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Final Florida Keys Packing Checklist + What to Put on in Key West


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Questioning what to pack for the Florida Keys? My final Florida Keys packing record will present you every thing it’s worthwhile to carry!

I really like visiting the Florida Keys, and I believe they’re the most effective trip spots in the USA. Whether or not you’re searching for a warm-weather winter escape or a number of the finest festivals on the planet, you’re going to like the Keys!

You may completely pack gentle to your journey right here — this can be a place the place you may get by in cut-offs and tank tops, and a carry-on bag has loads of room for all you want.

This information has sections on Climate within the Florida Keys, Important Objects to Pack, What to Put on in Key West (and the Florida Keys), and the complete Florida Keys packing record — plus a couple of stuff you don’t must pack!

Let’s dive on in.

This publish was printed in February 2024.

An outdoor restaurant in the Florida Keys, people sitting out o the deck.
You may eat outdoor year-round within the Florida Keys!

Climate within the Florida Keys: What to Count on

The Florida Keys are scorching, proper? Nestled between Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the Florida Keys have a tropical local weather and are among the many warmest locations within the continental US. Key West tends to be warmest.

You may have an excellent time right here year-round, however the time of 12 months does make a distinction:

Within the winter (December, January, February), common temperatures in Key West have a low of 64-67 F (18-19 C) and a excessive of 74-76 F (24 C).

Within the spring (March, April, Could), common temperatures in Key West have a low of 68-76 F (20-24 C) and a excessive of 78-85 F (26-29 C).

In the summertime (June, July, August, September), common temperatures in Key West have a low of 79-80 F (26-27 C) and a excessive of 88-89 f (31-32 C).

Within the fall (October, November), common temperatures in Key West have a low of 72-76 F (22-24 C) and a excessive of 80-85 F (27-29 F).

Key West tends to have low rainfall from November by means of Could, and better rainfall from June by means of October. You must know that hurricane season falls between June and November, with tropical storms and hurricanes peaking in September and October.

I like to recommend avoiding the Keys throughout September and October, and if you find yourself in a extreme storm, take heed to native authorities and do as they are saying.

Rain storms in Florida are usually transient and intense. I like to recommend bringing an umbrella on the very least; you might also recognize having a rain jacket. They belong on any Florida packing record!

Learn Extra: Greatest Time to Go to Key West and the Florida Keys

Four snorkelers in the neon teal water at Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo.

Important Objects to Pack for the Florida Keys

Reef-Protected Sunscreen

Reef secure sunscreen is essential for the Florida Keys. First off, sunscreen is important — you’re probably going to be outdoor all day, fairly often within the water, and the solar might be robust down right here even once you don’t count on it.

However past that, the Keys are surrounded by coral reefs, that are endangered — and one of many causes is that typical sunscreen is poisonous to reefs.

A great rule of thumb is to go away your ordinary sunscreen at house, purchase reef secure sunscreen for this journey, and use it on a regular basis — not simply once you’re on a snorkeling tour at Pennekamp State Park, however on a regular basis.

Water Sneakers

I wasn’t an enormous wearer of water footwear as a child, however as an grownup, I put on them on a regular basis. Water footwear are particularly good for the Florida Keys as a result of the mangrove-surrounded seashores typically have tree roots on the sand, extending into the water. They make swimming a lot extra comfy!

Water footwear are additionally good safety in case you brush up in opposition to something sharp within the water, they usually provide help to hold your grip whereas stand-up paddle boarding.

Rash Guard

A rash guard is one other important merchandise to pack for the Florida Keys. Rash guards seem like tight long-sleeved shirts, they usually’re manufactured from swimsuit materials.

In case you are snorkeling in any respect, PLEASE, I encourage you, put on a rash guard!! Once you snorkel, you’re dealing with downward within the water, and your again is dealing with the solar and burning by means of the water.

So many first-time snorkelers find yourself with a vibrant pink again that aches for the remainder of their Florida Keys journey. Be certain this isn’t you!

A bright yellow dry bag perched on the edge of a boat, overlooking clear turquoise water.
Sure, you want a water-resistant dry bag! By way of Shutterstock.

Dry Bag

If you happen to’re spending time within the Florida Keys, likelihood is excessive that you simply’ll be on a minimum of one boat journey — and, extra probably, a number of completely different water actions. For that purpose, a dry bag is an important merchandise to your journey.

A dry bag is a water-resistant bag. You place your belongings in it — your purse, your good digicam, your leather-based sandals — and this retains them from getting moist, even when the boat capsizes. Even stable-seeming boats can get water in all places!

I exploit dry luggage after I kayak, after I take smaller ferries, and after I’m on snorkeling and swimming journeys (as a result of moist individuals DO NOT CARE about getting water in all places).

Dry luggage are available a number of completely different sizes. I like to recommend getting one sufficiently big to your necessities.

You may also wish to carry a waterproof telephone bag — although nowadays, lots of the newest telephones are waterproof. (I’m nonetheless too afraid to take mine into the water, although!)

