Key West Offers Treasure Trove of Original Art

Key West is known for its extremely vibrant arts scene. The island has been attracting artists inspired by its natural beauty, rich history, and diverse culture. Today there are dozens of Key West galleries and museums for visitors to discover, offering a vast variety of art mediums and styles from local and international artists. This week we are featuring a few of our very talented local friends! You can bring home an original piece of art or some unique hand-crafted gifts keeping a piece of paradise in your home, sharing Key West culture with others, and always keeping our unique island in your heart!

Sacred Space Key West

PHOTO: Sacred Space Key West

Barbara Sage & Lucy Hawk founded Sacred Space Gallery in August 2020. They needed an art studio and quickly realized there was room to feature artwork by others as well. They continue to seek out other local women who create unique artwork & gifts. 

They proudly highlight 25 female artists and have four working studios. They offer a variety of art classes including painting, sculpting, and many unique Keys Coastal Classes; such as:  ‘Broken But Beautiful” Seaglass Class. Participants create an original piece of seaglass art. Seaglass, pottery, shells, driftwood bits and all necessities are all provided along with detailed instruction. Everyone leaves with a one-of-a-kind framed piece.

Their carefully curated gallery offers a sense of wonder and whimsy and the magic can be found in the heart of Old Town Key West at 529 Southard Street, between Simonton & Duval Streets. They are also available by phone, 305 998-4801 and via their website.

Key West Pottery

PHOTO: Konk Life

Artists Kelly Lever and Adam Russell began their collaboration in 2009. They blend traditional production pottery (tableware and functional vessels) with their fine art pieces.  

Since its inception, they have grown their company to include multiple artisans, creatives, students and collaborators. The talented group works together to produce a modern expression of coastal life while always being authentic and not relying on cliché.

Over the years they have developed a brand of tropical modernism that is unique and diverse so it can fit into any home or collection. In addition to commissioned, bespoke pieces, they carry everything from the island’s best coffee mugs to award winning totems. Their distinctive gallery with its well-rounded program is located on iconic Duval Street at number 1203. You can also reach them by phone, 305-900-8303, and online.

Key West Collective Art Gallery


This beautifully curated local art gallery is filled with a collective of talented artists inspired by Key West. Photographer and founder, Rachel E. Ligon, a native Kentuckian, has made Key West her home for more than 20 years. 

Ligon has traveled the world capturing diverse environments and the faces living there. Ligon’s passion recently led to her opening the Key West Collective Art Gallery on Caroline Street.  

In addition to her photography, the critically curated collective features the work of some of the island’s best artists, artisans and authors. The Collective also offers regularly scheduled classes where people can gather techniques from the featured artists. The Gallery at 720 Caroline Street is open daily 10am to 5pm and can be reached by calling 305-395-1161. The artists and their works can also be seen on the Collective’s internet site.

Key West Art Center

In the mid-1930s the Great Depression had devastated the nation including the Florida Keys. The federal Works Progress Administration brought artists and writers to Key West to help revitalize the economy. Many art classes were taught at the Key West Community Art Center, believed to be the WPA’s first public art project, which eventually became the Key West Art Center. 

The Center’s HQ since 1960 is pictured above and the organization is the steward of their home in this historic wooden building dating back to the 1890s. The Art Center is the oldest artists’ nonprofit membership organization in the Keys and features the work of more than 50 Keys artists. 

Paintings in many mediums, ceramics, sculptures, prints, and even handcrafted jewelry are on display to draw guests’ attention. Artist members offer classes to share insights into various art disciplines. In addition, the center is renowned for presenting the annual open-air Key West Craft Show and Old Island Days Art Festival.  Visit them at 301 Front Street. Call them: 305-294-1241 or check them out on the Web.

Stay in Our Key West Vacation Rentals 

Find the perfect piece of art to take home with you at one of our inspiring Key West art galleries. After discovering our dynamic arts scene, return to your vacation rental with Rent Key West Vacations. Stay in one of our rentals in the historic district, and you will be within walking distance of the Old Town galleries. Plan your Key West getaway today!

