Where to Stay in Key West – The Best Places to Stay for All Kinds of Travelers

Are you ready to discover unique parts of Florida? Key West is calling you with its most beautiful tropical island vibe!

It is no surprise that famous American author Ernest Hemingway fell in love with this beautiful island and spent a decade in Key West. I am sure that you will have a great time too by discovering beautiful beaches, amazing seafood restaurants, strolling in beautiful historic buildings and doing water sports activities. 

This island offers many activities as well as great accommodation options for all kinds of travelers and I meticulously searched for the best ones for you to have a perfect holiday. In this article on where to stay in Key West, I will talk about the 5 best neighborhoods to stay in with the highlights of the area and give hotels from luxury to budget plus Airbnbs in each area. 

Key West is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the USA preferred by many travelers, so, I highly recommend you to make a booking in advance for your favorite place as it will help you to get better deals and I don’t think you would want to miss your favorite hotel. Most of the hotels have a free cancellation policy, so do not worry if you change your mind! 

So travelers, let’s start to discover the Florida Keys!

If you are in a hurry

Here are the best places to stay in Key West from luxury to budget. They all have great reviews and great locations!

luxury hotel

Santa Maria Suites

Best luxury hotel

airbnb

Duval Street Apartment

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

mid-range hotel

Duval Gardens

Best value for money

budget hotel

Blue Marlin Motel

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here is a map of Key West with all the 5 areas I will be talking about in this travel guide, so you can easily visualize them:

Duval Street
for first-timers
Historic Seaport
for water sports
Smathers Beach and New Town
for beaches
Bahama Village
for local experiences
Mallory Square
for families

1. Duval Street – where to stay in Key West for the first time

Duval Street in Key West is the most popular street on the island and has an incredibly colorful vibe. Located at the center of the Old Town, this district is within walking distance to Downtown Key West as well. Offering many shops, bars, restaurants, and museums and its proximity to main attractions makes Duval Street a perfect area to stay in Key West for first-timers.

You can easily discover Duval Street on foot but if you don’t feel like walking, you may earn some time by taking The Duval Loop free shuttle which runs on the main street. Start your sightseeing by going to Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and continue your stroll to Historic Seaport while checking out the beautiful cafes and quirky shops on the way.

If you are into nightlife, you will want to check out popular bars in Duval Street at night. It offers one of the best night scenes in Key West. Doesn’t it already sound exciting?

Here you will find many accommodation options for all budgets. Since it is a popular and touristy district I highly recommend you make a booking in advance. I am going to give the top 4 accommodations to stay in Key West but if you want more options you can check out the best Airbnbs in Key West as well. Also, if you are planning to continue your trip in Miami you might wanna read where to stay in Miami

Luxury hotel

This glamorous 4 star, Key West hotel located on Duval Street offers a fabulous fitness center, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a poolside bar where guests can enjoy tropical cocktails under the sun. Santa Maria Suites boasts spacious rooms with pool views plus, South Beach and Higgs Beach are within walking distance too!

Other accommodation options in Duval Street

mid-range

This hotel features a swimming pool, a bar, and a very good breakfast. South Beach is a few minutes walk

budget

Located in Upper Duval Street, this motel offers reasonable prices with  amenities such as a pool, continental breakfast, and wifi

airbnb

Centrally located property which has great amenities such as an outdoor pool, free parking, and spacious rooms with a balcony

Things to do in Duval Street

2. Historic Seaport – the best area for water sports

Set by the marina in the Old Town, the Historic Seaport offers scenic views and water sport activities such as sailing, fishing, parasailing, snorkeling, and boat tours. You will love the Historic seaport town if you’re into water sports and I am sure you will have so much fun going on sailing adventures around the area.

Apart from water activities, you will have a chance to eat the best seafood here. Enjoy a sunset stroll by the waterfront and pick a nice restaurant with a beautiful view to have a delicious meal. Another fun alternative is to join a dinner cruise where you will have your dinner on a boat while enjoying some live music. Doesn’t that just sound so idyllic? If you are a water lover and looking for another new vacation destination, I highly recommend Panama City for more sea adventures.

