While many of Key West’s sailing experiences, snorkeling, city tours, and restaurant and bar hopping will put a nice dent in your wallet, there are a number of activities that are free of charge. Many are ideal for families with little ones in tow, such as the Children’s Animal Park (on Stock Island), which has been rescuing exotic animals since 1994. Several other educational attractions include the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, and the Key West Wildlife Center.
There also are several shops that go above and beyond the usual browsing experience to include hands-on exhibits, shows, and tastings. Although Key West is not known for its beaches (the coral reef protects the island preventing sand from collecting), there are a handful picturesque locations for beach bums.
For evening entertainment, the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration is a highlight for all ages, and performers and vendors will be on the dock long before the sun goes down. Lastly, no trip would be complete without a photo at the Southernmost Point Marker. It’s the island’s signature (and slightly controversial) landmark that marks the end of the continental US. No matter what you choose to do, these budget-friendly options will help you get the most bang for your buck in this notoriously pricey paradise.