Solar Safety

Sure, by now we’ve talked rather a lot about defending your self from the solar within the Florida Keys. You’ve received your reef-safe sunscreen and your rash guard. What else do you have to carry?

Broad-brimmed hat. That is way more efficient at masking your face than a typical baseball cap.

Mild long-sleeved shirt. Having an precise shirt with sleeves is simply as useful on the seaside as it’s within the automobile. And so significantly better than simply masking your self with a blanket. This lengthy shirt can double as a swimsuit cowl up!

Sarong or pashmina. The final word versatile merchandise to pack for the Florida Keys — it’s a skirt, a swim cover-up, a church cover-up, a cold restaurant cover-up, an impromptu towel, a head wrap, a picnic mat, a seaside mat, something you may think about!

And in case you are inclined to burn simply or need further safety, check out this solar safety hoodie. It’s gentle, it’s cheap, it has a UPF issue of fifty, and it is available in 1,000,000 colours. There’s additionally a longer model that goes to mid-thigh.

Kate doing cobra yoga pose on a paddle board in the water, surrounded by mangroves.
Rocking my Trina Turk swimsuit in Key West!

A number of Swimsuits

What number of bathing fits do you have to carry to the Florida Keys? I’d suggest two on the minimal, however three is likely to be even higher.

You’ll be within the water most days, and most bathing fits take a very long time to dry, particularly in a moist surroundings like South Florida. And in case you’re doing a Florida Keys street journey, you won’t have the time to hold them as much as dry. (Although in case you try this, I like to recommend hanging them behind the entrance seat head rests!)

If you happen to’re searching for one thing particular to your Florida Keys journey, I occur to like Trina Turk bathing fits. They’re colourful, extremely flattering, and several other types are available plus sizes.

Mild Jacket

Certainly, the Florida Keys are heat year-round — and Key West is the most popular island of all — however don’t neglect that it will get chilly at night time! It additionally will get chilly whereas out on boats. You’d be shocked how chilly it out of the blue will get in your Key West sundown cruise!

What sort of jacket do you have to carry? I believe a denim jacket is an effective alternative for the summer season months. This Levi’s denim jacket is reasonably priced, is available in plus sizes, and is obtainable in a number of colours.

Some individuals would possibly desire a enjoyable cardigan. Some would possibly desire a sportier hoodie just like the ever-popular Lululemon Scuba Hoodie (or this extra reasonably priced model).

If you happen to’re visiting in the course of the winter months, you would possibly use your jacket in the course of the day, too, and also you would possibly desire one thing a bit hotter at night time. (The locals will probably be bundled up!) I extremely suggest the UNIQLO Extremely Mild Down Jacket, which is ideal for Key West winters and SO helpful on all types of journeys.

My black Teva Terra athletic sandals.
My Teva Tirra Sandals are excellent for exploring the Florida Keys!

Snug Sneakers

What sorts of footwear do you have to pack for the Florida Keys? Comfortable footwear. Whereas loads of locals are content material to put on nothing however flip-flops, you don’t need to put on flip-flops in case you don’t like them or bodily can’t put on them.

Once I journey to heat climate locations just like the Florida Keys, I carry two pairs of footwear: one pair of comfy sandals and one pair of white sneakers.

Snug sandals. If you’d like sports activities sandals, I’ve been carrying Teva Tirra Sandals for greater than a decade. They’re SO comfy, almost weightless, and you’ll even do some gentle mountaineering in them.

I additionally love Abeo flip flops, which even have arch help and are 1,000,000 instances nicer than plastic flip-flops. They’re by WalkingCo (previously The Strolling Firm), who’ve all types of fantastic sandals with arch help. I’ve been shopping for from them for years.

Snug sneakers. I really like white Adidas Gazelles, that are a super-versatile and classy possibility at a mid-range worth level. These Amazon sneakers are a extremely rated low cost possibility.

Seaside Towels

Do you really want to pack seaside towels for a Florida Keys journey? Sure, as a result of I can’t inform you what number of instances I’ve taken a seaside trip and both 1) the resort doesn’t present seaside towels 2) they supply them, however don’t allow you to take them off-property 3) they supply them, however they’re approach too small.

Sure, they take up lots of house, however I’m all the time happier after I pack my very own seaside towels.

(Normally I advocate for utilizing a microfiber journey towel, which dries rapidly and packs down SO small, however not for a seaside vacation spot just like the Florida Keys, as they don’t make a cushty floor to lie on.)

Huge Seaside Bag

With so many enjoyable day journeys across the Florida Keys, whether or not you’re heading out to one of the best Florida Keys seashores or taking a ship journey to one of many island state parks, you’ll wish to carry lots of stuff. And that goes double in case you’re touring with children.

Enter the large seaside bag — ludicrously capacious in all the proper methods. I really like this seaside bag specifically — it has tons of compartments (together with a moist compartment!), it’s waterproof and sand-proof, it zips up, it’s reasonably priced, and it is available in tons of colours.

