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Where to Stay in Key West: Your Neighborhood Guide to Paradise

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 Mallory Square at night, Key West
Credit: Mallory Square at night, Key West by © Giovanni Gagliardi - Dreamstime.com

Mallory Square

Why Stay Here:  All types of travelers love staying here for easy access to Key West’s top attractions, sunsets, and street performances.

Top Hotels: Southernmost Beach Resort | Pier House Resort & Spa

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.

Smathers Beach Smathers Beach
Credit: Smathers Beach by bigstock.com

Smathers Beach

Why Stay Here: Quick access to the beach for lots of fun in the sun, along with spacious accommodations for families.

Top Hotels: Havana Cabana at Key West | Ibis Bay Beach Resort

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 Aerial view of Key West Old Town and Whitehead Street
Credit: Aerial view of Key West Old Town and Whitehead Street by © Wangkun Jia - Dreamstime.com

Old Town

Why Stay Here:  In the middle of all the local attractions and easy access to nightlife.

Top Hotels: The Gardens Hotel | Best Western Hibiscus Motel

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 Beautiful Duval Street in Key West
Credit: Beautiful Duval Street in Key West by © Alkan2011 - Dreamstime.com

Duval Street

Why Stay Here:  Convenient location to get to many top attractions along Key West’s “main drag”.

Top Hotels: Pier House Resort & Spa | Pegasus International Hotel

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.

Historic Seaport Seating area along Historic Seaport Harbor Walk
Credit: Seating area along Historic Seaport Harbor Walk by © Sandshack33 - Dreamstime.com

Historic Seaport

Why Stay Here:  Easy access to the water with boat rides, water sports, and delicious seafood.

Top Hotel:  The Laureate Key West

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 Bahama village sign
Credit: Bahama village sign by © Meinzahn - Dreamstime.com

Bahama Village

Why Stay Here:  A great flea market and diverse restaurants to switch up your island routine in Key West.

Top Hotels:  Hyatt Centric Key West Resort and Spa | Blue Marlin Motel

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.

Truman Annex Beautiful view of famous Truman Annex Entrance gate
Credit: Beautiful view of famous Truman Annex Entrance gate by © Alexander Shapovalov - Dreamstime.com

Truman Annex

Why Stay Here:  Quiet residential vibe that’s great for families and away from the party scene.

Top Hotels: Truman Hotel | NYAH Key West

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.

Golf Course Area Golf at Key West in Florida
Credit: Golf at Key West in Florida by © Thierrydehove - Dreamstime.com

Golf Course Area

Why Stay Here:  Easy access to the Key West Golf Club and a quiet vibe away from the busy tourist scene.

Top Hotels:  24 North Hotel | The Gates Hotel | Key West

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.

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