When planning a vacation, how do you create your itinerary? Many take to the web and look at review sites or perhaps turn to friends and family for recommendations. However, while those strategies are great for finding a destination’s top attractions and activities, it’s usually a little shallow.

To get a deeper understanding of a vacation destination, you need to talk to the locals. That’s why Compass Realty is here; we’re happy to provide you with some local expertise on beautiful Key West. We’re pointing you in the direction of some of Key West’s hidden gems that are sure to be a highlight of your getaway.

Key West Garden Club at West Martello Tower

At Key West Garden Club at West Martello Tower, horticulture and military history intertwine to create one of the city’s most intriguing hidden gems. First, the history. West Martello Tower was constructed in 1862 during the Civil War. The tower’s purpose was to support nearby Fort Zachary Taylor. The tower never saw battle action but was used by the military until 1947. 

Today, the Key West Garden Club has created a beautiful space with native and exotic trees, orchids, rare plants, sculptures, a waterlily pond, a waterfall, and more. Admission to this unique attraction is free. 

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum

Key West is home to many museums and historical sites. With so much history in one place, it can be easy to overlook the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum. Still, this attraction is a must-visit for any maritime or pirate enthusiast. The Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum is the only fully accredited museum in the Florida Keys.

Mel Fisher was a treasure hunter, and back in 1985, he and his crew salvaged the Nuestra Señora de Atocha galleon, which sank off of the Keys during a hurricane in 1662. Their success came after more than 16 years of searching the seabed for remnants of the wreck. They recovered silver, gold, and emeralds. After a lengthy legal battle, Fisher and his crew were allowed to keep the bounty. When you visit the museum, you’ll learn more about the wrecked fleet, the treasure, and maritime history. 

El Siboney Restaurant

They say to eat where the locals do, and following that rule, you must eat at El Siboney Restaurant. El Siboney Restaurant is a hidden gem in Old Town Key West. This restaurant is the ideal place to sample authentic Cuban cuisine, a staple in the Keys. Everything about El Siboney Restaurant has an authenticity unmatched by other Cuban restaurants in the area, from the interior design to the eclectic menu.

One of the best things about El Siboney is its generous portions and affordable prices. Dishes are easily sharable, allowing your party to sample a variety of authentic Cuban dishes like Siboney Steak, Cuban Mix Sandwich, and Paella Valenciana at a reasonable price. 

Vacation Like a Local with Compass Realty

With these hidden gems added to your itinerary, you can explore Key West like a local. If you need a place to stay during your trip to Key West, consider one of our vacation rentals. We have rentals all over Key West, including Old Town and Truman Annex. Please check availability online or give us a call at 305-292-1881.