Why Key West should be on you travel itinerary this summer

Tim Firmager
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Key West is becoming increasingly synonymous with LGBT-friendly holidays, not least because Florida is one of the US states where same-sex marriages are legal and because of the numerous gay-friendly guesthouses (including world-famous Key West Island House, which we previously featured here).

Florida Keys and Key West are known for their fun, flamboyance and flair so we at Vada have summarised our top 5 reasons why Key West should be your next holiday destination.

Year-round sunshine

Florida Keys and Key West offer year round sunshine. With a sub-tropical climate that rarely drops below 21 degrees, glorious warmth always invites visitors and allows you to relax on the beach or enjoy outdoor activities whenever you please.

Keys cuisine

The warm water of the Keys produce delicacies including crabs, clawless Key lobster, yellowtail snapper and many more. The Keys have a large Cuban influence with El Meson de Pepe in business for over 20 years for example.

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Key West has its own chocolatier, Kristie Thomas, who runs Key Largo Chocolates, which manufactures, produces and sells high-quality chocolate (including in tiny crocodile shapes). Most notably though is the Key Lime Pie, which should be sampled at Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe.

Watersports and underwater wonders

The 120 mile-long island chain is home to a living coral barrier reef, and as such is a marine sanctuary. For visitors, this means that there is versatility in what you can visit from natural coral formations to shipwreck sites, perfect for snorkellers and deep divers.

Watersports that you can enjoy on the warm turquoise water include flyboarding, nightboarding, eco-kayaking, kite-boarding, sport fishing and much more.

Luxurious spas

If you don’t fancy the male-only, clothing-optional Island House, there is a spa offering for everyone, as the ethos of rejuvenation and wellness is a way of life in Key West. Two recent additions include Top Spa, which is located on the seventh floor of the Crowne Plaza in Key West. They offer 3 and 4 hour packages including everything from body treatments and facials to nail services and massages.

Alternatively try Spa al Mare at Casa Marina, which has recently added 1,300sq feet of new space to wow for new treatments rooms and space for daily yoga classes overlooking the ocean. Alternatively book out a cabana for a beach treatment.

Fabulous festivals

The Keys hosts a variety of extravagant festivals throughout the year, which attract visitors from all over the world. Coming up over the next few months are:

  • 10 – 14 June: Key West Pride – including pool and dance parties, comedy, a street fair, a parade, drag shows and so much more. Information can be found at keywestpride.org;
  • 3 – 5 July: Super boat international offshore race – for those who like powerboats, watch them compete under the Seven Mile Bridge on the same day as 4th July firework display. The Key Lime Festival is also held over the same weekend, meaning there is a lot to see and do this holiday weekend.
  • 21 – 26 July: Annual Hemingway Days – The 35th annual celebration of the famous author’s work and lifestyle, which includes reading, short story competitions and even a look-a-like contest. For more information visit hemingwaydays.net;
  • 23 Oct – 1 November: Annual Fantasy Fest – This outrageous 10 day-long costuming and masking celebration features flamboyant costume competitions, promenades, street fairs and lavish floats. This year’s theme is “All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show’. Visit www.fantasyfest.com for more information;
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If you’ve been tempted by Key West, you can visit fla-keys.co.uk for even more information to plan your perfect trip.

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.