The Historic Seaport offers many nice boutiques and art as well so you should definantly spare some time to discover those unique shops, museums, and galleries. You won’t have difficulty finding nice accommodation here and as always, I’ve already picked the best ones for you! As these places are the best ones, they tend to fill up so fast so do not forget to make a reservation in advance!

Luxury hotel

Simonton Court Inn is one of the best hotels in Key West. This nice hotel offers 4 outdoor swimming pools,  spacious rooms with a balcony, free wifi, and on-site parking. Smathers Beach is just a few minutes drive. Travelers can enjoy the nice large garden and also rent a bike from the hotel, plus family-friendly rooms are available too!

Other accommodation options in Historic Seaport 

mid-range

This adult-only hotel whcich features an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, an amazing breakfast, and free wifi

budget

This boutique hotel offers a great breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s garden

airbnb

This property has 2 fully furnished rooms with easy access to main attractions and bars in the city center

Things to do in the Historic Seaport 

3. Smathers Beach & New Town – where to stay in Key West for beaches

When you say Key West, of course, sun and beach are the first words that come into your mind and you are totally right! There are several beautiful beaches in Key West but the largest and most beautiful one in Key West is Smathers Beach.

Smathers Beach is 2 miles (3 km) long beach with white sand and offers beach activities like volleyball and water sports. According to rumors, the sand of the beach is brought from the Bahamas! You can easily reach the beach from the city center with a 15 minutes drive to the southeast part of the island. Don’t forget to take your beach essentials with you!

Whilst all the areas I have talked about previously have been located in the downtown/old town area, Smathers Beach is located in the New Town – the eastern part of Keywest. This is the more residential part of the keys where you will find contemporary houses, waterfront hotels, and modern shops. 

In this area, you will be able to find great accommodation options from luxury resorts to budget Airbnbs. 

Luxury hotel

The Capitana is one of the best hotels in New Town. Guests can enjoy a fabulous breakfast in the hotel garden and relax in modern rooms with great decor. The nice hotel has a very convenient location to main attractions and beaches. Family-friendly rooms are available too. 

Other options in Smathers Beach and New Town 

mid-range

In the residential area, this key west resort offers a boutique stay to travelers with great facilities. Private parking available

budget

A unique stay option on a boat that can accommodate 4 people and children. This boat has a kitchen with up to date equipment and a cleanroom

airbnb

This houseboat offering guests a fully equipped kitchen, a nice room, and free parking is perfect to enjoy the island in a unique way

Things to do in Smathers Beach and New Town 

  • Relax on Smathers Beach 
  • Hire a jet ski to cruise the seas
  • Take a walk in Little Hamaca
  • Go kayaking in the Mangroves 
  • Head to the Old town to check out the action

4. Bahama Village – if you are looking for local experiences

Bahama Village is located in the southern part of the island and a 15 minutes walk from the town center. It is a nice and less touristy neighborhood where you will be able to find more local experiences. The name of the neighborhood comes from the city’s connection to the Bahamas and here you will also see the Southernmost point. 

FUN FACT: Key West is actually closer to Cuba than it is to Miami and the southernmost point of continental US is here as well. 

Bahama Village is a very fun neighborhood with its flea market, public swimming pool, and authentic cuisine. Foodies will love the food scene in Bahama Village so if you are looking for a local vibe, you should definitely stay in Bahama Village. Here also you will be able to find less pricey hotels compared to other parts of the island. 

Luxury hotel

Orchid Key Inn is a unique resort at the heart of the city. This beautiful hotel features a very good breakfast, a heated swimming pool, and spacious rooms. There are also suites with a spa bath and good coffee machines. Guests can enjoy happy hours at the resort with tropical cocktails and wines and the main attractions are just a few minutes walk.

