Ghost hunting with paranormal expert David Sloan is a popular after-dark adventure in Key West. (Photo by Rob O'Neal, Florida Keys News Bureau)
- By: keysvoices
- April 5, 2017
The Florida Keys may be known for their subtropical landscapes, crystal-clear waters and sunny blue-sky days — but with an array of after-dark adventures waiting to tempt visitors, the action really intensifies when the sun goes down. Here, guest blogger Beth Higham outlines five memorable nighttime activities that just can’t be missed.
Illuminated Nightboarding/Kayaking. The ocean floor comes alive at night — so it’s a rare treat to experience Key West’s undersea wonders during a nightboarding or clear-bottom kayak tour at Ibis Bay Beach Resort. Fitted out with I-Lumenate’s Night-Ops waterproof LED light bars to illuminate the water beneath, the stand-up paddleboards and kayaks enable participants to discover the nocturnal creatures and colourful sponges on the ocean floor below.
Participants paddle through mangrove island rookeries that are home to ibis, herons, pelicans and their fledglings — while keeping their eyes peeled for upside-down jellyfish, lobsters, stingrays and even small sharks. Tours launch at sunset from the dock of Ibis Bay’s restaurant, the Stoned Crab, and last around 2.5 hours. Prices start at $54.95 per person and advance booking is recommended.
Ghost Tours. Consistently ranked among the most haunted cities in America, Key West is the perfect place to indulge in a spot of ghost hunting. Join renowned ghost hunter, author and historian David L. Sloan (or one of his equally entertaining cohorts) for a 90-minute tour of historic Old Town’s “Dead Zone.” Use special ghost-detecting equipment, like that seen on TV, to seek spirits at the city’s most active paranormal locations (such as the former Masonic Lodge and the haunted church bell tower). Late-night tours begin at 10 p.m. and cost $25 per person.
Night Fishing Charters. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, the 125-mile-long arc of Florida Keys islands creates a fishing environment that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Noteworthy catches are possible virtually year-round. And in Islamorada, known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, visitors can opt for a fishing experience with a difference: a nighttime trip aboard the Capt. Michael. Operated out of Robbie’s Marina, the fully rigged, 65-foot deep-sea “party boat” departs for night fishing trips at 7:30 p.m. and returns at 12:30 a.m. Trips are priced from $45 per adult and $26.50 for kids (plus $5 night rod rentals and taxes).
Full Moon Sailing. Set sail on one of Key West’s most beautiful vessels, the 105-foot wooden schooner America 2.0, and enjoy a romantic moonlight adventure. Guests are offered complimentary beverages and are encouraged to bring their own picnics. This exclusive sailing excursion costs $45 per person and takes place just once a month from November through April, so early booking is essential.
Night Dive Trips. Dive enthusiasts can pump up the adrenaline by taking to the water as the sun sets on an after-dark dive trip with Islamorada-based Florida Keys Dive Center. Trips depart during the early evening and reach one of several shallow reef sites by sunset, providing divers the opportunity to enter the water and experience the transition from twilight to darkness.
Davis Reef is one of the most popular reefs for night dives, because of its abundance of wildlife and ease of navigation. Departure times vary depending on the season, and one-tank night dives cost from $65 per person. Other Keys operators also offer night dives.
Ready to experience some unique after-dark activities in the fabulous Florida Keys? On your next trip, start with the ones Beth recommends here — and then develop your own list of unforgettable adventures.