Fall Bucket List: 40 Autumn Activities & Fun Things to Do

As you wrap up your bucket list of summer things to do, you now can start making checkmarks off your fall bucket list. And let’s face it, from brilliant colored leaves falling to the sweet smell of pumpkin spice, there’s a bit of magic when it comes to fall. Whether you are harvesting crops or just seeking to harvest family memories, this ultimate list of fun autumn activities will keep you pleasantly busy.

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1. ✧ Jump into a Pile of Leaves

Jumping into piles of crisp golden leaves is an autumnal rite of passage which should not be denied to the young and the young at heart. Just make sure that you’ve raked and piled the leaves yourself, so you are more certain the leaves will be free from small branches that can cause scratches!


2. ✧ Roast Chestnuts

Next to pumpkins, chestnuts are the quintessential flavor of fall. They crumble in your mouth, leaving a deliciously delicate and sweet flavor. So, why not make them at home? They can easily be roasted in the oven, but for an added fall bucket list challenge buy yourself a chestnut roaster and follow the directions in the how to roast chestnuts on an open fire article.


3. ✧ Decorate Your Mantle for Autumn

Vibrant colors of leaves in gold, orange and red can be casually placed on the mantel with pumpkins and scented candles perched among them. Keep it bright and simple with plenty of texture to give a warm and cozy feel to your fireplace. If you are on the less creative side, there are some pretty fall mantle examples on Southern Living.


4. ✦ Take a Fall Foliage Drive

Foretelling the coming of fall foliage is a tricky endeavor, but well worth the effort if you want to see the colorful dance of stunning reds, yellows, and orange. This color extravaganza is particularly breathtaking, so pack your binoculars, strap your hiking boots and strap your camera around your neck and get ready to fire up your Instagram feed with an explosion of fiery fall colors. To find out where fall is at its best, visit the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage prediction map and plan ahead. You’re bound to find a number of destinations to add to your fall bucket list.

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5. ✧ Get Lost in a Corn Maze

In a recently old horror film, The Maze (2010) five friends play tag in a corn maze only to be tracked down by a psychopathic killer. In most cases, however, the worst that can happen to you if you get lost in a corn maze is to struggle a little to get out. It won’t keep you occupied for hours, unless of course you’re in a maze like the one created by Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon California which was 60 acres large and won the Guinness World Record for the largest corn maze!


6. ✦ Throw a Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving, a growing tradition spawned from the custom of Thanksgiving has been a favorite among many. The mash-up word between “friends” and “thanksgiving” entered the Meriam Webster dictionary in 2020 and it is your typical Thanksgiving meal but just for your closest of friends. 


7. ✦ Eat Candy Corn

Originally known as ‘chicken feed’, the production of the tri-colored candy corn began in the 1880s and has since become a staple of Halloween and fall. For over 100 years these sugar-loaded candies have been passed out to trick-or-treaters, so if you haven’t tried them yet, now is the time! Order you bag of Brach’s Classic Candy Corn before they run out. 


8. ✧ Bring a Fresh Baked Pie to a Neighbor

Make sure you squeeze a little kindness into your fall bucket list. Modern times may be hectic and sometimes alienating but fall is always a good time to be a little more mindful and show some neighborly love. Pack all the tastes of autumn into a seasonal pie and show a little kindness to the ones next door.

You can always find great pie recipes on All Recipes, but for something extra special Saveur created a list of the best pies to bake right now.

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9. ✧ Create an Autumn Inspired Cocktail

The flavors of autumn are many, from the taste of a spicy pumpkin latte to apple cider. Fall is also the time for cranberries and figs which pairs to be added to punches and sangria. Plus, it’s a time of hot mulled cider, boozy hot chocolate and apple cider hot toddies (shots) added to a cup of hot water. Take all these traditional flavors and drinks to create your own autumn-inspired cocktail. 

If you don’t have all the cocktail-making gadgets, BARILLIO’s 7-piece set will get you started!


10. ✧ Tailgate at a Football Game

For those of you who never have heard of it before, it’s when you have a casual gathering in the parking lot of a stadium before a game (typically football). Time-honored American traditions such as tailgating speak of fall and are enjoyed by all – even those who don’t enjoy football. Even those of you who don’t go to the football game can still recreate the tailgate experience with some snacks and a few friends to cheer for your team from the comfort of your own couch.


11. ✧ Go Apple Picking at an Orchard

Visits to orchards are a typical fall thing to do, and there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as heading to the outdoors for some apple-picking fun. Colors can range from dark green to orange, bright pink and even a combination depending on the variety. Plus, each will have different flavor profiles. Be sure to ask the farmer at the orchard to tell you what the characteristics of the different varieties are, then you can decide what to do with them. Perhaps bake an apple pie for a neighbor?


12. ✦ Carve a Pumpkin

The fun of scooping out pumpkin guts is as good as it gets as far as fall activities are concerned, but you need to pick the right one. These days some producers have removed some of the guesswork by labelling ‘pie pumpkins’ and ‘carving pumpkins’. However you can find the right pumpkin for carving by tapping it and trying to hear a hollow sound, choosing one with a consistent coloring and making sure it sits flat. Once you’ve found the right pumpkin, push your creativity to the limits by carving out different designs from Jack O Lantern to spooky bats. Add candles on the inside and enjoy the sweetness of the light.

Don’t know what design to carve? House Beautiful has compiled a list of 52 ideas that are sure to impress your neighbors. Don’t forget to have an expert pumpkin carving kit handy. If pumpkin carving seems too messy or dangerous, try a virtual alternative – carve an online pumpkin.

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13. ✧ DIY a Pumpkin Spice Latte

What do you do with the pumpkin puree gutted from your carved out pumpkin? Nothing tastes of fall like a sip of Pumpkin Spice Latte, and you don’t have to go to Starbucks to get one. You can one at home with some blended pumpkin flesh from your carved out pumpkin. Just warm any kind of milk (full cream milk, non-fat, coconut, almond – any you like!) and then add the pumpkin puree, sugar, spices and vanilla extract in a pot. Combine the pumpkin spice mixture with strong coffee, and add whipped cream on the top. Voila! PS: you can get the exact recipe at Inspired Taste.


14. ✧ Do a 1,000 Piece Autumn-themed Puzzle

So you’re indoors and it’s raining outside. Brainteasers are the perfect fall activity for those who enjoy a challenge, and completing a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle is one of them. The whole family can sit around the table looking through the pieces. The most frustrating part is doing the puzzle only to find one piece has been misplaced. Eaten by the dog perhaps? Who knows!

Not sure what puzzle to complete? Amazon has a bunch of cheap and cute autumn inspired ones. Also don’t forget to check out the best tips to for completing a jigsaw puzzle before you get started!


15. ✦ Visit the Local Pumpkin Patch

What better place to pick a pumpkin than at the pumpkin patch. It is one of the most exciting fall things to do for families because most producers also include other activities, such as hayrides, to enhance the experience. The best time to arrive is 15 minutes before the gates open so as not to have to wait in a long line or arrive too late to pick the best pumpkins. 


16. ✧ Participate in a Halloween Costume Contest

Trick-or-treating is one of the best places to show off your costumes, but take it up a notch and attend a Halloween event where you can enter your ensemble into a contest. Not all is not lost even if you have nowhere to go, if there’s no costume contests near you, perhaps you can submit your costume to a virtual contest (yes—it’s a thing now!). 

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17. ✧ Attend a Fall Festival

There’s something magical about Autumn, with its colorful leaves, cider smells and Halloween activities. All around the world the significance of Fall is celebrated, from China’s mid-Autumn Moon festival to India’s Diwali, festival of lights. These are worth putting on your Fall bucket list, but closer to home there’s everything from the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival in Indiana to the Great Jack O Lantern blaze at the Hudson Valley. Fall festivals are aplenty, and chances are there’s a fall festival happening somewhere near you.


