Best Things to Do in Key West in July (2023)

July is so much fun in Key West. The average temperatures can be a bit steamy, but there’s always an air-conditioned place to pop into to enjoy a beverage and listen to live music. I may be partial, but I think July is the best time to visit Key West. Partial… because it is my birthday month… but Key West is pretty special any month of the year. But what is there to do in Key West in July?

Even with a few rainy days, this is a great time of year to visit the island. There are festivals happening most of the month. Towards the end of the month is Hemingway Days. Be sure to check out our article all about this amazing festival. Of course, July is in the middle of hurricane season, so prepare for the possibility of rain. As with any month, Key West weather is unpredictable and changes on the hour.

Plan a trip filled with lots of fun. Come for the Key Lime festival and check out the pie-eating contest. Or, plan a trip during the Fourth and see awesome fireworks displays on Higgs Beach. July and August are some of Key West’s busiest months. Spend some time at Smathers Beach and enjoy the warm water temperature. Or head out to visit some of the many historic sites on the island.

Want to escape the higher temperatures of the summer months? Check out the events held at the Studios of Key West. Or check out the treasurers found at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.

Skip car rentals when you land at the Key West International Airport. Some of the best ways to explore the island are one foot, by scooter, or on a guided tour with a local. Daylight hours are long (although starting to get shorter), so take advantage of all that the island offers, from live entertainment to a Key West fishing tournament. Below is the list of events happening in Key West in July!

Key Lime Festival – June 30 – July 4, 2023

Welcome to the Key Lime Festival: America’s Favorite Citrus Celebration! In the Florida Keys, we like to celebrate the things that make our islands unique. Citrus, eccentrics, people & pie. Our celebrations are fun, odd & unforgettable. Our people are too. Come on down to the birthplace of Key Lime Pie for a little taste and you’ll see what we mean. Love & Limes!

KEY WEST MERMAID FESTIVAL – July 1 – July 4, 2023

The family-friendly Mermaid festival features interactive mermaid adventures while raising awareness of oceans and salty shores. Events include mermaid meet-ups, swim encounters with the festival’s mermaid pod, ocean-themed parties, and a weekend mermaid- and ocean-inspired marketplace at Truman Waterfront Park. A portion of festival proceeds is to benefit Reef Relief’s efforts to protect the coral reef ecosystem.

Shakedown on the Green – Key West Island Market

All are welcome the first Saturday of every month for Shakedown on the Green: Key West Island Market, located on the Sunset Green Lawn at 24 North Hotel, 3820 N. Roosevelt. This family-friendly, Key West Island Market features local goods, artists, food trucks and more. Free admission and free parking. $5 mimosas available.

Meet the Mermaids at Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center – July 1

Meet the Mermaids” under the sea at the newly renovated Eco-Discovery Center at 35 E. Quay Rd. Enjoy two hours of an educational, “fintastic” time from 10 a.m. to noon while you meet and take plenty of “shell-fies” with the 2023 Key West Mermaid Pod. There will be special appearances by King Neptune, and everyone’s favorite under-the-sea couple, Ariel and Prince Eric. A $10 cash donation is suggested to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The event is part of this year’s Key West Mermaid Festival taking place through July 4th.

Key Lime Pie Drop – July 2

As part of the Key Lime Festival, come out to see the most creative minds in Key West attempt to outsmart gravity by finding a way to drop a Key lime pie from the top of the lighthouse to the ground… without damaging the pie. Try dropping your own pie, or just enjoy the spectacle from the ground. It’s free to watch and enter the competition, but participants must register in advance on the festival website. The winner takes home a cash prize. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the lighthouse, 938 Whitehead Street.

World Famous Key Lime Pie Eating Contest – July 4

Watch contestants compete for the title of Key Lime Pie Eating Champion in this annual competition, the highlight o the Key Lime Festival. Eaters must clock the fastest time to consume an entire 9-inch Key lime pie topped with whipped cream, without using their hands. $25 for contestants to enter; free for spectators. Enjoy the Key Lime Vendor Village beginning at 11 a.m., with the contest starting at 1:30 p.m., all at the Southernmost Beach Cafe, 1405 Duval Street.

Dinner Under the Fireworks, Key West – July 4

The Rotary Club Key West holds its annual Patriotic Dinner Under the Fireworks next to the Edward B. Knight Pier at Indigenous Park, 1801 White Street, with dinner and a cash bar by Catered Affairs, music and front row seats to the spectacular fireworks. The event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person.

