3 Best Hostels in Key West – From Scuba Diving To Lively Nights

3 Best Hostels in Key West – From Paddle Boarding, Snorkeling and Scuba Diving To Lively Nightlife Scene

There’s no place like Florida! The sunshine state is known to attract many travellers throughout the whole year, mainly due to the abundance of amazing beaches and wild nightlife. With that in mind, we would like to present a little piece of paradise located in Florida that will surely bring an adventure of a lifetime – Key West! Today, we will show you what makes this spot uniquely interesting, and as usual, we will provide the best hostels in Key West for your convenience.

Key West is a small tropical island located in the USA’s southernmost point of the mainland. It is renowned for its incredible sandy beaches, authentic history and buzzing nightlife. Interestingly enough, the island was a favourite destination for the iconic writer Earnest Hemingway, who lived and wrote in the city for a decade.

What used to be his home is now turned into a museum which attracts thousands of people that adore his work. Additionally, an annual festival honours his legacy called the Key West Hemingway Festival, which includes activities such as marlin tournaments and look-alike contests, where contestants dress up and act like literary legends.

The USA offer a lot in the way of impressive hostels. Have a look at our ultimate guide to the 45 best hostels in the USA.

Our favorite hostels in Key West are:

  1. Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel - best for female solo travelers
  2. Not Your Average Hostel - best for solo travelers
  3. Southwinds Motel - best for couples

Money-saving tip: Compare hostel prices with Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld, Booking.com and others with 1 click.

Key West also has a pretty special history as well, one that cannot be compared to anywhere else! Mainly, the Floridian island is the birthplace of the Conch Republic. Allow us to give you a brief history lesson. In 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock, which caused a major traffic jam and frustrated locals. As a result of their annoyance, locals declared Key West a separate republic. Although the declaration was made in good humour and is tongue-in-cheek, it still has become a vital part of the history of Key West and its authentic identity. This momentous occasion is celebrated annually with the Conch Republic Festival, which is held every April.

Speaking of history, Key West also has rich architecture, with many of its buildings dating back to the 19th century. It is a unique blend of Victorian, Spanish and Bahamian styles, which speaks volumes of the diverse cultural heritage. Some of the highlights are the iconic Key West Lighthouse, the Customs House Museum and the noteworthy Little White House, which was used as a winter retreat by the American president Harry Truman.

Good To Know: Check out the full guide to the best hostels in Miami and the best hostels in New Orleans – including party hostels.

This guide is perfect for YOU, when you…

  • are tired of crappy hostels!
  • want a social Hostel to actually meet people
  • are happy to spend $1 to $2 more for a much better experience

As you can see, Key West is filled with experiences that are bound to intrigue everyone! Whether you’re seeking a relaxing vacation or an adventurous journey, the city will provide you with more than enough activities. There are plenty of budget-friendly accommodations that offer excellent hospitality. Therefore, we’ve covered our top choices for the best hostels in Key West.

You can find all 5 Star Hostels here with Hostelgeeks and all guides to “Best Hostels In” here.

Quick Introduction to Key West

Average price for a bed: Hostels in Key West cost $88 – $96 per night for a bed in a dorm. A private room has an average of around $375 per night. This is a rough average, just to give you an idea.

Prices always depend on the season and holidays. Please always check the exact rates on Hostelz.com or Hostelworld.com.

Check-In and Check-Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3 pm), while the Check-Out time is before 11:00 (11 am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.

Getting around Key West: The best way to get around Key West is by car or taxi. You can also rent bikes or scooters to explore the city. There are also tour buses and trolleys available, with stops at many of the city’s popular attractions. The Key West Transit system offers public bus service to get around the island.

Best time to travel Key West: The best time to visit Key West is between late November and early April when the weather is dry and temperatures are mild. This is when you can expect the least amount of rain and the most pleasant temperatures. If you’re looking for the warmest temperatures and the most sunshine, then the summer months of June to August are the best time to visit.

Safety in Key West: Key West is a safe and friendly city. The crime rate is low, and the police are very visible. However, as with any other tourist destination, there are always potential risks and dangers. Visitors should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to ensure their safety. It is recommended that visitors walk in groups and avoid dangerous areas late at night. 

Nightlife in Key West: The city has a lively nightlife scene, with a variety of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants that stay open late into the night. Sloppy Joe’s Bar is an absolute must-visit! Additionally, you should also check out the Green Parrot Bar, and the Schooner Wharf Bar, where you can enjoy live music and buzzing drinks while mingling with locals and other travellers from all across the globe.

Beaches in Key West: The pristine beaches, crystal turquoise waters and alluring sunsets are some of the main attractions in Key West. Popular beaches include Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and Smathers Beach, which are known for their remarkable coral reefs and excellent snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities. Additionally, you can take a sunset sail on the many available sailboats, where you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the sun sinking into the sea. You can also try out paddleboarding, where you can explore the island’s mangrove forests and natural habitats while taking in the magnificent scenery and wildlife.

