Sun, sand, and seafood: Why Key West in January 2015 should be at the top of your vacation list

It’s easy to allow those post-Christmas January blues to kick in, especially when the air becomes colder, the skies grayer and the wind chill harsher. But if you’re lucky enough to enjoy time away on vacation in the Florida Keys after the holiday season, the only January blues you’ll be experiencing will be the clear skies above and the calm ocean below.

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With average highs of 75 degrees, January is a beautiful month in which to visit Key West when the island is basking in day-long sunshine and the holiday crowds have eased. There is also a line-up of popular events to add more fun to your vacation, including:

Key West Historic House & Garden Tours

There are many elegant and fascinating private homes throughout Key West that boast impressive interior design, exquisite restorations and creative renovations. On January 16 and 17, you will have the perfect opportunity to take a tour inside these architectural masterpieces and marvel at the beauty behind each door thanks to the 54th Annual Key West Historic House  & Garden Tours. Key West’s famous Conch Tour Train will take you from one home to another, all provided by Historic Tours of America.

Key West Seafood Festival

Key West is world-renowned for its fantastic seafood and no visit to the island is complete without sampling the freshest fish caught locally from the surrounding waters. January is an exciting month for seafood lovers when the Key West Seafood Festival takes place on January 17 and 18. This weekend celebration of everything marine-related is a family-friendly event with live music, crafts, activities for all age groups, and of course plenty of local fresh Keys seafood. What’s more, admission is free so make sure you build up an appetite for this gastronomic island event.

Key West Food & Wine Festival

Another taste-bud tempting event in January is the five day Key West Food & Wine Festival from January 28 through February 1. Showcasing the talents of some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the Keys, this annual event is all about indigenous Keys cuisine and culinary creations with plenty of wine tasting and party fun in-between. Events during the festival include the Let Them Eat Cake French masquerade party on Friday 30 at Lush Bar at The Green Pineapple, 1130 Duval Street where Key Lime Pie will be flavor of the night. The festival closes with the The Key West Outdoor Artisan Wine Market on February 1 where wine will be sold at discount prices and musical entertainment creates a lively atmosphere.

Book online or speak to our reservations team at 888-211-0348.

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Celebrate a Key West Christmas in paradise

Picture the scene: it’s December 25th and you’re far from feeling the pinch of winter with its cold winds and threats of icy showers. Rather than crunching through white snow in thick boots, you’re walking barefoot through powder-soft white sand. You’re no longer wrapping up warm beneath multiple layers of clothing, but bathing in a swimsuit beneath the golden rays of glorious sunshine. It’s not 35 degrees and cloudy, but 72 degrees with clear skies and balmy air. It’s Christmas and you’re in the Florida Keys.

Christmas in Key West

Image compliments of Florida Keys News Bureau

If you’re now dreaming of a white sand Christmas with your loved ones, you can make it a reality with a vacation of a lifetime at Parrot Key Resort in Key West, the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. The island is a popular destination during the holidays, so book your place in paradise early to avoid missing out on a spectacular Christmas experience.

During the festive season, the island’s palm trees are sparkling with lights, conch cottages are decorated with colorful holiday displays and sail boats are magically lit up. From vibrant events to spacious, luxury accommodations, here are our just some of reasons to visit Key West during the Christmas holiday:

Parrot Key Resort Christmas Key West

Villas with waterfront or tropical garden views

At Parrot Key Resort, you can sprawl out in one of our three-bedroom villas that are ideal for families and friends spending Christmas together. You can unwrap gifts, play games and relax together in the exclusivity of your own villa overlooking the sparkling water or our tropical gardens, without compromising on space.

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Each room has its own bed type combination, including a master bedroom with a king bed and a guestroom with a double queen bed, along with a flat screen TV and DVD player for when you need time out to switch off and recharge.

