Key West Gardens & Ideas for Couples
The narrow cobblestone streets of Key West, canopied with fragrant blooms and cooled by languid breezes, lead to its many lush gardens, making this island a tropical paradise and enhancing its romantic appeal. Whether these tranquil oases are tucked down a hidden street, behind a beautiful mid-century home or in their own secluded island setting, they invite romantic exploration.
The Gardens at West Martello Tower, maintained by the Key West Garden Club, are set within the ruins of a fort that was never completed. In the 1950s, the site was turned over to the club, which transformed it into a lush tropical garden featuring both native and exotic plants, including blooming orchids and bromeliads. With a gazebo overlooking the ocean, butterfly garden and giant almond tree, the garden is a perfect setting for a romantic picnic.
Another Eden, tucked down tiny Free School Lane and completely hidden from view, is Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden, a living rainforest museum painstakingly created and maintained by artist and environmentalist Nancy Forrester. Here, couples are enveloped in a forest and garden filled with shade palms, aroids, ferns and rare and endangered plants. Parrots also inhabit the garden, adding a splash of color and whimsy to the place.
The 75-year-old Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden is home to 11 acres of “frost-free” botanical gardens (meaning that the majority of the trees retain their leaves even in the dry season) as well as several “champion tree” specimens (as determined by size and condition). Couples can stroll through two wetland habitats, enjoy the eight self-guided tours and see up to 23 species of butterflies in two gardens. Near Key West’s only two freshwater ponds, iguanas share the space with frogs and the occasional bald eagle or white-crowned pigeon.
At the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens, peruse the collection of hand-colored lithographs and engravings created between 1830 and 1859 by ornithologist John James Audubon during visits to Key West. The mid-19th-century Classic Revival home is furnished with antiques that reflect the elegance and prosperity enjoyed in Key West during its prime. The surrounding gardens provided inspiration for Audubon’s artwork, with the variety of birds that inhabit the property the central focus of many of his pieces. The antique copper lanterns set atop white columns along brick paths winding through the gardens add an air of romance to the property.
Perhaps an escape from dry land is the ideal way to wrap up the day. Head out on the Wind & Wine Sunset Sail with Danger Charters, sailing from The Westin Key West Resort Marina. Sail off into the sunset together aboard one of Key West’s schooners while noshing on delectable hors d’oeuvres and sipping your choice of premium wines and quality brews.