I recently got back from a conference in Phoenix, where the temperature was 112 degrees. Arizona residents might say, “Oh, but it’s a dry heat; it’s not so bad” — a statement that leaves me trying not to roll my eyes.

pool party for men Key West

Pool parties at prime LGBTQ venues offer a chance to relax, unwind and make new friends during Tropical Heat. (Photo courtesy of the Key West Business Guild)

After departing Phoenix’s oven-like atmosphere, landing in Key West and exiting my plane, I was ecstatic as the island’s balmy ocean breezes (and high temps in the “pleasantly moist 80s”) welcomed me back home. In fact, it inspired my traditional happy dance!

Even in August, our temperatures rarely hover above 90 degrees. 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 by far the steamiest annual five-day event for gay men ages 21 and over that takes place in Key West!

The decadent all-male theme parties, pool parties, clothing-optional events and adult-oriented entertainment showcase the island’s stellar LGBTQ venues. In addition to all the scheduled events, attendees can also enjoy our many other activities on land and sea.

This year’s festivities, designed to entertain revelers with a sizzling long weekend of all-male adult events, is scheduled Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 10-14.

Blu Q catamaran aerial Key West

Blu Q’s excursions for festival attendees provide plenty of opportunities to chill during the red-hot Tropical Heat.  (Photo courtesy of Blu Q)

The island’s gay-o-sphere begins to heat up at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, with an official kick-off party at the Island House Resort (1129 Fleming St.). You can expect lots of delicious complimentary hors d’oeuvres, shots and some fantastic giveaways — plus a weather forecast that calls for a 100 percent chance of “raining men!”

Festival fans can cool down Thursday with an all-male clothing-optional excursion aboard the Blu Q. The four-hour sailing trip offers amazing snorkeling (optional) and stops at some tranquil sandbars and other uncrowded locales — perfect for a skinny dip for those so inclined.

Thursday night’s sizzling roster of events includes a new party at Mangoes restaurant (700 Duval St.). Attendees at the “SuperGay Party” are encouraged to show up in their favorite superhero costumes. Locals and Key West visitors usually go all out with their costumes, so I’m expecting a very entertaining and intriguing evening of people-watching.

The fun and frolic continue Friday with an afternoon “Splash” pool party at the Bourbon St. Pub (724 Duval St.), followed by evening events including a sunset sail, drag shows, and sultry late-night dance parties at some of the island’s LGBTQ venues.

Saturday at noontime, the Island House Resort stages its “Skinny Dip Pool Party” with complimentary ice-cold shots and hot raffle prizes (Speedos are optional).

The red-hot festival continues Sunday, featuring an always hilarious “Drunken Drag Brunch: Tropical Heat Edition” at Mangoes from noon to 3 p.m., a daytime snorkeling sail and a sunset cruise aboard the Blu Q, and Key West’s legendary 4 p.m. Tea Dance at La Te Da (1125 Duval St.).

male couple enjoying Key West

Tropical Heat draws couples, singles and groups of friends to enjoy the all-male adult fun. (Photo courtesy of the Key West Business Guild)

Closing events will include shows and gatherings at clubs in the “Pink Triangle,” an area of LGBTQ bars, entertainment venues and shops around the 700 block of Key West’s renowned Duval Street.

Tropical Heat all-access VIP passes are available for $99 per person, or attendees can pay individual cover charges for specific events.

With the V.I.P. band/pass, you’ll receive admission or discounted entry to all parties and a five-day pass to use the Island House Resort’s pool, hot tubs, sauna and spacious sundeck with cooling misters (love them!). The property also has terrific food and ice-cold libations, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy all the festivities.

Whether you “like it hot” or would rather just chill, I hope your next island visit includes plenty of “only in the Florida Keys” experiences and opportunities to have a fabulous time. After all, there’s no better summer getaway spot than Key West and the Keys!

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