Sports Enthusiasts Flock to Florida Keys All Year Round

Every day is an adventure in the Florida Keys, where the subtropical climate and scenic natural setting make an ideal backdrop for high-energy sporting activities all year round.

Visitors easily can enjoy water sports and eco-adventures, unparalleled diving and offshore, inshore and flats fishing no matter what the time of year. But not everyone knows the Keys also offer an energetic calendar of organized sporting challenges including marathons for runners, swim competitions, triathlons and cycling excursions.

For example, adrenaline enthusiasts can compete either on foot or on paddleboards in the Hemingway 5k Sunset Run and Paddleboard Race set for Saturday, July 19. The event is a highlight of the annual Hemingway Days festival , celebrating the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Key West throughout the 1930s. Participants can test their strength in the 3-mile ocean paddleboard challenge or 5k run through historic Old Town — or both.

Attractions for paddleboard and self-propelled watercraft fans also include the 12-mile Key West Paddleboard Classic , a race around the United States’ southernmost island that usually takes place in May.

For those with stamina to spare, several running events challenge athletes to compete on scenic routes that test physical limits and personal resolve. Chief among them is the KEYS100 Ultramarathon , also held in May, where American and international contestants race 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West.

Other Florida Keys running competitions include April’s Seven Mile Bridge Run across the longest segmental bridge in the world, and the Key Largo Bridge Run each November. In addition, Key West visitors can participate in the renowned Key West Half Marathon in January and the Southernmost Marathon & Half Marathon in October.

For those looking for a shorter challenge, the Lower Keys’ No Name Race and the Middle Keys’ Sombrero Beach Run offer scenic trails and camaraderie during the island chain’s sunny winter months.

Besides running, the Florida Keys are home to swimming events that have tested athletes for many years. They include the Florida Keys Community College Swim Around Key West , held each June, and Key Largo’s Orange Bowl Swimming Classic in January for the best collegiate swimmers in the U.S.

For those who enjoy mixing sports with history, Islamorada’s 8-mile Swim for Alligator Light , generally scheduled for September, helps raise awareness about the need to preserve the Keys’ aging lighthouses.

Additionally, the Florida Keys host triathlons and cycling races that draw thousands of participants to compete in multiple sports disciplines. Among them is the annual Key West Triathlon each December, which brings endurance-sports enthusiasts to compete in a fast-paced swim in ocean waters and a bike ride and run along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

The Keys island chain also offers numerous opportunities for cyclists to enjoy bike vacations and tours. Among the most popular are the annual 200-mile BubbaFest Bike Tour , generally held in November, and a variety of excursions hosted by Key Largo Bike and Adventure Tours.

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