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Key West Family Adventures Sailing in the Sun and Diving into the Ocean. Key West Sunset Ceremonies and Family Fun Famous for its laid-back attitude, as much as for its sunny skies and sparkling waters, Key West is a permanent part of the American imagination. With lots of opportunities for both education and entertainment Key West has a lot to offer families – both on the water and on shore.

Meet Hemingway’s cats. Ernest Hemingway called Key West home for more than ten years – and experienced the most prolific period of his Nobel Prize winning career while residing within the walls of this charming house situated on Whitehead Street, in the heart of Old Town Key West. Visitors are invited to step back in time and visit the rooms and lush gardens, and meet the current feline residents. Educated tour guides give insightful narratives and are eager to answer questions.  Editor's Note: The sixty-plus cats are definitely the highlight of the Heminingway home - they delighted our kids to no end, and could be found sprawled indolently across every piece of furniature throughout the house! Personally, I enjoyed the gardens the most - truly lovely tropical plants and flowers, obviously well cared for., and lending a sense of a secret garden to the place, in the midst of Old Town Key West. (Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. 907 Whitehead St.  (305) 294-1136 or

Ride the Trolley. Old Town Trolley Tours has been provided sightseeing tours of Key West for over 30 years – they’ve got it down to a delightful science. With their philosophy of “transport-trainment,” the ride is an entertaining and efficient way to see the sights of Key West. The best part is it is hop-on and hop-off experience, so riders can explore all of Key West without the hassle of driving and parking along the narrow streets of downtown. Old Town Trolley Tours of Key West. Mallory Square. Editor's Note: Our family's ridden Old Town Trolley's in several cities, and it's always a great experience. It's easy to learn a lot in a short amount of time, and the hop-on/hop-off feature makes seeing the sights simple for families. (305) 296-6688 or

Sail into the Sun. Family-owned and operated Sunny Days Catamarans takes families to the beautiful aquatic backcountry of the Keys, and demonstrates a dedication to operating a business with minimal environmental impact, and a respect for the fragile ecosystem of the Keys. One of their great tours takes families aboard the Dolphin Cat to see wild dolphins in their natural habitat and snorkel at the Great White Heron Marine refuge. Sail into the Sun Key West Family AdventureDiscovery: Sunny Days was one of the first companies to become a member of the National Marine Sanctuary’s Dolphin Smart program, which promotes education and responsible viewing of dolphins in the wild. They also work with Reef Relief, to promote conservation of reefs in the Keys – and their captains and crews are Reef Rangers, trained to spot changes in coral reefs, the significance of the changes and when to report them. These efforts all contribute to the preservation of the ecological beauty of the Keys and its beautiful inhabitants. Editor's Note: The crew of the Dolphin Cat were charming and informative, keeping up a lively dialogue about dolphins and coral reefs throughout the journey. There was also a cooler full of refreshing drinks on deck, perfect for cooling off in the warm sun. Once we arrived at our snorkeling destination the capitain and first mate pointed out where the best places to snorkel were, and even directed us once we were in the water. Great people, great company, great idea for families! (Sunny Days Catamarans. 201 Elizabeth Street. (Historic Seaport) (305) 296-5556 or
Dive the Reefs. Subtropic Dive offers a variety of dive opportunities, designed for everyone from beginners to advanced divers.  Subtropic offers almost 40 dive sites, selected daily based on the conditions of any given day.  In addition to their multitude of wonderful reef dives along the gorgeous Florida Keys Barrier Reef, Subtropic also offers dives several wreck dives, including Joe’s Tug, the Cayman Salvage, and the famous U.S.N.S Vandenberg dive. Discovery:  Subtropic Dive Center takes pictures of its divers and snorkelers and posts them on its website ready for purchase download, letting divers focus on making memories, not recording them. (Subtropic Dive Center.  1605 N. Roosevelt Boulevard. (305) 296-9914 or 1-800-853-DIVE or

Explore the gardens.Key West Botanical GardensThe only “frost-free” botanical garden (in the continental US) calls Key West home. The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is a charming place, full of stunning flora and local fauna. Because of Key West’s tropical environment, most of the trees retain their leaves throughout the year, making it a unique spot to visit from December through late May. The biodiversity of the Keys is astounding and well represented by the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.  Visitors will enjoy checking out one, or all, of the four self-guided information tours – and should make sure to check out the “waterfall wall” of orchids and the nearby turtles who call this beautiful place their home. Discovery: The Key West tropical forest is a major migratory stopping point for neo-tropical birds from places as far as South America. Butterfly enthusiasts will love the one-acre butterfly habitat which is home to over 23 species of butterfly. (Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. 5210 College Road. (305) 296-1504 or
Make it Happen. For more information on making your Key West family experience happen, call (305) 294-2587 or check out
Information compiled by FTF staff and based on site visit. Images by AL Nelson-Duac. Copyright 2014.
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