Seniors in the Florida Keys
Travelers at any various stages of “seniorhood,” whether it’s near retirement or post-retirement, can discover and enjoy events, attractions and elements of interest in the Florida Keys.
This page is intended to provide practical tips and as well as spotlight some of travel opportunities for senior travelers.
The Upper Keys:
In Key Largo and Islamorada, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resort & Marinas has two exclusive locations, Mariners Resort Villas & Marina and the Historic Tavernier Inn
Where to Play
From Key Largo to Key West, the musical and performing arts flourish with enticing performances.
Visitors interested in literature can find both history and inspiration in Key West.
Visual artists can be found literally from one end of the Keys to the other.
The Florida Keys are home to South Florida’s only nonprofit, independent film multiplex, and lovers of classics can revel in an annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival held each May in Key Largo.
Jazz lovers can enjoy poolside tropical gardens, a wine bar that is open to the public and jazz in the garden Sunday evenings, at a Key West hidden gem, The Gardens Hotel, a historic boutique property at 526 Angela St.
“Flagler’s Speedway to Sunshine” is a comprehensive exhibit at the Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House, that spotlights the 100 years of history since the Over-Sea Railroad inaugural train’s Key West arrival Jan. 22, 2012.
The colorful history of Key West incorporates shipwreck treasures and artifacts, renowned artists, literary legends, a cigar-making heyday and a vibrant past as a bustling seaport. The area’s historic and cultural richness is preserved, spotlighted and celebrated in the island city’s many museums.
Insider’s Tip: Join the Time Travelers Program
As a card-carrying member of the Key West Art & Historical Society (KWAHS) you are entitled to discount admission and other benefits to hundreds of museums around the country — including 8 in Florida — through the Time Travelers Program. Just present your membership card and receive discounts on admission, parking, gift shops, museum restaurants, and more!
Become a KWAHS volunteer. Contact volunteer coordinator John Rouge at email@example.com.
The Middle Keys:
In the Middle Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Village at Hawks Cay Villas on Duck Key, Indigo Reef Resort Villas & Marina and the Coral Lagoon Resort Villas &Marinas
Learn, Volunteer & Stay Connected
Art Classes, Crafts, Fitness
In Marathon, The Art Studio, located at 12535 Overseas Highway, MM 53.6 oceanside, is filling a much-needed Middle Keys creative niche. Offerings include workshops to learn painting in oil, watercolors and acrylic, as well as sculpting and painting pottery.
The studio specializes in workshops and classes, many spanning two-hour time slots for a two-week period. Subjects include throwing clay, fusing glass, creating jewelry and painting and glazing self-selected ceramics.
Open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mon – Thu, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fri – Sat. Contact 305-289-9013.
Morada Way University, part of the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District at mile marker (MM) 81.5 in Islamorada, offers seasonal classes, November through April each year, taught by professional artists and art educators. Small class sizes and personalized instruction characterize the more than 30 curriculum choices, including cooking, visual arts, sculpting, pottery, gardening, figure drawing, photography and more. Children are also welcome to join adult participants.
Saturday morning classes available at Morada Way Clay, 140 Morada Way, (MM 81.5); classes are $40 for two hours, 10 students maximum, for any experience level. A complete listing of classes is available at moradawayclay.com.
Instructor: Samantha Decker-Hoppen
Students learn to turn clay into coffee mugs or bowls, then learn techniques in texturing, carving and design application.
Monday evenings and private classes also available.
Key Largo Library periodically offers free art classes, 101485 Overseas Highway (MM 101.4). Supplies provided. Wednesdays
Florida Keys Quilters meet the first Saturday of each month at the Key Largo Library community room, 101485 Overseas Highway (MM 101.4). New quilters welcome. For more information contact call Mary Lou Wilkinson at 305-852-1183 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior fitness programs also are offered throughout the Keys, structured around health, exercise and wellness, helping adults live healthy, active lifestyles to promote improved flexibility, balance, coordination and agility.
Key Largo Yoga offers senior yoga and stretch classes for all experience levels, as well muscular strength and range of motion classes for muscular strength, joint mobility and increased cardiovascular endurance. Classes range from 45 to 60 minutes and are offered several times a week. Key Largo Yoga, 99198 Overseas Highway (MM 99), Suite 9, Key Largo (305) 879-0377.
Enjoy free films, presentations about Florida natives by master gardeners, unique annual events and plant auctions. Volunteers also are welcome at each organization.
