It’s Still Gay Key West – The Advocate

Author: , January 26th, 2018

gay Key West - pixabay

They have a motto in Key West: “One Human Family.” Coined by James Thompson — an HIV-positive activist, organizer, and designer — it represents Key West, the tiny island best known for its queer inclusiveness.

“Inclusiveness is part of our heritage,” one tour guide told me when I visited last August. Its embrace of diversity and willingness to set itself apart from the Florida mainland goes back to its origins as a haven for an eclectic blend of Native Americans, Spanish, freed slaves, seafarers (including pirates), queers, and creatives. The island known as the “southernmost point in the continental U.S.” sided with the North during the Civil War and later served as home to famous writers like Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, and Judy Blume.

The charm Key West offers is so unlike other Florida cities that many locals call it “Unflorida” and consider the island to be “more Caribbean than the United States.” Its reputation as a refuge for LGBT people has been reflected in local politics: The city was one of the first in the U.S. to elect an out gay mayor (Richard A. Heyman in 1983).

By David Artavia – Full Story at SOURCE

Key West Gay Travel Resources

Key West Bar Crawl

Author: , March 9th, 2017

Key West Bar Crawl

Whether you’re visiting Key West for the LGBT history, art, food or something a little more adventurous, there’s one thing no vacation is complete without: drinks. The vibrant nightlife in Key West is every bit as unique as the rest of the local culture. Key West’s welcoming attitude, great weather and manageable size make it a perfect place to put together a bar crawl that’ll take you on a tour of all the scenes the island has to offer. With less car congestion and crowd crush as other Florida destinations, a stroll between Key West hotspots gives you a chance to take in the historic streetscapes between all those vodka sodas.

Below are five of our picks for a night out that’ll get you stumbling home wearing a smile (and maybe not much else).


Keep it classy while you can. Start your night slow with an early evening DIY wine tasting at D’Vine Gallery (526 Angela St.). You can help yourself to samples for as little as $1.50 per “taste” at this self-serve wine bar inside the Gardens Hotel. Once you find your favorite, grab a bigger swig or a full glass using the same state-of-the-art system. Depending on the day, you could catch live piano or jazz while you drink up.

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Key West Gay Travel Resources

Key West is the Provincetown of the South – Mostly

Author: , March 18th, 2016

Key West - Apple MapsWe may have just sprung forward, but winter continues to linger throughout much of the U.S.-a fact that may be causing you to dream about getting away to somewhere warm and tropical. In the summer we like to hit up the sandy shores of Provincetown but this time of year is the perfect time to visit Key West. If you haven’t been to visit America’s original gay getaway, you’ll want to check out our 10 reasons why Key West, Florida is the Provincetown of the south plus 1 sexy way Key West stands on its own.

10. Artists Galore

TnFrankFence2Like Provincetown, Key West is also known as an artist’s colony. Key West has long been a favorite among gay authors, including playwrights Tennessee Williams, Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly, La Cage Aux Folles), Terrence McNally, poet Elizabeth Bishop, and novelist Truman Capote. Williams in particular has the distinction of being Key West’s most famous gay denizen and also its gay godfather of sorts. Williams famously wrote of living in Key West, “there is almost nothing to do at all but drink or swim or -.” He also reportedly said of why he loved the island, “I work everywhere, but I work best here.” Williams (far right) lived in Key West for years with his partner Frank Merlo (pictured left of Williams) in a tiny house on Duncan street, which still stands today. Writers seeking inspiration can pay homage to Williams at an exhibit set up here in his honor.

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Key West Gay Travel Resources

Gay Key West Like a Local

Author: , June 22nd, 2015

Gay Key WestFlorida Keys expert Stephen Murray-Smith on the gorgeous Key West: from its vibrant drag scene to its Cuban cuisine to its celebrity inhabitants past and present, from Madonna to Tennessee Williams.

When did you move here?

I’ve lived here for 26 years. After visiting one year in June and falling in love with the island, the vegetation, the bloom – I was ready to make a change. Plus I don’t like cold weather and a lot of traffic. It’s also very welcoming and safe here. You’re hard pressed to stop anywhere and not see someone you know. We’re one big happy family.

What’s your favourite gay bar?

I like Bourbon St. Pub, and I like the Garden Bar because you’re sat actually in a courtyard with a swimming pool and a jacuzzi. It’s a very relaxed place to be.

By Jamie Tabberer – Full Story at Gay Star News | LOCATION Gay Travel Resources in Key West

Naked Paddleboarding in Key West

Author: , May 31st, 2015

Photo: Juan Pisani

It’s an afternoon of pure bliss that happens deep in the secluded heart of the waterways that part the majestic black and red mangroves of bucolic and sparsely populated Sugarloaf Key. The only sounds on this journey are the steady, reliable swoosh of the paddle as it dives into the water on both sides of your board propelling you along at a graceful, steady clip.

Your friends for the day are a likeminded band of adventurers along with sting rays, barracuda, grouper, nurse sharks, jellyfish, and other creatures of the sea. There’s literally nothing standing between you and nature–not even a swimsuit. That’s because this is Nomadic SUP, a gay-owned tour operator in Key West whose handsome and strapping owner, Cody White, leads daily, clothing-optional standup paddleboard tours through the Mangroves.

We took a tour with White and later sat down with him to talk about leading gay men and women on the perfect Key West adventure–sans clothing.

By Jason Heidemann – Full Story at Passport | Key West Gay Travel Resources

Image by Juan Pisani

Gay Key West – The Conch Republic

Author: , January 2nd, 2015

Gay Key WestKey West is a community that has long defined itself by what it’s not. It’s not like much of the United States, for example. Key West appeals to folks looking to find a life that’s considerably slower and more laid-back–and more tolerant–than what they’ve experienced elsewhere. In 1982, the community adopted the tongue-in-cheek moniker of “The Conch Republic” to proclaim its figurative secession from the mainland, which, locals often remind you, is further away from Key West than Cuba is.

