Unlike a typical island getaway, Key West doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. In fact, there are a number of free and cheap things to do around the island. With an abundance of natural beauty to discover, you’ll realize that doing Key West on a budget is a piece of cake, or Key lime pie.
Celebrate the Sunset
The beautiful thing about Key West is that Mother Nature is absolutely free. Grab the entire family and head to Mallory Square just before sunset and spy whacky street performers who have trained cats to jump through hoops and dogs to walk on tight wires. There are inexpensive food stands selling conch fritters and mojitos, and craftspeople showing off their handmade goods. It’s all set against the prettiest backdrop you can imagine – Key West’s famous sunset.
Have a Beach Day
Sunshine, surf and sand are free and abundant in Key West and the southern edge of the island is lined with relaxing beaches with incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean. Pack a picnic with grub you bought at local grocery store Fausto’s and enjoy an inexpensive afternoon at Smathers Beach.
Window Shopping and Ping-Pong
Home to some of the cutest boutiques on the island, window-shopping in Bahama Village is a fun activity. You can grab an affordable lunch at the casual La Creperie and then venture across the street to Blue Heaven for a spiked pink lemonade. Pick up a game of ping-pong for free at this funky local bar.
Old Town Trolley
An Old Town Trolley tour is an entertaining and inexpensive way to get the lay of the land. These informative tours are packed with fascinating stories about the island. You also have the option to hop on and hop off at several stops throughout the tour, making the Old Town Trolley a great way to travel around town with plenty of perks.
Act Like a Key West Local
A great way to get a taste of Key West’s culture is by touring the local art galleries. Concentrated at the southern end of Duval Street and along White Street, pop into popular spots like Archeo Gallery, Cuba! Cuba!, the Harrison Gallery and Wyland Gallery for a glimpse of Key West art for free.
Tour the Island on Two Wheels
Rent bicycles and get off the beaten path in Key West. It’s far less expensive than renting a car and you can reach all of the attractions in Old Town within five to ten minutes by bicycle. It’s without a doubt the most enjoyable and efficient way to get around the island.
Learn History in a Unique Way
The Key West Cemetery is smack dab in the center of Key West’s Old Town and it offers a fascinating perspective on the island’s history. Look for a box containing pamphlets that will help guide you through this historic cemetery. A must-see epitaph reads: “I told you I was sick.”
Dine at B.O.’s Fish Wagon
For an inexpensive and tasty lunch, look no further than B.O.’s Fish Wagon on Caroline Street. This ramshackle lunch counter serves up some of the best local fish in town. Opt for a mahi or grouper sandwich served fried, blackened or grilled on a Cuban roll with Key lime aioli for a hearty and delicious lunch that won’t break the bank.
Grab a Drink at Green Parrot
The Green Parrot is Key West’s most beloved bar and part of the reason is because drinks are cheap. This laidback dive bar also boasts live music, a pool table, darts and a great locals vibe. Stop by for an afternoon happy hour or have a fun and inexpensive night on the town. They even have free, freshly popped popcorn to accompany your drinks.