As temperatures drop and snow blankets the streets, it’s easy to hear the siren song of a tropical paradise. It’s never too early to plan your next trip to Key West, but there are some things that help make the wait a little easier. While you’re making your lists and checking them twice this holiday season, take note of our top gifts for the Key West traveler — no matter how naughty or nice they’ve been.
Key West has long been a popular destination for LGBTQ travelers due to its relaxed, “Come As You Are” ethos and tropical setting. Get a reminder of what makes the island so special with these uniquely Key West gift ideas.
Island House Sarong
Key West visitors have their choice of LGBTQ and men-only guesthouses on the island, including Alexander’s Guesthouse, New Orleans House and Equator. However, Island House gay resort allows you to take a little bit of island life home. Their signature sarongs are a familiar sight around the clothing-optional property. While they rarely stay on for long, it’s not uncommon to find them around the heated pool or world-class café. They are sold at reception. Grab yours, crank up the radiator and relive resort life no matter where you’re lounging.
Peppers of Key West Hot Sauce
To really appreciate the fresh seafood and flavors of Key West, you’ll need to dine in person, but if you’re looking to take a taste of Key West home, try some of these world renowned hot sauces, available online and in the Peppers of Key West island outpost. Peppers of Key West has 11 in-house recipes and a selection of hot sauces from around the world. (If you consider yourself more sweet than spicy, you can also order some snackable granola from Blue Heaven to treat your tastebuds.)
A New Ensemble from Graffitti, Inc.
Embrace Key West’s wild side with a few new pieces from Graffitti, Inc., the longest-running, gay-owned and operated retail clothing store in Key West. There is such a diversity of LGBTQ-owned, operated and targeted businesses in Key West, visitors can get more information at the Gay Key West Visitor Center on Duval Street, operated by the Key West Business Guild.
Key West First Legal Rum
The brains behind Key West First Legal Rum Distillery consider themselves chefs first and distillers second. That means their high-proof rums feature flavors like coconut, banana, vanilla and key lime infused into the Florida sugar cane. Key West visitors can tour the distillery seven days a week, but you can bring a bottle or (two) home for a mid-winter mojito when you need it most. It’s not quite a substitute for a wild night bar hopping down Key West’s iconic Duval Street, but, then again, few things are.
A Good Book from Key West Island Books
Bookworms have plenty of famous Key West writers to choose from. Queer literary legend Tennessee Williams did some of his best work in Key West (don’t miss the Tennessee Williams Museum), but most folks commonly associate the island with Ernest Hemingway, whose island home is one of Key West’s most popular tourist attractions. Beloved children’s book author Judy Blume also calls the island home. You can stalk the shelves at Key West Island Books for their works or until you stumble on something that speaks to you.
SALT Island Provisions Sea Salt
We’ve been told over and over the most can’t-miss attractions in Key West happen on or around the water. You may not be able to bring home a jet ski from the aquatic adventuring company FURY Key West or a clothing-optional catamaran from the gay-owned and operated Blu Q, but you can still taste that salty Key West air. SALT Island Provisions sells a variety of flavored sea salts and scrubs, as well as honey, art and handcrafted goods from the Florida Keys. Three of their salts — key lime, smoked and Florida Key — are sourced locally.
A Plane Ticket
Of course, the best way to treat your own tropical depression is a flight to Key West and an infusion of good ol’ vitamin D. Whether you’re traveling alone, with friends or with a partner, there’s something for everyone to look forward to. With direct flights available daily, there’s no time like the present to book your next trip to Key West.