18. ✧ Host a Board Game Night

Stay in for the evening, get cozy in your jammies and have a game night marathon. There are different games for all ages, but Bingo and Scrabble are favorites for almost friends and everyone in the family (this bingo set comes with everything you need!). You can make it even more fun by adding prizes for the winner, like store gift cards, candies or extra TV time for the kids.

My favorite adult game night involves a few fierce rounds of Cards Against Humanity, but Smart Ass and Drink-A-Palooza will also make it a lively night. If you want to make your game night more family friendly for the kids then look at these family games. Still unsure of which games to play? Check out this list: Board Games Bucket List: 50 of the All Time Best Ones to Play


19. ✦ Get Cozy By a Wood Burning Fire

Autumn is the right time for warmth and relaxation—just imagine yourself in front of a log fire watching the dancing flames while sipping on a glass of wine or warm apple cider, rain outside and your faithful dog sitting beside you. To enhance the experience add some scents to the fire place. For instance, dried apple for a fruity scent, lemon peel for a sweet fragrance, cinnamon sticks or pine cones to bring the spirit of a pine forest to your home.


20. ✧ Plant Fall Flowers

Fall flowers like pansies, Japanese anemones and mums will ensure that your garden looks colorful and at its eye-catching best. Consult with your supplier to be certain that you make the best choices for where you live and to determine which perennials will flower through the fall months. Before making your decision, visit a growing zone map, which is a helpful guide to help you choose the most suitable varieties for your location.

PS: you don’t even have to leave the house to buy your flowers, you can easily get your pretty blooms online at Burpee.


21. ✧ Perfect a Soup Recipe

It’s time to get cozy with a steaming hot bowl of soup. Use pumpkin flesh leftovers or corn from the Autumn harvest and work on perfecting your best soup recipe. Some tricks to making great soup include roasting the veggies, browning the meat in a saute pan before adding it to the soup, using homemade stock and adding fresh herbs and dairy when serving it. We also believe that the real secret to creating the perfect soup is making it with love and care.

Perfecting your own soup recipe may take a lot of research in order to know exactly what you like and don’t like, so why not start with Bon Appetit’s 57 Fall Soup Recipes That Are Cozy & Warming.

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22. ✧ Bake Pumpkin Bread

Super-moist pumpkin bread doesn’t have to be complicated, sometimes the simplest things are the best. Here are three of the best recipes to try:


23. ✧ Complete an Autumn Craft

Looking for fun fall activities to keep the kids busy? Just pick up pine cones, autumn leaves and anything else in nature around you and let your children use their imagination to create anything they desire from gold-plated leaf bookmarks to arty leaf prints. Go to Pinterest and YouTube for plenty of ideas.


24. ✧ Go on a Hay Ride

Hay rides are connected with celebrations of the autumn harvest. Originally, farm children would ride hay wagons to the barn for unloading the harvest. During those busy times, the hay rides were among the few times when they could stop to rest. City tourists to the regions found it enjoyable and by the late 19th century hay rides became tourist attractions.


25. ✦ Visit a Farmer’s Market

Take a break from your hectic lifestyle and practice a bit of mindfulness to appreciate the simple things in life. And there’s nothing more ideal than choosing homegrown produce offered by farmers themselves at a Farmer’s Market. Going from stall to stall, you become more appreciative of the produce that comes from the good earth. Visit the National Farmer’s Market Directory for a market near you.

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26. ✦ Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Have you fleshed out your pumpkin? Don’t throw away the seeds! Just toss a cup of whole pumpkin seeds with some olive oil and salt, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes and you have the perfect snack for the season.


27. ✦ Get Spooked at a Haunted House

If staying at a real-life haunted house at one of the Airbnb accommodation options is not your cup of tea, you may enjoy finding a haunted location near you. Wikipedia has a long list of the top haunted locations from around the world, many of which you should add to your fall bucket list. 


28. ✦ Sip Warm Apple Cider

Enjoy a steamy hot cup of apple cider on its own or just use it as a base for some autumn-worthy sangrias. Apple cider is the perfect drink for entertaining your fall harvest party or Halloween soiree. You can buy it or make it from scratch by placing apples in a pot and covering with water before stirring in cinnamon, allspice and sugar. 


29. ✧ Take Your Christmas Card Photo

It’s never too early to take that family Christmas photo. You can never trust the kids being cooperative or the post to be on time, so get it done early. After you’ve got the perfect shot, choose from the many cute photo card templates on Shutterfly or Minted.  

Need some photo ideas? Shutterfly’s 50 Festive Christmas Photo Ideas should help.


30. ✧ Make a Scarecrow

Whether you are a farmer wishing to protect the harvest or just looking to create decorations for your Thanksgiving dinner, then making a scarecrow is fun and easy. All you need are some old clothes, a mannequin or something to prop it up, a bit of straw and imagination. If it’s birds you want to scare, then you should know that the ability of the life-like scarecrow to get rid of them is usually temporary. To be effective, they need to be moved around every so often.

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31. ✧ Have a Scary Movie Marathon

Nothing says Halloween more than indoor fall activities, and a scary movie marathon may be just the thing to take your mind of real-life scary problems knocking at your door. If you want to keep it G-rated watch The Addams Family, Casper, Hotel Transylvania, etc., but if you need something scarier then flicks like The Shining, It, Carrie or anything else would surely spook you out.


32. ✦ Go Hiking at National Park

Find a sunny fall day for a road trip to a national park. Enjoy the golden colors of the countryside and mountain air. Pack a picnic hamper and don’t forget your camera because you’re bound to see some Instagram-worthy natural wonders.

If your not sure which park to visit, see the US National Parks Bucket List: 61 Beauties to Visit in America. If there isn’t a national park nearby, substitute it for a local state park. 


33. ✦ Tour Your Towns Halloween Decorations

Do your neighbors decorate their houses? Are there any particular streets which are hot spots when it comes to the Halloween spirit? Most people start decorating their homes for Halloween in the first fortnight of October, though early birds kick off in late September. It’s always lots of fun to tour the neighborhoods and pick out the best decorated homes.


34. ✧ Hang a Handmade Wreath on Your Door

For a welcoming entrance to your home, create an autumn wreath out of the gifts from nature you’ve collected on your hike. There are plenty of YouTube videos to help you in your colorful creation. And you can even adapt it later on by adding a few berries and glitter for Christmas.

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35. ✦ Make a Traditional Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, and there’s no better thing to give thanks for than being able to be surrounded by family, friends and good food. Though many households have adapted to their own holiday meals, traditionally, a Thanksgiving dinner consists of turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Duplicate this tradition!

Delish has got you covered with recipes for all the classic dishes: 34 Traditional Dishes You Need To Make The Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu


36. ✦ Shop on Black Friday

Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving, is a day that is a win for shoppers and retailers alike. Since the 1980s, the day has been a celebration of sales with great discounts for shoppers. With these crazy good sales, the early bird definitely gets the worm, you may even have to camp out in front of the stores doors! Luckily, with the popularity of online shopping, you can also snag some deals without even leaving the house.


37. ✧ Host a Bonfire

Did you know that Halloween was originally Samhain, an ancient pagan Irish festival meaning ‘end of summer’? The Celts would light bonfires to keep evil spirits away because they believed that on Halloween these spirits would visit the mortal world. It was called a ‘bone fire’ because animal bones were burnt as a way of keeping the ghoulies at bay. These days, you can keep the evil spirits at bay but your friends nearby with a little bit of music, wine and song.


38. ✧ Burn Fall Candles

There’s nothing to inspire feelings of contentedness than candles releasing scents of apples, pumpkins, cinnamon, amber and spice around the house. They look adorable too in their little mason jars or twine-wrapped tin containers. Sweet Water Decor’s Hello Pumpkin candle is not just great for fall but for the whole year round!


