In Key West, you can stay in an extravagant beachfront resort, or find lodgings in an inexpensive B & B, also steps from the water. But no matter where you lay your head, you won’t have to lay out a lot of money once you are here. Below are 4 things you can do for free in this laid back Florida city.
Free Things to Do in Key West
Strolling along the main drag in Key West, Florida, is entertainment enough for some vacationers, and spending the evening watching the sun set over the water at Mallory Square is a cheap way to get a nightly thrill. But for those seeking out other free family friendly diversions, Key West delivers.
Flowers for free in Key West
The Key West Garden Club has a small botanic garden next to Higgs Beach Dog Park. It is the perfect place to spend some time in the shade if the sun at the beach overwhelms. Sit in a gazebo if there is no wedding going on, and look for native and imported plants, from orchids and tropical bromeliads to water lilies and baobab trees.
Plants are donated and maintained by members and volunteers of the non-profit organization. According to the website, “Our mission is to provide educational opportunities for the community relating to tropical gardening and to the West Martello Tower, a National Historic site where the Club is located.”
Free history lesson
The African Cemetery also overlooks Higgs Beach Dog Park. In 1860, the US Navy captured slave ships headed to Cuba, and more than 1,400 Africans stayed in Key West. Weakened from their journey, many died and were buried throughout the island. Ground-penetrating radar determined where the unmarked graves were, and the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Now you can visit, read the engraved plaques and follow the slave ships’ routes.
The Oldest House & Garden Museum sits hard by the Duval Street bars and t-shirt shops in modern Key West. Built by a ship’s captain in 1829, it has a separate cook house. The house, where the captain raised his 9 daughters, has original furnishings. Sit in the tranquil garden and reflect on a quieter time in Key West.
San Carlos Institute has a small museum on Cuban history and culture. This is the site of Jose Marti’s speech in 1892 launching Cuba’s drive for independence. The beautiful 1871 building is worth exploring, inside and out.
TravelingMom Tip: If you stay at the gorgeous Curry Mansion Inn, you get a number of freebies. A full breakfast, including made to order omelets, is offered, as well as an evening cocktail hour with appetizers. And you can explore the mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places for free. Key West visitors who bed down elsewhere have to pay $5 for a tour.
Another really nice perk: you can use the pool and showers if you have an early arrival or a late departure. No getting back in the car or on a plane with sand between your toes.