Where to Stay in Key West: Your Neighborhood Guide to Paradise
Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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If you’re looking for a true getaway without having to travel overseas or spend a fortune, Key West is a wonderful choice for an island vacation. This top Florida destination is a unique, quirky, and beautiful place where you can relax, have an adventure, and enjoy some great places to stay. There are a few different options available to you in terms of Key West neighbors too, so check out our neighborhood guide to Key West as you plan your trip!
Mallory Square is probably the most popular place for travelers to look for accommodations because this is the center of it all in Key West. The neighborhood is home to the Mallory Dock, which is an amazing place to see a sunset. Here you’ll also often see street performers do acrobatics and music performances. Highlights in the area include the Key West Aquarium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, and the Key West Shipwreck Museum.
Many travelers choose to stay around Smathers Beach in order to be close to one of the best beaches in Key West. There really isn’t that much beachfront property in Key West, contrary to popular belief, so this is a great place to be for access to the sea and sand. Smathers Beach is one of just a handful of beaches on the island and on the northern Atlantic side. Guests who choose this neighborhood can stay in a rented condo or apartment complex, vacation rental home, or hotel. It is a quiet place to stay away from the downtown party scene and a top pick among families looking for fun in the sun.
Old Town is a very popular neighborhood for Key West visitors because this is where most restaurants and attractions are located. Here you’ll be close to bars and nightlife, as well as the seaport and the iconic architecture that makes Key West unique. Since parking here can be a challenge, this is a great place to stay if you don’t have a car and want to get around on a bicycle or rented scooter instead. Old Town is on the western part of the island and near the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and the Key West Aquarium.
Duval Street is the most popular street on the island and runs north to south through the main part of the city. When you’re along this street, it’s easy to get to the bars, restaurants, and shops without getting lost or ever needing directions. All kinds of travelers enjoy staying along Duval Street and visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the Oldest House & Garden Museum, and the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea.
Key West has strong ties to the seafood and shrimping industries, which you can learn more about while staying at Key West’s Historic Seaport. The seaport neighborhood is a great place to be in if you love seafood because there are some incredible restaurants here. Travelers who stay around the seaport also have easy access to boat rides, water sports, quirky shops, and fun bars. You can go on a sailing trip on a yacht or catamaran when you stay here and also check out the art galleries when you’re in the historic seaport.
Bahama Village is a historic and fun neighborhood in Key West that celebrates the city’s connection to the Bahamas. Here you’ll find lively restaurants and shops to explore, as well as colorful architecture to get you in the mood for island life. This part of Key West is popular for its flea market and has a public swimming pool. You’ll find some delicious and authentic cuisine here as well to add some diversity to your trip.
For a gated community experience and an exclusive vibe, consider staying in Truman Annex for your Key West vacation. The name comes from none other than President Harry Truman, who spent his winters here. The area once served as a naval station and submarine base too. Guests at Truman Annex can expect a quiet atmosphere and very well-maintained grounds for a peaceful stay. However, be aware that it requires a short walk to get to Duval Street and the other attractions downtown. Families love this area of town because it’s quiet, safe, and allows easy access to the Truman Waterfront and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
The Key West Golf Club offers townhomes and private residences that surround its 18-hole golf course. This golf area is around the entrance to Key West and about a 10-minute drive from the popular and touristy Old Town area. Golfers obviously love this neighborhood because of its close proximity to the course, as well as families looking for a quiet vibe. The setting is lush, tropical, and secure with a gated entrance. The golf club area has a large resort-style pool you can enjoy as well. Nearby, you’ll find the botanical garden, a community college, a medical center, and the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Theater.