Shop Local: Key West Farmers Market Guide

During your next Key West getaway, we encourage you to support our local community by shopping locally! Find a fantastic selection of locally grown produce and handcrafted goods at the farmers markets of Key West & The Florida Keys. Whether you are looking for fresh ingredients to prepare meals in your vacation home or want to find the perfect souvenir, you can find it all at our local, open-air markets. Choose Rent Key West Vacations to host your getaway and stay close to everything our slice of paradise has to offer!

Key West Farmers Market

When: Every Thursday, 2 pm – 7 pm

Where: Truman Waterfront

The Key West Farmers Market offers something for everyone! Shop for fresh produce grown in Homestead, gorgeous orchids & native plants, artisan selection of meats and cheeses, pickles, honey, nuts & dried fruits, natural soaps and so much more. You’ll find Key West crafts, gifts and the perfect souvenir to take home.  While browsing, fuel up with something from one of the food trucks with varying weekly options, like fresh seafood, Mediterranean, Indian, smoothies, and freshly brewed coffees and teas. There is ample parking, bike racks or take the FREE Duval Loop which conveniently stops close to the market. The entire park, market area, restrooms and parking lots are wheelchair accessible.

What else is there to do at the Truman Waterfront Park?

The USCG Ingham is a self-guided maritime museum open Tuesday – Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. $10 adults/$5 kids/$5 active military.

Truman Waterfront park features a splash park, playground and lots of grass to spread out a picnic. Restrooms & shower rinse stations are available.

The Quay faces the Gulf and often cruise ships and Navy cutters on duty will be docked nearby. There’s plenty of park benches to enjoy the view (but little shade, umbrella recommended),

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach & State Park is a National Historic Landmark on 54 acres and houses a civil war fortress and the best beach on Key West. Entrance fees start at $2.50 and up.

Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center is a kid-friendly & adult interesting educational exhibit open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission is FREE.

Key West Artisan Market

When: Select Sundays, November-April, 10 am – 2 pm

Where: Key West Wildlife Center parking lot across from White Street Pier & Higgs Beach

The Key West Artisan Market, celebrating its 10th season, is a unique open air bazaar filled with artists, authors, chef-made cuisine, craftspeople, performers and fresh produce representing diversity, creativity, ingenuity and locally made products. Participants must live and also create/curate in the Keys in order to qualify for booth space.

Local artisans include culinary, textile, jewelry, wood, art & crafts, curiosities, fresh produce and lots of great, fresh food. Each week is a different theme focused on island living and local charities. Guests are encouraged to go green and ride bikes. There is limited free parking and marked handicapped spots at the park. Please BYOB (bring your own bags). Find your beach reading material at the Local Authors Nook and enjoy live entertainment at the weekly variety show. 

What else is there to do at Higgs Beach?

Higgs Beach offers a Civil War Era Fort, Fort West Martello home of the Key West Garden Club that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a beachside café, the African Refugee Memorial and burial site, and an AIDS memorial. Activities available include swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, beach volleyball, tennis, pickleball, and a children’s playground. 

Higgs Beach Park also hosts the only shore-accessible underwater marine park in the United States and is the end of the Florida Overseas Heritage Trail, one of only 31 nationally designated All American Highways in the United States.

A beach concessionaire offers beach items for rent including chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, and paddleboards, among others. The Key West Garden Club offers free self-guided tours at Fort West Martello and its nearly two acres of beautiful gardens. The park also hosts a large dog park with separate runs for small and large dogs.

Florida Keys Farmers Market

When: Every Sunday, Year Round, Rain or Shine, 10 am – 3 pm – 305-432-6900

Where: Islamorada Gardens Plaza parking lot, 81001 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

Local, Fresh, Organic & Sustainable Shopping just under a two hour drive from Key West. Walk through an outdoor oasis featuring colorful artwork and murals by Miami artist DaveL @davel_art on Instagram. Each week features a rotating line up of vendors passionate about their craft. Find Artisan cheeses, select meats, fresh and local seafood, delicious baked goods, farmstand fresh juices, natural and organic produce, local art, orchids and so much more!

Bahia Honda State Park is on the drive and one of the most popular state parks in the Florida Keys. This is where you will find another icon of the Florida Keys, the Old Bahia Honda railway bridge. You can see the old bridge if you continue your drive without stopping at Bahia Honda State Park. But if you do stop at Bahia Honda State Park, you can get a classic view of the old bridge.  Bahia Honda State Park also has picnic tables so it can provide the perfect stop for a picnic with views! There are snorkel gear and kayak rentals at Bahia Honda State Park as well.