Mother's Day in Key West, Florida Keys

Upcoming Festive Events

  • Key West Holiday Parade, December 6: This annual hometown parade ignites the holiday spirit with marching groups, floats, and a festive procession starting at Truman Avenue and White Street.
  • The Schooner Wharf Bar 24th Annual Lighted Boat Parade December 13: Magical lights twinkling in the harbor is a Christmas sight not to be missed. This year marks the 24th annual Key West Lighted Boat Parade which sees a great number of boats all decorate their sails, masts and hulls with lights to add to the festive cheer as they compete for the Best Nautical Holiday Decorations in Key West competition.
  • Nutcracker Key West, December 13  - 21: Inspired by the unique and colorful environment of the Florida Keys, Clara and her young Prince encounter enchanted landscapes complete with snowy egrets on shimmering salt ponds, a wicked Rooster-King, an exquisite Sea-Star Fairy, and “underwater” sequences of almost unimaginable beauty. Shows held at the Tennessee Williams Theatre, Box Office 305-295-7676.
  • Christmas on the Sheriff’s Animal Farm December 14From 1-3 pm, visit the furry, fluffy and feathered residents of the Animal Farm and petting zoo and get a photo taken with Santa. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm is just outside Key West at 5501 College Road. This free event is open to the public on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.
  • Key West Artisan Market December 21: This vibrant, open-air bazaar is filled with artists, authors, chef-made cuisine, craftspeople, performers, fresh produce, baked goods, cheeses and flowers, craft beer and wine from residents representing the diversity of creativity, ingenuity and locally made products of the Keys. The market is held on the first Sunday of the month outdoors at the Restaurant Store, 1111 Eaton.
  • 55th Annual Key West House & Garden Tours December 27 – 28: Take a self-guided tour through Key West’s festively-dressed stunning homes and gardens for the holidays. December tours are from 4-7 pm both evenings. Tickets available online.
  • Christmas Light Trolley Tour: Key West certainly knows how to deck the halls and transform its buildings into a wonderland of glittery festive cheer. Local residents use plenty of bright lights, quirky scenes and vibrant colors to decorate their homes and gardens to celebrate the season, and you can see it for yourself aboard the Old Town Trolley Tours on their Holly Jolly Holiday Lights Trolley.

Dine with a festive Florida Keys style

Delicious menus and holiday specials are available at many well-established restaurants across Key West, and the key to a memorable, easy-going family Christmas dinner is to book early. Rooftop Café on Front Street, Duffy’s Steak and Lobster House on the corner of Truman Avenue, Pisces on Simonton Street, and Kelly’s on Whitehead Street are some of the island’s firm favorites for festive indulgence. Café Blue at Parrot Key Resort is open throughout the holidays for refreshing snacks and celebratory Christmas cocktails.

Kick back and relax under the winter sunshine

It’s not often you’re greeted by endless blue skies, white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and towering palm trees during the depths of winter. Key West is a haven of natural beauty, adventure and quirky culture waiting to be explored, all topped off with southern hospitality and opportunities to relax round every corner. Just imagine waking up on Christmas Day morning to views of tropical gardens or sparkling water before taking a dip in one of our four pools, each nestled in its own lush landscaped garden. You may be used to a particular way of spending Christmas back home, which often involves plenty of preparation and a huge clean-up after dinner. At Parrot Key Resort, the focus is on relaxation, fun and simple luxury in the ultimate definition of paradise.

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Call 855-327-7200 to speak with an onsite vacation planner or book reservations online now.

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Key West Roosevelt Boulevard Construction Complete

Visitors driving into Key West and Parrot Key Resort have a smooth new roadway to travel following the completion of a $41.5 million reconstruction and enhancement of North Roosevelt Boulevard, a primary route for motorists arriving and departing the island city.

The project incorporated almost 3 miles of the boulevard from the U.S. Highway 1 triangle at the island’s entrance to Eisenhower Drive at the start of Truman Avenue and the city’s historic district.

The majority of the new roadway, which required 59,000 tons of asphalt, features five traffic lanes: two each for northbound and southbound travel and a center turn lane.

Elements of the comprehensive project included rebuilding, repaving and re-striping the roadway; installing crosswalks, 69 new street lights and Americans with Disabilities Act–compliant sidewalks; replacing existing traffic signals with hurricane-resistant signals and installing a new signal in a high-traffic area; adding extensive landscaping including 157 mature coconut palms; and rebuilding and expanding the seawall and promenade along the waterfront for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Call 855-327-7200 to speak with an onsite vacation planner at Parrot Key Resort or book reservations online now.

Photo: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

Photo: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

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Black Friday arrives early: Book your 2015 vacation and save up to 25%

If the cold weather is starting to drag you down and you’re craving sunshine with a balmy breeze… now is the time to plan for something to look forward to in 2015. The good news is that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come early in Key West with our sale starting on Monday November 24. This means you can book your stay in subtropical paradise at Parrot Key Resort and enjoy up to 25% off across selected dates now, through 2015.

