Top 5 Key West Tours

Key West may be relatively small in size, but island tour operators offer all manner of ways to explore its diverse attractions. Whether you're looking to toss back a few cocktails or beers among friends at iconic Duval Street bars, learn the haunted history of this creepily historic island, or hit the surrounding turquoise waters in a variety of watercraft, there's a Key West tour to meet your needs. Here, we've selected our 5 favorites.

1. Key West Pub Crawl

Key West Pub Crawl
Beachfront Solution, Flickr
Throwing back a drink at a few local watering holes and enjoying the laid-back island vibe is easily the highlight of Key West for many travelers. If you like a little guidance while you're boozing -- you know, so you can hit the hottest bars, or perhaps get help finding your way to the next -- consider joining an official Key West Pub Crawl tour.

The tippling folks at the pub crawl aim to bring you that experience on their 2 1/2-hour walking pub crawl, which meanders to joints downtown and in the Historic Seaport. The tour takes folks to 5 local bars, including Rick's, Schooner Wharf Bar and Durty Harry's, and includes a choice of a domestic beer or mixed drink at each bar, as well as 1 pub crawl T-shirt for each participant. Make sure to save your energy -- and lung capacity -- for one of the tour's non-alcoholic highlights, a conch-blowing contest.

2. Ghosts and Gravestones Key West Frightseeing Tour

Ghosts and Gravestones Key West Frightseeing Tour
Ghosts and Gravestones Key West
For an island measuring a mere 7.4 square miles, spooky tales and haunted lore abound in Key West. Embark on a Ghosts and Gravestones trolley tour for a sampling of the island's creepiest highlights, including Robert the Doll, an allegedly cursed, demonic doll now housed in the Fort East Martello Museum. Upon reaching the fort, a few people on the tour are given EMF detectors, which are supposed to measure nearby paranormal activity -- a tour highlight.

On the 1 1/2-hour tour you'll also see sites such as the African Slave Cemetery, Captain Tony's Saloon and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, as guides tell spine-tingling stories about Key West's grimmer history. Tours run rain or shine, and reservations are highly recommended, as many tours do sell out.

3. Conch Tour Train

Conch Train Tour
Florida Keys News Bureau
You won't be in Key West for long before crossing paths with the ubiquitous Conch Tour Train, one of the island's most popular trolley tours. Since 1958, the train tours have been choo-choo-ing their way around the island, passing by Key West's main sites, including the Ernest Hemingway House, Harry S. Truman's Little White House and Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum, while your train "engineer" and guide explains the island's history.

The tour makes 3 stops: Station Depot, with shops and restrooms; Truval Village, a centrally located marketplace where people can hop off the train if they choose and explore the Historic Seaport, and finally, a stop at Flagler Station, a railroad museum. Penny-savers, take note: Children 12 and under ride free, and military and senior citizen discounts are also available.

4. SUP Key West Eco-Tours

SUP Key West Eco-Tours
Steve Kroeger
Test your balancing skills with SUP Key West Eco-Tours, which offers a variety of stand-up paddleboard tours around the island's watery environs. Half- and full-day tours are available, and may include a guided tour of mangrove forests, rivers and salt ponds. Throughout the tours, guides explain the ecology of the islands, mangroves and surrounding waters. While paddling, it's not uncommon to see stingrays and manatees swimming beneath your paddle board, as well as crabs, jellyfish, sea anemones and starfish.

If you keep an eye out for wildlife, you will be treated to sightings of various birds, including egrets, cormorants and even pelicans, as Key West is home to 2 national wildlife refuges. All tours include a lesson for beginners, instructing people on how to stand up on their board, as well as learn general safety information.

5. Fury Water Adventures

Fury Water Adventures
Fury Water Adventures
If you feel the need for speed, or underwater or airborne adventure on your island holiday, hit up a tour with Fury Water Adventures for an adrenaline-soaked trip around Key West. Fury offers various tours, including snorkeling, parasailing, jet ski and kayaking trips.

For daring -- and athletically inclined -- travelers, there's the "Ultimate Adventure," a 3-in-1 trip that includes snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing and kayaking. Should snorkeling a coral reef sound a bit simple, consider one of Fury's combo packages, like the Reef & Ritas or Reggae & Rum tours, which offer you free margaritas or rum drinks and reggae music, respectively, after you've finished snorkeling.

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