The Florida Keys are known for their laid-back style and open, welcoming, and accepting atmosphere. Making it a favorite destination for LGBTQ+ travelers already for decades! And especially Key West is the place to be!
With their ‘One Human Family’ motto, Key West doesn’t just tolerate difference; they celebrate it.
It’s the southernmost point of the continental USA, and here queer businesses thrive, rainbow flags flutter all year, and there’s a rich queer history dating back as early as the 1950s! Key West was even among the first cities in the States to elect an openly gay mayor, Teri Johnston.
And it’s not only an amazing travel destination because of its welcomeness but also because of its amazing weather, beautiful nature, stunning waters, and fantastic restaurants. There is a lot to see and do here!
Whether you are a Florida Keys local, it’s your first time visiting the Florida Keys, or it’s your tenth time in this amazing part of the States: this queer and lesbian Key West and the Florida Keys guide is for you!
Gay Area Key West
Key West is the place to go to in the Florida Keys if you are looking for LGBTQ+ entertainment, queer-owned businesses, and the most welcoming hotels! It’s easy to be entertained in Key West and feel accepted.
Wander around the historic Old Town and find the heart of Key West’s LGBTQ+ nightlife on Duval St. There’s always something fun to do on Duval St.! And you won’t miss the iconic rainbow-painted crosswalks here. Perfect for a great, colorful picture.
Queer and Lesbian Events in Key West
Key West is known as a tropical island with a laid-back style and an open and accepting atmosphere, so it’s a fantastic place to visit year-round.
But an extra special moment to visit Key West is during specific events like Key West Pride and Key West Womenfest.
I will tell you all about them below!
Key West Pride
Every June, for one week, the LGBTQ+ Key West community comes together to celebrate Pride. And not just the LGBTQ+ Key West community, as people from all over the country and world come to Key West for Pride.
Key West Pride is the place where love, acceptance, and celebration collide! Pride is a reminder that everyone deserves to love freely, be accepted wholeheartedly, and live authentically. And it’s so important to continue the fight for equality and spread love in every color of the rainbow!
Get ready for a week filled with marches, drag shows, pool parties, Pride sailing trips, a street fair, Pride brunches, live theater, talent shows, and, of course, the Key West Pride Parade.
The Key West Pride Parade is fantastic as it goes through Key West’s old town, and people carry a part of the ‘Sea to Sea’ rainbow flag, which is believed to be the biggest rainbow flag in the world (1.25 mile/2 kilometers long).
2014 Key West Pride will be from June 5 until June 9.
Mangoes Drunken Drag Brunch
Once a month, on a Sunday, the restaurant Mangoes hosts a Drunken Drag Brunch. With drag queen performances (and if you are lucky drag king performances too), bottomless mimosas, a live DJ, and a signature á la carte brunch menu, it’s one of the best things you can do in Key West!
During Key West Pride, Mangoes organizes a Drunken Drag Brunch too, and it was one of my favorite drag shows I ever visited. It was lots of fun!
Make sure to bring single dollars with you to tip the drag queens and kings. They work hard, look stunning, and will make sure you have a good time!
Besides having a good time, you will enjoy delicious food at Mangoes too. Mangoes is known for its freshly made food with seafood from local vendors. The restaurant focuses on native local cuisines that blend Cuban, Bahamian, West Indies, and Key West influences. But American classic dishes (often with a creative twist) are also available at the restaurant.
Good to know: there are no Mangoes Drunken Drag Brunches in August.
Key West Womenfest
Key West Womenfest is one of North America’s biggest gatherings for LGBTQ+ women! Happening every year in September, queer women from around the world visit Key West for four days filled with fun and revelry.
In 2024, the Key West Womenfest happens from 4-8 September and offers a wide range of different activities for women who want to soak up some sun, socialize, meet new people, and party. The program includes women-only drag shows, pool parties, snorkel trips, stand-up comedy, live music by all-women bands, and art exhibitions.
Womenfest has one goal: to celebrate ALL women. Singles, couples, and those in between are all welcome. It’s for sure the hottest party for women in the Florida Keys!
Read our lesbian travel guide that that will help with planning your lesbian vacation. Including safety tips!
Queer and Lesbian Places in The Florida Keys
Let’s continue with places I recommend you to visit in lesbian Key West and the Florida Keys! I’ve included some of the typical best things to do in the Florida Keys, including LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
From the best sailing trips, excellent snorkel tours, delicious restaurants, great museums, and fabulous drag shows, you can all experience it in the Florida Keys.
If you want to meet lesbians in Key West and the Florida Keys, I recommend using lesbian Facebook groups or apps like HER to connect with the local lesbians. See also our free lesbian dating apps recommendations to meet your lover or make new friends.
Blu Q Key West LGBTQ+ Sunset Sailing Trip
Join Blu Q for a fantastic sunset sailing trip exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community! And of course, friends and family are welcome too.
