Who says the fall season has to be dull and gloomy? Instead, plan an adrenaline-packed vacation in the sunny Florida Keys, and enjoy balmy temps and delightful ocean breezes while indulging in “bucket-list” adventures — like exploring the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef, sportfishing or even skydiving above the island chain.
Whether shopping for offbeat gifts or fine art, the emporiums of Key West provide a warm welcome for some well-deserved retail therapy. Emporiums range from the pioneering Key West Aloe, Graffitti and In Touch to the Gingerbread Square Gallery, opened in the early 1970s by Richard Heyman, the nation’s first openly gay mayor.
Traveling through the Florida Keys to Key West is a bucket-list adventure in itself. Driving the historic, 127-mile Florida Keys Overseas Highway is considered by many travelers to be the trip of a lifetime. And flying over the island chain and surrounding waters into Key West International Airport is an equally memorable experience.
What are some of the best ways to keep cool on late-summer days, while also enjoying everything Key West has to offer? Consider taking an all-male snorkel and sandbar excursion, lazing at “Fort Liz Taylor Beach,” discovering the story of Key West’s most famous LGBTQ resident, or comfortably chilling at a guesthouse pool.
For scores of women, early September in Key West means enjoying adventures in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico waters, plus entertainment, parties with like-minded people, and relaxation on an accepting subtropical island — all during Womenfest. Highlights include entertainment by Sister Funk and a sunset sail on a 75-foot luxury catamaran.
Tropical Heat offers five days of sizzling happenings in Key West, whose openness and respect for diversity have made it a world-renowned gay vacation destination. Presented by the Key West Business Guild, the festival features intriguing events ranging from pool parties to a sunset cruise to late-night gatherings at LGBTQ bars and nightclubs.
Captain Coleen Fitzsimmons recently launched Island Vibe Charters to introduce small groups and families to the Florida Keys waters and fascinating ecosystem during reef snorkeling and sandbar excursions. Coleen, who has two children with her wife, is passionate about sharing the Keys world, unique way of life and environmental wonders with charter passengers.
Are there any activities people can enjoy with their children in the Florida Keys? The answer is a resounding yes. For families with kids, there are SO many things to do in the Keys that will intrigue the “young ones” as well as the adults. Check out some favorite spots for family fun.
June has arrived in Key West, and the island is abuzz with anticipation for the 2021 Pride festivities. However, for Florida Keys & Key West residents, pride in the compassionate LGBTQ community and its allies isn’t only apparent during a single event held each June. Instead, it’s a year-round state of mind.
As Key West prepares to celebrate its June 2-6 Pride festivities, what does Pride — or the concept of pride — mean to island residents? An acknowledgement of life's beautiful diversity, a reminder to use the past to build a better future, and joy for the Key West community’s caring nature are among the answers provided.