Key West Fireworks – July 4

The Rotary Club of Key West presents the annual fireworks show starting at 9 p.m. from the Edward B. Knight Pier, 1800 White Street. View for free from Higgs Beach, Smathers Beach or by boat. Rotary also offers a ticketed VIP dinner event at Indigenous Park next to the pier.

Fourth of July Firecracker 5k Run/Walk

Start the holiday on Tuesday, July 4th with a bang at the annual Firecracker 5k, which begins and ends at the Edward B. Knight Pier, 1800 White Street. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. Cost is $30 for both runners and walkers. Advance registration available online.

Artisan Summer Market – July 9

The Key West Artisan Summer Market takes place every other Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at VFW Post 3911 at 2200 N. Roosevelt Blvd. The VFW’s air-conditioned dining room will be open for sit-down breakfast, brunch or lunch and there is a full bar both inside and out. Shop for fresh produce, fresh baked goods, locally caught seafood, as well as items from local artists and jewelry creators.

24 North Hotel: Paint & Sip Night with Artist Lance Berry – July 11

Get ready to laugh and have a blast with the whole family or a couple of pals at Paint and Sip night with Key West character, artist, and life-of-the-party, Lance Berry. Your $40 ticket includes your first drink, plus all the art supplies and instruction you’ll need to create your own masterpiece. The class takes place at Republic Bar & Lounge at 24 North Hotel, 3820 N. Roosevelt Blvd.

Mel Fisher Days – July 15

This annual tribute celebrates Mel Fisher, the Key West treasure hunter who lead the 16-year search for the Spanish galleon Atocha, and whose motto “Today’s the Day” inspired people world-wide to follow their dreams. The Dock Party celebration takes place Saturday at Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St. beginning at 4 p.m., with Mel Fisher trivia games, a 50/50 raffle, silent and live auctions, live entertainment and the presentation of the Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award. An online auction opens in advance of the event on June 15. Net proceeds benefit Wesley House Family Services and the Michael J. Abt Have a Heart Foundation.

HEMINGWAY DAYS – July 18 – 23, 2023

Ernest Hemingway look-alikes, writers, anglers, and fans of the late author’s work are to gather in Key West Tuesday through Sunday, July 18-23, 2023, for the annual Hemingway Days celebration. The festival honors the legacy of the American literary giant who lived and wrote on the island for most of the 1930s. Events include the legendary Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, the wacky “Running of the Bulls,” presentations, prose and poetry readings, a commemoration of the 124th anniversary of his July 21 birth, a museum exhibit, a 3-day marlin tournament, a street fair, a 5k run and paddleboard race, a walking tour and the announcement of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. Find details online.

Hemingway Days – An Amazing Annual Event!


Coinciding with the 43rd annual Hemingway Days celebration, anglers ply the waters once fished by novelist Ernest Hemingway, vying for $50,000 in guaranteed cash prizes. The event awards $25,000 to the first-place team with the most points for blue marlin, white marlin and spearfish. Teams can enter one fun fish (dolphin, tuna, wahoo or released sailfish) per day for additional points. Tournament events are based out of the Perry Hotel & Marina, 7005 Shrimp Road.

2023 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest – July 20 – 22, 2023

Dozens of stocky, bearded men resembling Ernest Hemingway are to return to Key West for the 2023 Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest. Staged at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where it began some 40 years ago, the contest’s preliminary rounds are slated for 6:30 p.m. July 20 and 21. The winner is to be chosen July 22, in a final round starting at 6:30 p.m., from a field of about 24 Hemingway hopefuls.


The Hemingway 5k Sunset Run & Paddleboard Race is to challenge competitors Saturday, July 23. Race begins 5 p.m., from Southernmost Beach, 1405 Duval Street. Celebrate your accomplishment while easing sore muscles from the race with an all-levels yoga recovery session Sunday, free to all participants. The athletic challenges are part of Hemingway Days, a six-day commemoration of the life and work of the author who lived and wrote in Key West for most of the 1930s.

Artisan Summer Market – July 23

The Key West Artisan Summer Market takes place every other Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at VFW Post 3911 at 2200 N. Roosevelt Blvd. The VFW’s air-conditioned dining room will be open for sit-down breakfast, brunch or lunch and there is a full bar both inside and out. Shop for fresh produce, fresh baked goods, locally caught seafood, as well as items from local artists and jewelry creators.


Divers & snorkelers can promote reef protection & explore the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef during the 39th Annual Underwater Music Festival concert on Friday July 7th & Saturday July 8th. Music broadcast by local radio station

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