5 Ways to Spend Thanksgiving in the Florida Keys

Swap pumpkin pie for key lime pie and spend Thanksgiving in Key West. Check out our favorite holiday events, where to catch Turkey Day football, and the best foods to add to your Thanksgiving spread. Here’s how we do Thanksgiving in the Keys.

 

Watch Thanksgiving football.

Football has long been a Thanksgiving Day tradition, and Thanksgiving in Florida is no exception. Whether you’re a Gators or Dolphins fan, you’ll be in good company this season. Here are the spots around town where you can catch some Thanksgiving football action:

 

Try local Key West specialties.

Move over creamed corn, here are some vibrant and tasty dishes from Key West that are sure to shine on Turkey Day.

 

Key Lime Pie

Sweet and tangy key lime pie is an obvious choice. It’s basically a staple food group in Key West. While Thanksgiving is traditionally lauded as the holiday of pumpkin or apple pie, in Florida, November is key lime pie’s time to shine.

 

 

 

 

Seafood

Looking for a local alternative to traditional turkey and stuffing? Try Key West pink shrimp or spiny lobster a new take on the popular Thanksgiving dishes. While some might raise an eyebrow at the thought of ordering seafood instead of turkey, a fresh taste of the Florida Keys is sure to make for a Thanksgiving dinner that won’t soon be forgotten.

 

And of course, we can’t not mention the gorgeous weather we’re surrounded with. Where else can you spend Thanksgiving Day on the water? Here are some of our favorite day trips to work up to the big meal on Thanksgiving:

 

Hit the waves for stand up paddleboarding.

Explore the open seas by renting a paddleboard from our resort at no charge.

 

See inside Ernest Hemingway’s house.

Explore the historic Hemingway House, where the famous novelist, writer, and journalist lived in the 1930s. The designed U.S. National Historic Landmark is located just across from the Key West lighthouse at the southern end of the island.

Go kayaking at Indian Key.

One of the many islands off the coast of the Florida Keys, Indian Key is only accessible by kayak, which makes for a great workout on Thanksgiving Day!

 

It’s never too early: Plan ahead and lock in the best rate for your stay this Thanksgiving.

The Cheeca Guide to Florida Keys Cuisine

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While the Florida Keys have gifted us with the delicious summertime favorite of the Key Lime Pie, that’s not all they’re known for. Here are a few special dishes to watch out for when you stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa.

Key Lime Pie

Of course, we had to mention the Florida Keys staple. This tart and sweet crème pie uses key limes, which are smaller than conventional limes. The pie is said to have originated in Key West during the early 20th century. It was a staple of fishermen and Key West dwellers because the key ingredient, condensed milk, did not need to be refrigerated. To find the best slice on Islamorada, head to slightly north to Blond Giraffe, known locally as the Key Lime pie factory. This famed spot is one of the most well-known spots to grab a freshly-chilled pie in the Keys.

Key West Pink Shrimp

Harvested from the crystal clear waters of Dry Tortugas, this Florida Keys specialty is notable for their seasonality and their mildly sweet flavor. Deriving their pink color from their living environment in the coral sand off the west coast of Florida, you’ll find this type of shrimp in most restaurants on Islamorada. Usually served in cocktail sauce, or grilled and seared, hit up Twisted Shrimp, Chef Michael’s, or Lazy Days Restaurant to try this Keys specialty.

Spiny lobster

One of the many lobster varieties, this warm water lobster differs from its Northern cousin by forgoing the claws for a subtler taste. Because of its milder flavor, you’ll find this lobster meat mainly in stews or flavorful rice dishes. The Hungry Tarpon in Islamorada pairs its fresh catches of the day with Caribbean-inspired cuisines. Try the broiled Spiny Lobster tail with tropical rice and charred asparagus for its vibrant island flavors.