Summertime Fun in the Florida Keys

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Underwater Music Festival participants Katie Jennele, Bob Rowland, Eric Rolfe and Alicia Merel, enjoy an 'Alice in Wonderland' tea party. AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Bob Care.
Underwater Music Festival participants Katie Jennele, Bob Rowland, Eric Rolfe and Alicia Merel enjoy an "Alice in Wonderland" tea party. AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Bob Care.

Your clients don’t need to leave the country to find crystal-clear waters and spectacular sunsets. Have them head down to the Florida Keys, where throughout the summer events are occurring both on land and in the water, ready to make their vacation unforgettable.

The EventsKey West Pride, June 6-10—Key West, a city consistently recognized as one of the world’s top gay and lesbian vacation destinations, will hold the annual Key West Pride, a festival celebrating diversity, openness and freedom. Guests here can expect dance parties, drag shows and a parade through town. For more information, visit pridefestkeywest.com.

Third Annual Key West Bacchanalia, June 7-10—Overlapping with Key West Pride is the Third Annual Key West Bacchanalia, a food and wine event that has celebrity chefs facing off against each other to benefit breast cancer research. For more information, visit keywestbacchanalia.com.

The Original FKCC Swim Around Key West and Swim Meet, June 16—On this day, swimmers between the ages of 18 and 65 years and older will enjoy swimming clockwise around the island of Key West. If your clients opt to participate, race registration is $100 per person with discounts available for group registration. For more information, visit fkccswimaroundkeywest.com.

Mel Fisher Days, July 12-15—Any treasure hunters out there ought to stop by Key West for Mel Fisher Days, an annual celebration around the anniversary of Fisher’s discovery of the shipwrecked Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha. For more information, visit melfisher.com.

28th Annual Underwater Music Festival, July 14—For divers, snorkelers, swimmers and mermaids only: this submerged festival in Big Pine and the Lower Keys will make use of Lubell Laboratory speakers beneath boats positioned over the reefs, and will take place at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The sound quality is known to be extremely clear, but with an ethereal effect due to the sound waves’ transmission through water. For more information, visit lowerkeyschamber.com.

Hemingway Days, July 17-22—Introduce your clients to Ernest Hemingway at Key West’s 32nd annual Hemingway Days. During this year’s celebration, visitors can take part in literary readings, short story competitions, fishing tournaments or the Sloppy Joe’s Look-Alike Contest. For more information, visit hemingwaydays.net.

Key Largo Food & Wine Festival, July 27-Aug. 5—Spanning two weekends, the Key Largo Food & Wine Festival incorporates gourmet dinners with cultural festivities and wines from around the world. The Grand Tasting in particular shouldn’t be missed, offering wine seminars, cooking demos, celebrity chef appearances and, of course, tons of food, all amidst live music and a Key Largo-style beach party. For more information, visit keylargofoodandwinefestival.com.

The Accommodations • Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort—When they’re finished exploring the area, your clients can unwind via the Relax at the Spa package, starting at $194 dbl through Dec. 15. The Relax at the Spa package includes a room upgrade, breakfast and $25 spa credit per room. For more information, visit marriottkeylargo.com.

• Parrot Key Hotel & Resort—Complementing its prime spot on a white-sand beaches in Key West, Parrot Key Resort offers its own watersports center, featuring jet-ski rentals, kayak rentals, fishing excursions, snorkeling, diving and paddle-boarding. Rates start at $229 per night for a standard garden room during the summer season, and clients receive 15 percent off instantly when booking at least seven days in advance. For more information, visit parrotkeyresort.com.

• Southernmost Hotel in the USA—Like its name suggests, Southernmost Hotel in the USA is located at the southernmost tip of Key West—a prime spot for enjoying the festivals and happenings of Duval Street. Amenities include free WiFi, complimentary beach chairs, beach concierge service, swimming pools and hammocks. Summer rates start at $179 per night. For more information, visit southernmostresorts.com.