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Travel Thursday: Explore The Water Sports, Gay Spaces, And Local Atmosphere Of Key West

At the southernmost point of the United States of America, there lies an island full of culture, fun, and small town atmosphere.

The island of Key West originated as a close-knit community and artistic hub before revamping into a vacation destination in the mid-twentieth century. On top of that, the island has a strong gay community and appeal for vacationers. That makes it the perfect place to write about for Instinct Magazine’s Travel Thursday section.

So, if you’re looking for the best spot to plan your next vacation, here’s some info about why you should pick Key West.


Where to Stay

There are several LGBTQ-friendly resorts and inns on the island. The one I was fortunate enough to stay at was the Equator Resort.

The Equator Resort is a beautiful men's only resort with a definite gay vacay feel. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t shy away from the environment being about the merging of relaxation and sexual exploration. A kind/efficient staff compliment the spacious well decorated rooms all with private bathrooms and eleven complimentary gay porn television channels and don't forget the backyard clothing optional pool area.

Related Post: Can You Say NO To Gay Hookup Culture (And Still Love It Anyway)?

If you want a less sexual resort/inn or are traveling with family, you can look into The Gardens Hotel.

The Gardens Hotel is just as spacious and luxurious as the Equator Resort, but it also has the added plus of being on an absolutely beautiful lot. There is plenty of plant life and animal life surrounding the hotel insuring your vacation photos will be beautiful.


What to Experience: Water Sports

You've found a place to stay now on this beautiful island at the end of Route 1, but what’s there to do in Key West?

Key West, being an island, has a whole bunch of water around it and therefore a great many water oriented activities and sports to enjoy. Fury Water Adventures offers a variety of high-adrenaline activities. If you want to experience just about everything you can on the water, go with Fury and look up its Ultimate Adventure – an action-packed day that includes parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking and snorkeling.

I got to enjoy snorkeling with Fury Water Adventures and jetskiing with Barefoot Billy's Jet Ski Tour. Both adventures were incredible with adrenaline intense activity and a fun/personable staff helping out every step of the way.

Possibly the most interesting water activities out of the bunch was night kayaking. While you can jet ski anywhere in the world, the night kayaking and paddle boarding by Ibis Bay Paddle Sports was particularly dynamic. Paddling away as we watched crabs, fish, and lobsters hang out below us was an experience I’ll never forget.

 

 

I also have to give a shout out to the Blu Q Sunset Sail, a gay owned sail boat tour. We were on the Blu Q to enjoy the Key West Sunset. There's something about the sky turning into the same rainbow colors as the flag flying above the ship’s bow that felt special to me. Check out the boomerang below as well as this statement from Captain Steve:

Key West's longest running all gay charter.

22 Years ago, I left my home in Texas to follow my passion.  That passion, sailing, literally brought me to the shores of Key West.  The day I landed ashore, I realized this was my new home and the beginning of a dream to finally do what I loved.  Growing from two six passenger sail boats and running part time trips, I eventually found the perfect boat, Blu Q.  Thousands of lasting memories later created by my wonderful and loyal customers, Blu Q has truly been woven into the fabric our our island community.  Please join me and my crew for what many have said was the best day of their vacation.  Let us share our personal and intimate experience on the water doing what we truly love to do.  - Blu Q

 

 

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The Delectable Food of Key West

I’ll be honest, Key West is an expensive place. Even the locals usually carry two or three jobs to afford calling this paradise home.

The food is no different in that sense, but it's not impossible. Many restaurants post their menu outside their door for you to see what's offered and how much they cost. On top of that, there are cheap options out there.

But if you wan to splurge a little and enjoy the fine dining experience, you can work your way there too. If you save up before you go, or are just stacked to begin with, you can partake in the plethora of delicious food this island culinary delight has to offer.

Here are some dishes from restaurants that I enjoyed during my stay.


Experience: The “Pink Triangle”

Once you’ve packed away some food and gotten yourself ready for a night of drinks, dancing, and dudes, it’ll be time to head over to Duval Street and the Pink Triangle.

Duval Street is "the downtown street” in Key West, running completely across the island from the north side to its southern side, from water to water. At night time, this street is covered with tourists and locals alike who are looking to enjoy the nightlife on the island. This is especially true around the Pink Triangle.

The Pink Triangle of Duval Street is home to several gay clubs and bars (and even the Gay Key West Visitors Center). This location is full of spots where gay men (and only gay men in several bars) go to party and maybe meet that special someone for the night, a nice Key West hookup. 

Sone of these Pink Triangle hot spots include 

Key West is known for a fantastic drag scene. 801 and Aqua are home to two of the best shows you may ever see.

 

 

 

Experience: Gay Male Spaces

As I’ve touched on in other sections, there is an intense sexual atmosphere in Key West. Several of the men’s only bars and resorts have a gay sex scene feel to them.

One particular spot of note was the Island House Resort. It's another place to stay in addition to the ones mentioned above or you could just decide to visit Island House as a day visitor, like if it were a bathhouse.

The Island House resort is decked out with a large (clothing optional) pool area, sauna, fully stocked bar, and more. Not only is this location a great spot for tourists to relax and have fun, but it’s a well-known spot for locals to gather together and enjoy paradise.

Every Sunday and Wednesday, the Island House becomes THE spot for gay men to gather, socialize, and drink. Island locals and tourists join together to enjoy themselves in this social setting that most bathhouses today have sadly left behind.


Dessert

If men are not on your list of sweets you're craving, there are the caloric ones to enjoy, too.

Key West is the home of the Key Lime pie, and I for sure had my fill, with each slice tasting different than the rest. And if you’re not a fan of the local lime treat, don’t worry. Key West is an island chock-full of desserts. Check out a few I tried down below.

