Naples Day Trips Part 3 – Key West Express

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Visiting Naples and looking for a fun day trip or overnight excursion to a place you’ll never forget? Head to Key West!

Steeped in history and loaded with family-friendly activities and plenty of adult-only fun, a trip to Key West is easier than ever due to the high-speed Key West Express. The Key West Express leaves from two locations, Marco Island and Fort Myers Beach.

Visitors to our luxury vacation rentals often ask about which location to use, and we make recommendations based on where they are located in Naples. For guests in our Lake Park Pool Home and Hilltop Drive rentals, we recommend either departure point.

Many guests are interested in seeing the progress being made in rebuilding Fort Myers Beach after Hurricane Ian and the drive time is about the same. On the other hand, we recommend that guests in our new Bayshore Waterside Bungalow take the short 25 minute ride to the Marco location.

All about the Key West Express

Say goodbye to long hours spent on the road or in airport terminals – the drive from Naples, FL to Key West is going to take you at least 5 hours depending on seasonal traffic. The Key West Express provides a hassle-free alternative, whisking passengers away on a smooth and swift journey across the Gulf of Mexico. With departures from both Fort Myers and Marco Island, travelers can choose the most convenient starting point for their adventure.

Speed and Comfort

Boarding the Key West Express is just the beginning of the excitement. Once on board, passengers are treated to a comfortable and spacious seating area, complete with panoramic windows offering stunning views of the sparkling sea. With a cruising speed of up to 40 knots, the journey to Key West is not only swift but also exhilarating.

A Taste of the Tropics

As you sail towards Key West, a selection of delicious snacks and beverages are available for purchase on board. Sip on a refreshing cocktail as you bask in the sea breeze or indulge in a tasty treat to satisfy your cravings. With a fully stocked bar and a variety of snacks, the Key West Express ensures that your journey is as enjoyable as the destination itself.

Arriving in Paradise

After approximately three and a half to four hours of cruising, the Key West Express arrives at its destination: the vibrant and eclectic island of Key West. Disembark from the ferry and step into a world of tropical delights, where palm-lined streets, colorful architecture, and laid-back vibes await.

Exploring Key West

With a full day to explore Key West at your leisure, the possibilities are endless. Stroll through the historic streets of Old Town, visit iconic landmarks like the Southernmost Point Buoy, or simply relax on one of the island's pristine beaches. From water sports and outdoor adventures to shopping and dining, Key West offers something for everyone.

A Glimpse into the Past

Key West's history is as rich and colorful as its sunsets. Originally inhabited by Calusa and Tequesta Native American tribes, this tiny island caught the attention of Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. It wasn't until the 19th century, however, that Key West truly flourished.

In the 1820s, Key West became a haven for wreckers, brave souls who salvaged cargo from ships that foundered on the treacherous reefs surrounding the island. This lucrative trade transformed Key West into one of the wealthiest cities in the nation, earning it the moniker "The Wrecking Capital of the World."

The island's prosperity continued to grow with the rise of cigar manufacturing, sponging, and, notably, as the home of famous author Ernest Hemingway. Today, visitors can explore the beautifully preserved Victorian architecture of Old Town, stroll down Duval Street, and visit landmarks like the Hemingway Home and Museum to get a glimpse into Key West's storied past.

Modern Charms and Attractions

While Key West may be steeped in history, it's far from being stuck in the past. The island offers a plethora of modern attractions and activities to suit every traveler's taste.

Watersports Galore: With its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, Key West is a paradise for watersports enthusiasts. From snorkeling and scuba diving along the stunning coral reefs to jet skiing and parasailing adventures, there's no shortage of aquatic thrills to be had.

Sunset Celebrations: As the sun dips below the horizon, Mallory Square comes alive with the iconic Sunset Celebration. Join locals and visitors alike as they gather to revel in live music, street performers, and breathtaking sunset views. It's the perfect way to cap off a day in paradise if you’re planning to stay overnight.

Culinary Delights: Key West's culinary scene is a melting pot of flavors, influenced by its diverse history and vibrant culture. Indulge in fresh seafood at waterfront eateries, savor authentic Cuban cuisine, or sip on a refreshing mojito at one of the island's many bars and lounges.

Eclectic Art and Culture: Art lovers will delight in Key West's thriving arts scene, with galleries showcasing everything from local folk art to contemporary masterpieces. Don't miss the chance to explore the Studios of Key West, a dynamic hub for creativity and cultural exchange.

Outdoor Adventures: Beyond its sandy beaches and azure waters, Key West offers endless opportunities for outdoor exploration. Hike through lush nature trails, kayak through mangrove forests, or embark on a fishing excursion in search of the day's catch. We have personally used 4Reel Charters and highly recommend their fishing trips.

A Seamless Return Journey

As the day comes to a close, return to the Key West Express for a comfortable journey back to Fort Myers or Marco Island. Reflect on the memories made and the adventures had as you sail into the sunset, knowing that your Key West experience was made even more special by the convenience and luxury of the Key West Express.

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Let’s Go!

Booking your trip aboard the Key West Express is as simple as visiting their website and selecting your date. Keep the following departure times in mind as you plan your trip:

Boarding & Departure Times

  • Ft. Myers Beach to Key West:    Boarding begins at 7:00AM. Boarding required no later than 7:30AM. (8:00AM departure)
  • Marco Island to Key West:          Boarding begins at 7:00AM. Boarding required no later than 7:30AM. (8:00AM departure)
  • Key West to Ft. Myers Beach:    Boarding begins at 5:00PM. Boarding required no later than 5:30PM. (6:00PM departure)
  • Key West to Marco Island:          Boarding begins at 4:00PM. Boarding required no later than 4:30PM. (5:00PM departure)

We love the rich history and activities that you’ll find in Key West. As always, if you are staying at one of our luxury Naples, Florida vacation rentals we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations for day trips, restaurants, shopping and more.