15 Key West Landmarks You Must Visit

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Aerial shot of an island near clear waters on a sunny day
Key West is a stunning destination with many unique landmarks and attractions

Nestled in the Southernmost point of Florida, Key West is a famed vacationer's paradise. Called Cayo Hueso in Spanish, this is one destination you can't afford to miss!

Key West is part of a larger series of islands in the Florida Keys and is brimming with historical sites, outdoor attractions, and multicultural neighborhoods. So whether you're a history buff or an outgoing party animal, Key West has a little something to satisfy all tastes.

With so many landmarks and historical sites at your disposal, it's understandable to be overwhelmed. If you're planning a trip to the area, this list of 15 Key West landmarks will be helpful when deciding what to do first.

Are you on your way to Key West last-minute?

When visiting Key West, book your entrance tickets and tours before you go. We've pulled together top suggestions below.

☂️ Top tours and experiences in Key West

15 Landmarks in Key West

Key West Landmarks Video

Check out our highlights video of Key West landmarks.

Key West Landmarks Map

A map of Key West landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Key West Landmarks Map

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After visiting Key West landmarks, strolling and dining in Mallory Square is a must
Mallory Square is where locals and tourists go to shop, dine, and watch the sunset

Mallory Square

When you're craving a taste of local food and culture, a trip to Mallory Square has to be on your Key West itinerary. This plaza not only has a slew of vintage shops and restaurants, but it also hosts the Sunset Celebration. This festival revolves around the setting sun and includes performances and excellent food from local vendors.

☂️ Visit Mallory Square with an experience

Audubon House & Tropical Gardens

If you want to learn more about Key West's wildlife, you'll fall in love with the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens. This house was previously occupied by John James Audubon, a famed zoologist who specialized in birds. You can browse 19th-century bird paintings as well as tour the herb garden during a visit.

☂️ Visit Audubon House & Tropical Gardens on a tour

Daniela Migliorisi/Shutterstock.com
A Neoclassical building with arches and a balcony
The San Carlos Institute is a Cuban heritage center and museum in Key West

San Carlos Institute

If you want a blend of history with Cuban culture, the San Carlos Institute is one of the best historical places in Key West, Florida, to check out. This cultural center is a mixture of a museum, a theater, and an art gallery. Here you'll learn about Cuban history and can attend memorable events.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Located nearly 70 miles from Key West, this carefully preserved national park teems with vibrant coral reefs. Visitors flock to Dry Tortugas National Park to glimpse tropical bird species or experience the reefs firsthand with snorkeling and scuba diving tours.

You can also see undisturbed shipwrecks from the 17th century, and diving around these wrecks is a popular activity. The ideal time to visit Key West to go snorkeling or diving is in spring due to the warm yet calm and clear waters.

☂️ Join a tour to see Dry Tortugas National Park

A black lighthouse on the brick walls of an old fort next to the ocean
Fort Jefferson is nestled within Dry Tortugas National Park

Fort Jefferson

Located in Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson made history in 1847 as one of America's largest brick masonry structures. This fortress is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and gives visitors a glimpse of the country's wartime history. You can tour the attraction yourself or opt for an informative self-guided tour.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

History buffs will be fascinated by the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. This establishment doubles as a lab and a museum, which boasts artifacts found on shipwrecks dating back to the 17th century.

Visitors can participate in a daily private tour to learn about the area's history. You can even touch certain artifacts and recovered treasure.

A green-yellow Spanish-Colonial-style house surrounded by plants
The Hemingway House served as a home to author Ernest Hemingway in the 1930s

The Hemingway Home and Museum

Bookworms and novelists alike will adore the Hemingway Home and Museum. Once the home of esteemed author Ernest Hemingway, it's now a museum for tourists and often hosts special events.

You can tour the gardens and learn about the author with a guide's assistance. Once you're done, swing by the gift shop to pick up some unique souvenirs.

☂️ Visit The Hemingway Home and Museum with an excursion

Key West Historic Seaport

When you work up an appetite for fresh seafood, plan a visit to the scenic Key West Historic Seaport. This beautiful attraction is located right on the harbor and offers a slew of delicious seafood restaurants. Once you're full, check out the art galleries found here, which also sell souvenirs, or go to a surf shop for some nice clothes.

A white lighthouse near trees under a blue sky
The Key West Lighthouse is now a maritime museum that all ages can enjoy

Key West Lighthouse

Fans of oceanic culture and iconography can't afford to miss out on the lovely Key West Lighthouse. This iconic lighthouse has been steering ships to safety since 1849. It's now a maritime museum where visitors can view and appreciate the belongings of the workers who once lived there.

☂️ Discover Key West Lighthouse on a tour

Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

Key West not only has coral reefs and fish galore but also plenty of insect and bird life. You can see some of these creatures at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, which is home to up to 60 different butterfly species as well as different exotic birds. This is a memorable place to visit for nature buffs as well as artists looking for a little inspiration.

A fort with a US flag flying on a flagpole in the middle
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is one of the historic Key West landmarks

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

If you want to learn more about the Civil War, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park will brush up your knowledge. This state park contains one of the country's largest collections of Civil War armaments. Along with exploring the grounds, you can watch war reenactments and enjoy the surrounding coastline, which looks gorgeous in photos.

Key West Shipwreck Museum

When you want to learn about history and enjoy art at the same time, the Key West Shipwreck Museum delivers. This museum puts on fascinating plays that tell the 400-year history of shipwrecks throughout Key West. Buy tickets in advance and take the whole family to see these one-of-a-kind performances.

☂️ See the Key West Shipwreck Museum on a tour

A large concrete buoy next to the ocean that says "Southernmost Point"
The Southernmost Point buoy marks the lowest latitude land in the contiguous US

Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A.

When you need a National Historic Landmark for your photo album, the Southernmost Point of the Continental United States is at the top of peoples' Key West sights list. The notable Key West fun fact relating to it is that it's located at the country's lowest latitude.

Due to this location at the Southernmost point in the contiguous United States, it's also known as the Southernmost Point buoy.

☂️ Visit the Southernmost Point of the Continental USA on a tour

Oldest House Museum & Gardens Key West

When you want a more quiet and relaxed tourist experience, consider the Oldest House Museum & Gardens Key West. This iconic Florida landmark has stood tall since 1829 and offers a glimpse into the different lives people used to lead in the area. Here you can browse portraits, view the garden, or even host a wedding.

☂️ Explore Oldest House Museum & Gardens Key West on a tour

A red house with a statue in front of it next to palm trees and a path with people
The Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House has interesting exhibits

Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House

Once a customs office, the Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House is one of the most memorable Key West attractions. This restored museum provides visitors access to artifacts and art. You have two floors of fascinating exhibitions to browse as well as access to events.

In Summary

Key West is one of the best destinations for people who love the ocean, history, and culture. Whether you want to hop on the Conch Tour Train or deepen cultural knowledge on Duval Street, there's something for everyone.

This location overflows with opportunities for classic photo ops and artistic enrichment. The numerous Key West historic districts such as Old Town Key West or the Historic Seaport have to be seen to be believed.

All vacations start with picking a destination. With a little planning and research, a good vacation can transform into a great one.

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Written by Henry Grahame

henrygrahame STAFF Henry has lived in many different countries over the years, like Singapore, Brazil, Australia, the United Kingdom, and India, and traveled extensively for work. He has a deep appreciation for the culture and sights of the many beautiful places around the world.

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