 


Experience: Locals & Tours

What’s great about Key West is that it is complex and dynamic. While you can enjoy the typical tourist spots and water sports or the gay vacation spots, you can also enjoy the history, culture, and small town side of the island, too.

If you visit Key West, take the time to talk to some of the locals on the island. Once you’ve met them, you’re sure to see them all over the island.

My first stop on the island was at Papa’s Pilar, a rum distillery named after famous islander Ernest Hemingway. The tour of the distillery also included a history lesson about Hemingway’s love of the island, how he named himself Papa, how he forced everyone to call him that, why his boat was called the Pilar, and how the rum got named after both.

The staff at the distillery were so kind, informed us about the island’s history, and were knowledgeable about the technical side of creating alcohol making this a tour I HIGHLY recommend for anyone visiting the island.

On top of that, I befriended some of the workers at the distillery and imagine my surprise when I later ran into one while hanging out in one of the gay bars. Small island.

Of course, that’s not the only tour on the island. If you want to be guided around the island and shown all its history, culture, and natural beauty, there are plenty of tours to do that. I was fortunate enough to explore it all while on these tours:

  • A tour of Hemingway’s Home - There's a great artistic history and community in Key West. For instance, Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West for nearly 10 years! He became a community leader and his Whitehead street home later became a popular tourist spot. Walk the halls where he once lived, learn about his time on the island, and pet one of the six-toed cats who are now the great-grandchildren of the cats Hemingway once owned.
  • A museum tour for famous playwright Tennessee Williams - The goal of this museum is to keep the legacy alive of one of the greatest American playwrights of the last century. It offers visitors an entertaining and informative self-guided tour as well as curator led tours to absorb information about Williams's life, career, and devotion to his sister Rose (who also became an Island resident).
  • A Key Lime bike tour around the island - Key Lime Bike Tours takes riders on a historical journey around the island of Key West. The company provides a fun and informative experience that enables guests to discover the island’s history, architecture, and culture. Stops include Hemingway House, Mallory Square, Key West Historic Seaport, Southernmost Point, Mile Marker 0, Key West Cemetery, Margaritaville and the Key Lime Pie Factory for a slice of frozen Key lime pie.
  • The Butterfly & Nature Conservatory - Walk through an inviting environment filled with hundreds of the most beautiful winged creatures in nature. Guests will discover an impressive collection of flowering plants, colorful birds including flamingos, cascading waterfalls and trees that set the stage for the “flowers of the sky.” Attractions also include a learning center where guests can explore butterfly anatomy, physiology, lifecycle, feeding and the migratory world of the monarch.

 


Experience: Key West

Two weeks ago, I was blessed with a visit to Key West, and I can say without a doubt that I now plan to go back someday. I enjoyed the gay bars, the water sports, the food, and the local feel of the island. And now I have to get another look.

Key West is a must for any traveler (gay or otherwise).


We'd like to thank fla-keys.com for all of their great support before and during our trip to Key West. They helped us make some great connections. Look them op if you need pointers and as well, see below for some links to the great places we had the chance to visit. 


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

Resorts

Equator Resort Key West
822 Fleming St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-7775

www.equatorresort.com
@EquatorKeyWest​​

The Gardens Hotel
526 Angela St.
Key West, FL 33040
https://www.gardenshotel.com/

 

Nightlife

801 Cabaret: Sushi and the 801 Girls Drag Show
801 Duval St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-4737

www.801bourbon.com

 

Tours

Hemingway Rum Co.
201 Simonton St.
Key West FL 33040
305-414-8754
http://papaspilar.com/admin/distillery/

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
907 Whitehead St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-1575
www.hemingwayhome.com

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
1316 Duval St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-296-2088
www.keywestbutterfly.com

Tennessee Williams Museum
513 Truman Ave. near Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040
305-842-1666
http://www.kwahs.org/museums/ tennessee-williams/history-of-tennessee-williams​​

Audubon House and Gardens
205 Whitehead St.
Key West FL
305-294-2116
www.audubonhouse.com

Key Lime Bike Tour
122 Ann St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-340-7834
www.keylimebiketours.com

 

Food

Azur
425 Grinnell St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-292-2987

www.azurkeywest.com

Salute! On The Beach
1000 Atlantic Blvd.  
Key West, FL 33040
305-292-1117

www.saluteonthebeach.com

Breakfast at Blue Heaven
729 Thomas St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-296-8666
www.blueheavenkw.com

Dinner and Drag at La Te Da
1125 Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040
www.lateda.com

Latitudes
245 Front St.
Key West FL 33040
305-292-5394
https://www.sunsetkeycottages.com/latitudes-restaurant/

The Stoned Crab
3101 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-4350
http://www.stonedcrab.com/

Spencer’s by the Sea (@TheReachResort)
1435 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
http://www.reachresort.com/dining-en.html

 

Water Adventure

Fury Water Adventures
245 Front Street
Key West, FL 33040
www.furycat.com

Blu Q Sunset Sail
Key West, FL 33040
305-923-7245
www.bluqkeywest.com

Barefoot Billy’s Jet Ski Tour
Casa Marina Resort
At the corner of Alberta St. & Seminole St.
305-900-3088
www.barefootbillys.com

Night Kayaking/Paddle boarding at Ibis Bay
3101 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West FL 33040
305-896-0342
www.keywestpaddle.com/Nightpaddling.html

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I must say that I really like the water sports and in this article shared such great stuff about this. In this summer, I must explore this place after my buses from dallas to san antonio and will enjoy water sports there.

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