Other accommodation options in Bahama Village

mid-range

This secluded hotel in Key West has a nice swimming pool and a bar. Beaches and shops are within walking distance

budget

This hostel offers travelers a pleasant stay with a large garden, free parking, wifi, and easy access to the main attractions

airbnb

A nice property that has easy access to restaurants and shops and offers a hot tub, swimming pool, and a fabulous garden

Things to do in Bahama Village

5. Mallory Square – where to stay in Key West for Families

Facing the Gulf of Mexico, Mallory Square is located on the waterfront of the historic Old Town and at the end of Duval Street. Thanks to its central location and its offering of great activities, it is one of the most popular areas of Key West and a great place to stay for families. 

In Mallory Street, you will find many great bars and restaurants with an excellent view. The main landmarks you should see in this neighborhood are the Key West Aquarium and the Key West Shipwreck Museum. At sunset time the place you have to be is Mallory Dock. Many people gather here to watch amazing sunsets and also see the street performers, acrobats, and musicians. What more could you want?

I have no doubt that you will have a great time in Mallory Square with your families and this neighborhood offers a great selection of accommodations too. Let’s check out the best places to stay in Key West:

Luxury hotel

With beautiful views overlooking the Gulf of Mexico from nearly every corner of this luxurious hotel in Key West, it might be hard to drag yourself away from the luxurious sunbeds by the pool. I highly recommend you do though to take advantage of the onsite spa that offers a range of services as well as their other activities like fishing, jet skis, and glass-bottom boat tours! 

Other accommodation options in Mallory Square

mid-range

Beautiful historic bed and breakfast that combines elegant antiques with modern facilities such as an outdoor pool and hot tub

budget

Cozy room with a tropical vibe, private bathroom, and kitchenette in a super convenient location 

airbnb

A great little property featuring wooden floors and bright colors creating the perfect holiday atmosphere

Things to do in Mallory Square

👑 Luxury price:$500
🏨 Mid Range:$300
🛏️ Budget:$150
🏠 Airbnb:$300
💰 Accommodation prices:High
📍 Best Area:Duval Street
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Santa Maria Suites
👛 Best budget hotel:Blue Marlin Motel

Frequently asked questions about Key West

🏡  What is the best location to stay in Key West?

If you are visiting Key West for the first time, Duval Street, Old Town is the best place to stay on the island with its proximity to main landmarks, shops, and bars. Santa Maria Suites and Duval Gardens are the best hotels here. 

🗺️  What is the best area to stay in the Florida Keys?

Southwestern parts of Florida Key that make up the Old Town are the best area where you will find great places to stay and good restaurants and bars. Key West is the most popular destination for visitors to the keys.

💰 Is it expensive to stay in Key West?

Due to its location and high tourist demand Key West is an expensive city. Just to give you an idea, you should approximately budget around $300+ per day on average including accommodation. 

⏱️ How many days should you stay in Key West?

To enjoy beaches, restaurants and the main attractions in Key West I would recommend you to stay at least 3 or 4 days.

🗓️ What is the best month to go to Key West?

Thanks to great weather and low humidity, March is the peak season for Key West. If you want to save on hotel prices you can visit Key West between June and November.

Conclusion

It is time for me to say goodbye to you, travelers. I hope that this blog post helped you to find your ideal place to stay in Key West and you have already started the countdown for your trip. In this post, I talked about the best areas to stay in Key West with hotels from luxury to budget as well as Airbnbs in each neighborhood. 

As I mentioned before, the famous Duval Street in the Old Town is the best neighborhood to stay in for first-timers but if you like a hotel in a different district more, go ahead and book it as the areas are very close to each other on the island. I guarantee that you will have no problem enjoying this city!

To wrap up, here are the best 2 hotels in Key West where I would definitely recommend you to choose. They both have good locations and great reviews too!

  • Santa Maria Suites – One of the best luxury hotels located in Duval Street, Old Town
  • Capitana Key West –  Located in a popular neighborhood of the island, this resort has great facilities

Key West Florida is one of the most popular destinations in the United States so, in order not to miss your perfect hotel don’t forget to make a reservation now!

If you have any other suggestions or questions about Key West, a neighborhood or Florida please leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to leave a reply to them!

Have great vacation in the sun travelers, 

Eylul

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