Spring has arrived in the Florida Keys & Key West. With its longer days, there’s more time to revel in our spectacular springtime weather — with average daytime temps in the mid-70s to low 80s, and low humidity.

Key West Pride Parade

Key West and the Florida Keys are characterized by an inclusive vibe and an all-welcome embrace of diversity. (Photo by Carol Tedesco, Florida Keys News Bureau)

It’s a fabulous opportunity to enjoy our easily accessible chain of islands that offer fabulous activities on land and sea, and a welcoming spirit that makes us a popular choice for so many LGBTQ travelers.

One: Celebrate diversity. The Florida Keys salute diversity and openness, and the subtropical island of Key West is internationally known as a top LGBTQ vacation spot. The city of Key West proudly adopted “One Human Family” as its official philosophy in 2000 — a move soon followed by Monroe County, which encompasses the entire Florida Keys island chain. Recognizing that all people are created equal, the all-inclusive destination is renowned for its welcoming and accepting attitude.

Two: Get out and play. Key West offers fantastic nightlife for the LGBTQ community with many LGBTQ bars, shops and entertainment venues — including the winner of GayCities.com’s 2019 Drag Bar Extraordinaire Award, Aqua Nightclub.  Premier LGBTQ events are held each year that attract visitors from around the world: Key West Pride, the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, Tropical Heat, Womenfest Key West and the Headdress Ball among them.

Three: Enjoy an LGBTQ watersports adventure. Blu Q Gay Sailing Adventures offers a fantastic portfolio of scheduled watersports activities, and the catamaran is also available for private charters. Passengers can enjoy several different clothing-optional excursions including the all-male Sail, Snorkel & Paddle trips — as well as all-welcome sunset sails.

LGBT sailboat Key West

The Blu Q offers on-the-water options ranging from sunset sails to all-day adventures. (Photo courtesy of Blu Q)

Some trips include visits to remote islands and sandbars, sailing across the clear shallow waters of the backcountry and viewing stunning scenery of mangroves and marine life. Dolphins, stingrays, and turtles occasionally appear to give passengers a true aquatic welcome.

Four: Tie the knot in paradise! For couples planning to wed, the Florida Keys & Key West’s natural beauty is as appealing as the island chain’s unique freedoms. Key West offers couples a welcoming atmosphere and some of the most memorable settings imaginable for a wedding, whether it’s small and intimate or delightfully elaborate. Couples can pledge to love and honor each other in venues ranging from historic sites and beaches to tropical courtyards.

Five: Discover some LGBTQ history. The Tennessee Williams Museum, located at 513 Truman Ave., memorializes the iconic playwright who called Key West home from the late 1940s until his death in 1983. Williams lived in Key West as an openly gay man with his partner Frank Merlo and had a pivotal influence on the island’s literary culture. The museum features one of the largest permanent collections of Williams memorabilia currently on display for the public.

Six: Stay at a unique LGBTQ accommodation. Key West has several properties that specifically cater to gay men — complete with pools, Jacuzzis, clothing-optional sundecks, full-service bars and complimentary happy hours.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park beach Key West

The “locals’ favorite” beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is sometimes called Liz Taylor Beach after the film diva. (Photo by Mike Freas, Florida Keys News Bureau)

The New Orleans House is located at the heart of Duval Street and is connected to the popular Bourbon St. entertainment complex. The Equator Resort is tucked away in the historic Old  Town area just three blocks from Duval Street. The Island House, a secluded enclave at Fleming and White streets, has been hosting gay men for over 25 years. Nearby stands Alexander’s Guesthouse, the longest-operated gay and lesbian property on the island.

Seven: Explore a beach nicknamed after Liz Taylor. Key West is home to several public beaches, including the locals’ favorite at 54-acre Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park (affectionately nicknamed Fort Liz Taylor Beach by our LGBTQ community). Taylor stayed in Key West frequently during her years with Richard Burton — whose adoptive father, playwright Philip Burton, numbered among the island’s famous residents. The beach is a perfect place to swim and snorkel in crystal-clear waters. And the park provides everything you might need for a perfect day at the beach: picnic tables, grills, nature trails and some shaded areas provided by majestic Australian pines.

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