39. ✧ Knit a Scarf

Fall has always been a special time for knitters ready to work on their craft in preparation of the winter days ahead. For novice knitters, scarves make easy projects and can be worn in a variety of ways to cover up any silly mistakes. Plus, those who master the art, won’t ever need to buy Christmas presents again! You can find several different How-To videos on YouTube, but this step-by-step video on How to Knit a Scarf for Beginners is one of the best.

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40. ✧ Watch the Macy’s Day Parade

Every year, the Macy’s Day Parade keeps tradition with its festive balloons, floats and street performers. Whether you are able to catch it live or watch it on television you are sure to be wowed by the world’s largest parade.


41. ✧ Make a Gratitude Journal

Gratitude should be a year round thing, but its especially important in the season of giving thanks. Start each morning by listing five things you are grateful for. In the beginning it will probably be a struggle to come up with a mere five, being wrapped up in a world full of fear can disguise the good in your life. Think hard. Did you just drink a deliciously warm cup of coffee? Or did you connect with a friend by text? Or enjoy a heartwarming movie on television? There is always something to be grateful for—always.

Need help with coming up with things to be grateful for? Read the article Being Grateful: 100 Things to Be Thankful For Today

. . .

As you can see, fall activities are as plentiful. They come in beautiful colors, pumpkins galore and a bit of Halloween horror. Our fall bucket list of things to do is filled to the brim with all sorts of ideas to get you started. We suggest making your list that has you enjoying the splendor of an amazing season—just let yourself fall in love with fall!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

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Valentine’s Day Bucket List: 35 Romantic Ideas and Cute Things to Do
Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do
Summer Bucket List Activities: 80 Fun Things to Do this Sunny Season

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20 Cute & Comfortable Travel Boots for Women Walking the World

Footwear—they’re the bane of every traveler’s packing list. Or is that just me? No matter how many times I pack my suitcase, I always pause when it comes to the shoes. Should I bring sneakers for active days and heavy, clunky boots for hiking? What about traveling to cities in the fall or winter—do I need a third pair of cuter, trendier boots for all of those afternoons of museum hopping? What are the best shoes for lots of walking?

If you’ve ever packed for Europe or South America in the colder fall, spring and winter months, alternating between nights out in the city and daytime hikes, you probably feel my pain here. But, I’ve learned a valuable shoe lesson in my years of travel. Wherever you’re going—whether it’s Florence in the winter, Geneva in the spring, or Tokyo in the fall—a pair of cute and comfortable travel boots are a must-have.

Unfortunately, it seems incredibly difficult to come across the perfect balance of that ideal boot trifecta: comfort, style, and practicality. Difficult, yes—but not impossible.

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Tall Riding Boots

A tall riding boot is my go-to shoe for almost any cold-weathered trips—fall thru spring! The height keeps my calves warm, which is particularly helpful when they’re paired with a skirt. Plus, if you find some flat boots with a little tread, they can be used for light hiking too.  Don’t forget to add some cute boot socks (like these) or trendy leg warmers for extra style and warmth.

Sofft Samantha Tall Riding Boot {Buy Here}

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Women’s Overland Annie Leather Riding Boots {Buy Here}

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Sofft Sharnell II Waterproof {Buy Here}

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Major Shearling-Lined Waterproof Suede Boots {Buy Here}

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Western Inspired Footwear

Doesn’t everyone have a little cowboy in them? I certainly do. And all of the ones below are cool country footwear. The first western inspired boots (Rocket Dog) aren’t too flat, they have a little bit of a heel, so maybe wouldn’t be the best for the narrow cobbled streets of Spain, but despite the height they are incredibly comfortable. I brought them with me while traveling through India on the Palace on Wheels luxury train and wore them at every stop, even to the Taj Mahal!

Rocket Dog Sayla Vintage Worn Western Boot {Buy Here}

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Born Osha {Buy Here}

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Comfortiva Chrysta Waterproof {Buy Here}

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Ankle Boots & Booties

Ankle boots are super stylish these days and might be the perfect choice for a little bit warmer weather where a tall boot may seem out of place. They are also great when traveling to Asian countries like Japan where it’s a part of Japanese culture and tradition to remove your shoes before entering many places. You want something easy to slip-on and off! 

Walking Cradles Kimber {Buy Here}

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Born Cove {Buy Here}

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Women’s Lolla™ II Cut Out Bootie {Buy Here}

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UGG Women’s Aureo Ankle Boot {Buy Here}

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Born Bessie {Buy Here}

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Born Syd {Buy Here}

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Hush Puppies Mazin Cayto Ankle Bootie {Buy Here}

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Born Kerri Bootie {Buy Here}

20 Cute & Comfortable Travel Boots for Women Walking the World


Clarks Clarkdale Arlo {Buy Here}

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Hiking (& Hiking-Inspired) Boots

I don’t know about you, but I think hiking boots are cute, so I wear them even when I am not hiking! They can be paired with jeans, hiking pants or a pair of stylish leggings to fit many different occasions. Plus, most are super comfortable because they have a more rounded toe so you are not squishing your tootsies.

Teva De La Vina Dos Alpine Boot {Buy Here}

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SOREL Emelie™ Conquest {Buy Here}

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Sofft Baxter Waterproof {Buy Here}Green Comfortable boot


Taos Footwear Crave {Buy Here}

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Don’t think that just because you are traveling that you will have to sacrifice cuteness for comfort. You can absolutely have both! I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time looking for the best pair of versatile travel boots, and these are my top finds. Hopefully, they give you some boot-inspiration for your next trip.

What are your favorite travel boots that are made for walking? Leave your picks in the comments.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

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19. ✧ Attend a Hockey Game

Spend an afternoon surrounded by screaming fans, watching hockey players swoosh by, in an action pack game. With any luck you will be able to catch a flying hockey puck and keep it as a souvenir.


20. ✦ Take a Cooking Class

Being a restaurant owner and chef, I enjoy taking cooking classes when traveling around the world (but, you could also find some close to home). I have learned to make pierogi in Poland, pad thai in Thailand and macarons in France! There’s nothing like learning tricks and techniques from the experts at creating a dish.

If you are looking for  the best class in a different country or for a cooking school vacation, check out these articles:

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21. ✦ Ice Skate on a Lake

Frozen ponds, lakes or rivers can provide you with some of the most scenic ice skating rinks around the world. Glide along, enjoying the fresh air—score some bonus bucket list points if you can learn to ice skate backwards. If you can’t find a lake or such, outdoor ice skating rinks start popping up everywhere during the winter season-even in places that have no snow! Put on a pair of blades and glide around the rink. Don’t forget to follow it up with a cup of hot cocoa.


22. ✧ Make Apple Cider

Only second to hot chocolate, apple cider is a great way to stay warm when the weather is not. It only takes a few ingredients and this easy hot apple cider will give you a cup in less than half an hour.


23. ✧ Have a Bonfire

Who doesn’t love sitting next to a warm fire pit when it’s cold outside? Call your friends and gather your family for an exciting outdoor bonfire experience. You can sit around the flames, tell ghost stories, and enjoy your favorite food at the same time. For an extra bucket list worthy experience, you can do some outdoor camping at the same time, and enjoy a starry night.


24. ✧ Have an Indoor Picnic

Picnics aren’t just for the outdoors—clear a space on your living room floor and recreate a memorable dining experience. You can even pack a traditional wicker basket with your favorite picnic foods and enjoy the feast without going too far. Real Simple magazine can help you out with their Picnic Packing Checklist. If you want to set up an Instagrammable picnic, here’s a cute red checkered picnic basket you can use.


25. ✦ Decorate Sugar Cookies

Decorating sugar cookies will be the perfect thing to do with your kids, though my husband and I had a blast doing it on our own! Just follow Alton Brown’s perfect sugar cookie recipe, then pick any cookie cutter shape you desire. The best part is that you can eat the outcome of your activity. Fun!