Call 855-318-7615 for info and to book now

Romance Vacation Key West

Perhaps you’re looking to enjoy a romantic break to Key West with a loved one this February, or take the family away during Spring Break in March and April. For a peaceful retreat away from the crowds, you can book a relaxing escape in the quieter months of May, early June, and the autumn months. Family fun starts in the summer so book in advance to enjoy our best rates during the Black Friday + Cyber Monday sale. Whichever month beckons you, there will be plenty of white sand, palm-lined streets and stunning sunsets awaiting your arrival!

Parrot Key Resort- Key West Hotel

By booking early, not only can you enjoy great savings from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale, but you will also have more time to plan your dream vacation to Key West. And then there’s the all important decision of choosing the best room type for your trip. Our spacious guestrooms make perfect romantic hideaways with ocean or tropical garden views, while our suites and villas offer greater space and are perfect for families or groups of friends traveling together.

Key West Three Bedroom Villa

The seven-day Black Friday Sale in Key West runs now through Monday, December 1st at 11:59 p.m. Call 855-318-7615 for info and to book now. 

Key West Three Bedroom Villa

NOTE: Please view all terms and conditions.

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Two airlines are adding flights to Key West International Airport

Silver Airways is enhancing its flight schedule from five Florida cities.

Beginning Nov. 6, Silver is adding an additional weekday flight from Fort Lauderdale for a total of four daily flights. In addition, a second flight from Fort Myers; more flights from Tampa for a total of four daily flights and increases from Orlando for a total of three nonstop and two one-stop daily direct flights.

And Silver is introducing a daily one-stop flight from Jacksonville.

Silver is a codeshare partner with United Airlines and has interline agreements with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Bahamasair, Hahn Air, and All Nippon Airways.

In addition, according to Monroe County Airports Director Peter Horton, Delta Airlines is adding two daily flights between Key West and Atlanta Dec. 20, for a total of five daily nonstop flights. And, on Dec. 27, Delta is to resume a seasonal Saturday weekly nonstop route between the Southernmost City and New York City’s LaGuardia Airport.

Online: Silverairways.com Delta.com

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Celebrate Thanksgiving 2014 in Key West style

It’s autumn in the Florida Keys and there has never been a better time than now to plan a holiday trip to Key West, FL. There’s no need to celebrate in the cold; instead, you can lounge under the golden rays of tropical sunshine while sipping  Margaritas poolside at Parrot Key Resort. Discover an idyllic Thanksgiving in Key West, our own slice of paradise and make the most of your holiday season.

UPDATE: We have reduced our length of stay requirements for Thanksgiving visits and now you can stay a shorter length of time if necessary, during the holiday week. Call 855-294-9658 to speak with a vacation planner.

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A feast fit for Thanksgiving

Key West has no shortage of highly rated Thanksgiving restaurants in which to sit back and indulge over oven-roasted turkey and side-dishes given a tropical Keys twist. Start by toasting Thanksgiving with a cool cocktail at our poolside Café Blue before venturing out to your chosen venue for a Key West feast to remember. Our recommendations for Thanksgiving dinner include:

4th of July in Key West

A tropical haven for relaxation

A Thanksgiving celebration on vacation not only means treating yourself to the best cuisine in the Florida Keys, but also finding every opportunity to relax and unwind beneath day-long sunshine. Parrot Key is home to four beautiful sparkling pools, each nestled among a tropical garden oasis offering peace, privacy and paradise. During the Thanksgiving celebrations, you and your family can spend quality time around the pool soaking up the warm air, reading in the shade, or cooling off in the refreshing water. For a more action-packed Thanksgiving holiday, we can organize a variety of water sports  including paddle boarding, kayaking, WaveRunner tours and parasailing.

Key West Three Bedroom Villa

A luxury villa for ultimate comfort

Families and groups of friends looking to celebrate Thanksgiving together can sprawl out in our spacious three-bedroom villas, each overlooking the natural beauty of either our lush tropical gardens or the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. With different bed type combinations, including a master bedroom with a king and a guest room with a double queen, each room has its own flat screen TV and DVD player for when you need time out to switch off and recharge after a lively day of Thanksgiving.

Key West Three Bedroom Villa

Happy Thanksgiving 2014 everyone!