You will also drive across the iconic Seven Mile Bridge! There are parking areas on either side of the bridge for amazing views and photo opportunities.

Enjoy the Amenities at Our Key West Vacation Rentals 

Shop local at our Key West farmers markets during your Florida Keys getaway and keep money within our communities! Discover Rent Key West Vacations collection of vacation rentals complete with fully equipped kitchens, linens, and laundry facilities. Many of our properties also come with private pools, hot tubs, and tennis courts. If you need help customizing your Key West vacation, please get in touch with us at 1-800-833-7368. 

Best Cuban & Caribbean Restaurants in Key West

Did you know Key West, Florida, is closer to Cuba than it is to the mainland of the United States? Since the islands are just 90 miles apart, it should be no surprise that we have an intertwined history and heritage. One of the most evident connections today is our island cuisine, which is heavily influenced by the unique flavors of Cuba, the Bahamas and many other island neighbors. Many of our best restaurants offer Caribbean influenced and Cuban cuisine.  Let our Rent Key West Vacations team of local experts help you find the best Caribbean and Cuban restaurants in Key West!  Here are just a few of our favorites to wet your appetite:

El Meson de Pepe

El Meson de Pepe has served authentic Cuban food in Key West’s Mallory Square for over 30 years! They have a beautiful Patio Bar where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail while listening to live salsa music as the sun goes down over the adjacent, nightly Sunset Celebration. They offer fantastic combination plates where you can sample three of their most popular dishes in one order. For over 30 years, Chef Pepe Diaz and his family have been dedicated to pristine quality, authentic Cuban Cuisine, and the preservation of Cuban Conch Heritage in Key West. Buen Provecho!

El Siboney Restaurant

El Siboney in historic Old Town has been recognized as one of Key West’s best Cuban restaurants since 1984. The family owned and operated establishment offers traditional Cuban home cooking & housemade sangria in a casual, family-friendly setting.  Their most popular dishes include roast pork sliced, topped with onions and served with a choice of rice, sweet plantains and Cuban bread. Other favorites include the Siboney steak, a Cuban mix sandwich  and Paella Valenciana.

Kaya Island Eats

Their name says it all; fresh island inspired dishes.  Enjoy their signature Tuna Nachos Pokee or the Incredible Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings with Goat Cheese Jerk Sauce & Green Onion to start.   The Legendary Rasta Pasta with Macadamia Nut Jerk Pesto is amazing on its own, but you  can add chicken, shrimp, veggies and/ or portobello mushrooms.  They also offer Carne Asada Steak Tacos and other beef and pork dishes.

Frita’s Cuban Burger Cafe Key West

Photo Credit: Nick Doll

This Quaint, quirky Cuban kitchen with outdoor seating is doling out way more than just authentic Frita Burgers!  The Frita is a heavenly burger with origins in 1930’s Cuba. The burgers are a mouthwatering blend of beef and pork burger seasoned with Spanish spices and topped with a special sauce and crispy fried julienne potatoes, all sandwiched on a Cuban bun. They also serve classic Cuban cuisine and homemade pastries and locally crafted ice cream!  Local Secret:  Some of Key West’s best musicians pop in later in the evening to jam on the patio!

Blue Heaven Floridean-Caribbean Cuisine

This Iconic landmark offers Floridean-Caribbean cuisine & key lime pie in a funky outdoor setting with live music.  It is quirky and fun, but the food is taken very seriously.  One taste of the blueberry pancakes, carrot and curry soup, miso-marinated eggplant salad or the scallops provencal will prove that fact to be true.  Check out our friends: Broadway Diva Teri White and the Broadway Pitboss & Music Man Larry Baeder when they perform.  They are two of Broadway’s Best who have made Key West their home!

Key West Cottages, Condos & Vacation Home Rentals

After enjoying delicious food at Caribbean inspired & Cuban restaurants in Key West, return to your vacation home on the island. Rent Key West Vacations offers properties with everything you need, including fully equipped kitchens, linens, and laundry facilities. We also offer Key West vacation rentals with private pools, ocean views, and easy access to the beach. Escape to Key West today!

