I guess this one is really applicable to anywhere you plan to travel to. I've been starting to look at the Chamber of Commerce websites since they all seem to have coupons for member businesses. Reputable businesses too, not just any old crappy coupons. When I was searching the site, the Key West Chamber of Commerce had coupons on lodging, water tours/rentals and bicycle rentals.
I pitch this a lot and it's definitely applicable for Key West too as lodging is pretty expensive anywhere in the Keys. Plan early and book a stay at an Airbnb* You can find some really great deals this way. When we stayed at a hotel, we were paying $220 a night but if you don't mind renting from a homeowner, you can get pricing under $150 a night pretty easily. I found private room and entire home rentals for those prices that had 4-5 star reviews from previous Airbnb renters.
Love to camp? You can even rent camping gear from Airbnb in Key West for just $21 a night! (pricing as of 03/07/2015). I was so excited when I found this out since Mark and I really want to go spend a weekend at the Dry Tortugas but it's camping only out there and we don't want to have to travel with our tent, pillows, sleeping bag, etc.
Parking in Key West is seriously stressful. Especially along Duval Street in the evenings/weekend. And you have to pay to park pretty much everywhere. So keep this in mind, even if you aren't in great physical shape, Key West is flat as a pancake and barely over 4 miles long and 1 mile wide. You can bike it, I promise!! There are lots of places to rent bicycles and plenty of places to park them too.
I recommend this one because it's free and fun for all ages. I was intrigued by their exhibits where you can learn about the Keys habitats and the affects past storms and hurricanes have had on them. They also have lots of aquariums to see the local fish and living coral. Who doesn't love aquariums with pretty fish to look at? Parking here is free too! Donations are encouraged.
This is one place that's worth spending a few $$ to gain entrance for the day. It also had our favorite beach when we compared Key West's beaches on our last trip. Just along the beach is also Cayo Hueso Cafe that had a really great pulled pork sandwich. Mark had a Cuban sandwich that he really liked too. Just watch out for the seagulls if you set your food down. They are very opportunistic birds :)
Mark had a great time taking photos in and around the historic fort too. You can see old Civil War cannons and learn about the use and construction of the fort during that time. There are also plenty of shaded paths and picnic areas with grills so you can hang out for the afternoon in or out of the sun.
And while Mallory Square is toted as the place to be for the Sunset Celebration, you can avoid the crowds and get a beautiful view of the sunset from inside the park too since it lies on the far end of Key West where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of Mexico.
Here's a link to the Fort's website where you can read about all it has to offer
This place we literally stumbled upon while killing time walking near the beaches. We were walking through what just looked like an old, crumbly archway when we noticed the sign that it was the entrance to the Key West Garden Club. Free to enter but they do suggest a donation. Then as we stepped back to snap a few photos, what caught my attention was this cool plant just outside the main entrance. The autograph tree is where visitors can scratch their name into a leaf where it will remain tattooed for the life of that leaf. I did a quick search on the tree and didn't seem to find anything that says this is harmful. It does make for some cool photos :)
This is a don't miss. If you've heard anything about Key West, it's likely you've heard where everyone in town gathers to watch the sunset every night of everyday. It's officially called the Sunset Celebration. And it's not just about seeing the amazingly beautiful sunset. Every night there is and arts and crafts show along the Dock, drink carts, street performers, and musicians.