This is the perfect way to see Key West from the turquoise waters while relaxing, enjoying drinks, and meeting new (queer) people.
It’s a 2-hour long breathtaking sunset trip with light snacks and water. You can bring your own drinks to enjoy. The Blu Q crew will ensure you feel welcome and safe, so you can soak in all the beauty of the Florida Keys.
Gay Key West Visitors Center
Head to 808 Duval Street in Key West to visit the Gay Key West Visitors Center! Here, you can find LGBTQ+ information about Key West, the Florida Keys, LGBTQ+-friendly businesses in the area, activities, and discount coupons.
The Gay Key West Visitors Center is operated by the Key West Business Guild. Since 1978, they have been promoting Key West as the premier destination for LGBTQ+ travelers.
Romantic Dinner at Latitudes
Looking for a super romantic thing to do? Don’t look further, as the luxurious restaurant Latitudes is the place to go to.
Latitudes is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant on a private island. Dine in front of the ocean while enjoying the sunset (make sure to make a reservation around sunset time!).
You do need to make a reservation a while in advance, and it’s more expensive than most restaurants in Key West, but it’s worth every penny (in my opinion).
The food is amazing at Latitudes, especially for the seafood lovers under us. Good to know: there are also options for vegans and vegetarians under us (ask for their off-menu options!).
Snorkel trip with Islander Girl Snorkel and Tours
When in the Florida Keys, you have to explore the water world! No matter if it’s on the water, like during a sunset sailing trip with Blu Q, or underwater, during a snorkel trip with Islander Girl Snorkel and Tours.
Islander Girl Snorkel and Tours is founded, owned, and operated by a mother-and-daughter team. They are Florida Keys locals and do what they do best and like most: diving and snorkeling. Let them show you the beautiful underwater world of the Florida Keys! And you might even see some sharks!
Snorkel tours depart twice daily (from Tavernier, near Islamorada) and include a guide and gear.
Join a Venus Charters Tour
Go fishing, dolphin watching, snorkeling, or on a sunset sailing trip with Venus Charters! It’s all possible with this local lesbian-owned business.
Captain Karen Luknis is amazing and lets guests customize their trips so you will have the best time ever.
The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
If you are a butterfly lover like me, you can’t miss the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Walk through a glass-domed tropical butterfly habitat with hundreds of butterflies flying around.
And there aren’t only butterflies to see but also different plants, colorful exotic birds, cascading waterfalls, trees, and 2 flamingos.
The Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is also a place to learn more about butterfly anatomy and physiology, feeding, lifecycle, and the migratory world of butterflies.
Key West AIDS Memorial
The Key Wesy AIDS memorial is a permanent memorial tributing to everyone who has passed away because of AIDS. Their names are inscribed on granite stones at the monument.
Pay a visit to the memorial in support and walk on the Edward B. Knight Pier afterward for beautiful ocean and Key West views.
Paddleboard with Lazy Dog
Rent a paddleboard with lesbian-owned business Lazy Dog, or go on one of their guided tours! Paddleboarding is fun and the perfect way to explore the mangrove jungles of Key West. And see amazing local marine life like starfish, jellyfish, and, if you are lucky, manatees and sharks on the way.
Paddleboarding isn’t difficult and is a great exercise for all ages. But if you aren’t 100% sure about your balance, you can always sit on your knees first before you stand up.
They also have kayaks available for rental or kayak tours. For everyone looking for some challenges, Lazy Dog even has paddleboard yoga and fit classes!
Go Shopping at In TOUCH Key West
The gayest and most fun store in Key West, according to themselves!
In TOUCH is a fun shop to go to for some LGBTQ+ gifts (for yourself or others!). Unique greeting cards, stickers, gay Christmas ornaments, keychains, LGBTQ+ clothing, and mugs are some of the things you can find in the store, for example!
The store is a combination of fun, tacky, and classy. Look around and maybe you find something!
Jet Ski Tour With Barefoot Billy’s
More water activities! And this is one for the thrill seekers under us. Rent your own jet ski at Barefoot Billy’s in Key West, or go on a guided jet ski tour.
I highly recommend going on a guided tour, so you learn more about the history of Key West during multiple stops along the way. Go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and back again to the Atlantic Ocean! Stops along the way include the Southernmost Point, Sunset Key, and historic Key West Bights.
Make sure to bring a waterproof camera for great content, and enjoy the ride! If you are lucky, you even get to see turtles and dolphins along the way.
Explore the New Seven Mile Bridge
The Seven Mile Bridge is one of the most iconic spots in the Florida Keys. Walk, bike, jog, or skate along this 2.2-mile (3.5-kilometer) long bridge. Paralleling the Florida Keys Overseas Highway in the Middle Keys, the bridge offers beautiful views of the Florida Keys, and make sure to look down to the water to possibly spot some wildlife along the way.
