Day Trips from Key West – 10 Best Places to visit!

Day Trips from Key West - 10 Best Places to visit!

Key West, with its vibrant culture, historical landmarks, and breathtaking sunsets, is a gem in the Florida Keys. But beyond its shores lie a multitude of islands waiting to be explored. From pristine beaches to diverse marine life, these surrounding islands offer a glimpse into nature’s untouched beauty. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the hidden treasures of the neighboring islands on day trips from Key West.

1. Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park - day trips form the Key West. By boat or by bus, car.

Located approximately 70 miles west of Key West, the Dry Tortugas National Park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Accessible only by seaplane or ferry, this remote cluster of islands is home to Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century coastal fortress surrounded by crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. Visitors can snorkel along the vibrant coral reefs, explore the historic fort, and bask in the serenity of its pristine beaches.

2. Little Palm Island

Little Palm Island - the best day trip from Key West.

For those seeking luxury and seclusion, Little Palm Island is the ultimate getaway. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this private island retreat exudes exclusivity and indulgence. Spend the day lounging in a hammock beneath swaying palm trees, savoring gourmet cuisine, or pampering yourself with a spa treatment. With its pristine beaches and unparalleled service, Little Palm Island offers a taste of paradise just minutes away from Key West.

3. Marquesas Keys

Marquesas Keys - get ready for your boat adventure form Key West. Best day trip when you are bored.

A hidden gem off the beaten path, the Marquesas Keys are a cluster of uninhabited islands renowned for their untouched beauty and rich biodiversity. Accessible only by boat, these remote atolls offer unparalleled opportunities for fishing, birdwatching, and snorkeling. Explore secluded beaches, paddle through mangrove-lined channels, and marvel at the vibrant marine life that thrives in these pristine waters. The Marquesas Keys are a sanctuary for those seeking solitude and serenity.

4. Boca Grande Key Beach

Boca Grande Key Beach - what to do in Key West? Best Day trips form the Key West.

Nestled between the Marquesas Keys and the mainland, Boca Grande Key Beach offers a secluded haven for beachgoers seeking solitude and natural beauty. Accessible only by boat, this pristine stretch of shoreline boasts powdery white sands and azure waters teeming with marine life. Spend the day snorkeling among colorful coral reefs, picnicking beneath swaying palm trees, or simply soaking up the sun in this tranquil paradise. Boca Grande Key Beach is a hidden gem waiting to be explored by those looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in the serenity of the Florida Keys.

5. Sand Key Lighthouse

Sand Key Lighthouse - Boat trips form key west for family.

Perched on a remote coral reef about seven miles southwest of Key West, the Sand Key Lighthouse stands as a historic beacon guiding sailors through the treacherous waters of the Florida Straits. While the lighthouse itself is not accessible to the public, the surrounding waters offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving. Explore vibrant coral formations teeming with colorful fish, and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the resident sea turtles and rays. While visiting Sand Key Lighthouse, you’ll not only appreciate its historical significance but also marvel at the natural wonders that lie beneath its shimmering waters.

6. Western Sambo Reef

Western Sambo Reef - best excursion form key west.

Located approximately 7 miles west of Key West, Western Sambo Reef is a pristine underwater ecosystem renowned for its vibrant coral formations and diverse marine life. Accessible only by boat, this remote reef offers exceptional opportunities for snorkeling and diving. Immerse yourself in crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and other fascinating marine creatures. With its shallow depths and excellent visibility, Western Sambo Reef is perfect for both novice and experienced snorkelers alike. Explore underwater caves, swim alongside majestic coral formations, and marvel at the beauty of this underwater oasis.

7. American Shoal Lighthouse

American Shoal Lighthouse - another great day trip form Key West.

Standing as a sentinel in the turquoise waters of the Florida Straits, the American Shoal Lighthouse is a historic landmark located approximately 9 miles southwest of Sugarloaf Key. Built in 1880, this picturesque lighthouse serves as a testament to the maritime heritage of the Florida Keys. While the lighthouse itself is not open to the public, visitors can admire its iconic red and white striped tower from the water.

The surrounding area offers excellent opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, and birdwatching. Take a leisurely boat ride to the lighthouse, and soak in the breathtaking views of the open ocean and surrounding islands. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking a serene escape, the American Shoal Lighthouse is a must-see attraction on your day trip from Key West.

8. Loggerhead Lighthouse

Loggerhead Lighthouse - beautiful place if you are ready to explore Garden Key near the Key West.

Nestled on Loggerhead Key, approximately 3.5 miles southwest of Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas National Park, the Loggerhead Lighthouse stands as a testament to the rich maritime history of the area. Built in 1858, this iconic lighthouse has guided ships through the treacherous waters surrounding the Dry Tortugas for over a century. While visitors cannot access the lighthouse itself, the surrounding waters offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and wildlife spotting. Explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, or relax on the pristine beaches of Loggerhead Key. Whether you’re a history buff or a nature enthusiast, a visit to Loggerhead Lighthouse is sure to be a highlight of your day trip from Key West.

9. Cottrell Key

Cottrell Key - plan your day trips form Key West.

Tucked away in the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Cottrell Key is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers. Located approximately 10 miles northwest of Key West, this uninhabited island offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Accessible only by boat, Cottrell Key boasts pristine beaches, mangrove forests, and shallow flats teeming with marine life. Spend the day kayaking through mangrove-lined channels, spotting exotic birds, or simply basking in the sun on the secluded shores. With its untouched natural beauty and peaceful surroundings, Cottrell Key is the perfect destination for a day trip from Key West.

10. Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park - visit the best day trip places form Key West.

Just a short drive from Key West lies Bahia Honda State Park, renowned for its picture-perfect beaches and abundant wildlife. Whether you’re lounging on the powdery sands or kayaking through mangrove forests, there’s no shortage of adventure here. Hike along scenic trails, spot elusive bird species, or simply unwind amidst the tranquil surroundings. Bahia Honda offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

While Key West may steal the spotlight with its vibrant nightlife and eclectic charm, the surrounding islands offer a tranquil escape into nature’s embrace. From the historic fortress of Dry Tortugas to the luxury retreat of Little Palm Island, each island has its own unique allure waiting to be discovered. So, why not venture beyond the shores of Key West and embark on an unforgettable day trip to explore the hidden treasures of the surrounding islands?

I highly recommend checking out trips to Cuba from Key West. It’s also a great idea for a trip from Key West: Ultimate Guide to Traveling from Key West to Cuba

πŸ‘ Find out more:

Overseas Highway Florida Keys Travel Guide - 101 best stops by Mark Watson

Explore the finest attractions along the Overseas Highway and Florida Keys with my travel guide, ‘Florida Keys Overseas Highway Travel Guide – 101 Best Stops,’ now available on Amazon. This comprehensive guide is your ultimate companion for those seeking adventure and wonder along THE OVERSEAS HIGHWAY & FLORIDA KEYS! Discover 101 amazing places with convenient ‘Scan QR and go’ functionality for easy navigation.


Pacific Coast - Mark Watson

Mark Watson is a California-based member of a Los Angeles motorcycle club and an avid traveler. He has completed seven full journeys along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway on his Harley-Davidson and is passionate about promoting this historic drive to others. Mark has also explored the Alaska Highway and Route 66, and has authored four bestselling travel guides on Amazon: “Route 66 Travel Guide – 202 Amazing Places,” “Alaska Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops,”, “Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops”, and “Florida Keys Overseas Highway Travel Guide – 101 Best Stops.”

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