Top Things-To-Do in Key West
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JET SKI TOUR
Articles-Guides: Side Trip to Busch Gardens
| Key West Shuttle from Fort Myers |
Everglades Airboat Tours
Shuttle to Key West
from Fort Myers
KEY WEST EXPRESS FERRY - THE BIG CAT
If you’re considering a side trip to Key West, we recommend taking the
Key West Express
ferry from Fort Myers Beach. In just 3-1/2 hours, you can be having lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville or enjoying live music and a beer at Hog’s Breath Saloon. It would take you at least twice that amount of time
to drive to Key West, and you wouldn’t have half the fun.
Key West Ferry Details
Key West Express operates a couple different high-speed catamarans out of
Fort Myers Beach and one from Marco Island. We took the Big Cat out of
Fort Myers Beach. With an early morning departure, you’ll arrive in Key West in time for lunch. You can return the same day, or stay a few days to
really soak up the Key West ambiance. The Ferry usually heads back around 6:00pm, arriving at the Fort Myers Beach marina at around 9:30pm.
The current fare for a round-trip is $145 per person, with reduced fares
offered for children and seniors. If you book at least 8 days in advance, you will receive a substantial discount,
but the fare will be non-refundable (if you, or Key West Express, needs to cancel the trip, you’ll receive a credit for a future trip). Call or check
the website for discount details.
Soft drinks, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, soft pretzels, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and other snacks are from the galley on a cash-basis
only. Beer, wine and mixed drinks are also available at the bar and again this is cash only. If you prefer, you
may bring your own breakfast/dinner on board with you.
On-Board the Key West Ferry
The ride on the Big Cat catamaran is very smooth and the interior is very
comfortable. Inside seating is set up primarily with seats on either side
of a table. This is especially nice if you’re traveling with a group and
want to play cards or just socialize. The upper deck, with outside
seating, has rows of seats (no tables). You probably won’t spend much time
up on top, as it’s very windy and can be chilly once the catamaran gets
During the 3-1/2 hour excursion, you’ll see passengers sleeping, playing
cards, reading, watching one of the several plasma TV’s, eating and
The Key West Express staff is very friendly and helpful. Before arriving
at Key West, the staff will stroll through the cabin to pre-sell tickets
on the Conch Tour Train. The Conch Tour Train is very popular, but I
prefer the Old Town Trolley, which costs about the same and includes
“on/off” privileges. It’s very helpful for first time visitors to learn
the layout of Key West and identify places of interests for a future
visit. And if you’re only visiting for the day, you’ll get a decent
overview of the Key West lifestyle in a short period of time.
At Key West
If you visit Key West for just one day, you will have time to take a
trolley tour, have lunch, do a little shopping on Duval Street, and
possibly visit an attraction or two. Unfortunately, you will miss the
sunset celebration that occurs daily at Mallory Square.
If you visit Key West for a few days, you will be able to better
appreciate the Key West lifestyle, see a variety of attractions, sample
several different restaurants and night spots, and perhaps go snorkeling,
fishing or take a sightseeing boat tour.
A Couple of Tips
Arrive at the marina early for boarding. The best seats, along the
windows, will be taken first. Whatever you do, don’t place your claim on a
spot upstairs on the open deck. Once the boat gets moving, you won’t want
to stay there. We recommend that you find your permanent seats inside --
you can always go outside as you please. The same holds true for your
return trip. As you check in at the Key West Ferry Terminal, you will be
assigned a boarding letter (A, B, C, etc.). You will board in the order
You may want to take a sweater or jacket, especially if you tend to chill
easily. The inside seating areas are air-conditioned and it can get a bit
Location 1: Key West Marina
1200 Main Street
Ft. Myers Beach, Florida 33931