Marathon Garden Club
5270 Overseas Highway (MM 52.7), Marathon
Big Pine Key Botanical Society
Lord of the Seas Church on Key Deer Blvd., Big Pine Key
305-849-2986 for meeting times
Upper Keys Garden Club
Francis Tracy Garden Center
MM 94 bayside, Tavernier
Key Largo Public Library – MM 100 – Key Largo, FL 33037
Each Monday, enjoy guest speakers, coffee, snacks, sharing, and more from 10-12 noon in the Key Largo Library’s community room.
Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m., Key West Library, 700 Fleming Street. 305-292-3595
Saturdays at 10 a.m., themed film festivals
Last Wednesday of the month, enjoy a classic or foreign film.
Key Largo Library presents a 3 p.m. matinee. Library located at Publix Tradewinds Shopping Plaza, 101485 Overseas Highway (MM 101.4). Free admission 305-451-2396.
Key Largo Book Club meets at the community room of the Key Largo Library, 101485 Overseas Highway (MM 101.4). Tuesdays
Online Book Club
Every day, Monday through Friday you’ll receive a five-minute read from a chapter of a book in your email, courtesy of the Monroe County Library. By the end of the week, you’ll have read 2-3 chapters. If you get busy, are on vacation or if the featured book just isn’t a good match for you, hit the delete key. This is meant to be fun, guilt-free reading — read only what you like. A new book is featured every Monday and you can join other readers to discuss the week’s book in a casual, online forum.
All library locations offer free Internet and Wi-fi access. Use of a password is not needed
The Lower Keys:
In the Lower Keys, Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Coral Hammock Resort Villas and Kings Point Marina…vacation rentals
Retire in the Keys? Of Course!
What keeps retirees in the Keys engaged? You’d be surprised. Find some amazing Keys residents who have discovered that the latter chapters in their life have become some of their most satisfying.
In the late 1960s, when Sally Bauer and her late husband Joe made a roadside stop to buy an interesting looking antique dive helmet, she likely didn’t expect that years later the pair of marine biologists, in what she jokingly calls “semi-retirement,” would start the Florida Keys History of Diving Museum in Islamorada.
The Bauers’ impact on the diving world is as extensive as their collection of artifats, and since Joe’s sudden death in 2007, Sally Bauer has served as president of the museum’s board of directors, further sharing the story of man’s underwater exploration by establishing the Bauer Research Library as a resource for scholars, historians and museum members. In 2011, she was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.
“My challenge for the rest of my life is to put this history down so it’s not lost,” Sally said. “The museum is open, but you never want it to be finished — there are many more stories we want to tell about diving history.”
Read more about this remarkable woman.
Turtles have been what keep Richie Moretti content, satisfied and most of all calm – a welcome feeling for the self-confessed hyperactive man.
Moretti retired from running a VW autobody shop in the early 80s and came down to Marathon, in the Middle Florida Keys, to catch the next big fish. He bought a big boat, a small motel and settled down to enjoy a slower pace of life. In 1984, encouraged by the residents of his motel, he made the Keys his full-time home.
“When you live out in a string of islands that is the Keys, you realize how insignificant you are – it’s a real ego check,” Moretti said. “I love my life in the Keys.”
Read more about how this retiree pioneered the world’s first and only facility of its kind in the world, the Turtle Hospital.
At 65, Will Soto still walks a tightrope three evenings a week, juggling and bantering with crowds as the undisputed star of Key West’s famed sunset celebration at Mallory Square.
When he arrived in Key West in 1976, he was an artist from New Orleans traveling the show circuit.
“When I first got here, one of the first things that intrigued me was the mix of dissimilar people brought together with no apparent order,” he says. “There were ex-lawyers tending bar, ex-execs driving cabs, ex-teachers diving for treasure and it generally seemed to be a place where people gave up the daily urban mainland grind to follow their dreams.”
Soto has a famously photographed silhouette, standing on the high wire against a blazing sky and the waters of Key West Harbor. It has become an iconic symbol of the nightly gathering.
Read more how Soto’s highwire act still delights sunset watchers from around the globe.
Keys Senior Adventures Blog
This special blog features the explorations of Katharine Roach, her experiences as a senior traveler in the Florida Keys, revealing its wonderful attitude, the laid-back lifestyle that’s truly Caribbean and that whether you’re 20 or 90, you’re still welcome and there’s plenty to see and do. There is a multitude of opportunities just for the taking.
If you are coming down to visit and stay with us at the KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas in our vacation rentals, share some of your favorite experiences with us …
Visit our blog next Tuesday with updated experiences in the Florida Keys…