I like to recommend utilizing this as your private merchandise once you fly to Florida.

A bright pink plastic water bottle

Reusable Water Bottle

In a scorching vacation spot just like the Florida Keys, it’s worthwhile to keep hydrated — particularly once you’re swimming and also you don’t notice how a lot you’ve been sweating. A reusable water bottle is an important merchandise to pack for the Florida Keys.

I really like my Nalgene water bottle, which is sporty, closes tightly, and feels indestructible. It’s the right companion on a kayaking journey by means of the mangroves, or a full day journey to the seashores of Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park!

Ear Plugs

Ear plugs are a good suggestion regardless of the place you’re touring — however particularly in case you guide a resort proper off Duval Avenue in Key West, and also you’re making an attempt to sleep, however everyone seems to be partying all night time!

Even in case you’re not staying on the primary drag of Key West, lots of guests keep up late and rejoice into the wee hours, which might be annoying once you simply wish to sleep.

Deliver the ear plugs with you so that you don’t need to undergo by means of an evening of unhealthy sleep.

Movement Illness Tablets and/or Bands

Do you get movement illness in your travels? You would possibly wish to carry some movement illness tablets or movement illness bands, particularly in case you are inclined to get carsick or plan on taking any boat journeys additional out to sea (like Dry Tortugas).

I’m additionally a fan of ginger chews after I’m feeling a bit ailing. They’re an excellent factor to have in your bag.

People sitting at the bar outside at Blue Heaven, a restaurant in Key West.
See this picture of Blue Heaven in Key West? That is how individuals gown within the Florida Keys.

What to Put on within the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are as informal because it comes. Even advantageous eating eating places in Key West or Key Largo have an informal gown code. No one goes to look down on you for not dressing up sufficient!

Most locals within the Florida Keys are inclined to put on tank tops and jean shorts with flip flops, a baseball cap, and a pair of low cost sun shades. They typically have a washing swimsuit on beneath. That’s the Keys uniform!

So the place does that go away you, as a customer to the Florida Keys? More often than not you’ll be comfy in a short-sleeved shirt or tank high, a pair of shorts or a skirt, and sandals or sneakers.

For cooler days and nights, it’s good to have a pair of denims and a lightweight jacket or hoodie.

If it’s within the winter months, you would possibly wish to pack a barely hotter jacket, like my trusty Uniqlo Extremely Mild Down Jacket, which is extremely versatile and also you’ll use on heaps extra journeys than simply this one.

However the essential factor? Don’t stress about what to put on. Likelihood is you’ll slot in simply advantageous.

Kate holding a bottle of mead at Keys's Meads, in front of a chalkboard listing the latest flavors.
Me in a tank high, denim cutoffs, and sun shades — pure Keys!

Florida Keys Packing Checklist




Objects to Pack

Digital camera Gear and Tech Gear


People walking out on a dock in Florida, where a sign reads "Do not feed manatee"

Don’t neglect — you are able to do laundry within the Florida Keys!

One in every of my favourite ideas for packing gentle wherever is that YOU CAN DO LAUNDRY ANYTIME YOU WANT. Visiting Florida for 10 days? Deliver 5 or 6 days’ value of clothes and do laundry midway by means of your go to.

You’ll discover loads of public laundromats all through the Florida Keys, together with in Key West, Key Largo, Islamorada, and Marathon. An alternative choice is to guide lodging that has laundry on-site.

However I undoubtedly suggest bringing laundry detergent sheets with you as a result of I really feel like half the time lodging will present a laundry machine however no detergent.

Whereas many motels provide laundry service, they typically cost by means of the nostril — assume $3 per pair of underwear — so I like to recommend avoiding them. (In the event that they worth it by weight, nevertheless, that may typically be an excellent deal.)

Kate standing in front of the southernmost point buoy in Key West, wearing a retro-style blue dress.
I used to be a bit overdressed in Key West on this gown.

What NOT to Deliver to the Florida Keys

Dressy clothes and footwear. The Florida Keys are one of the informal locations I’ve ever visited. Folks dwell in tank tops and cut-offs 98% of the time.

Don’t even pack one thing particular for “simply in case.” That simply in case might be not going to occur.

The one exception — in case you’re visiting throughout Fantasy Fest, the loopy 10 days of costume events main as much as Halloween, that is the time when styling is the default!

Fancy footwear. Go away them at house. You’re in flip-flop territory! There may be zero purpose to carry some other type of footwear moreover sandals, sneakers, and water footwear.

Snorkel gear. For many vacationers, it’s pointless to carry your individual. Snorkeling excursions and boat journeys nearly all the time present snorkeling gear.

However in case you’re a hardcore snorkeler who prefers their very own gear and desires to snorkel on their very own, independently, go forward and convey your individual gear.

Extra on the Florida Keys:

Extra on Florida:

What do you suggest bringing to the Florida Keys?