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Key West Shipwreck Museum

Actors, films, and real-life artifacts bring the 19th-century museum about Key West’s maritime past vibrantly to life.

Key West Shipwreck Museum: Our most recommended tours and activities

Key West Conch Train Tour

1. Key West Conch Train Tour

Climb aboard Key West’s conch train for a 90-minute sightseeing tour of the tropical paradise. The train departs from Front Street Depot and loops through the Old Town to end back behind the Depot at Mallory Square. Stock up on ice cream and homemade fudge at the Depot to eat on board during your tour. You can jump off at Truval Village to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West Lighthouse, Southernmost Point, and Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Climb to the top of the observation tower at Key West Shipwreck and Treasures Museum. Travel back in time to the days of hand-rolled cigars at Mallory Square. And stroll through the Cayo Hueso y Habana Historeum. Back on the conch train, learn about Key West characters, such as Mel Fisher, whose lifelong search for 2 sunken Spanish galleons finally turned up treasure worth USD 450 million. Jump off to enjoy great shopping on Duval Street, and fine dining at restaurants such as Hog's Breath Saloon, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville or the Hard Rock Café.

Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum Tickets

2. Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum Tickets

Since the first Spanish galleons began to traverse the Florida Straits in the 16th century, ships have wrecked along the treacherous reefs of Key West and the Florida Keys. Now, you can learn all about the area’s maritime past with a trip to the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum. Wrecking and salvaging – the recovery of wrecked ships and their cargo – was the foundation of Key West’s economy during the 1800s. The economic boom it created meant that by the mid-1850s, Key West had become the richest city per capita in all of the United States of America. Learn the history of the region’s shipwrecking past at the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum, with two floors of genuine recovered artifacts. See pieces of wrecked Spanish fleets dating back to the 1600s and 1700s, as well as pieces from the Isaac Allerton, wrecked way back in 1856. Guests can even lift a silver bar, which was salvaged from the Spanish treasure galleon Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas. The museum itself is a recreation of the 19th century wrecker tycoon Asa Tift’s warehouse, and includes a 65-foot look-out tower. At the Historeum, you can also expect storytellers in period costumes and an array of audio visual displays that brings the history of Key West to life.

Key West: Self-guided old town treasures walking tour

3. Key West: Self-guided old town treasures walking tour

Find out why Key West attracted so many cultural legends on a self-guided walking tour of the quirky old town. Starting from Mallory Square, follow the precise directions of your audio guide mobile app to learn the fascinating history behind the people and places that make the island so special. Starting from the Memorial Sculpture Garden in Mallory Square, you’ll discover the stories behind Key West’s most famous sights, including the residence of former President Harry Truman, Florida’s oldest bar, the hotel where Tennessee Williams stayed for ten years and the so-called longest street in the world. Along the way, you’ll learn how salvaging shipwrecks transformed the city, why the buildings’ aesthetics are so strictly controlled, how the city became known as the ‘Conch Republic’ and why there are so many chickens running around.

Key West: History and Culture Southernmost Walking Tour

4. Key West: History and Culture Southernmost Walking Tour

Start your journey at the famous Kino Sandals Plaza, where you will meet with your local guide. On your walk listen to stories about how Key West became one of the wealthiest cities in the mid-1800s. Learn about the island’s shipwrecking industry, sponge harvesting, and cigar manufacturing.  The end of the tour will end at a buoy showing the Southernmost Point of the continental U.S. Here, your guide will give you free maps so that you can continue to explore the various shops,  museums, and other points of interest along this section of the island.

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What people are saying about Key West Shipwreck Museum

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 38 reviews

The experience was excellent and Rob is an amazing tour guide with experience of having lived in Key West which gave a completely different flavour to the tour. Thank you very much for a very thoughtful tour. Loved the city and loved the tour

The tour has 4 convenient stops, and was very informative about some if the island’s history. The guide was very entertaining. I would recommend this tour for anyone visiting Key West.

I loved the Conch Train tour. It was informative and beautiful ride with very knowledgeable drivers.

Fun tour to learn more about Key West. My husband & I used the tour as a guide to what to check out.

If you like history, this is so interesting! Climbing the tower was fun and had a beautiful view.