Key West enjoys an enviable climate all the year round, which makes for an ideal setting for a wide range of parties, from the beaches to the hotels and restaurants, crowds will be out in their thousands to see in the New Year around the Florida Keys, and the balmy weather makes for ideal viewing conditions for the many spectacular fireworks displays that take place around the area, as well as the iconic drop events that mark the culmination of the countdown to NYE 2018.
I've focused on key West here as it seems to have the most going on, but with the rest of the keys, from Key Largo downwards all quite easily accessible then I figured if you're in the area then you can travel down here easily enough. If however there are other parties elsewhere on the keys you think we should include, then please shout up using the feedback form at the bottom of the page and I'll be happy to take a look.
There are fireworks all around the Florida Keys at new years, and given the maritime setting you'll be able to see some from pretty much anywhere, but in Key West the main fireworks are launched from the end of the White Street Pier over Key West Harbor.
Key West brings its own unique interpretation to the ball drop on New years eve, an event that originated in New York's Times Square and is now fondly imitated in locations around the world as diverse as Hong Kong and Tokyo! In the Keys version, we get to see the Shoe Drop which is, well, exactly what it sounds like, featuring a 6 foot tall high heel, carrying a drag queen by the name of Sushi descending from the roof of the Bourbon Street Pub.
Crowds gather all around the venue but if you book well in advance you can actually get tickets for the balcony which will give you the best view but aren't cheap at $100 each.
Another unusual "drop" takes place at the famous Sloppy Joe's bar on Duval Street, where their emblem of choice is a conch shell.
The final act in the triumvirate of unorthodox drops (was going to say droppings, but it didn't sound right....) is the not really politically correct Wench Drop, which sees a pirate's wench lowered from the mast of a schooner moored in the Key's Historic Seaport.
One option a lot of people go for in the Florida Keys, especially visitors to the region, is to join one of the many new year's eve cruises on the waters around the keys, which has the advantage of avoiding the crowds and giving you fantastic views of the fireworks.
For those seeking sustenance, either as part of a quiet civilised evening with friends or as a pre-cursor to hitting the bars and street parties then Key West has a load of choice for such a relatively small location. Seafood is obviously a speciality but you'll be able to find pretty much anything here - recommended choices include Paseo Caribbean restaurant, Solo American Bistro and, for us veggies, the quirky The Cafe, A Mostly Vegetarian Place. Check out the full range of eateries here.
Places to watch live online - there are absolutely loads of webcams in the area, including those perfectly positioned on Duval Street and at Sloppy Joe's Bar, so you can keep an eye on the NYE events wherever you are:
Key West is often also featured on the New Year's Eve Live broadcast on CNN, which is available to watch live online around the world, find the live stream links here.
Places to stay in the Florida Keys are plentiful at any time of year, and New Years Eve is no exception. There is everything from upscale, 5 star hotels to low-rent guesthouses. For a full range of hotels, bed and breakfast, apartments and guest houses in Key West, visit local hotels here.
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