Great news — Fantasy Fest is a go for 2021! Revelers can enjoy over 50 costume contests, masquerades, parties and performances during the high-energy annual event, though traditional large-crowd highlights aren’t taking place to protect against potential coronavirus spread. This year's popular masking and costuming festival entertains partygoers from Oct. 22 through Oct. 31.
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.”
Key West is known as one of the most haunted cities in the United States. Visitors can experience several year-round ghost tours that are delightfully unnerving, including an award-winning trolley tour with a “ghost host” and the exploration of a haunted Civil War–era fort where they encounter the eerie Robert the Doll.
Florida Keys restaurants range from gourmet hotspots to dockside seafood “shacks” and trendy food trucks where guests can choose from a variety of fish, seafood and other options. Many eateries along the historic Florida Keys Overseas Highway provide tasty temptations — but if diners venture into less-explored areas, the culinary possibilities become virtually endless.
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.
The Florida Keys have long been a popular choice for film producers seeking a subtropical adventure setting for their next cinematic project. Since the late 1940s, the island chain has played a role in many notable films — ranging from Bogart's "Key Largo" to James Bond classics and contemporary fare like "The Beach Bum."
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.
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.
For 15 years Jeanne Selander has overseen the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm on Stock Island — believed to be the only facility of its kind on jailhouse property in the United States — and the care of 150 exotic creatures. Her “charges” include an ostrich, lemurs, kinkajous, bearded dragons and 17-year-old Mo the Sloth.