There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the traditional gingerbread cookie cutter, but there are also tons of other fun shapes—like these:

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26. ✧ Do a Family Winter Photo Shoot

Any time you can get the entire family together it is a blessing, but a photo memory of the event is even better! If you are stumped for theme ideas check out 30 Creative Family Photo Ideas and 100 Fun Family Photo Ideas.


27. ✦ Do a Random Act of Kindness

Random acts of kindness are some of the most fulfilling and most humane and human things you could ever do. Especially when it is done for a complete stranger.

  • Donate some food
  • Pay the bridge toll for the person behind you
  • Go to an animal orphanage and help out for the day
  • Feed someone’s parking meter.

The possibilities are endless. The best way to approach this is to look at your local community and see what it is they need the most. Or check out my post for ideas: 75 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas: Examples of Kind Things to Do.


28. ✧ Drive a Snowmobile

Do you love speed and exciting activities? Driving a snowmobile can help with that, and will serve as the perfect addition to your winter bucket list.With thousands of miles of snowmobiling opportunities around the world, find your perfect location to hop on and tear through the snow-filled, rolling hills.


29. ✦ Have a Game night

Stay in for the evening, get cozy in your jammies and have a game night marathon. There are different games for all ages, but Bingo and Scrabble are favorites for almost friends and everyone in the family (this bingo set comes with everything you need!). You can make it even more fun by adding prizes for the winner, like store gift cards, candies or extra TV time for the kids.

My favorite adult game night involves a few fierce rounds of Cards Against Humanity, but Smart Ass and Drink-A-Palooza will also make it a lively night. If you want to make your game night more family friendly for the kids then look at these family games. Still unsure of which games to play? Check out this list: Board Games Bucket List: 50 of the All Time Best Ones to Play


30. ✦ Learn to Snowboard

Put away those skis this season and try your hand at snowboarding, even if you only make it down the bunny slope (like me!). Make the most out of your experience by staying at a cozy lodge and enjoy some apres-skiing at the end of the day. Or should I say apres-snowboarding? 

You can take a class at your favorite ski resort or the Snow Professor has made a helpful video to get you started, How to Snowboard: Step 1.

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31. ✦ Bake a Pie

There’s an art to making the best homemade pie. It’s all about the fruit inside, creating the perfect pie crust and making it with a touch of love. It doesn’t matter if it’s apples, lemons or peaches – choose whatever is sure to make your mouth water.

You can always find great pie recipes on All Recipes, but for something extra special Saveur created a list of the best pies to bake right now.


32. ✧ Make a Gingerbread House

Spend an afternoon putting together a gingerbread house that is filled with all the sweets and treats of the season. This is such a fun activity to do with children! Good Housekeeping has given us inspiration with 34 Amazing Gingerbread Houses or, for an easier option, you can purchase a pre-baked Gingerbread House kit and add your own goodies.


33. ✦ Go Bowling

Yes, you can go bowling anytime of the year, but bowling during the winter season is a great way to escape the chilly weather outside. You can enjoy removing your layers of winter clothes, putting on those oh-so-cute shoes and taking your best shot at getting a strike. Bonus bucket list points if you bowl a turkey—three strikes in a row!


34. ✧ Volunteer at a Food Kitchen

There is nothing better than giving back to society, and the cold winter season is the perfect time to volunteer at a food kitchen and help those in need. You can also donate winter clothes and items during the season, but volunteering at a food kitchen will let you connect with society and do your part in making it better for everyone. You can serve hot soup and delicious food to those who do not have anyone to care for them. Do a good deed this winter season.


35. ✦ Relax at a Spa

Whether you have had a long and exhausting day or an easy breezy one, relaxing at a spa is the perfect solution. You can not only relax your tense muscles, but the steam-filled spa experience will also offer a comfortable sensation amidst the winter season. You can get glowing skin, sweat out impurities, relax your muscles, and let the steam take your mind off the winter season.

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36. ✦ Visit a Museum in Your Town

Sometimes we take for granted what is in our own backyards. I am definitely guilty of this—don’t be like me! Do some research of local museums and then make a plan to visit one. You can roam through the rooms discovering new things on your own or participate in an educational tour. 


37. ✦ Do a Jigsaw Puzzle

So you’re indoors and it’s cold outside. Brainteasers are the perfect winter activity for those who enjoy a challenge, and completing a jigsaw puzzle is one of them. Grab some apple cider (or a bottle of wine) and spend some quality time sitting around the table looking through and joining the tiny pieces. 

Not sure what puzzle to complete? Check out the best 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles for adults (& tips to complete one)


38. ✦ Catch Snowflakes on your Tongue

Who doesn’t love watching the snowfall? Awaken your inner child and try catching a snowflake on your tongue!


39. ✧ Stick to an Indoor Workout Routine

Have you been trying to get yourself into shape for years now? Well, take advantage of the coming winter season, and stick to a regular workout routine. It doesn’t have to be a really difficult or challenging one. YouTube is filled to the brim with workout videos and channels, making it easy to work out for free at home! At most you’d have to purchase some basic weights and a yoga mat, but that small investment will be worth it. With workout styles varying from yoga and pilates to dancing, weight lifting and even boxing, you are bound to find a fit for your fitness routine. Blogilates and Popsugar Fitness are excellent channels to start from.


40. ✦ Sleep in an Ice Hotel

Each year in different chilly locations around the world, hotels are built from natural ice and snow. The IceHotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi, in northern Sweden and The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel that is nestled in the wilderness of Northern Norway are two of the best. They both are art exhibitions as much as hotels, where the canvases span from floor to ceiling. Spend the night in one of their negative-five-degree rooms, where you will be surrounded by artistically chiseled ice. It’s a bonus that there is also a chance of seeing the Northern Lights from either location!

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41. ✦ Write a Thank You Note to Someone Who Deserves It

So often people want to tell a company or friend how they feel when they are not satisfied. Instead write a thank you to show your appreciation for a job well done.

Writing your note on a simple sheet of paper is fine, but stocking up on blank greeting cards may be a good idea instead. I bought these cute blank bird greeting cards which are perfect for a bunch of different occasions, including a simple thank you.


42. ✧ Watch all the Oscar Winning Movies

Make some popcorn and cuddle on the couch with a blanket and start your bucket list quest to watch all the best picture Oscar winning movies ever made. A subscription to Netflix is a great way to accomplish this goal, they have almost every one available for rental!

Click here for a list of the Best Picture Winners.


43. ✦ Make Homemade Soup

There’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day. So whip up one of your favorites and enjoy it with some of that crusty bread you also made.


44. ✧ Have a Pajama Day

It’s a luxury to be able to spend all day in your PJs and you’ve already got plenty of great ideas listed here to make your pajama day complete! Put on your most comfy pair and opt to watch movies, play games or just eat lots of yummy food.

Don’t have a comfy and cute pair of PJ’s? Try Pretty Garden’s cheetah print pajama set or  the dreamy cloud set that can be monogrammed.


45. ✦ Try a New Restaurant

Let’s face it—we tend to get stuck in our same restaurant routines. eating at the same handful of places. Break out of that routine and try something new! It could be a place similar to your favorite Mexican joint, or an entirely different cuisine that you have never tried before. 

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46. ✦ Bake Cookies

Who doesn’t like a home filled with the smells of fresh-baked cookies? It doesn’t matter whether it’s snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin or simple chocolate chips, spend an entire day just baking. Make it even more fun by inviting friends and family to participate.

For some delicious cookie ideas see the Epicurious’ 113 Favorite Cookie Recipes (and send me a dozen of the spiced molasses cookies!). Don’t forget the cookie sheets! The Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Pans are amazing, or at least get yourself some silicone baking mats that make the process so much easier!


47. ✧ DIY Snow Globes

Who doesn’t love a good winter snow globe? You don’t need to spend lots of money on one because it’s pretty easy to make your own and is one of the best activities for families!

