Pack and prepare what you’ll need for island living the tropical climate

So many guests arrive in Key West with a suitcase full of stuff they’ll never use on their vacation. And yet, most of them are missing some crucial pieces of island gear.

Dress code in Key West is very casual. The finest restaurant in town will welcome you wearing neat shorts and a collared shirt.

With that said, we offer some suggestions on packing:

  • Suitcase – Travel smart. Get a suitcase that you will enjoy traveling with. Tie a ribbon on the handle to easily spot at baggage claim.
  • Shorts – Key West is shorts territory. More than one pair is suggested.
  • Sandals/Flip-Flops. Good footwear is crucial to island life. Local Key West residents live in open-toed shoes – like flip flops and sandals. You may want to also bring a comfortable pair of sneakers.
  • Bathing suits
  • Cotton shirts – light colors and whites work well with Key West’s strong sun. Don’t wear black during the day.
  • Island wear – short sleeve shirts
  • A pair of jean/pants – two if it’s winter
  • Sunscreen – the sun is intense and you will tan (and burn) no matter the spf. Without sunscreen, you are toast. Burnt, red, toast.
  • Sunglasses – We islanders live in our shades. You will too. And don’t forget a leash (ex: Croakie) for them while you’re on the briny.
  • Hat with brim.
  • Light windbreaker/pullover – if it’s cool on the water, especially after sunset.
  • Dry Bag – Keeps your belongings (phone, camera, keys) safe and dry while near the water and beach. Very handy if you plan on being on a boat or near the water.
  • Beach shoes – for you tenderfoots at the rocky Ft. Zachary Taylor beach.
  • Personal/Toiletries
  • Camera – film, batteries, memory card, recharger, disposable and waterproof cameras (see below)
  • Gear – fishing, golfing, scuba diving, etc.
  • Aspirin

Here is what you can leave behind: Wool, neckties, & uncomfortable shoes. Also, you won’t need ski boots (no snow), surfboards (no waves), or air purifiers (no pollution).

Average Key West Temperature, Rain, and Sea Temperature

In the summer, the climate is warm & muggy with a high of 90 and a nighttime low of 80 (quite balmy). Though warm, the surrounding waters moderate our temperatures keeping our all-time high temp. below 100 degrees. In the winter, temperatures are typically between 65 and 75 degrees, but a cold front can lower those numbers by ten degrees. The high humidity of the Keys means that you’ll feel either hotter or cooler than it really is.

  Avg. Daily High Temp (°F) Avg. Daily Low Temp (°F) Avg. Monthly Rainfall (inches) Avg. Daily Water/Sea Temp. (°F)
Jan 75° 65° 2.22″ 69°
Feb 76° 66° 1.51″ 70°
Mar 79° 69° 1.86″ 75°
Apr 82° 72° 2.06″ 78°
May 85° 76° 3.48″ 80°
Jun 88° 79° 4.57″ 85°
July 89° 80° 3.27″ 87°
Aug 90° 79° 5.40″ 87°
Sept 88° 79° 5.45″ 86°
Oct 85° 76° 4.34″ 82°
Nov 81° 72° 2.64″ 76°
Dec 77° 67° 2.14″ 72°
View through an archway at Casa Marina Hotel
Packing for Key West? Think of the three “C’s”: casual, cotton, and comfortable.