One of 25 tennis destinations across the country, the Cliff Drysdale Tennis at Hawks Cay Resort lives up to the vision of its founder. The tennis club and fitness center sits on a lush resort in the Florida Keys, surrounded by turquoise waters and leafy palms. The newly renovated tennis facility features eight courts with new nets, windscreens, lights for night play, and resurfaced ground. The eight courts sit within a tennis garden, each concealed by foliage and access through outdoor paths.
Tennis pros Sam Keenan and Robert Menzies teach clinics and beginner's workshops to help player build their fundamentals into competitive abilities. Each new level will introduce more difficult shots and challenges to help students grow from beginners to advanced players. The beginner series and cardio tennis classes combine workouts with basic tennis techniques to provide a thorough understanding of the sport, while the clinics work on heightening individual skills with small groups of two or four. After their tennis workshops, patrons can enjoy the onsite restaurants, swimming pools, and spa facilities or go island hopping to see if they can eventually hit the South Pole.
Ripley’s has enthralled audiences for more than nine decades with its dedication to revealing odd and unexplainable rarities from around the globe. But it all began with one man: Robert Ripley, a wildly successful and eccentric character who rose to fame during the first half of the 20th century. After selling his first cartoon to Life magazine at age 14, he set out on a quick-paced career of drawing sports cartoons for the New York Globe. During a slow day at the office, he sketched nine unusual sporting events and finished his work with a title: “Believe It or Not!” It became immensely popular, allowing Ripley to travel the world in search of more bizarre stories to put into his comic strips. While visiting relatively unknown areas in locales such as India, China, and the inside of his neighbor’s chimney, he picked up a slew of unbelievable souvenirs that later became fixtures in several of Ripley’s museums, or as they’re affectionately called today, Odditoriums. Ripley’s now encompasses publications, attractions, a television show, and a blog, all of which carry Ripley’s tradition of reporting on the world’s curiosities.
Key West Sailing Adventures’ water-savvy ship hands charter passengers to pristine locales for sailing and snorkeling trips. The four-hour excursion outfits each set of up to six divers with all necessary underwater gear—including masks, snorkels, and stingray saddles—as they dive into local reefs. After four hours of subaqueous sightseeing, divers return to the ship’s deck for a two-hour sunset cruise, which chases the picturesque sinking of the nation’s southernmost sun. Excursions occur aboard the 37-foot O’Day sailboat, a solid vessel that avoids bobbling atop waves by practicing core-strengthening Pilates twice weekly. The ship’s galley comes fully stocked with snacks and soft drinks to tide over mid-ocean hunger pangs.
The professional pilots at Timberview Helicopters ferry passengers high into the clouds aboard a sky-scraping whirlybird during flight tours through Destin, Kansas City, and Key West. Having chartered flights for National Geographic and the Travel Channel, these pilots expertly navigate planes toward sweeping, picturesque views, allowing sightseers to steal glances of Fort Walton Beach, downtown Kansas City, and Key West's ocean views from a perspective normally reserved for birds and astronauts with binoculars. Additionally, their high-definition videos grant guests a lasting commemoration of their in-flight experience. When they're not chartering tours, they teach budding pilots the gravity-defying tricks of their trade through pilot training and lug precious shipments from port to port with their cargo-lifting services.
Imagine the lightning-like stripe down the side of a yellowtail snapper or the marbled, almost serpentine pattern on a black grouper. The waters off the Florida Keys teem with such visually stunning marine life, and the crews of Gulfstream Fishing, Inc. know how to catch them. The Gulfstream IV, a 58-foot party boat that’s inspected twice a year by the US Coast Guard, motors approximately 60 passengers swiftly out to deep-sea fishing spots thanks to twin Detroit 8v92 turbo engines. Once anchored, the ship’s amenities—which range from men’s and women’s restrooms to a galley serving snacks—keep anglers comfortable between casts.
In addition to daily party outings, Gulfstream’s crews charter small-group trips that include evening shark fishing, offshore and inshore outings for trophies such as sailfish and tarpon, and trips onto coastal flats for catches such as bonefish and barracuda. They also organize private fishing charters to celebrate special occasions, such as a bachelor party or buying your first boat. An FAQ page answers many questions before guests head out.
"Opulent and luxurious" or "a heavy drinker" are two ways the dictionary defines the term lush. But at Lush Bar, they've got their own definition: "One who becomes luxuriously intoxicated after a glass of wine and flirts with everyone to save the planet." However you define the term, luxury certainly comes to mind at Lush Bar. The airiness brought on by the beach-inspired decor and tall, white walls is offset by a menu of rich, decadent treats. But whether indulging in wine, beer, or chocolate, you can always feel good about your selection. That's because everything here is organic: from the wine all the way down to the coffee and Arbor teas. Lush Bar also hosts weekly pairings that explore the history of chocolate, which—contrary to popular belief—has nothing to do with singing men in matching overalls.
Featured in The New York Times as one of Key West's premiere hidden attractions, Yoga on the Beach's yogis swap beach towels for yoga mats and stretch their arms out toward the ocean horizon. Classes take place on the beach itself, and only the number of vacant sandcastle lots limits the size of each class at Southernmost on the Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, where instructors lead groups in soft, flowing moves grounded in the hatha yoga style. At both locations, Yoga on the Beach provides all necessary equipment—mats, blankets, and props—and classes at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park include day admission to the park.