Some of the best DIY snow globes for you to make:


48. ✦ Clean Out & Organize Your Closet

It is surprisingly rewarding to be able to purge some clothes, plus it is purely a bonus that you can donate or consign them! If you are anything like me then it’s pretty hard to decide what to keep and what to give away, so either ask yourself Marie Kondo’s mantra, “does it bring you joy?” or use these 17 Invaluable Tips For Anybody With Too Many Clothes.


49. ✦ Spend the Night in a Cozy Cabin

Whether it’s in the middle of the forest or atop a snowy mountain, there’s nothing quite like being holed up in a cozy little cabin. I checked this off my winter bucket list in California’s Yosemite Valley where on Christmas morning we woke up surrounded by a blanket of white. It was dreamy.

To find your perfect cabin check out Travel and Leisure’s Best Winter Lodges. Read More: Yosemite Valley Bucket List: 9 Best Things to Do in the Winter

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50. ✧ Make an Ice Sculpture

I’ll be honest, you might need to sign up for a class to complete this bucket list goal, but it will be worth it! You can pick the perfect shape, learn how to use all the tools required, and build yourself a frozen masterpiece. Make sure to take a class close to a time when you are having a party or attending one so you can show off your work of art!


51. ✦ Donate Toys

There are so many needy families around the world, and many of them have young children who would miss out on the joy of Christmas if it weren’t for a generous helping hand. For this Winter Bucket List idea gather toys and donate them to a good cause to put a big smile on a child’s face. I organized a successful Toys for Tots drive at my restaurant, but there are other amazing organizations, like The Salvation Army or United Way.


52. Bake a Loaf of Bread

Did you ever have a loaf of bread that was so good that you wanted to make your own? Well, now is the time to get your hands on this experience, and you can use the coming winter seasons to learn how to bake a loaf of bread. Get the ingredients, watch an online tutorial, call someone for help, and taste your first slice of bread. 


53. ✦ Go on a Sleigh Ride

Rudolph may not be pulling the sleigh and Santa may not be riding on it with you, but take a quiet sleigh ride through the winter wilderness. Add a cozy blanket and some hot chocolate to make this a ride to remember.


 54. ✧ Create a Winter Song Playlist

Music is a great way to get you geared up for any season, especially one made for chilly days spent by the fire. If you have young children, make sure you keep them entertained with music and educational songs that are suited to their age so they have the opportunity to carry on learning through the winter. You can check out this channel on YouTube for suggestions.

Having a hard time thinking of songs for adults? Spotify has made it easy with this Winter Chill playlist.


55. ✦ Send a Care Package to a Soldier

Sending a care package to a soldier is the best idea for any season, but especially during all the winter holidays. It was one of my most memorable bucket list checks (I did it on my birthday!) and you can get some tips from my article.

Sending a care package to a soldier is one of the best things to do


56. ✦ Have a Snowball Fight

With so much fresh snow outside can you really restrict yourself only to the indoors. Get outside for a good old fashioned snowball fight! Invite some friends, make teams and let’s see who wins the war of snow.

Don’t get out there unarmed, learn How to Make the Perfect Snowball first!


57. ✦ Make Your New Year Bucket List

Take a look at your master bucket list and determine which of those goals will be high priority in the new year. If you don’t have a bucket list yet, then you’ve come to the right place!

Here are some articles to help you:


58. ✧ Make a Pine Cone Wreath for Your Front Door

Get the hot glue gun out and get a little creative by making a pine cone wreath to hang on your front door. Pinterest is loaded with plenty of creative ideas and A Piece of Rainbow has a
step-by-step guide.

59. ✦ Take a Warm Bubble Bath

Warm bubble baths are not just for the children with rubber duckies, they are a relaxing way for adults to destress. It’s a nice way treat yourself! Turn on some tunes, light a candle and let your anxieties dissolve along with the salts and bath bombs.

FYI: If you are worried about soaking your sensitive skin, Aveeno’s Soothing Bath Treatment is perfect, and the Bubbly Belle Bath Bombs set will add a drop of soothing aromas to your tub.


60. ✧ Donate Warm Mittens & Jackets to a Homeless Shelter

Think about other people this winter season who can’t afford to buy warm mittens and jackets. Do your best to help out by collecting and donating these much needed items. It will not only be helpful to them, but it will make you feel good. 


61. ✦ Find You Favorite Tea

Tea is your soulmate during the harsh winds of the winter season, and it is time you find the perfect herbal soulmate for yourself.  Some people love chamomile tea, while others adore the oolong tea. I love jasmine green tea. What do you love? If you haven’t found the perfect tea for you the Twinings Tea Bag Sampler Set has over 20 different kinds to choose from!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

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Key West & Florida Keys Islands Bucket List: 45 BEST Things to Do

Where else can you find warm ocean water, breathtaking state parks, acres of mangroves, killer sunsets that draw crowds and arguably the best key lime pie in the world? The Florida Keys islands are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the country with an abundance of adventurous, historical and yummy things to do.

It’s possible to fly right into the most talked about city of Key West, but the best way to fully experience ‘The Keys’ is a road-trip from Key Largo all the way down to southernmost point of Key West (like I did!). This way you will have the flexibility to make pitstops along the way and check off your Florida Keys bucket list.



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KEY LARGO
What to See, Do & Eat in Key Largo


1. ✧ Paddle board the Mangroves at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Located in Key Largo, this excitingly serene park extends three miles into the ocean and has coral reefs, seagrass swamps and mangroves within its confines. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is home to a flurry of activities and attractions that are excellent for adults and children alike—From glass bottom boat rides to sunbathing at the beach, snorkeling and kayaking. I should also mention that it is home to the Nation’s first underwater park!

If you visit with the mind for adventure, then you should rent a kayak or paddle board and go exploring through the mangroves. There are many little water paths that meander through these dense forest like mangroves. Keep an eye out for underwater life and the gorgeous birds that call the Florida Keys park home!


2. ✦ Take a Ride on the African Queen

Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn made the African Queen steamboat famous when they starred in the 1951 movie by the same name that was filmed in Uganda.

From then on, the African Queen, docked at the Marina Del Mar marina has become home to relaxing canal cruises in Key Largo and romantic dinner cruises as well. You can even ask the Captain for a turn at the helm while underway the one and a half hour cruise. I did!

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3. ✧ Spend the night at Jules Undersea Lodge

The Jules Undersea Lodge is true to its name, it really is underwater—you actually have to dive 21 feet below the surface to enter! How’s that for bucket list worthy? You can choose to stay for just a few hours or be more adventurous and stay overnight. Don’t worry though, there are all the modern amenities. Plus, you can cozy up with a book or movie and watch the fish go by through the large round windows.


4. ✧ Visit the Wild Bird Sanctuary in Key Largo

The Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary which is only a few minutes’ walk from the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park really should be on the bucket list for bird lovers. In fact, even if you are not as enthusiastic about birds, you might find a tour of this sanctuary illuminating.

There is no official charge to get in but you are politely requested to donate whatever you can; these monies all go to the care of wounded wild birds within the sanctuary (so a very good cause!). Within the aviaries you will see owls, pelicans, hawks and a wide variety of other wild birds that are majestic and unique to say the least.

WHERE TO STAY IN KEY LARGO: The 14.5 beachfront acres of Playa Largo Resort and Spa is a luxury oasis in Key Largo. There you can eat dockside, take a dip in the freshwater pool or enjoy a glass of wine by the fire pit. Or stay at the Kona Kai Resort, a hidden treasure.

WHERE TO EAT IN KEY LARGO: You won’t go hungry in Key Largo, there are plenty of great restaurants. Eat the coconut cake at Buzzards Roost, hit up Skipper’s Dockside for an outdoor lunch and the Fish House for dinner, plus don’t forget to get the key lime martini at Sundowners.


