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

Gay Pride in Key West Next Month

Author: , May 12th, 2014

Key West Pride 2014Celebrate PRIDE on a tropical island that is legendary for its laid back style and its open and accepting atmosphere.

Key West celebrated its first Pride 35 years ago with a simple march up Duval St. This first Pride March included gay and straight men and women, friends, family members, locals, and visitors who decided they wanted to send a message to the world about how a community could live…together.

Integration, acceptance, and inclusion have been a way of life in Key West for decades. Celebrate Pride on a tropical island where our official motto is “One Human Family.”

via Gay Web Source | Key West Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Events in the Florida Keys

Author: , April 5th, 2014

Key West Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

If you’re planning a trip to Key West, we found a great list of upcoming events for 2014 in the Florida Keys.

The Orlando Advocate reports:

March TBA: Keystock Music Festival. Big Pine & the Lower Keys. Crowds are expected to gather at Lazy Lakes RV Resort, MM 19.8 oceanside, for a daylong event featuring several musical performances. Keystock is sponsored by Lazy Lakes, Homes for Vets Inc., Southernmost Homes and Howard Livingston. Contact Lazy Lakes at 305-745-1079.

March 29: Florida Keys Ocean Festival and Waterfront Craft Show. Key West. The fifth annual event features a kids’ fishing seminar, live animals, education activities, face painters, refreshments, food and local vendors. The show is set to take place at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center on the Truman Waterfront and celebrates the treasured Keys waters and environment. Visit www.keysoceanfest.org.

April 5: 33rd Annual Seven Mile Bridge Run. Marathon. A field of 1,500 runners participates in this annual foot race across what is believed to be the longest segmental bridge in the world. Visit www.7mbrun.com or call 305-743-8513.

April 5-6: Florida Keys Island Fest. Islamorada. The annual event features music, art, food and fun. Island Fest hosts a notable art show with 100 artists and crafters from around the state, great live music and a “Taste of the Islands” competition where the best Upper Keys restaurants compete for coveted awards. Visit www.islamoradachamber.com or call 305-664-4503.

See the rest of the events at the link above.

See the Full Story at The Orlando Advocate

Click here for gay travel resources in Key West.

Are Times Changing for South Florida Gay Hotels?

Author: , March 13th, 2014

Heron House key West

Heron House key West

Guesthouses in South Florida: is it a sign of changing times in the industry? One of America’s most famous, or perhaps infamous, gay spots is for sale, and others are (gasp!) going mainstream to attract a broader clientele.

The biggest shake-up comes from Key West, with the news that Island House in Key West is now for sale, less than a year after the death of co-owner Martin Kay.

Joe Allen, who still owns the resort currently, opened Island House in 1976 with Kay. Allen sent an email to his entire mailing list that included the following:

“I think I can say without boast that we created at Island House a unique place, a safe and happy space for thousands of gay men to meet, to eat and drink, to make merry. I’m proud of that, but more important in this context, Island House is successful and profitable operation. I’m confident that its new owner will operate it as a gay men’s resort. It has higher ADR’s and occupancy than any comparable property in Old Town. There’s no good reason to change its model. It’s a success,” wrote Allen.

Island House has become the focal point for much of Key West’s LGBT community, as other smaller resorts on the island have become mainstream guesthouses. The restaurant is a popular meeting place for locals to have breakfast, and drag shows by the pool are common (as is sex on the upper outdoor deck and in the hotel’s porn theater).

Authored By Dan Renzi – See the Full Story at Gay Cities

Click here for gay travel resources in Florida.

Win a Trip to Spring Break in Key West

Author: , January 30th, 2014

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Still hibernating? Don’t let us tempt you with a free trip to Key West.

That’s right: we have teamed up with Island House to send you to Key West, the best gay resort town in the world.

Spend a fabulous Spring Break partying poolside, sipping on free cocktails and enjoying the eye candy all weekend long. Oh, and we’re not only sending you, but 3 of your best buds!

The winner plus 3 friends will all receive:

  • Free roundtrip flights to Key West, Florida (originating in the continental U.S.)
  • Three-night stay at Island House in a private 2-bedroom apartment
  • Complimentary dinner + bottle service
  • VIP reception with Key West’s hottest dancers, drag queens and DJ
  • Photos of your Spring Break weekend published exclusively on Queerty

Enter by 2/23.

See the Full Story at Queerty

Click here for gay travel resources in Key West.