What’s new in the Florida Keys

What’s new in the Florida Keys

Sunday, 08 Sep, 2023 0

Fall in the Florida Keys & Key West is calling travelers with outdoor festivities and immersive activities.

The Keys offers excitement on and in the water as well as on land.

The Florida Keys continue marking its bicentennial milestone throughout 2023, with museum exhibits and festivities commemorating the two centuries of heritage.

With expanded airline seat capacity, new hotels and resort programs, and enhanced attractions, see what is in store for this autumn in the Florida Keys.


What’s new 


Keys Airlift

Airline seat capacity is increasing on flights between several major cities and Key West International Airport (EYW), which is currently undergoing a major Concourse A expansion. JetBlue Airways is to resume nonstop service Oct. 29 from Boston Logan International Airport on 140-seat Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with nonstop daily service scheduled in January. On Nov. 5, American Airlines is to add a second daily nonstop flight from Washington D.C.’s Ronald Reagan National Airport. Also Nov. 5, Delta Air Lines is to resume its nonstop winter seasonal flight from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport.

Beginning Nov. 28, United Airlines is to operate two daily nonstop flights from Newark Liberty International Airport. Additionally, Dec. 21 United will begin operating daily nonstop flights from Chicago O’Hare, Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental, and Washington D.C.’s Dulles airports.


Keys Accommodations

From Nov. 1, the all-new 24-unit Flamingo Lodge offers studios and one- and two-bedroom suites with kitchenettes and balconies overlooking Florida Bay in Everglades National Park. An adjacent stand-alone restaurant is slated to open along with the lodge. The park’s fully renovated pink Guy Bradley Visitor Center — with interactive nature and art exhibits and expansive views overlooking Florida Bay — is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 2,400-square-mile park is the continental United States’ third-largest national park. Visit flamingoeverglades.com/flamingo-lodge-restaurant


In Islamorada, Casa Morada Resort has partnered with the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology to enable bird enthusiasts to become familiar with indigenous bird species in the Upper Keys. Properties in the Enthusiast Hotel Collection connect guests who are birdwatchers with local birding experts and birding ecosystems. Guests can study migration patterns and nesting rituals, observe birds on educational walks, and learn about efforts to protect vulnerable species. Casa Morada, located at 136 Madeira Road, welcomes guests 16 and older. Visit casamorada.com .


Marathon’s 125-unit Faro Blanco Resort, with a historic 1950s lighthouse, is undergoing renovations and a conversion to become Faro Blanco Resort, a Curio Collection by Hilton, in late 2023. The property will include 1,200 square feet of meeting space with outdoor event space, cabanas and a new multi-level deck with bar. There’s an adjoining 74-slip marina. Visit faroblancoresort.com


In the Lower Keys, the seven-acre waterfront Sun Outdoors Sugarloaf Key is slated to open in October on Summerland Key. As the Keys’ fourth Sun Outdoors RV resort, it features 73 full hookup 20-, 30-, and 50-amp RV sites with patio, complimentary Wi-Fi and outdoor picnic table; a heated pool, boardwalk and peninsula Tiki bar with firepit. An additional 19 on-site “glamping” bungalows are available. Sister property Sun Outdoors Islamorada recently opened its 12-acre Upper Keys resort with 82 full hookup RV sites. Visit sunoutdoors.com/florida/sun-outdoors-sugarloaf-key


The legendary 311-room Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton, is to unveil its grand renovation this fall. Guests can expect a new 5,000-square-feet oceanfront event lawn added to its existing 11,000 square feet of indoor event space. Fully renovated piers can be utilized for watersports, and activities include scavenger hunts, jet-ski tours and snorkeling trips. All guest rooms — including 63 suites, are renovated. Visit casamarinaresort.com or call 305-296-3535.


In Key West, the two-bedroom penthouse suite at Ocean Key Resort & Spa is redesigned as the Flamingo Royale Suite. The suite, accommodating up to four, offers a spacious lounging area, two king bedrooms and two full bathrooms with a spa tub. An oceanfront balcony spans the full length of the suite showcasing sweeping views of the ocean and historic Key West Harbor. Visit oceankey.com


Keys Attractions

In Islamorada, The Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder (DPMMR) rescue group is developing The Protect Center Whale & Dolphin Hospital. It will be South Florida’s only working veterinary hospital to treat injured whales, bottlenose dolphins and other marine mammals. The new facility is to include a 40-feet-diameter pool for long-term marine mammal rehabilitation, an educational classroom and a 3,000-square-feet marine wildlife conservation-themed museum, opening in early 2024. DPMMR has responded to more than 700 injured, sick and stranded marine mammals in the Keys.


At Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada, the new Transparensea glass-bottom boat is available for day and night tours of reefs such as Alligator Reef, Caloosa Rocks and Cheeca Rocks. The 46-foot Newton, built in 2023, can carry 49-passengers and has 16 glass-viewing windows and Lumitec underwater lights for night tours. Daily tours are scheduled at noon, 3 p.m. and 20 minutes after sunset. Visit glassbottomtour.com


In Marathon, the Pigeon Key Visitor Center and a custom-designed Pigeon Key Express train, launched in August. It offers daily tours departing from the Pigeon Key Gift Shop at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The colorful train, with a locomotive front and two 30-passenger coaches, travels along a 2.2-mile restored span of the Old Seven Mile Bridge.  Visitors can swim, snorkel, fish and shop at an on-island gift shop. The train depot is at 1090 Overseas Highway bayside. Visit pigeonkey.net


In Marathon, the 63.5-acre Crane Point Museum & Nature Trails is to unveil an all-new home for the Marathon Wild Bird Center — with new educational bird enclosures and a new hospital in October. The facility will house more than 40 non-releasable birds and continue to treat about 750 birds annually. Crane Point also features the Crane House, built in 1954 and now fully renovated for events; a museum, lagoon, plant nursery and several nature trails. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Crane Point is the site of prehistoric Native American artifacts and an early Bahamian village. It is home to the Adderley House, a structure built in 1904, and the second-oldest house in the Keys outside of Key West. Visit cranepoint.net


At Key West’s Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, the new “1622: Wealthy World” exhibit showcases never-before-displayed artifacts from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha and Santa Margarita shipwrecks, two galleons from Spain’s 1622 fleet that sank off Key West. The museum is believed to contain the richest single collection of 17th-century maritime and shipwreck antiquities in the Western Hemisphere. The exhibit features objects including huge cannons and rare hand weapons, cooking implements and ceramic food and water storage jars, and more. The Atocha and Margarita were among 28 vessels shipwrecked during a 1622 hurricane. Both galleons’ wreck sites were discovered off Key West in the 1980s by salvager Mel Fisher and crew. Visit melfisher.org or call 305-294-2633.


The Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum has reopened after restoration work to the lighthouse tower. It originally opened in 1848. Adjacent to the tower, a fully restored oil storage shed is to become part of the museum’s display space. Visitors can walk up the lighthouse’s 88 steps for sweeping panoramic views. Ninety-minute sunset experiences — offering private use of the lighthouse for groups ranging from two to eight — and a marriage proposal package are offered. The historic landmark, operated by the Key West Art & Historical Society is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit kwahs.org/lighthouse


Keys Bikes

In Key Largo, Bike the Florida Keys rents Lectric XP Step-Thru 2.0 bikes with a top speed of 28 mph and range of up to 45 miles. The company has free deliveries in Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada. Guided half-day tours can be booked. Riders must be 16 to ride. Visit biketheflkeys.com


In Key West, Key Lime Bike Tours features a new two-hour, four-mile guided Sunset Bicycle Tour past historic sights of Mallory Square, the Custom House, Mile Marker 0, Truman Waterfront Park, Hemingway Home, Southernmost Point, The Mansion by the Sea and popular bars. Brightly lit beach cruisers have coaster brakes, baskets and comfort seats, and the tours include bottled water and drink coupons. Visit keylimebiketours.com


Keys Marinas

A new Key West marina, Happy Landings Marina, is to open this fall for 75 vessels up to 40 feet in length. The marina is to feature gated 24-hour access, dock and concierge services, a fish-cleaning station, ice machine and parking. Thirty boat lifts are initially planned with capability to hoist boats up to 20,000 pounds. Visit happylandingsmarina.com


Learn more about :   Florida Keys & Key West ( N. America )  



TravelMole Editorial Team

Editor for TravelMole North America and Asia pacific regions. Ray is a highly experienced (15+ years) skilled journalist and editor predominantly in travel, hospitality and lifestyle working with a huge number of major market-leading brands. He has also cover in-depth news, interviews and features in general business, finance, tech and geopolitical issues for a select few major news outlets and publishers.

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