ISLAMORADA
What to See, Do & Eat in Islamorada


5. ✧ Take a Jetpack, Hoverboard or Flyboard Ride 

Get the ultimate adrenaline thrill by taking to the water with Jetpack Adventures. You can choose from a jetpack that hangs on your back and propels you into the air or a hoverboard that’ll do the same on while stuck to your feet like a snowboard. But for the best fun try what I did (pictured below) and get some air on a flyboard. It’s not as easy as it looks!

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6. ✦ Shop at the Rain Barrel Artisans Village

Ah, what would the Florida Keys be without a unique shopping experience?! The first thing you will notice about the Rain Barrel Artisans Village is the 40-foot-long lobster named Betsy that will lure you in for an unforgettable photo-op off the Overseas Highway. Once you stop, you can’t leave without at least browsing through the stalls.

The artisans in this village are experts who create sculptures, paintings, collages, jewelry, home decor and almost every other type of accessories in such creative ways that you will definitely find something worth buying.

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7. ✧ Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina

In Islamorada of the Florida Keys, there is a place called Robbie’s Marina where you can feed tarpon! These bony salt-water fish have a ‘strong’ smell, but as long as you are not looking to eat them then that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. They gather by the dozens at Robbie’s Marina waiting for you to feed them fish snacks which is a pretty exhilarating thing to do considering some of these fish have mouths almost as big as a five-gallon bucket.


8. ✧ Visit the History of Diving Museum

If you are a scuba diver, then definitely don’t miss a stop at the History of Diving Museum. With contributions from more than 30 countries, the museum has the world’s largest collection of armored suits, diving helmets and other diving accessories.


9. ✦ Drink the Local Beer

You will find the Florida Keys Brewing Company’s beer all over the Keys, but why not get it straight from the source at in Islamorada? The breweries new beer garden has 20 of their own brews on tap, plus Mead and house brewed Kambucha. Try their 10-beer sampler to find your favorite.

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10. ✦ Stroll the Third Thursday Art Walk

Time your beer visit (see above) correctly and you can stroll through the Morada Way Artwalks. Every third Thursday of the month the Morada Way Arts District hosts an outdoor walk where talented artisans set up booths along the street. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenir jewelry, handmade candles or paintings. The event happens to be right next to the Florida Keys Brewing Co., so stop in and get a beer, then do some shopping.


MID-LOWER KEYS
What to See, Do and Eat in Mid-Lower Keys


11. ✧ Get a Hogfish Sandwich on Stock Island

When in Key West, do like the Key Westians do and head over to The Hogfish Bar and Grill on Stock Island! This is a favorite among locals, so you know it’s for real. All of the seafood they serve comes straight from the fishing boats you can watch come in and out of the port while you dine.

As you might be able to guess from the name, their signature dish is the scallop-like flavored Hogfish! Specifically their One and Only, World Famous Killer Hogfish Sandwich. This specialty of the house is served fried and smothered with Swiss Cheese, Onions, and Mushrooms between two slices of fresh Cuban bread. Yum!

There’s plenty of other delicious fresh seafood on the menu, as well as Southern and Caribbean favorites!


12. ✦ Get the Lobster Reuben at Keys Fisheries

Make a delicious pitstop at Keys Fisheries for their famous Lobster Reuben. This sandwich is a take on the classic: slathered in Thousand Island dressing, filled with tangy sauerkraut, topped with melted Swiss and put in-between some crunchy buttered bread. The exception is that the cured pastrami is substituted with fresh lobster. Yes, please!

The sign at the order window counts how many rueben’s have been sold, proving how popular this sandwich is. It was at 288,926 when I was there. Wow! Side note: They don’t ask for your name when you order at the counter, they ask a question, like “what’s your favorite animal”—of course I said puppies.

Warning—The Lobster Reuben is huge, enough to feed two!

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13. ✧ Visit the Turtle Hospital

Who doesn’t love turtles? Unfortunately, some turtles can get injured or sick. But, the good news is The Turtle Hospital is here to help! It’s a nonprofit organization that’s been helping to rehabilitate sea turtles and educate the public on how to be better friends to the little guys since 1986!

The Turtle Hospital also offers guided educational experiences that last about 90 minutes. You’ll start your visit off by viewing a presentation about sea turtles before going on a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities and rehabilitation area. At the end of the tour, you’ll even be able to feed the center’s permanent residents.


14. ✦ Visit the Dolphin Research Center

Established in 1984, this is one of the most unique research centers in the Florida Keys, and possibly all of Florida. More than half the sea lions and bottlenose dolphins found in the Dolphin Research Center were born here, others are rescues who were deemed non-releasable by the government.

If you are keen on interacting with dolphins as they do in the movies (some of the stars from the movie Flipper were actually from here!), this is your chance. There are interactive classes that the public can participate in; believe me, you want to participate in these classes. The dolphins are friendly, mischievous and all-around fun to play with in the water.

Take note that for the Dolphin Research Center is is all about the dolphins. If they’re not interested in doing something they don’t have to do it. They never withhold food, it is all voluntary.

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15. ✧ Get a Beer at No Name Pub in Big Pine Key

If you’re looking for that old Florida Keys atmosphere and some great food and drinks, No Name Pub is the place for you! It started out as a general store and bait and tackle shop in 1931, but in 1936 the owners added a small room and started serving food. By the 1950s, the bait and tackle shop closed and the pub became the entirety of the business.

You can stop in to just relax and have a drink at the end of the day, or try some of their delicious food! We recommend the homemade fish dip, made from fresh yellowfin tuna that they marinate and smoke in house daily, or one of the gourmet pub pizzas!


16. ✧ Walk the White Sand Beach at Bahia Honda State Park

We know the reason you came to the Florida Keys is to soak up that sun, surf, and sand. Well, we can’t think of a more perfect location than Bahia Honda State Park! The park covers over 500 acres and features not one, but two award-winning beaches: Calusa Beach and Sandspur Beach. You can also take a drive along the historic Bahia Honda Bridge, plus the park features some of the best snorkeling and beach-combing in Florida.


17. ✦ Cruise the Seven-Mile Bridge

The 7-mile long bridge is one of the longest bridges in the world. The scenic stretch connects the Middle Keys to the lower Florida Keys and has beautiful seaside views along the way. If you are doing a road trip from Key Largo to Key West you’ll definitely be driving across it!


KEY WEST
What to See, Do and Eat in Key West


18. ✧ Listen to Live Music at the Green Parrot

As their website says: “The Green Parrot is more than a bar; it is a Key West icon!” It started out as a corner grocery store but became a bar in the 40s. Originally called the Brown Derby Bar, it was a popular hangout for the submarine sailors during World War II, but came under new ownership in the 70s when the Navy moved out the hippies moved in. It’s been the Green Parrot ever since!

Best of all, the Parrot has live music every night! From touring musicians to local artists, there’s always something going on, so if you’re a music lover this is a must-do while you’re in Key West. They even host periodic Ukelele Nights! You’ll also enjoy the bar’s signature decor pieces, like “The Smirk” that adorns the shutter door or the custom “No Snivelling” sign!


19. ✦ Walk Inside the Ernest Hemingway House

Ernest Hemingway and his wife Pauline fell in love with the Florida Keys way back in 1931 (I can see why!). When he finished his semi-autobiographical novel titled: A Farewell to Arms, they decided to make this their home. It is this charming house that is now a major tourist attraction in Key West. The grand Southern exterior of the house protects his eclectic collection of furniture, art and other accessories while the grounds act as a haven for wildlife, plants and quite a number of cats.

The Hemingway influence is also big in Cuba and some other of his points of interest at on my Havana things to do list.

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20. ✧ See a Show at the Red Barn Theater

If you’re a theatre lover, you don’t need to travel to New York to get your fix for live performance—Key West is your place. Destination Hyatt magazine even describes the work produced at the Red Barn Theater as “Broadway caliber”!

The building began its life as a carriage house before the Key West Community Players transformed it into a performance space in the 1940s. In the 80s it became incorporated under the Red Barn Actor’s Studio, Inc and has been committed to putting on the best performances in South Florida ever since!


