Foolproof Mother’s Day – From spas to sport-fishing, the Florida Keys make it unforgettable
Whether Mom wants a quiet, romantic and pampered getaway, or an adventure with the family, Mother’s Day is a great occasion to visit in the Keys. Locals know that May is about as good as it gets here. It is guaranteed to be warm, but not yet in the summer swelter. Lodging rates and wind speeds are down and water temperatures are up. That means ideal conditions for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and lounging.
Relaxing is a top Keys activity, and world-class spas are plentiful along these 126-miles of islands. More adventurous moms might like a sunset cruise, zipping around on WaveRunners, or a day of charter fishing. Particularly clever families might enlist the help of a hotel concierge, many of whom are adept at creating moments that will be cherished for a lifetime. Think about escorting Mom to the beach, where rose petals form a heart on the sand and a candlelit dinner awaits.
A number of restaurants offer special Mom’s day brunches and dinners, and some resorts offer vacation package discounts in honor of our matriarchs. Here are a few of our favorite picks for Mom, plus some other ideas to keep her in smiles and giggles.
Restaurants: Snappers Oceanfront Restaurant & Bar and Gus’ Grille at the Key Largo Marriott have special meals today, each with an excellent waterfront view and Keys’ island ambiance. Gus’ also has a romantic beach for a late-night stroll. Reservations recommended on Mother’s Day.
Event: Compete to hook the heaviest mahi-mahi in the Florida Keys Dolphin Championship, a Keys-wide challenge. Unlimited anglers per team, www.floridakeysdolphinchampionship.com.
Idea: See thriving reef life from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, pennekamppark.com/glassbottom-boat.
Restaurant & Resort: Morada Bay brings a three-course prix fixe menu from 3 to 9 p.m. in the upscale Pierre’s Restaurant. Dine at a beachfront table with live music and a star-lit sky. On May 12, Morada also throws its monthly full-moon beach party with a band and performers ranging from Brazilian dancers to Junkanoo parades, moradabay.com.
Event: TV binge watch in public with episodes of the Netflix series Bloodlines, filmed mostly in Islamorada. Wednesdays from March 8 to 24, two episodes per day, Keys History and Discovery Center, Islander Resort, keysdiscovery.com/news.
Idea: Charter a fishing boat or moonlight cruise from one of the many skilled area captains.
Restaurants: the Lighthouse Grill at Faro Blanco Resort and TJ’s Tiki Bar in the Tranquility Bay Beach Resort both cook up special meals on the waterfront for Mom today. Events: anglers of all abilities can join in the festive 11th Annual Mother’s Day Dolphin Tournament, which doles out cash prizes and benefits the Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys. Open to anglers of all abilities; May 12, habitatmiddlekeys.org/dolphin-tournament.
Idea: Swim with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center, a nonprofit rescue and education facility, dolphins.org.
Restaurants: For an exquisite brunch, take the ferry to the très chic island resort of Little Palm; reservations required, adults only, littlepalmisland.com. For a family day, settle into a special Mother’s Day menu at Boondocks Grill, then live it up at their 18-hole mini-golf course, boondocksus.com.
Idea: Take an eco-kayak tour amidst the mangroves and underwater wildlife, and see Key deer with a renowned naturalist and guide at Big Pine Kayak Adventures, keyskayaktours.com.
Restaurants: Key West residents and visitors love Sunday brunches every weekend, especially at the expansive Bistro 245, the intimate La Te Da, and vegetarian-centric The Cafe.
Events: Dance the weekend away at the Key West Songwriters Festival, showcasing musicians from across the country at free venues throughout town; May 10 to 14, keywestsongwritersfestival.com. Catch live theater at the Red Barn, Waterfront Playhouse and Parish Hall. Learn safe collection and handling techniques for lionfish, then get a free dive to put your new skills of gathering up these invasive species into practice; sponsored by REEF, May 13, reef.org/lionfish/workshops.