A popular Florida Keys boating and family destination, Marathon and the Middle Keys consist of small islands with names as colorful as their nightly sunsets. They include Boot, Knights, Hog, Vaca, Stirrup, Crawl and Little Crawl keys — plus Pigeon Key, East and West Sister’s Island, Deer, Fat Deer, Long Pine and Grassy keys.
Visitors to the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden might spot scarecrows peering out from among the 15-acre habitat’s plants and trees during a lighthearted exhibit of recycled art creations. The “Scarecrows in the Forest” exhibition features figures crafted from natural and recycled materials by local artists, students and other community members.
Many of Jimmy Buffett’s classic songs, inspired by his years in Key West, invite fans to share his love for the island’s offbeat characters, laid-back lifestyle and cheerfully outlaw vibe. Now, 50 years after Jimmy first discovered Key West, Scott Atwell has unveiled a fascinating book titled “Buffett Backstories: Fifty Years, Fifty Songs.”
The Florida Keys are full of unforgettable activities for parents, kids, grandparents and extended families. And through Oct. 15, the Key West Attractions Association invites families to explore the island chain’s attractions, tours, watersports and other offerings with a value-added program that provides free admission and opportunities for kids age 12 or younger.
Key West’s intriguing character becomes more apparent with each new exploration. Taking the time to experience the island is like savoring a plate of Cuban food, recognizing and appreciating each individual flavor. And identifying newfound favorite spots leads to even deeper enjoyment — whether staying for a few days, a season or a lifetime.
The largest lobster in the Florida Keys is “Betsy,” a sculpture measuring 30 feet tall and 40 feet long. Of course, lobsters in local waters are far smaller (and far tastier!) than Betsy. The Keys' lobster season runs from Aug. 6 through March 31, offering plenty of time to savor the seafood sensation.
The bearded brotherhood of Hemingway Look-Alike Contest winners gained a new member July 25 in Key West, home of legendary author Ernest Hemingway for most of the 1930s. Zach Taylor, a 63-year-old white-bearded Georgia man, triumphed over 136 other entrants to win the contest that highlights the island city’s annual Hemingway Days celebration.
Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West for most of the 1930s, and the annual Hemingway Days celebrates his talent and exuberant lifestyle. Events include poetry readings, a walking tour of Hemingway sites, a museum exhibit, a scholar’s presentation and the first reading of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story competition’s winning entry.
Key West, at the tip of the Florida Keys, blends 19th-century charm with a laid-back contemporary atmosphere. Visitors to the continental United States’ southernmost city will find palm-shaded streets, picturesque Victorian architecture, environmental attractions and eco-experiences, a lively multicultural culinary scene, unique museums, a nightly waterfront sunset celebration and a flourishing arts community.
These days, people are hungry to reconnect with the individuals and activities that matter most to them. And the Florida Keys are uniquely positioned to satisfy that desire. The Keys’ vast open spaces offer seemingly endless opportunities to rediscover the natural world after coronavirus confinement, and share unforgettable experiences with friends and family.