21. ✧ Take the Old Town Literary Walking Tour

Because even bookworms like to go on adventures too! If you have a love of literature and are planning a trip to the Florida Keys, this tour run by the Key West Literary Seminar is one of the best things to do in Key West! You’ll get to visit the homes and haunts of writers who have called Key West home, including Tennessee Williams, Robert Frost, and Shel Silverstein!

You’ll even get to learn about some lesser-known local talents and add some new titles to your “to be read” pile!


22. ✧ Eat Conch Fritters at BO’s Fish Wagon

So much fresh seafood, so little time! If you need help narrowing down where to get the best grub in the Keys, we recommend trying some of local legend Bobby Owen’s specialties! They’re so good, even Bobby Flay and the Food Network camera crew dropped by to try them out!

BO’s Fish Wagon started out as a wagon but has since ditched its wheels to become an open-air shack. Don’t worry, there’s no shirt or shoes required, so you can come right off the beach and grab some delicious food. Make sure to try the cracked conch sandwich with Key Lime mayo!


23. ✦ Catch the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square

You cannot visit the ‘Home of the Sunset’ without actually taking the time to find out why they call it that and what makes the sunsets here so special. Geographically, this is the southernmost end of the United States and at the Mallory Square sunset celebration in Key West is the perfect place to sit, sip a few cocktails and enjoy one of the most stunning sunsets you will ever see.

As you watch the sun majestically sink into the Gulf of Mexico, there will be performers, artists and an assortment of food vendors assembling to ensure that you evening is one that your will not soon forget. Don’t miss Dominique’s Cat Circus!

You can also see this spectacular sky in a more unique way take the Sunset Party Cruise by Catamaran!

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24. ✧ See a Drag Show 

Key West might seem like a quaint, old fashioned beach community on the surface but don’t be fooled: it has a thriving nightlife as well! If you want to experience some of this booming nightlife, then you must check out the Key’s drag queen scene. Here are three different top locations to choose from:

  • Aqua has a performance of their show “Reality is a Drag” Sunday through Wednesday at 8 pm, plus two shows at 7 an 9 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They also feature a full bar and offer karaoke!
  • If you’re looking for something a little more raunchy and guaranteed to make you cry with laughter, 801 Bourbon Bar is the place for you! They have shows every day at 9 and 11 pm and have Drag Bingo every Sunday night.
  • If you’re looking for something slightly more laid back, check out La Te Da, where top-quality performers Christopher Peterson and Randy Roberts perform a cabaret show a few times a week. They’re known for their spot-on impersonations of queer icons like Liza Minelli and Cher!

25. ✧ Stay at the Southernmost House

Relax in luxury while enjoying everything Key West has to offer at The Southernmost House: a taste of history and a tropical paradise!

This boutique hotel is also a museum, and you can find little pieces of history all around the property. It was built in 1897 and has hosted over 20 presidents and dignitaries! But it also offers the modern amenities of the best beachside resorts.

Each accommodation is spacious, air-conditioned, and uniquely decorated to no two rooms look the same! There’s free wi-fi access throughout the property, plus a heated infinity pool with a bar, oceanside hammocks for relaxing, an indoor lounge, dry cleaning service, and a concierge desk. Your stay also includes a complimentary breakfast every morning!


26. ✦ Pose at Mile Marker 0

US Highway 1 is a 2,369 mile long interstate that connects almost every city in the East Coast. In Key West this famous highway ends and begins at Mile Marker 0 and hundreds of people (myself included!) per day stop by the Mile Marker 0 sign to commemorate being at the ‘end of the road’.

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27. ✧ Smoke a Key West Rolled Cigar at Rodrigues Cigars

Even if you’re not a regular tobacco user, you’ll want to see this important piece of Key West history up close and personal.

Cigar manufacturing has a long history in Key West, going back to 1831. The Rodriguez family immigrated to Key West from Cuba after the Cuban government nationalized their tobacco plantation and founded the Rodriguez Cigar Factory in 1984. It’s now the oldest cigar manufacturer in the Florida Keys, preserving this historic industry, They still make their cigars using traditional Cuban methods!

You can take a factory tour where you will learn more about the manufacturing process and even get to sample one of their cigars and a complimentary Cuban espresso!


28. ✧ Buy Some Made-in-Key-West Kino Sandals

Because you can never have too many shoes! These fashionable and comfortable sandals, made in a traditional Cuban style, are made only in Key West by the Lopez family. They still make them by hand from high-quality natural leather and natural rubber, just like they have since 1966.

According to their website, you should ask any Key West local “not if they own a pair of Kino’s Sandals, but how many they own!” The store offers 20 types of sandals and has expanded to include wallets, purses, and more. Their shop, Kino Plaza, is located in the heart of Old Town Key West and imitates the Cuban architecture of founder Roberto Lopez’s youth! 


29. ✦ Climb up the Key West Lighthouse

Not only is this a bucket list opportunity to climb up inside a lighthouse, but the 360 views from the tippy top of the Key West Lighthouse are incredible too. It is a great place to see the rooftops of local homes, including the Ernest Hemingway house.

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30. ✧ Tour Harry S. Truman’s Little White House

Before Camp David, there was the Little White House of Key West! While you’re in the Keys, definitely take some time to see Florida’s only Presidential Sight. The Little White House was built in 1890 to serve as naval officers’ housing and has hosted many important visitors from Thomas Edison to presidents Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton.

Harry Truman, however, spent the most time in this historic house, calling it his “Winter White House.” Over the course of his 6-year administration, he spent 175 days in Key West.

Visiting the Little White House, you’ll learn more about Truman’s life, career, and presidency, as well as the history of Key West. You can also view the official trip logs of President Truman’s 11 trips to Key West and get a peek into what he was doing during his visits. If you want to learn even more history, book the Truman Little House guided tour.


31. ✧ Visit the Maritime Museum

This museum tops our list of must-see attractions! As you may have guessed, Key West’s history and culture have been deeply intertwined with the sea. Well, the mission of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is to “research, interpret, and exhibit the maritime history of Florida and the Caribbean.

The museum is located in an old Naval Storehouse that was built in 1910. It features exhibitions on shipwrecks, piracy, and the slave trade, and is home to a conservation center where archeologists conduct ongoing research on artifacts found in the waters around Key West.


32. ✦ Take a Selfie at the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA

There is a colorful concrete buoy that marks the southernmost point in the continental USA and taking a selfie in front of it is one of the most popular things to do in all the Florida Keys. There is always a long line of people waiting for their chance to snap a photo, so either go really early in the morning or cheat a little like I did and sit on the bench a few feet in front of the buoy for your picture.

For a more in depth look into this area of Key West take the History and Culture Southernmost Walking Tour or the yummy Southernmost Food and Cultural Walking Tour.

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33. ✧ Catch an Animal Feeding at the Aquarium

This is one bucket list idea that kids and adults will love! Taking in the native sea life is one of the best things to do in Key West, but if you don’t love the idea of snorkeling or scuba diving, this is the perfect place for you!

The Key West Aquarium houses dozens of sharks, fish, sea turtles, alligators, and stingrays native to the Florida Keys! You can also take a tour and meet those predators up close. At 10 am and 4 pm, there are special presentations at the Touch Tank about the history of the museum, as well as opportunities to touch and hold many of the conch and whelk species native to Key West!


34. ✧ Walk Through the Historic Key West Cemetery

A walk through a cemetery might sound like a spooky fall activity, but it’s actually a great way to see the Key’s history in a much more personal way! The Key West City Cemetery sits on 19 acres of land. It was established in 1847 following a hurricane that unearthed the city’s former beach-side burial grounds.

Between 80,000-100,000 of Key West’s citizens are buried here, a mixture of Bahamian mariners, Cuban cigar makers, Spanish-American war veterans, and civilians of all races, classes, and creeds.

Guided tours are available every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 am, or you can pick up a self-guided tour map at the front entrance.