🎁 New to Hostels? Read our guide to staying in a Hostel for the First Time here. We especially recommend reading:

The 3 Best Hostels in Key West are …

Let’s jump right into the coolest hostels in Key West.

  1. Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel – best for female solo travelers
  2. Not Your Average Hostel – best for solo travelers
  3. Southwinds Motel – best for couples

These are our favorite hostels in Key West. We want to make your life even easier, so we put all accommodations on a map for you. We even added our own tips for favorite restaurants, things to see, and more.

Overview: Best Hostels by Traveler Type

🦸 Solo Traveler: Not Your Average Hostel
🙎‍♀️ best for Female Solo Traveler: Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel
👩‍❤️‍👨 Couple Hostel: Southwinds Motel
👨‍👩‍👦 Family Hostel: Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel
👩‍💻 For Digital Nomads: Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel
🧘 Cozy Hostel: Southwinds Motel

1. Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel

Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel is considered the most budget-friendly accommodation in all of Key West. You might not be aware, but the costs of living and lodging in the area tend to lean on the expensive side, but not here! It is ideally located, as all the main attractions are within walking distance. Moreover, the beach is just minutes away, waiting to be explored. Because of this, there are plenty of watersport activities you can try out – make sure to ask the reception for recommendations.

There are various room options, from spacious dorms to tranquil private rooms, though the latter can get expensive during peak season. The dorms include comfortable mattresses and privacy curtains for each bed, and towels and bed linen are changed daily. In addition, previous travellers are impressed by the cleanliness at Seashell Motel, especially the bathrooms, which are deemed spotless.

You can take advantage of the outdoor kitchen, as well as the inviting common space where you can meet tons of fellow travellers. You should know that the reception works 24/7, so don’t hesitate to ask about anything you may need at any time!

Location: The Seashell Motel and International Hostel is a 15 minutes’ stroll from Duval Street, and Higgs Beach can be reached in 10 minutes on foot. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a mere 3 minutes away by car, and the Southernmost Point of the United States is only a 7 minute walk.

The best choice in Key West for

  • female solo travelers
Book Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Key West Youth Hostel at the Sea Shell Motel Double Bedroom

Meet new friends at Seashell Motel and International Hostel

2. Not Your Average Hostel

Once you set foot in Not Your Average Hostel, you can clearly see how it got its name! The accommodation provides exceptional service – previous guests have said that they almost felt like they were staying at a resort. NYAH is conveniently located two blocks away from the historic old port. Moreover, you’ll be really close to some of the highlights of Key West, like the Tropical Gardens, Ernest Hemingway Museum and Audubon House.

The rooms at NYAH are exceptional! The dorms are modernly furbished and some of them have access to tranquil balconies and patios that overlook the street. On the other hand, couples will love the serenity of the private rooms that are styled and equipped by hotel standards. However, the outdoor facilities make this hostel not so average (no pun intended).

There are three pools and two jacuzzis, which have varying water temperatures. Additionally, comfortable lounge beds are scattered throughout the outdoor space with complimentary towels, where you can enjoy a free daily breakfast. Best of all, the low prices will absolutely impress you! With that said, do we need to list any more reasons why this is one of the best hostels in Key West?

Location: Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum can be reached within a 15-minute walk, while vibrant Duval Street with its nightlife, stores, and art galleries is 9 minutes away. Key West Aquarium and Key West Cruise Port are both 1.2 kilometers from the property.

A great choice for

  • solo travelers
Book Not Your Average Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Not Your Average Hostel Outdoor Pool

Not Your Average Hostel Dorm

3. Southwinds Motel

Although most accommodations in Key West are furbished sophisticatedly, Southwinds Motel holds its rustic appeal strong. Ultimately, it’s why so many travellers are attracted to this fantastic hostel! The location is highly convenient, with all the famous landmarks being within a 10-minute walking distance.

We recommend you consider renting bikes to fully explore the island. Furthermore, there’s an amazing deli right across the street that offers delicious sandwiches and other breakfast options, as well as Tipsy Rooster, a vibrant bar that provides a cheery and friendly atmosphere.

As we mentioned, the rustic appeal of Southwinds Motel is second to none. The rooms are nicely decorated, and most of them feature unique wooden roofs. Additionally, the hostel features an impressively serene outdoor patio with three swimming pools, making it the ideal place to kick your feet up and just wind down.

Moreover, the accommodation has strong and reliable WiFi, so if you’re a digital nomad, you might consider turning Southwinds Motel into your temporary working space. One minor issue is the outdated amenities like the microwave, however, they definitely won’t affect your overall experience.

Location: The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a 12-minute stroll from the property. Guests can choose to rent bicycles to explore the area, and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is within 3.2 km.

This is one of the best hostels in Key West for

  • couples
Book Southwinds Motel here

Check prices at:
Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Southwinds Motel Private Bedroom

Southwinds Motel Lobby

Best Hostels in Key West for Solo Travelers? 

We think that the best hostel in Key West is Not Your Average Hostel.

This hostel has a great range of amenities, including an outdoor pool, kitchen facilities, and a communal lounge area. It also offers a range of activities, such as yoga and paddle boarding, as well as nightly entertainment.

