The Florida Keys may be known for their subtropical landscapes, crystal clear azure waters and blue sky days – but with an array of after-dark adventures waiting to tempt visitors, the action really starts when the sun goes down.
As the ocean floor comes alive at night, experience Key West’s undersea wonders during a nightboarding or clear-bottom kayak tour at Ibis Bay Beach Resort. Kitted out with I-Lumenate’s Night-Ops waterproof LED light bars to illuminate the water beneath, the stand-up paddleboards and kayaks enable participants to view the nocturnal creatures and colourful sponges on the ocean floor below. Participants paddle through mangrove island rookeries that are home to ibis, herons, pelicans and their fledglings, while keeping their eyes peeled for upside-down jellyfish, lobsters, stingrays and small sharks. Daily tours launch at sunset from the dock of Ibis Bay’s restaurant, The Stoned Crab, and last around 2.5 hours. Prices start at $54.95 per person (around £44). Advance booking is recommended. www.ibisbayresort.com
After-Dark Ghost Tours
Consistently ranked as one of the most haunted cities in America, Key West is the perfect place for a spot of ghost hunting. Join renowned ghost hunter, author and historian David L. Sloan for a 90-minute tour of the Old Town’s ‘Dead Zone’ – and use special ghost detecting equipment as seen on TV to discover spirits at the city’s most active paranormal locations, such as the former Masonic Lodge and the haunted church bell tower. Late-night tours begin at 10 p.m. and cost $25 per person (around £20). www.keywestghosthunt.com
Night Fishing Charters
With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, the 125-mile-long arc of islands that comprise the Florida Keys creates a fishing environment unique in the world. Noteworthy catches are possible virtually year-round, and in Islamorada, known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World, visitors can opt for a fishing experience with a difference: a night-time trip aboard the Capt. Michael. Operated by Robbie’s Marina, the fully rigged, 65-foot deep-sea ‘party boat’ departs for night fishing trips at 7:30 p.m. and returns at 12:30 a.m. Trips are priced from $45 per adult (around £36) and $26.50 for kids (around £21), with night rod rentals $5 per person (around £4). Taxes are not included in the price. www.robbies.com
Full Moon Sailing
Set sail on one of Key West’s most beautiful sailboats, the 105-foot wooden schooner America 2.0, and enjoy a romantic moonlight adventure. For the sunset sail, guests are offered complimentary beverages and are encouraged to bring their own picnic. This exclusive sailing excursion costs $45 per person (around £36) and takes place just once a month, so early booking is recommended. www.sail-keywest.com
Night Dive Trips
Dive enthusiasts can pump up the adrenaline by taking to the water as the sun sets on an after-dark dive trip with Islamorada-based Florida Keys Dive Center. Trips depart during the early evening and reach one of several shallow reef sites by sunset, providing divers the opportunity to enter the water and experience the transition from twilight to darkness. Davis Reef is one of the most popular reefs for night dives due to its abundance of wildlife and ease of navigation. Departure times vary depending on the season and one-tank night dives cost from $65 per person (around £52). Other operators also offer night dives in the Keys. www.floridakeysdivectr.com
Travel to the Florida Keys
Purely America (0844 80 444 80, purelyamerica.co.uk) has seven nights in the Florida Keys from £1,179 per person. Departing on 18 October 2017, the price includes four nights in Key Largo followed by three nights in Key West, together with return Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Miami and economy car hire for the duration. Based on two adults travelling and sharing room only accommodation.
For more information on the Florida Keys, visit: www.fla-keys.co.uk