Best ways to get around Key West

  • Post last modified:January 29, 2023
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Every day in Key West is a reason to celebrate — it’s a sun-drenched Florida Keys paradise. From historic sights to the easy-going Duval Street, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on this quirky island. But which is the best way to get around Key West?

On most occasions, walking is the best way to get around Key West. In addition, other popular ways of getting around Key West include biking and taking the Old Town trolley.

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Key West’s vacation size

Key West is filled with attractions and things to do. It’s also packaged in a way that makes it easy to appreciate everything this unique Florida destination has to offer.

Yes, it’s incredibly easy to get around Key West.

Crossing the island, Duval Street is the main drag of Key West. From north, the Gulf side, to south, the Atlantic side, it’s just 1.25 miles (2 km).

For its short length, Duval Street is loaded with inviting eateries, lively bars, quirky shops and fun attractions. Just strolling Duval Street is on its own one of the best things to do in Key West.

Parallel to Duval Street, the much quieter Whitehead Street runs. Here you find many of the most popular sights of Key West, including Ernest Hemingway Home and Key West Lighthouse.

Gluing Old Town of Key West together, these two — Duval and Whitehead — are the two most important thoroughfares to know. If you can navigate them, you can navigate Key West.

With the layout in consideration, let’s now have a look at the best ways to get around Key West.

Walk around Key West

On most occasions, the best mean of transportation in Key West is your own two feet. Thanks to Key West’s convenient size, the next point of interest is never far away.

Let’s say that you take that iconic photo of the Southernmost Point and then want to get to Mallory Square for nightly sunset celebration. These spots are on opposite ends of the island — is that a burden?

Not really, it takes less than 30 minutes to, at an average pace, walk between the two. Stroll Duval for liveliness, and thirst-quenching pit stops, but Whitehead, without the crowds, is a more frictionless route.

However, most often the walks are much shorter.

If you stay at the both central and gorgeous Almond Tree Inn — it’s 5 minutes to the Hemingway Home and adjacent Key West Lighthouse, 10 minutes to the Southernmost Point and 20 minutes to Mallory Square.

That it is so easy to get around Key West is, in fact, one of the things that visitors appreciate the most about the island. For touring Key West’s fun-filled Old Town, you don’t need to worry about getting from point A to point B — instead, you can fully rely on your own two feet.

Bike around Key West

Although Old Town in Key West is a compact place, biking is a great complement to walking. With a bike, there are several rental companies in Key West, you can move between sights even quicker.

For a trip traversing Key West, it’s less than 10 minutes from the Southernmost Point to Mallory Square. Even a balmy Key West day, that’s an easy cruise — getting around Key West doesn’t get more efficient.

But are there spots that especially motivate renting bikes?

Yes, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, home to a historic fort and beautiful beach, is a bit separated from other sights. Hidden at the very western end of the island, this is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Mallory Square.

Another reason to rent bikes is if you want to see the Key West beyond Old Town. Even though most visitors spend their entire stay in Old Town, it might be fun to venture into the eastern New Town area too.

Take the trolley around Key West

Walking and biking are certainly excellent ways of getting around Key West. Yet, this is your hard-earned vacation time, and it might be nice to just sit back for a while.

If this sounds like you, consider the Old Town trolley.

It’s a hop-on, hop-off trolley with multiple stops around town. With the trolley, getting around Key West doesn’t require any effort at all from you.

However, Key West’s trolley tours are, in fact, not solely about getting around. Another advantage is that they are narrated in real time, meaning that your guide will share history and fun facts while you travel.

Just a heads up: The guides often makes it hard to get off as you want to hear the story up next. Suddenly, you’re deep into New Town — oops.

Drive around Key West

Key West’s small size, 1.25 miles (2 km) from north to south, makes a car excessive for sightseeing. With limited and expensive parking, driving from sight to sight adds seemingly unnecessary moments of stress.

While you don’t need a car for getting around Key West, it’s something that makes exploring the rest of the Florida Keys much easier.

Key West is uniquely located at the end of the Overseas Highway, a 113-mile (182 km) road jumping from island to island all the way from mainland Florida. It’s a unique location that presents appealing road trip opportunities.

Within an hour, reach the National Key Deer Refuge, home to the tiny key deer, and Bahia Honda Beach, a famous beach overlooking the historic Bahia Honda Rail Bridge. Further north Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo are Florida Keys chapters of their own.

Final words about getting around Key West

Key West, an island living at its own beautiful pace, has many appreciated dimensions. One of them is that it’s so easy to maneuver — when visiting Key West, you’ll wish sightseeing always were so effortless.

Because the island is so compact, walking is generally the best way to get around Key West. Still biking lets you cover a bigger area, and taking the trolley is a fun alternative if you rather sit back.

Getting around Key West FAQ

Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about the best ways to get around Key West, FL.

What is the easiest way to get around Key West?

Key West is the definition of compact. Cutting through the island from the Gulf to Atlantic side, Duval Street is only 1.25 miles (2 km) long. Thanks to the delicate size, walking is on most occasions the best way to get around Key West. In addition, other nice ways of getting around Key West include biking and taking a trolley tour.

Can you go to Key West without a car?

To tour Key West, you don’t need a car. Parking is both limited and expensive in Key West’s Old Town. Instead, consider walking, biking and taking a trolley tour for getting around Key West.

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