Dial 888-211-0348 to book Thanksgiving accommodations or book online.

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Key West Fantasy Fest 2014: Dress to impress and party in paradise

For many visitors to Key West, October is one of the best times of the year for island-style relaxation, adventure and fun surrounded by tropical highs of 84 degrees. It marks the halfway point between summer ending and the festive holidays starting, offering the perfect opportunity to escape from the daily routine in search of some much-needed autumn heat. From mid-October, Key West is not only bathed in beautiful rays of golden sunshine; it is also covered by an explosion of color as hundreds of visitors and locals alike gather for the annual Key West Fantasy Fest taking place this year from 17 – 26 October, 2014.

View our Fantasy Fest offers at Parrot Key Resort or dial (877) 684-5095. Scroll below to view Fantasy Fest pictures.

Fantasy Fest Key West

What is Fantasy Fest

What started off as a humble attempt by a small group of locals to attract more visitors to the island during a quieter month, has now become one of the wildest crowd-pulling events in the Key West calendar. A celebration of all things costume and masking, Fantasy Fest follows a theme every year and will this year be focused on Animéted Dreams and Adventure in 2014. Animé is a traditional Japanese form of animation which has become popular on the western scene, sparking a costuming lifestyle known as “cosplay.”

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What to expect at Fantasy Fest in Key West

At Fantasy Fest 2014 there will be color; there will be music; and there will be plenty of food! Duval Street will transform into a mile-long food-lovers’ paradise with vendors offering a range of tastes to suit every appetite. The famous Key West street will be awash with lavishly dressed locals and visitors, all dressing to impress in their creative costumes. The Fantasy Fest street fair will also feature liquor booths and arts and crafts stalls. Parrot Key Resort is located about 3 miles from this area, so you are close to the action but can enjoy a quiet and relaxing stay when not attending Fantasy Fest events.

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As you immerse yourself in the festival fun, look out for the infamous drag queen contests, costume parties, island bands, body painting and neighborhood parades. The highlight of the event is what all revelers eagerly await; the Fantasy Fest Parade which takes over Duval Street on October 25th with humorous floats and unforgettable costumes keeping tens of thousands of spectators entertained.

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Where to eat, drink and rest your head

If you stay at Parrot Key Resort for a minimum of 4 nights during the week of Fantasy Fest, you will be treated to a $50 credit per night (maximum of $250 in total) to indulge poolside over delectable breakfasts, lunches and drinks at our poolside Café Blue. There are popular dishes to choose from, including shrimp salads, Cuban-style paninis and fish tacos, while the tempting drinks menu features island drinks such as the Parrot Rum Punch and Key Lime Daiquiri. Parrot Key Resort provides the perfect setting for daytime relaxation before soaking up the spirit of Fantasy Fest on Duval Street later in the evening.

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The Fantasy Fest Hotel Package includes:

  • 5% Discount on overnight accommodations at Parrot Key Resort for a minimum of four nights, in any room type (discount is available select Fantasy Fest dates)
  • $50 per night to be used in Cafe Blue for food and drinks (max $250 total)
  • Book the Fantasy Fest Hotel Package

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Hit the town and party

Head for evening drinks in the lively Fat Tuesday (305 Duval Street) which serves a delicious selection of cocktails including frozen daiquiris and Key West margaritas. For fresh oysters, clams and pink shrimp, head to the Raw Bar at Dante’s (951 Caroline Street) which is also hosting a pool party during Fantasy Fest. There will be plenty of live music staged across the island at venues including Hog’s Breath Saloon (400 Front Street), Sloppy Joe’s (201 Duval Street) and Smokin’ Tuna Saloon (4 Charles Street).

Event information: www.fantasyfest.com

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Book the Fantasy Fest hotel package in Key West

Fantasy Fest Key West photos compliments of the Florida Keys News Bureau / Andy Newman

Call 855-327-7200 to speak with an onsite vacation planner or book reservations online now.

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Key West braces itself for a zombie takeover on two wheels

Eery costumes, ghoulish make-up, thousands of bicycles and a glistening ocean backdrop. Even the most wild of imaginations would be challenged to create this spectacular scene in the heart of paradise, yet it is going to be a reality in Key West on Sunday October 19 with the Key West Zombie Bike Ride. Parrot Key Resort is even offering bicycle rental specials during the event! Contact us at 855-327-7200 for details.

