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Key West wants gay travelers to come 'kamping'

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Key West is offering LGBT adults the opportunity to visit South Florida and re-live or experienced for the first time sleep away camp in a gay-friendly atmosphere. Kamp Key West, set for Thursday through Sunday, May 15 to 18, offers a menu of land-and-sea adventures for grownup LGBT "kampers" in the island city renowned for its all-embracing diversity.

Daily camp activities on the water range from snorkel and dolphin-watch excursions and sunset sails to guided kayaking, all-women charters, glass-bottom boat tours and all-male "sun your buns" snorkel cruises.

Those who prefer land-based fun can explore attractions and museums including the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Key West Lighthouse and Mel Fisher Maritime Museum showcasing 17th-century shipwreck artifacts and treasures. Early-morning fitness boot camps are to be held as well.

The May 15 schedule includes a sunset gathering and full moon bike ride beside the Atlantic Ocean and an opening "Kampfire" and sunset viewing at Key West's The Southernmost House historic inn.

Watersports activities take center stage May 16 with offerings including eco-tours for standup paddleboard enthusiasts, all-day excursions featuring a wide rage of on-the-water adventures, guided kayaking and personal watercraft tours. That evening, attendees can choose from sunset sailing trips or a dinner cruise.

The following day May 17 the action shifts to Key West's Duval Street for lively "Kamp Games" from potato sack racing to three-legged relay at multiple LGBT hotspots. Attendees can also take a unique, trolley tour that spotlights the history, contributions and landmarks associated with Key West's flourishing LGBT community. Happy hours and a dance party are planned to round out the day's activities.

Attendees can give back to the island city from noon to 4 p.m. May 18, by volunteering with local nonprofit organizations. Activities culminate in a Sunday afternoon "Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda" tea dance at La Te Da and a sure-to-be-lively "Kamp Karaoke" at the 801 Bourbon Bar.

Kamp Key West is being organized by the Key West Business Guild. No registration fee is required and all activities are available to purchased a la carte directly from the sponsors.

A complete schedule of events and information on discounted airfare from Delta and American Airlines is available at kampkeywest.org. Information on visiting Key West is available at fla-keys.com/keywest or by calling 800-LAST-KEY.

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