Besides the obvious benefits of lower hotel rates when visiting the Keys during the off-season, there are some signature events that are only available during the summer. Plus, you get a chance to really experience the island life as the locals do, so you’ll feel less like a tourist. If you thought Key West was easy-going during the winter, the summer is when you’ll really get a taste of the good life.Lobster vendors — Photo courtesy of Key West LobsterFest
First off, there is Lobsterfest, which should be reason enough to visit. Each August, when the spiny lobster season kicks off, the city celebrates with drinks, music, and fresh lobster! After sunset, the citizens sport Lobsterfest shirts for the annual Duval Street pub crawl. Over the weekend, arts and crafts vendors set up shop, lobster stands take to the street, and there is a live concert series. Booze, music, and lobster? Summer is sounding good already!
Experience the island’s “One Human Family” philosophy during Pride Fest (Key West Pride) in June, with street fairs, dance parties, barbecues, sunset sails, film nights, and a gathering of creative people. From island-wide scavenger hunts, to late night, clothing-optional parties and drag shows, the opportunities for fun are endless. Don’t miss the pride parade, and the crowning of Mr., Miss, and Ms. Pride.Key West Pride Parade — Photo courtesy of Key West Pride
Since there are fewer tourists demanding their most popular activities, several outfitters are getting creative with adventure packages during the summer. Kayak Kings of Key West is one provider that is offering multi-day customized combinations trips that include sailing to the Marquesa Keys, a strikingly beautiful natural atoll with fantastic fishing, beach combing, snorkeling, and kayaking opportunities.
Hidden mangrove mazes — Photo courtesy of Kayak Kings of Key West
Or, skip the nightly hotel rates and try one of their four-day kayaking and camping combos from Key Largo to Bahia Honda and from Bahia Honda State Park to Key West. While other kayak companies are fighting over the same areas on the same old “tours,” Kayak Kings offers guided trips to the outer narrows, a seemingly endless mangrove maze where your group will be the only ones out there. Other sailboat and kayak back-country adventures include sleeping under the stars, catching and (eating dinner), having a few beers, and just hanging out with new friends. In short: living the dream.