour Train owned souvenir store where guests could purchase snacks, drinks, souvenirs or make a bathroom stop.

Guests have the option of exploring on their own and not having to continue with the tour.

This wasn’t my kids’ favorite part of the day as they’re only 3 and 6 and not into history or pop culture tidbits.

TMOM Tip: The Conch Tour Train is suitable for families with older kids. Alternatively, you could plan to take this tour during your children’s nap time as the ride is fairly smooth around the island.

3. Try Frozen Key Lime Pie on a Stick

What’s a visit to Key West without trying a dessert that originated here?

Key West Florida with Kids - Frozen Key Lime Pie On A Stick

Frozen Key Lime Pie On A Stick. Photo Credit: Cheryl Leung List-Making TravelingMom

Rated as one of the ten best desserts in America by Food Network’s Alton Brown, frozen key lime pie on a stick is easy to find in Key West.

While I preferred the regular key lime pie (not frozen) because it wasn’t overly sweet, my kids went gaga for the chocolate dipped frozen version. Predictable, I suppose!

TMOM Tip: There’s a store right off the cruise ship dock that sells this particular frozen key lime pie on a stick. If you don’t have time to make it to a key lime pie store, know that you can pick one up and not miss the boat. You will have to eat it prior to boarding though.

4. Try Conch Fritters

Keeping with the food theme, conch fritters are a popular dish/snack in Key West as the Florida Keys area is known as the Conch Republic.

We ordered a tray from the food stand next to the Key West Aquarium and we gobbled it up within seconds.

Surprisingly, our kids who have never had conch in their life gave it the thumbs up too. The dipping sauces really made the dish – the key lime dip is to die for!

Key West Florida with Kids - Southernmost Point

Southernmost Point – Key West, Florida. Photo Credit: Cheryl Leung List-Making TravelingMom

5. Visit the Southern Most Point

This is probably the most photographed landmark in all of Key West.

As indicated by its name, this concrete buoy marks the Southernmost Point of the USA which is closer to Cuba than mainland Florida.

When we visited in the afternoon, there was a line of approximately 100 people waiting to have their pictures taken with it.

TMOM Tip: Get there as early as possible to avoid long wait times and you might be able to catch the sun rising in your photo.

If you’re looking for free activities in Key West, check out this TravelingMom post.

Have you visited Key West with kids? What are some of your favorite things to do in Key West?