Peetje2 / Creative Commons/Flickr

As soon as same-sex marriage became legal in Florida, the Keys tourism council was on LGBT websites and blogs advertising the islands as a wedding destination.

“The Florida Keys has long been a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons,” said Harold Wheeler, director of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. He’s hoping the same will apply for same-sex couples.

Florida Keys Adding New Hotel Rooms

Dec 19, 2014
Marker Resort / Facebook

The Florida Keys, where hotels have the highest occupancy rates and daily room rates in the state, are adding more than 1,000 new and renovated hotel rooms in the next few months.

While only a few of the rooms are brand new, some have been unavailable for years while the properties were wholly reinvented. GC

Florida tourism officials say America’s restrictive travel visa rules are costing the Sunshine State big bucks.

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for tourism without having to obtain visas.

After The Party's Over, Fantasy Fest Concerns Continue

Nov 12, 2014
Mark Hedden

Weeks after the "Fat Lady Sings" tea dance that marks the official end of Fantasy Fest, Key Westers are meeting to talk about how to change the annual event to limit raunchy behavior and increase creative costuming.

Is Key West's Fantasy Fest Too Raunchy?

Oct 22, 2014
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Fantasy Fest started 35 years ago as a way to bring visitors to Key West during what had been the slowest time of the year. But locals have always been a big part of it -- the 10 days of street fairs and costume parties, and the culminating parade, for which 60,000 crowd the island's downtown.

"I was on a float for, like, 19 straight years," says Key Wester Michael Blades. He and his friends built elaborate parade entries and won the grand prize three times. But they're not entering this year.

See How Tourism Changed The Florida Keys

Aug 7, 2014
Monroe County Public Library/Scott DeWolfe collection

A new exhibit explores Key West as South Florida's oldest outpost. 

Florida Keys or Bust! A History of Tourism runs until Oct. 1 at the Custom House Museum.

Arianna Prothero/WLRN

The prospects for the Old Seven-Mile Bridge in the Middle Keys have turned 180 degrees in the past several weeks. The historic bridge and popular walking spot once in danger of being shut down is now close to receiving more than $77 million for repairs and 30 years' worth of upkeep.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

The dawn of a new year brings with it new promises and old challenges.  

Homestead Launches Free National Parks Trolley

Jan 6, 2014
Jessica Meszaros / WLRN


About a year ago, the city of Homestead was designated "The Gateway To Biscayne and Everglades National Parks." This past weekend the city launched its first free, guided trolley ride into the parks, which the city hopes will see more local visitors with the start of the new service.

Chloe Herring / WLRN

Behind Libreri Mapou's pink storefront, tall bookshelves cover every wall and ceiling fans make small red, blue and white Haitian flags wave. Small, dark sculptures of dancing people are on display. The small, Haitian bookstore sells titles in Creole, French and English written by Haitians from the island and its diaspora.

LARC, Inc.

Imagine this: You’re heading down the Florida Turnpike on your way to the Keys and spot this interesting-looking steel tower.  It’s got an observation deck that corkscrews from the ground all the way to a height of about 560 feet.

You’re gonna stop the car, right?

That’s what Homestead officials are counting on.  The city is considering building such a tower to attract tourists to its downtown.

Homestead director of community redevelopment Rick Ammirato says the city is perfectly situated to offer visitors an extraordinary view.

Courtesy of the InterContinental Hotel Miami

A year ago, the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Miami unveiled a 19-story-tall LED display of a shapely, female silhouette, dancing suggestively, often called "the dancing lady." The hotel recently held auditions to find new dancers. Hopefuls had one minute to dance to Pitbull’s “Hotel Room Service” to prove they had the right moves for a 200-foot LED display.

Arianna Prothero/WLRN

A long-awaited deal to fund repairs and upkeep for a historic bridge in the Middle Keys may be close to sealed.

The future of the Old Seven Mile Bridge looked bleak as salt water and storms eroded it toward a critical point where the state would be forced to shut down the last 2.2 miles of the bridge that remains open to pedestrians and cyclists.

What Do You Think Of The Dancing Lady In Miami's Skyline?

Nov 22, 2013
Courtesy / Intercontinental Hotel


If you’ve spent any time on the MacArthur Causeway this past year, you’ve seen the 200-foot tall, shimmying silhouette of the dancing lady on the side of the Intercontinental Hotel.

The giant, multi-colored light display on the side of the building danced into our hearts – or danced us into ire—last December. Whether you love or hate the dancing lady, she’s become a staple of the Miami skyline.

But now, the lady and her suggestive moves  are about to be retired. The hotel is holding auditions for her replacement Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21 and 22.

Florida Sets Record For Tourism

Nov 18, 2013
Florida Governor's Office

The three-month period ending in September brought almost 23 million visitors to Florida. That's the highest number ever for a third quarter.

The state is on pace to welcome about 95 million tourists in 2013. That would be a record, but shy of the 100-million goal the governor’s office was hoping for this year.

And it’s not just about the theme parks. Many visitors are hitting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach from international destinations.