Key West is certainly not like much of Florida, playing home to numerous men and women, many of them LGBT, who have eschewed the right-wing politics of their state. It was Key West residents, for example, who were at the forefront of the Sunshine State’s push for gay marriage, which, as of this writing, is still being litigated. It’s not a place that takes itself too seriously either. Case in point is the cylindrical post marking the southernmost point in the United States, whose resemblance to a certain sex toy leads locals to refer to it as the “southernmost butt plug.”

Like many great destinations, Key West appeals to myriad travelers, whether they’re seeking sports, quiet contemplation or all-out hedonism. Consequently, you’ll find about any level of accommodation, from quiet bed-and-breakfasts, to full-service luxury resorts, to establishments that are essentially bathhouses with hotel rooms.

By Matt Simonette – Full Story at the Windy City Times | Key West Gay Travel Resources

Fall in Love With Gay Key West

Author: , November 26th, 2014

Key West - Apple MapsKey West truly is the perfect getaway for your wedding, honeymoon and romance. While it still is the place to go for clothing optional, all night, all-male fun and frolicking, the island has more than a few hidden gems that make it the perfect one stop destination for your upcoming nuptials, honeymoon, or just a romantic getaway. If money isn’t a concern, then have the entire ceremony and honeymoon at either The Westin Key West Resort and Marina or Casa Marina- A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Both boast fully appointed rooms and suites with balconies and a long list of amenities.

The restaurants at both locations have some of the most delectable offerings using the freshest ingredients and are prepared to perfection. The only thing better than the food will be looking into the eyes of the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life while you both enjoy some of the best food you’ve ever tasted.

If you’re at the Westin’s Sun-Sun, the crab cakes are a must. So are the lobster sliders. If you think you’ve had crab cakes before, you’re dead wrong. These will melt in your mouth. Chock full of delicate fresh crab held together with just the right amount of breadcrumbs. Fantastic.

By Tom Andrew – Full Story at SDGLN | Key West Gay Travel Resources

Twelve Things to Do in Key West

Author: , August 10th, 2014

Key West - Troy PetenbrinkDavid Sloan knows well the magic of Key West. In his book, Quit Your Job and Move to Key West, Sloan describes his journey from corporate America to the laid back life of Key West. That was in 1996, and he hasn’t regretted one minute.

Of course, Sloan is not alone in his love for Key West. The southernmost city has been an alluring travel destination for visitors from around the world for more than 75 years. A great deal of those visitors have been and continue to be gay and lesbian. Key West has a well earned reputation as a welcoming destination. It was the first American city to launch a campaign to encourage gay tourism, and its official motto is “One Human Family.”

While not every visitor to Key West decides to make it his or her home like Sloan, they are almost guaranteed to fall under the island’s spell. Here are 12 Must Dos when in the famed Florida city.

1. Go South

The Southernmost Point painted concrete buoy marking one of the extreme points of the United States is likely Key West’s most photographed landmark. Created in 1983, the fact that the buoy is not actually the southernmost point of the U.S. (that honor goes to Ballast Key, a privately owned island south and west of Key West) does not deter hundreds of daily visitors from snapping pictures of it.

By Troy Petenbrink – Full Story at Metro Weekly | Key West Gay Travel Resources

Image by Troy Petenbrink

A Twenty-Something Discovers Gay Key West

Author: , June 12th, 2014

Gay Key West

Source: Key West Pride

After a quick 20-minute flight from Miami I touch down amid swaying palm trees and a balmy early summer breeze. I am greeted by a sign that practically screams at me: ‘Welcome to the Conch Republic.’ I’m nervous that I’ve caught the wrong flight, but my tour guide, Stephen Murray-Smith, assures me that I am indeed in the correct location.

The name was coined by the locals after Key West (in tongue-in-cheek fashion) seceded from the Union in the early ’80s. This is my first taste of Key West, and I’m already in love with its crazy charm and distinct local identity. It feels like nowhere else in the United States (technically, it isn’t), and as Steve reminds me, I am closer to Cuba than the contiguous 48 states.

After grabbing my luggage from an airport terminal smaller than my living room, I head to Equator Resort, which will be my home base for a long weekend. Equator Resort is one of the few remaining all-male, clothing-optional resorts in gay Key West, and as such, it offers a unique adult-only experience.

By Douglas Baulf – Full Story at Edge Boston | Key West Gay Travel Resources

Key West Like a Local

Author: , May 24th, 2014

Key West - Apple MapsChat with a local in the Florida Keys and you’ll likely hear a similar story often repeated. The storyteller talks of traveling here for a vacation and never going home, of calling time on their corporate life back home in New York (or Chicago, or Cincinnati…) and moving down to the Keys for a simpler, slower, and sunnier life.

Even if you’re not quite ready to make the move yourself, let the locals (both born-and-bred, and transplanted) guide your trip. Here, we introduce you to a few of them, and how to experience their Keys:

Home to dozens of souvenir stores, tour providers, and rowdy bars, mile-long Duval Street is the only part of Key West many visitors see. Rather than crawling between touristy Margaritaville and Sloppy Joe’s, head to the Green Parrot on Whitehead Street. The building housing this local favorite has stood since 1890 and was, for a period of time, a submariners’ bar. The distinct sense of Key West kitsch that you’ll find across the island is on proud display here, too, with a haphazard collection of clutter adorning the walls and a sign over the bar that says “no sniveling.”

By Karen Gardiner Dion – Shermans Travel | Key West Gay Travel Resources

Image via Apple Maps