Key West Summer Fun!

From colorful parades to literary celebrations, Key West hosts an array of unique festivals and events throughout the year that showcase the island's vibrant culture and history.

Key West Lobster Mini-Season

The annual mini lobster season in Key West is a highly anticipated event for recreational lobster hunters. Held on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July, the two-day season allows divers to catch spiny lobsters before the regular commercial season begins. This year, the mini season falls on July 26-27, 2023.During the mini season, each person is allowed to catch a maximum of 6 lobsters per day. Divers use nets, snares, and "tickle sticks" to coax the lobsters from their hiding spots in reefs and around the Florida Keys. Strict regulations are enforced, including size limits and prohibited fishing areas, to ensure the sustainability of the lobster population.For those not interested in catching lobsters, the mini season is still an exciting time to view the spiny lobsters in their natural habitats. Guided eco-tours, such as night kayaking trips through mangrove forests or snorkeling excursions in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, provide opportunities to observe these fascinating creatures.The mini lobster season draws visitors from around the country to participate in the festivities and enjoy the fresh catch. Local restaurants feature lobster specials, and the event has become a cherished tradition in the Florida Keys. With its clear waters, abundant marine life, and festive atmosphere, the mini lobster season showcases the unique appeal of Key West and the surrounding islands.

Hemingway Look-Alike Contest

The Hemingway Look-Alike Contest is an annual event held in Key West, Florida that celebrates the life and legacy of renowned author Ernest Hemingway. Contestants from around the world compete to be named the best Hemingway look-alike, being judged not only on physical resemblance but also on how well they embody the spirit and persona of the famous writer. The contest takes place at Sloppy Joe's Bar, a frequent hangout of Hemingway's during the 1930s when he lived in Key West. In addition to the main competition, the festivities include a "Running of the Bulls" event featuring wooden bulls on wheels, adding a humorous twist to the famed Spanish tradition Hemingway loved. The Look-Alike Contest is a highlight of the annual Hemingway Days celebration, which pays tribute to Hemingway's literary talent, adventurous lifestyle, and enduring impact on Key West's culture.

Family-Friendly Activities

Key West offers many exciting family-friendly activities that kids of all ages can enjoy. Some of the top attractions include the Key West Aquarium, where children can get an up-close look at marine life like sharks, jellyfish and sea turtles. The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is another must-see, featuring a tropical paradise filled with colorful butterflies, exotic birds and lush vegetation.For a dose of history and adventure, families can explore the Key West Shipwreck Museum to learn about the area's shipwreck salvage industry, or tour the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum where the famous author once lived. The Conch Tour Train and Old Town Trolley Tours provide a fun way to see the island's top sights, with knowledgeable guides sharing fascinating stories along the way.Active families will enjoy the many water sports and activities Key West has to offer, like snorkeling, kayaking, jet skiing and glass bottom boat tours. Dry Tortugas National Park, accessible by boat or seaplane, is an unforgettable day trip where you can explore a historic fort, coral reefs and beautiful beaches. With so many kid-friendly attractions and adventures, Key West is a fantastic destination for a memorable family vacation.

Tropical Fruit & Seafood Festivals

The summer months bring a variety of unique festivals and events to Key West. Truman's Tropical Fruit Festival at the Harry S. Truman Little White House celebrates the island's tropical fruits and the legacy of the 33rd president. Fishing enthusiasts can participate in the Key West Gator Club Dolphin Derby and the Florida Keys PBA Charity Dolphin Tournament, both offering chances to reel in big catches.Mango lovers won't want to miss the annual Mango Fest, featuring culinary delights, artisan crafts, and entertainment centered around the beloved tropical fruit. The Key Lime Festival pays homage to the island's signature dessert with pie-eating contests, cooking demonstrations, a cocktail sip and stroll, and more citrus-centric fun.On July 4th, runners can start their Independence Day festivities early with the Rotary Key West 5k Walk/Run before enjoying the island's spectacular fireworks display over the Atlantic Ocean. These events showcase the lively spirit and unique flavors that make summers in Key West so special.

Come Play in the Sun: Key West Bed & Breakfast - KeyWestTourist