Exploring The Things To Do In Key West In September

Exploring The Things To Do In Key West In September


Key West, the southernmost tip of the United States, is a paradise on Earth. While it attracts tourists year-round, there’s a particular magic in September when the crowds thin, and the island takes on a more relaxed vibe. This month offers a unique opportunity to experience Key West in a more intimate and authentic way. From water activities to cultural events, here’s a comprehensive guide on things to do in Key West in September. September in Key West marks the off-season, providing a quieter atmosphere compared to the peak tourist months. This tranquility allows you to explore the island’s beauty without the hustle and bustle, making it an ideal time for those seeking a more laid-back vacation.

Weather in September

September falls in the heart of the wet season in Key West with an average of 5-6 inches of rainfall during the month. However, showers are usually brief and the sun comes back out quickly. Temperatures remain hot and humid, averaging highs of around 89°F and lows of 80°F. The ocean waters hover around 85°F making September one of the warmest months for ocean swimming. With the humid weather though, September is a good time to take advantage of water-based activities to cool off.

Annual Events

Key West is known for its vibrant culture, lively entertainment scene, and annual festivals. Several events take place in September that are worth checking out.

Fantasy Fest – This iconic Key West festival is held in late October, but several major Fantasy Fest events happen in September leading up to the big parade and street fair. Pre-Fantasy Fest events include Goombay Festival, the Royal Coronation Ball, Pet Masquerade and more.

Key West Brewfest – Held mid-September, this festival features tastings from over 30 breweries along with live music and food vendors. Beer lovers won’t want to miss this event.

Key West World Championship Marlin Tournament – Running for a full month from mid-September to mid-October, this fishing tournament draws anglers competing to reel in the biggest marlin. Even non-fishermen will want to check out the exciting weigh-ins each day.

Things to Do

From watersports to museums to walking tours, there are endless options for fun during a September Key West vacation. Here are top things to enjoy:

Relax on the Beach – With sunny days and warm ocean temperatures in the mid-80s, September is perfect for relaxing on one of Key West’s beautiful white sand beaches. Popular spots include South Beach, Smathers Beach and the lesser-known Rest Beach.

Snorkeling and Diving – The reefs around Key West offer some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the Florida Keys. Warm September waters provide great underwater visibility to explore coral gardens, shipwrecks and marine life. Top spots include Dry Tortugas National Park and Looe Key Reef.

Kayaking – Paddle through the tranquil backcountry waters around Key West for a scenic adventure. Kayak rentals and guided tours are available from groups like Lazy Dog, Key West EcoTours and Danger Charters.

Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square – Nightly at sunset, Mallory Square transforms into a lively street party with musicians, artists, jugglers and food carts. Grab a front-row seat by the pier and take in one of Key West’s best traditions.

Bar-hopping on Duval Street – Lively Duval Street offers one bar or restaurant after another, perfect for a night of bar-hopping. From the iconic Sloppy Joe’s to the Green Parrot Bar, there’s always great people-watching, drinks and entertainment into the late hours.

Hemingway Home and Museum – Literary buffs will enjoy touring Ernest Hemingway’s historic Key West residence and learning about his decade spent on the island that inspired many of his famous works.

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory – Escape the heat while wandering through the largest butterfly aviary in the country with over 50 colorful species fluttering around.

Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters – Climb up the 88 steps to the top of this landmark lighthouse for panoramic views of the island and water. The attached keeper’s quarters offers exhibits on the history of Key West.

Sunset Sail – Enjoy a leisurely sunset sail around the island’s waters aboard one of Key West’s iconic windjammers like the Western Union. Sit back with a cold drink and take in unmatched sunset views.

Southernmost Point Buoy – No visit to Key West is complete without a photo op at this landmark buoy denoting the southernmost point of the continental United States. Expect a line, but don’t miss this iconic spot.

Where to Eat and Drink

Key West’s dining scene is varied and delicious from fresh seafood to Cuban cuisine. Top picks for September include:

Seven Fish Restaurant – Serving up inventive seafood dishes like yellowtail snapper ceviche and whole fried yellowtail. Their outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean is the perfect sunset dinner spot.

El Siboney – Authentic Cuban food including roast pork dishes, empanadas and the Key West staple – Cuban coffee. Cash only.

The Stoned Crab – This sprawling restaurant right on the water is known for buckets of steamed seafood, shrimp and crawfish boils, raw bar and killer happy hour deals.

Glazed Donuts – No visit to Key West is complete without stopping at this iconic late hour donut shop serving up hot, fresh doughnuts along with Cuban coffee.

Caroline’s Cafe – A casual, vegetarian-friendly breakfast and lunch cafe serving huge portions of creative sandwiches, scramblers and homemade baked goods.

Where to Stay

Key West offers a wide range of lodging from quaint inns to full service resorts. For an authentic Key West experience, consider these highly-rated options:

Chelsea House – Charming Victorian-style bed and breakfast with pool located in the heart of Old Town Key West.

Paradise Inn – Cheerful, tropical-themed rooms in a great location around the corner from Duval Street. Complimentary breakfast and poolside happy hour are big perks.

Orchid Key Inn – Beautifully restored 100-year-old home transformed into an intimate adults-only bed and breakfast with elegant rooms, pool and daily breakfast.

Island City House Hotel – Historic boutique hotel offering large rooms with private balconies, an outdoor saltwater pool and complimentary breakfast.

24 North Hotel – Contemporary hotel with rooftop pool offering modern rooms with private balconies right off Duval Street.

In September, Key West unveils a different side – one that is serene, authentic, and rich in experiences. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history enthusiast, or someone yearning for a tranquil escape, Key West has something to offer. Embrace the off-season charm, explore the natural wonders, and savor the local culture to make your September getaway an unforgettable experience in this tropical paradise. With its laid-back vibe, sunshine, beautiful beaches and wide array of activities, Key West offers an idyllic tropical escape in September. The crowds have thinned after summer but there’s still plenty going on with events, water-sports, attractions and a lively dining scene all month long. With some advance planning, you’re sure to have an unforgettable vacation in Key West this September.

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