The hostel also has a great atmosphere, with friendly and welcoming staff who are always happy to help. Additionally, the hostel is conveniently located in the heart of Key West, close to all the attractions and nightlife.

Book Not Your Average Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

More Hostels worth a mention

At the moment, we think you are all set with the hostels we just shared with you. We always try to keep our guides super fresh and up to date. We might add more hostels worth mentioning here if we feel that it could enrich your travel and hostel experience.

Backpacking tips for Key West 

If you’re backpacking across Key West, here are some handy tips to keep in mind.

1. Since the island is pretty small, the easiest way to explore it is on foot or by bike. This allows you to experience Key West at your own pace, and you will get some exercise in as well! The latter option is also convenient for getting around the many beaches and parks.

2. Visit the Dry Tortugas National Park, an archipelago of seven small islands that provide the best snorkelling and fishing opportunities. While you’re there, you should check out the historic Fort Jefferson Museum.

3. In addition to the many watersport opportunities, you should also consider kayaking. It offers a more relaxed and tranquil way to explore the island’s waters and countryside.

4. Keep in mind that Key West can get pretty expensive, as the standard of living is pretty high. To save a pretty penny, make sure to ask the reception of your accommodation for the best deals on tours and experiences.

What about the cheapest hostels in Key West?

Of course, there are always cheap hostels. But how do you actually find them? When you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you want to save every dollar, there are ways to find the cheapest places in Key West.

  1. Open Hostelz.com with a full list of all hostels in Key West
  2. add your dates
  3. Order the listings by price

Simple as that.

Hostelz.com is a price comparison site for hostels. They list every single one in the world and tells you exactly which website is cheaper to use.

Another smart Tip: Check what is actually included, and what is excluded. Take a closer look at the location, too. A further location might mean more costs in transport.

Any Discounts?

You can find all our hostel discounts worldwide here. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the freshest hostel discounts directly in your inbox. We even have special discount codes we only share in the newsletter.

It is completely free to join!

How to book?

The most popular booking platforms are Booking.com and Hostelworld.com. On both platforms, your credit card is 100% protected and the booking 100% confirmed.

We included some handy links to each of the recommended hostel. Just click on the hostel name. The link will lead you to check prices and availability.

Read: Step-by-Step guide on how to book with Hostelworld

We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible! All of Key West best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish and good hostels, secure your room/bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.

The coolest Hostel App you need comes as well from Hostelworld. It gives you super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand, ask questions, and make plans together. Find more details in our review of the app.

Download the Hostelworld App here

QR Code to Download your Hostelworld app with one scan
Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to download the Hostelworld App from the App Store - like a real Hostel Geek!

The best way to find hostels: Hostelgeeks website and Hostelworld App

Need an eSIM Card for Key West?

Get your eSIM Card with Airalo.com instantly online. It is easy to set up and cheap! Read our review of Airalo here.

No more searching for mobile stores. Get your eSIM Card for now and enjoy it instantly after landing in your new destination.

Get your eSIM Card now

Need an eSIM Card for Key West?

Our Favorite Hostels in Key West put on a map + sights

We’re listing all the three best Key West hostels on a map to give you an idea of the location and distances between them.

Any questions about hostels in Key West? 🤔

Join our Facebook Group!

Ask all your questions and connect with like-minded wanderers 🔥


Here we share with you the most asked question:

Any questions about hostels in Key West?


Join our Facebook Group!

Ask all your questions and connect with like-minded wanderers 🔥

Flights to Key West?

We use Skyscanner and Omio.com to find cheap flights and good connections all over the globe.

Skyscanner has a bunch of cool features like Multi-City Trip. Instead of doing this research step-by-step, Skyscanner offers this flight planning tool.

Our Step-by-Step Guide to Skyscanner

review of Skyscanner flight searches

We did the leg work for you and bring you more hostel guides to destinations:

Here are all our US Hostel Guides:

Party hostels in the US:

Over to you

Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!

Your question will help us to improve this Key West guide.

Last note: Our commitment

This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter, and find the best place on a budget! We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.

Safe travels,
The Hostelgeeks

3 Best Hostels in Key West by Hostelgeeks

We are 100% Independent: Some links on Hostelgeeks are so-called affiliate links. If you decide to book through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support allows us to keep producing high-quality, independent content free of influence from hostels or external advertisers. Learn more here. 🙏

✏️ Read our Editorial Guidelines

Our Favorite Travel Resources 2024

👏 Booking Hostels: Always find better deals for Hostels on Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld and Booking.com.

✈️ Cheap Flights: The first websites we always check are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

🤒 Travel Insurance Simplified: We always go either with Safetywing and Hey Mondo.

🤓 Smart Travel Tools you need to know: Find a list of our favorite travel tools.

Get your Smart Packing List (Free Printable): Knowing what to pack and what not to pack is key. Get our ultimate list of smart items to bring on your trip.

Download your Free PDF Packing List

Best Hostel Packing List