Family Vacation: Things to Do in Key West with Kids

It’s time to pack your family’s bags and head to the southernmost point in the United States for an epic Florida Keys getaway. Key West is a vibrant island paradise offering picturesque beaches, endless watersports, historic sites, fascinating museums, and plenty of activities for our youngest visitors. Discover the best things to do in Key West with kids, from snorkeling with marine life in our turquoise waters to walking among hundreds of colorful butterflies. When you are ready to book your trip, you can rest assured that Rent Key West Vacations has the perfect vacation rental for your family! Read on to learn more about our favorite experiences for families on and around the island of Key West.

Beaches & Water Activities for Families in Key West

Key West is a unique location where the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico meet, which means there are unlimited ways to have fun on the water. Popular watersports include scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, fishing, jet-skiing, and paddling. Rent your equipment from local companies like Sunset Watersports and Fury Key West Watersports. And if you are looking for the best beach to take the family to, we recommend:

The Top Things to Do in Key West with Kids

After you have spent time exploring the water, shake off your sea legs and discover endless things to do in Key West with kids:

  • Key West Aquarium: Get up close and personal with Key West’s native marine life at the aquarium. Head to the touch tank to interact with marine life like sea urchins and conchs. There are also exhibits with sharks, sea turtles, and jellyfish where you can watch daily feedings, sign up for tours, and learn about conservation.
  • Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory: This attraction allows visitors to stroll through a state-of-the-art enclosed tropical garden as 60 varieties of beautiful butterflies flutter around you.
  • Conch Tour Train: Sign up for a “train” ride around Old Town Key West and see the best landmarks in town. The tour is led by a local guide who will take you on a journey through time with stories of local legends and fun history.
  • Key West Shipwreck Museum: This is a one-of-a-kind Key West experience that will take you back to 1856 when the Isaac Allerton shipwrecked along the Florida Keys reef. The experience combines actors, films, and authentic artifacts to tell the tale of the shipwreck.
  • Dry Tortugas: Although technically not on Key West, this National Park is worth the extra boat trip or seaplane excursion. The park is home to historic Fort Jefferson and some of the best snorkeling in North America.
  • Don’t leave Key West without taking a family photo at the Southernmost Point buoy!

Spacious Key West Vacation Homes for Families

Escape to our tropical paradise and discover all the fun things to do in Key West with kids. Rent Key West Vacations offers everything you need to plan a successful family getaway with our collection of over 65 vacation rentals and convenient concierge services. Whether you want to stay in the heart of the historic district or near the beach, we have the perfect Key West vacation home for every family!

Where to Celebrate the 4th in Key West

Celebrate America’s Independence on Key West

The 4th of July is almost upon us! If you’re visiting Key West and aren’t sure where to go or what to do, here are some local tips on the best places to celebrate:

Higgs Beach

The fireworks are lit and launched from the White Street Pier, so Higgs Beach is just about as close as you can get to them without a boat! Bring a blanket, spread out, and enjoy the show!

VNA Hospice Picnic

Celebrate the 4th of July in Key West at the annual Hospice and Visiting Nurses Association Picnic at the luxurious Casa Marina Resort. The picnic starts at 5:00pm and includes entertainment, a picnic buffet, cold drinks, live music and a silent auction. You will be able to see the entire fireworks display from the resort.

The Key Lime Pie Festival

Key West is known for its delicious homemade key lime pie and various other treats made with this indigenous fruit. Treat your taste buds this July 4th during the Key Lime Pie Festival. It takes place on July 4th and includes the crowning of Miss Key Lime Pie and Lil’ Miss Key Lime Pie, a pie eating contest and a competition to see who makes the best key lime pie!

Fireworks With Fury Water Adventures

You don’t need a lawn chair or a blanket to enjoy the fireworks in Key West if you hop aboard Fury Water Adventure’s catamaran and see the show from the Atlantic Ocean. Fury’s 4th of July adventure includes a relaxing sail with food, soft drinks and all the beer and wine you can drink. It’s a really popular event so if you’re interested, book early.

Smather’s Beach

Another great spot for the fireworks is Smather’s Beach. This beach is located about 8 blocks from Higgs Beach and offers a different, all-encompassing view of the fireworks. Bring a blanket, your own picnic basket and relax while the sun goes down and get ready for a great show.