What's New in Key West for LGBTQ Visitors

The Florida Keys & Key West have long been known for their diversity and acceptance of all visitors. The southernmost island chain in the US continues to be a popular vacation destination for LGBTQ travelers, with new and exciting experiences to be had around every corner.

Whether you're looking to fly into Key West or drive down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway from mainland Florida, the Keys are easy to get to and offer plenty of activities and attractions for everyone. Six major airlines operate nonstop routes to Key West International Airport, making it a convenient destination for travelers from all over the US.

If you're planning a trip to Key West, be sure to check out some of the new additions and enhancements that have been made with LGBTQ visitors in mind. From refurbished rainbow crosswalks to new accommodations and events, there's something for everyone to enjoy in Key West.

So what's new in Key West? Here's a rundown of some of the latest additions and changes:

- The Key West International Airport is in the midst of a $90 million terminal expansion that will improve the level of service for all travelers. The new terminal is scheduled to be completed in October 2024 and will feature a new concourse, enhanced security checkpoint, and updated baggage claim and concessions areas.

- The rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets have been refurbished and are once again a shining beacon of inclusivity in the heart of Key West's LGBTQ entertainment district.

- The Equator Resort, a clothing-optional all-male property, has enhanced its accommodations with higher quality linens and toiletries and added an in-room digital compendium. The resort has also implemented a new text-messaging system that allows guests to contact the front desk with any requests, allowing for increased social distancing.

- Island House Resort, another all-male, clothing-optional property, has extended its "Buy 4 Nights, Get 3 Free" offer for another year. The earing period for complimentary nights is Nov. 7, 2022, through June 11, 2023, with the redemption period set for June 12 through Sept. 28, 2023.

- La Te Da Hotel is slated to renovate its outdoor bar and seating areas in September 2022. The 15-room, adult-only property is gay-owned and operated and features a pool, two full-service bars, and multiple entertainment venues with live entertainment.There's always something new and exciting happening in Key West, so be sure to check back often for updates. And if you're planning a trip, be sure to check out all that the island has to offer LGBTQ visitors.

- Blu Q Sailing Adventures, which has offered gay all-male clothing-optional snorkel and kayak, sandbar, and sunset sail tours since 1996, has updated its 2022-23 schedule. The Sandbar & Snorkel excursion is currently slated to run from May through October, with the Kayak & Snorkel experience planned from November through April. Both trips are four hours long and feature spectacular scenery with stops at serene backcountry areas and other uncrowded locales. Blu Q’s two-hour sunset sails are scheduled to operate year-round and are to include all-welcome departures on a request basis only. 
- Key West’s Island Vibe Charters, the LGBTQ–owned and –operated "all welcome" charter operation, offers private excursions to offshore sandbars and to the reef for snorkeling trips for families and groups of up to six. Its 28-foot, twin-engine Edgewater boat offers bow and stern seating. Four- to six-hour trips, priced from $680, include sandbar and snorkeling excursions. Ice, drinking water, life vests and snorkeling and beach gear are provided. 
- LGBT Charters’ 55-foot private yacht Bottoms Up can be chartered for up to six people for dolphin watching, kayaking and water activities or to go to a remote island off Key West. The company is owned by Joseph Schroeder, who also owns Bourbon St. Pub Entertainment Complex, New Orleans House and the 801 Bourbon Bar on Key West’s Duval Street. The vessel is based at Conch Harbor Marina at 951 Caroline St. Six-hour trips are priced from $2,500. 
- The Aquaplex, where "reality is a drag", has unveiled a new look at 711 Duval St. in the heart of Key West’s LBGTQ entertainment district. The property now has multiple venues including an outdoor Hawaiian-themed restaurant — Poké in the Rear — serving lunch and dinner with a full bar in the compound’s back patio area. There's also an expanded dance floor and new lighting and sound at CLUB 504 at the Sidebar, 504 Angela St.; the Back Bar, an outdoor garden bar; and the 22&CO bar, known for its neon flamingo décor. All venues are accessible from within the complex. The Aquaplex is locally owned and staffed by a family of longtime employees and drag professionals. It's open from noon to 2 a.m. daily, with new shows and events designed to create variety for patrons. 

There's always something new and exciting happening in Key West, so be sure to check back often for updates. And if you're planning a trip, be sure to check out all that the island has to offer LGBTQ visitors.

This article written in part with OpenAI’s GPT-3.