Fans of the Florida Keys’ quirky creativity and whimsical spirit can celebrate both —and the island chain’s 200th anniversary — during Key West’s eagerly anticipated Fantasy Fest. The fabulous costuming and masking festival is scheduled Oct. 20-29, with a jam-packed schedule that includes masquerade balls, costume competitions, glamorous galas and a spectacular grand parade.
There’s a wonderfully meaningful celebration coming up in Key West, and everyone who values equality, openness and diversity is invited to participate. It’s the 20th “birthday” of the island’s famed 1.25-mile sea-to-sea rainbow flag, and it will be marked with a three-night laser light show during Key West Pride 2023 — scheduled June 7-11.
For several thousand women, Key West is the place to be in early September. It’s the place to enjoy adventures in Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico waters, entertainment and parties with like-minded people, and relaxation on an accepting subtropical island — all during the island city’s annual Womenfest celebration set for Sept. 7-11.
From shrimp to traditional Cuban food to Key lime pie, the Florida Keys have a wealth of unique culinary treats to sample. Fish and seafood dishes are a standout on many restaurant menus, for good reason: the incredibly fresh fish diners are served at night was probably unloaded at the docks that morning!
Even in August, Key West’s breezes generally moderate the summer heat. However, there’s one summertime event that definitely raises the energy level, heat quotient and vibe of the island. Tropical Heat, coordinated by the Key West Business Guild, is a five-day event for gay men that features sizzling events on land and sea.
Looking for open-air natural experiences to enjoy in the Florida Keys? Visitors can find a wealth of intriguing spots — including the world’s first undersea park, a refuge for tiny Key deer, and remote Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson — to explore while discovering the island chain’s fascinating history and land-and-water environment.
Key West has several beaches where people can beat the summer heat, but an even better way to “chill” is on a sailing excursion — whether on the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. Blu Q has offered gay sailing adventures for nearly 25 years, including all-male Sandbar & Snorkel trips and sunset sails.
The subtropical island of Key West will welcome revelers to its annual Pride celebrations June 1-5, with a jam-packed schedule that features several dozen Pride events. The festivities showcase the diversity and equality that help make the continental United States’ southernmost city a top vacation destination for LGBTQ visitors from around the world.
Michael Ingram has lived in Key West, and worked tirelessly to benefit it, for over 30 years. A respected architect, he has owned the Aquaplex for over 15 years and oversaw the debut of its exciting new offerings. He also played a pivotal role in the creation of Key West’s poignant AIDS Memorial.
Kyle Stuart brings his famous drag character Deja to life nightly in the “Sushi and the 801 Girls” show at Key West’s popular 801 Bourbon Bar. When he’s not entertaining audiences with his over-the-top costumes and makeup, he loves to be out on the water fishing and diving — even spearfishing and targeting lobsters.