Traveling with kids in tow to places like Orlando and Myrtle Beach is a no brainer – these destinations cater to families with little ones and offer an abundance of entertainment for all ages. On the other hand, the small island of Key West has a reputation as a party town but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the kids – you just need to do your research on what activities are kid-friendly. One benefit to the Key West family scene that you won’t find in Disney: a number of the attractions are free (or a very low cost). Here is an example of a two-day trip in Key West with the little ones – without breaking the bank.Godiva French Toast at Camille's — Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan
Day 1: Start the day off right with breakfast at Camille’s, on the corner of Simonton and Catherine. This funky, kid-friendly restaurant hands out crayons and coloring books while they wait for their omelets and French toast. Next, check out the Key West Shipwreck Museum, which recreates the discovery of the ship Isaac Allerton using actors, sound effects, laser lights, and artifacts from the wreck. The icing on the cake is the look-out tower that families can climb for sweeping views of the island. Key West Shipwreck Museum — Photo courtesy of The Key West Shipwreck MuseumIf the kids like seafood, check out BO’s Fish Wagon – its budget friendly, quick, and delicious fresh fish sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers make it a perfect lunch spot near the historic harbor. Next, join Alec James of Kayak Kings of Key West for a snorkeling and kayak trip around the islands. Kids will learn a thing or two about the wildlife and get to swim around the Wisteria wreck – which lies in just a few feet of water and is covered in coral. Finish the day off with the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square where performers, artists, and food vendors line the docks to bid adieu to the daylight.
Higg's Beach Watersports Center — Photo courtesy of Amber NolanDay 2: For some outdoor fun, pack a picnic lunch and head over to Fort Zachary Taylor, or Higgs Beach. Both hot spots offer beach access, swimming, and snorkeling – but as a state park, Fort Zachary Taylor charges a small admission fee. If you plan on spending the day at the park, be sure to allot some time for the Eco Discovery Center, and the Key West Botanical Garden – both are free attractions nearby. Just next to Higgs Beach is an enormous pier (which is ideal for watching the sunrise), and a playground area, plus the Key West Wildlife Center is steps away where kids can get up close to some of the area’s native birds. For a break from the sun, head down to the Key West Toy Factory, a hidden gem that feels like a mini-Disney World exhibit. Enter through the cannon ball hole in the “shipwreck” and explore the hands-on stations or take in a magic show in the rainforest. On the way out, kids get a balloon and a ticket to the carousel downstairs. For dinner, swing by Bobalu’s on Southard Street for some seriously awesome pizza (New-Haven style), subs, and salad before taking in some ghoulish adventures with one of Key West’s ghost haunts. If you have little ones, check out The Original Ghost Tours Key West, or if you’re kids are older, Ghosts and Gravestones is the way to go (the spook factor is higher).