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About the Key West Zombie Bike Ride

Thousands of visitors and locals will take to two wheels and pedal down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway and through Key West’s streets in their most outrageous outfits for the Zombie Bike Ride, one of many offbeat events taking place during the annual Fantasy Fest, October 17 – 26.

As you wander the island’s streets and soak up the stunning scenery along the highway, hoards of cyclists will flash by wearing everything from dead-white face paint and gory zombie costumes to walking dead garb.

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Zombie Bike Ride Celebrations

An electric party atmosphere will sweep through Key West during the day with other events taking place for those of you who would rather not pedal through the streets. At 2pm, Zombieland will open at the historic and haunted Fort East Martello (3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.) featuring live music, face and body painting, and plenty of food and drink. The Zombie Bike Ride will then start at 6pm followed by the ZombieFest party from 7pm on Duval Street. There will also be a Zombie Beach Bash at Salute on the Beach (1000 Atlantic Blvd.) from 4pm-8pm for the official viewing party.

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After the party, take time out and sink into the luxury of your guest room or suite at Parrot Key Resort before waking to another day of tropical paradise in your private oasis of peace and calm. Contact us at 855-327-7200 for bookings and bicycle rentals.

For more information on the Zombie Bike Ride and safety instructions, visit www.zombiebikeride.com.

*All images compliments of Florida Keys News Bureau

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Cinema and stars collide for the annual Key West Film Festival

A star-studded cinematic feast will be beckoning film fans in Key West in November with well-known names including Marisa Tomei, Patrick Stewart, Glenn Close, America Ferrara, Frank Langella, Jason Schwartzman, Selena Gomez and dozens more.

The four-day Key West Film Festival, November 12-16, spotlights around 50 films on the subtropical island which has previously provided the perfect backdrop for filming scenes from a number of movies, such as Tennessee Williams’ ‘The Rose Tattoo’ and the James Bond adventure ‘License to Kill’.

There will be many highlights for locals and visitors, including film viewings of the 2014 comedy ‘Loitering with Intent’ starring Marisa Tomei, with appearances by director Adam Rapp. There will also be feature presentations screened at Key West’s historic San Carlos Institute (516 Duval Street) and Tropic Cinema, the independent film multiplex (416 Eaton Street).

The festival will also focus on Cuban cinema with an appearance from director Leon Ichaso, well-known for his ‘El Cantante’ starring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Film buffs can also look forward to a welcome reception, gatherings with festival VIPS and a dazzling Champagne awards dinner on the oceanfront.

Parrot Key Resort has a great variety of spacious room options for film fans looking to stay in simple luxury on the island during the festival. Our guest rooms, suites and villas all boast beautiful views of either our lush tropical gardens or the calm Gulf of Mexico, and each of our four sparkling pools is nestled among a landscaped garden oasis offering peace, privacy and paradise. To book your ultimate vacation during the Key West Film Festival, call (866) 750-6980 or visit our reservations page.

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Powerboats set to soar through Key West’s waters

Powerboats racing through the waters surrounding Key West will create a spectacular scene on the southernmost island during the 34th annual Key West World Championship, November 2-9.

Racing at 140mph and above, national and international teams will compete for world titles in eight classes, including the celebrated Superboat class. This popular event is celebrated for its adrenaline-fueled action that has inspired comparisons to the Indianapolis 500.

Kicking off the race week will be a parade of high-powered boats along Key West’s legendary Duval Street from 4pm on Sunday November 2 followed by a racing schedule throughout the week with breath-taking high-speed challenges.

There will be plenty to keep fans entertained on non-race days, with opportunities to view view the sleek high-speed boats, watch in-water test runs and meet racers and crews at the race village on the Truman Waterfront. A party will also kick off on Friday night on Duval Street featuring a display of race boats. Mallory Square will provide a popular viewing area throughout the event.

For information on the week-long schedule, general-admission tickets and all-inclusive VIP spectator passes for the Truman Waterfront grandstands and hospitality tent, visit www.superboat.com

Away from the high-speed energy of the World Championships, you can sit back in your haven of relaxation at Parrot Key Resort, take our complimentary shuttle to Smathers Beach, gently cruise through the waters on a kayak or paddle board, before celebrating a Key West sunset with a Margarita from our poolside Café Blue.

For reservations, call (866) 750-6980.

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