35. ✧ Visit Dry Tortugas National Park

Made of 7 islands and some of the most gorgeous coral reefs you will ever see, the Dry Tortugas National Park  is a must thing to see when you head down to Key West—it’s just 70 miles west. Taking a seaplane ride there will allow you to get beautiful aerial views of the 19th-century Fort Jefferson on Garden Key; the beautiful lighthouse at Loggerhead Key as well as the Windjammer Wreck (an 1875 shipwreck) and the nesting site for many seabirds down at Bush Keys.

From snorkeling to diving, ancient sites and sunbathing, Dry Tortugas National Park is definitely bucket list worthy!


36. ✦ Stroll Duval Street

No trip to Key West would be complete without waking down the hottest road in town—Duval Street. It is  filled with hopping bars (you can even do what they call the Duval Crawl—you can only guess what that means!), souvenir shops, delicious restaurants and clothing boutiques.

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37. ✧ Kayak from Key Largo to Key West

If you have some time and are looking for a fun adventure, consider taking a multiple day kayak tour from Key Largo to Key West with Burnham Guides (they’re the ones that took me on a memorable kayak tour in the Eastern Shores of Virginia!).


38. ✧ Drink Where Hemingway Drank—Sloppy Joes

Why not have a drink in the most famous and infamous saloon in all Key West? If you’re a fan of classic American literature, you’ll also love the Hemingway connection!

Sloppy Joe’s (originally called the Blind Pig) was founded by Joe Russell and opened the day Prohibition was repealed. Ernest Hemingway was one of Russell’s first and favorite patrons and was even the one to christen it Sloppy Joe’s! They even host a Hemingway look-alike contest every year.

Sip on a rum runner with local rum, “The Original Drink of the Florida Keys,” and snack on Key West favorites like peel-and-eat shrimp and conch fritters.

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39. ✧ Chocolate covered Key Lime pie on a stick from Kermit’s.

And of course, you can’t visit the Florida Key’s without getting some Key Lime Pie! We highly recommend stopping by Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe—they’ve been serving up delicious Key Lime treats for almost 25 years! Don’t miss one of their most popular items, the Key Lime Pie bar that is hand-dipped in Belgian-style chocolate.


40. ✧ Get a Naughty Named Treat at the Better Than Sex Dessert Bar

If you’re looking for a grown-up date night on your Key West vacation, we have a recommendation that’s…well, Better Than Sex! Enjoy a selection of sinfully delicious desserts and signature drinks with naughty names like Peanut Butter Perversion or the Klimax. The speakeasy decor scheme adds to the sense of forbidden pleasure and creates a romantic ambiance. This is a cozy, intimate space so make sure to reserve ahead of time!


41. ✦ Visit the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

The magical Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is home to over 50 species of live butterflies and 20 exotic birds (even a few flamingos!). You can take a stroll through the climate controlled habitat and witness a small tropical paradise.

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42. ✧ Drink at the Key West’s first Rum Distillery

You can’t get this close to the Caribbean without drinking some rum! While in Key West, you have to try the official rum of the Conch Republic at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery. Their rums are “chef distilled,” because they consider themselves chefs first and distillers second.

These chef distillers also consider themselves trained mojito masters, and you can even take a private class with them to learn their ways! You can also pop in for a free guided tour any day of the week!

Fun fact: they were also the first Americans to run rum to Cuba.


43. ✧ Eat Key Lime Pie for Breakfast at Blue Heaven

Blue Heaven used to be an old boxing ring where Hemingway refereed, now it is known for its brunch and mile high meringue. When you are in the Florida Keys, there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating key lime pie for breakfast and this is the perfect place to do it.


44. ✧ Take a Sand Sculpting Class at Casa Marina

Looking for something truly unique to do on your Key West vacation? If you’re staying at the Casa Marina Resort, you can spend an afternoon relaxing on the beach while creating a unique piece of artwork, a professional will guide you as you transform your pile of sand into a beautiful, one of a kind creation!


45. ✧ Explore the Vandenburg Shipwreck

Speaking of shipwrecks, I doubt it gets any better than this: The Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg shipwreck can be found on the Southernmost end of the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail. It is a 10 stories high underwater adventure with the deepest end, the keel, being at a whopping 140 feet below sea surface.

Densely populated with sponges, sea fans, sea whips and an amalgamation of coral species, exploring this shipwreck is definitely a noteworthy entry into any ‘Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail’ logbook.


GETTING AROUND KEY WEST: Key Lime Bike Tours gives you a great overview, stopping at almost every highlight that you’d want to hit if you were in Key West for a day. Afterwards, use the Duvall Loop Bus that has 16 stops near most of the best attractions and it is FREE! See the map here.

Also, don’t forget to grab a Key West Vacation Pass that will get you over $1,200 of discounts during your visit!

WHERE TO STAY:  Choose The Marker Key West for a luxury stay steps from the best dining and walking distance to shopping, including Duval Street.

TOP KEY WEST TOURS:


What to Do Everywhere in the Keys


46. ✦ Dine Alfresco

The weather in the Florida Keys is almost always perfect for outdoor dining—take advantage of it! I loved dining alfresco at The Grand Cafe right on Duval Street where from their patio you can see all the action on the liveliest road in Key West.


47. ✦ Eat Key Lime Pie—everywhere!

If there is one quintessential food in the Florida Keys it’s Key Lime Pie, so you must indulge in it—everywhere! All the locals seem to have a favorite (and so do I now!). One of the most popular is at Kermit’s or Mrs Macs, but my favorite was at Chef Michaels in Islamorada.

For an even more bucket list worthy pie eating experience take the Key West 3-hour guided bicycle tour with Key Lime Pie.


48. ✦ Nosh on Conch fritters

These fried balls are made with conch meat, savory batter and seasonings. You will be hard-pressed to find a local menu that doesn’t have them on it! I had some of the best ones at Sol by the Sea in Key Largo, but a few other favorites are at Louie’s Backyard and the Conch Republic Seafood Company in Key West.

If you want even more ideas, check out The Key West Bucket List book on Amazon.

From interacting with dolphins to taking a ride on the African Queen and eating your fair share of Key Lime pie, visiting the Florida Keys & Key West is without a doubt a must thing to do. The sunsets are unbelievable, the drive down is breathtakingly romantic and the beach life is straight out of the movies.

The fact that it has so many bucket list worthy attractions and activities just makes the Florida Keys even more captivating!


 

Essential Tips for Visiting the Florida Keys Islands

Getting There: Miami International Airport is the best airport to fly to if you plan on taking a road-trip from Key Largo to Key West. From Miami, you can drive to Key Largo (which will take you about an hour), where you can begin your road-trip. You can also fly directly to Key West International Airport. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. From Key West International Airport to downtown Key West, you can use a bus service, take a shuttle, a taxi, or Lyft and Uber.

Where to Stay in the Florida Keys Islands: For hotels in Key Largo, the Atlantic Bay Resort (moderate) is a great option located in Tavernier. For something on the less expensive side, try the Drift Hotel or Coconut Palm Inn. For a hotel with a little more extravagance, try Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton. For hotels in Key West, the Avalon Bed and Breakfast (moderate) is a great choice, conveniently located on historic Duval Street. For a less expensive option, try the Caribbean House located in Downtown Key West. For a little more luxury, book a room at Oceans Edge Key West. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to Airbnb that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range. 

Getting Around: Renting a car in the Florida Keys is the best to really experience the islands and RentalCars.com has some great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of options. Taxis and Lyft are available all over the Florida Keys, while Uber is mostly available only in Key West. Key West is a small city and most of the attractions can be accessed by foot, or by a Hop-On Hop-Off trolley.

Best Tours in the Florida Keys Islands: You can find some of the top tours at Get Your Guide or Viator, and here are some of the top ones:

This post was provided in a partnership with Visit Florida. All opinions my own. This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

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