The bridge was closed for more than five years for restoration and has been open again since 2022.
It’s an iconic spot in the Florida Keys not to miss. An extra beautiful moment to go here is during sunset time!
Visit the Tennessee Williams Museum
Spend the morning or afternoon diving into the life and work of Tennessee Williams, Key West’s legendary gay literary icon. He called Key West home for over thirty years, being openly gay with his partner Frank Merlo.
Many of Tennessee Williams’s short stories and plays cover gay themes. Learn more about him at the Tennessee Williams Museum.
You have to watch these lesbian movies!
Queer and Lesbian Bars + Clubs in The Florida Keys
It’s no surprise to hear that lesbian bars are disappearing faster than ever. And not only in the United States but everywhere in the world.
I am so sad about this, as I think lesbian bars are so important! Important as a safe space, as a place to meet other queer women, and to possibly meet your significant other.
Sadly, there are no lesbian bars in the Florida Keys. But luckily, there are quite some spaces that call themselves a gay bar and welcome the whole community. Or bars that specifically label themselves LGBTQ+ friendly and organize queer parties!
I will tell you about some of them below. And make sure to keep on supporting those places; otherwise, they might all disappear in the future. Have fun!
Aqua Bar & Nightclub
Enjoy a drag show at Aqua Bar & Nightclub, located in the heart of Key West’s LGBTQ+ entertainment district on Duval Street!
Their drag shows are voted the best drag shows in Key West. And every evening, there is a show at Aqua Bar & Nightclub, fun guaranteed! Make sure to bring some dollars with you.
Aqua Bar & Nightclub has multiple venues, all accessible from within the complex. Also visit their Hawaii-themed restaurant Poké in the Rear, CLUB 504 at the Sidebar, the Back Bar, and 22&CO bar (which is a lesbian-owned cocktail lounge).
801 Bourbon Bar
You can find the iconic Key West rainbow crosswalk right outside 801 Bourbon Bar! And this bar itself is an iconic spot too, as it’s been part of the LGBTQ+ Key West landscape for over 30 years.
801 Bourbon Bar is a bar that often organizes events, and upstairs in the bar, there’s a nightly cabaret show. Sundays are for karaoke if you want to shine yourself!
La Te Da
La Te Da features two bars and a hotel! The Piano Bar is the perfect place to go to for some inside dining before a fun evening of live cabaret entertainment. Here, you will find Key West local legends like Randy Roberts, a sensation in town thanks to Randy’s impersonations of Cher and Bette Midler.
And the Terrace bar is great to go to for a drink and if you like to watch people. The hotel itself is very cute, with modern cabin-look rooms with beachy vibes. Perfect if you are looking for a very LGBTQ+-friendly place to stay in Key West. More about that in the next chapter!
Where to Stay in The Florida Keys
Are you visiting lesbian Key West and the Florida Keys and are looking for the best places to stay? Or are you going for a staycation in your own city? Key West and the Florida Keys have amazing places to stay at. And in this super lesbian-friendly destination in the US, there’s no shortage of welcoming hotels.
We all don’t want to get those awkward questions about the fact we want a double bed, right? Or being asked if it is a fun sister’s trip to the Florida Keys.
There are some hotels in the Florida Keys that are my favorites, and I’m going to tell you all about them.
Alexander’s Guesthouse Key West is an LGBTQ+ guesthouse in Key West. All humans are welcome here! And it’s especially a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
As a lesbian woman, I definitely feel welcome at Alexander’s Guesthouse Key West. And I was so surprised to see many other queer women staying at the guesthouse, as often you see a lot of gay men staying at such places.
The hotel feels like a home away from home. And it’s a beautiful hotel located in Key West’s old town with a swimming pool, delicious breakfast, jacuzzi, and a happy hour with free drinks!
Also located in Key West is The Marker. The Marker feels like a small tropical oasis paradise in Key West’s old town.
With multiple pools, sun and surf vibes, lots of greenness, ocean views, a restaurant, and a bar, it’s a secluded island escape just seconds away from Key West’s hotspots.
Some rooms overlook the ocean and the historic seaport. The resort is luxurious and has everything you probably need!
Not in Key West, but in Islamorada, you can find the Amara Cay Resort. Islamorada is located in the Upper Keys and is the perfect stop on the way (back) to Key West!
Amara Cay Resort blends recreation with relaxation. There is a lot to do here for many ages. Lawn games, snorkeling, kayaking, boat tours, biking, sitting next to one of the fireplaces; it’s all possible at Amara Cay Resort.
But if you don’t want to do anything at all and just relax. That’s for sure possible at their tropical pool and private beach. And don’t forget the bar next to the pool for a drink and the in-house restaurant for delicious food.
Lesbian Key West Map
Enjoy lesbian Key West and the Florida Keys! Do you have any questions, or do you want to add something to this guide? Drop it below or send me a message.
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