When people think of spring break destinations, Key West doesn’t always pop instantly to mind. In our opinion, though, that makes it an even more appealing option because you can avoid the throngs of college spring breakers that mob the streets of Fort Lauderdale and Miami this time of year.
Our guide to Key West will show you why the island is a prime spring break destination. Whether you’re a first-timer or a card-carrying member of the Conch Republic, you’re bound to pick up a few useful hints.
Amazing Key West Boat Trips
With such an abundance of gorgeous ocean scenery, it would be borderline criminal to visit Key West without taking a boat cruise. You’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the island when you’ve seen it from a fresh perspective.
While you’re making your Key West spring break plans, consider booking a private boat tour with us. We offer snorkeling trips, sunset cruises, sandbar-hopping, and much more. Ready for an unforgettable adventure? Visit our website and reserve your private boat tour for your ultimate spring break!
Why Spend Your Spring Break In Key West?
For starters, the island should be on every traveler’s bucket list. The laid-back vibe, the local delicacies such as Key lime pie, historic sights like the Key West lighthouse – there’s something for everyone at the southernmost point in the US.
Also, as we mentioned, Key West won’t be nearly as crowded as some spring break destinations. You’ll get all the splendid weather without having to fight through hordes of people.
And speaking of crowds and weather, spring is the ideal time to go to Key West. Peak season is over, so hotel costs will have dropped slightly, but you’ll still be a few months away from the start of hurricane season.
You might even be able to score a special deal. Check various hotel websites to see if they’re offering any spring break packages during the time of your visit.
When Is The Spring Break Season?
The specific dates for spring break vary from college to college. In general, though, the spring break season runs from mid-February to early April, with the majority of the dates falling in mid-March.
Some universities, particularly in the South, will schedule spring break for February, while a few northern colleges don’t offer a break until April. In most cases, though, spring break will take place over a week in mid to late March.
Things To Do And See During Your Spring Break In Key West
Before you start packing, think about what you’re going to do once you arrive in Key West. You don’t have to plan out every minute of every day, but try to fit in at least a few of these awesome spring break activities – you won’t regret it.
1) Get Wet And Wild And Higgs Memorial Beach Park
All right, we’ll go easy on you and make a trip to the beach the first item on your agenda. You’re in the Florida Keys, after all, and hitting the beach is a priority.
As Key West beaches go, this one is a beaut – aquamarine water, powdery white sand, and lush tropical vegetation. But it’s also the site of Fort West Martello, a Civil War-era fort that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. So in addition to sunbathing, swimming, and playing beach volleyball, you can take in some of the area’s unique history.
2) Stroll Through The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
No visit to Key West would be complete without a tour of this conservatory, which houses over 50 butterfly species as well as numerous birds and plant life. You’re bound to come away with a new appreciation for these winged “flowers of the sky.” Stop by the gift shop before you leave – Mother’s Day is right around the corner, after all.
This might sound like a sedate activity for a spring break vacation, but trust us – it’s far more scintillating than it looks on paper. If you want to enhance your experience, feel free to indulge in a cocktail or two before your visit. Just don’t get too drunk and rowdy – the butterflies won’t appreciate it, and neither will the staff.
3) Cut A Rug At Durty Harry’s And Rick’s Bar
Want to spend the evening rocking out in Old Town? This place hosts eight bars, each with its own uniquely Key West vibe.
We recommend spending at least one evening at Durty Harry’s, which offers live music every day of the week. The house band, the Durtbags, has been known to play during special events. What’s more, there are two stages to choose from, so there’s a good chance that Durty Harry’s will be hosting a band that appeals to your taste at least once during your stay in Key West.
If you’re afraid of missing out on the big game, Rick’s Bar is the place to be. There are 15 televisions scattered throughout Rick’s Bar, as well as a 10-foot big screen. Grab your favorite cocktail or a frosty beer and get the party started!
Rick’s Upstairs is worth a visit as well, especially if you want to show your stuff on the dance floor. The talented DJs will keep you entertained all night long, and the laser and light shows are not to be missed.
4) Drop By The Sunset Celebration At Mallory Square
Key West is arguably the best place in the United States to view the sunset. The locals know it – heck, everyone knows it. That’s why Mallory Square hosts a Sunset Celebration every night.
As that golden orb makes its descent toward the sea, you’ll be treated to a range of scintillating entertainment options. Buskers playing live music, magicians, escape artists, and jugglers represent a sampling of the street performers that you’re likely to encounter. All spring breakers in Key West should experience this amazing party.
5) Join The Spring Break Crowd At Smathers Beach
Ready to hit the beach again? This impressive swath of sand is Key West’s largest public beach and a great place to soak up the sun on your spring break.
Here are a few of the exciting activities you can enjoy on Smathers Beach:
- Score a deep tan
- Take a nap under one of the many palm trees
- Play a round of beach volleyball
- Try your hand at paddleboarding
- Go jet skiing
- Enjoy a catamaran cruise
Be forewarned that this is a prime destination for college students on spring break, so you should have plenty of company on the beach.
6) Mingle With Marine Life At The Key West Aquarium
Do you want to learn more about the many creatures that make their homes in the coral reefs off the Florida Keys? The Key West Aquarium should be at the top of your list.
Located at 1 Whitehead Street, the aquarium is a stone’s throw from Duval Street and Old Town, yet it feels like another world. The shark and sea turtle exhibits are not to be missed, and the jellyfish tank offers a hypnotic experience. Take a break from bar-hopping and get up close and personal with some fascinating sea creatures.
7) Tip A Pint Or Two At Sloppy Joe’s
Sloppy Joe’s is billed as a Key West tradition, especially for spring breakers. As soon as you arrive, you’ll discover why.
You don’t have to wait for the sun to go down in order to take advantage of the scene. There’s live music every day starting no later than noon and at 10 AM most days. The place is usually rocking, and during spring break, it’s bound to be rowdier still. If you can’t get in right away or you just want a break from the noise, check out Fat Tuesday down the street for a refreshing frozen cocktail.
Lest you think that Sloppy Joe’s is just another dive bar, we should point out that the food is better than you’d expect. Start with Sid’s Sampler Platter and try the eponymous sloppy Joe as your entree. Save room for a slice of the Key lime pie – we recommend adding the optional raspberry sauce!
Pro Tip: Do a Key West pub crawl by starting at the Southernmost Beach Cafe, then making your way up Duval Street to Fat Tuesday and Sloppy Joe’s. Finish up at Lagerhead’s Beach Bar if you can pull yourself away from the Sloppy scene.
Setting Sail For Spring Break In Key West
The Florida Keys make a superb spring break destination, and Key West is the cream of the crop. While each island has its own individual appeal, there’s something about Key West that sets it apart from its fellows. So, set off across the Overseas Highway and join the other spring breakers on the trip of a lifetime!
Whether you spend your days jet skiing, bar-hopping, taking historic tours, or just soaking up the sun, you’ll have an amazing spring break in Key West. Be sure to visit our home page so you can book your private boat tour. It’s sure to be one of the highlights of your trip!