MIAMI SALSA CONGRESS – This five-day festival features a gathering of the world’s top salsa talent, including local and international touring artists, award-winning dancers, world-class dance instructors, top industry DJs and great Latin bands.
Where: Deauville Beach Resort, Miami Beach
UPPER KEYS REEF CRAWL – Here’s a great way to see the beautiful reefs of the Upper Florida Keys. You can dive, snorkel, kayak and/or stand-up-paddle from reef to reef, checking out the stunning array of fish and coral and explore wrecks and mangroves. There are seminars, too, on reef eco-systems, coral restoration and fish identification. See you at the Reef Crawl, ya’ll.
Where: Off the coast, from Key Largo to Islamorada
HILLSBORO INLET LIGHTHOUSE TOURS – This historic beauty has been operational since 1907 and here’s your chance to see it up close and personal. It’s called “The Big Diamond” because each piece of glass on the outside of the lantern room is in the shape of a diamond. Make sure to climb the tower for a spectacular view of the area.
Where: Boats depart Sands Harbor dock in Pompano Beach
ANYTHING THAT FLOATS REGATTA RACE: Grab your oars and anything that floats and enjoy this race of vessels crafted from non-motorized items from around the house. It’s free to enter (prizes will be awarded in several categories) and watch. Waterfront watering holes and eateries are great viewing areas. Bonuses: Live music and, of course, a great Keys sunset.
Where: Blackwater Sound, Key Largo, Mile Marker 104
ANNUAL AFRO-CUBAN DANCE FESTIVAL – Groove to Mambos, Rumbas, Congas, Chancletas, Salsas and many more. This exciting, colorful fest has dance workshops with live drumming, a street fair and culminates with a gala performance featuring guest artists and the IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Company.
Where: Dade County Auditorium, Miami
SUMMER BUTTERFLY WALK -- See some extremely rare species as you walk through various habitats with a naturalist guide. If you’re lucky you’ll see a Dina Yellow, a Dingy Purplewing, a Fiery Skipper or an Atala, as well as some of the other 40 rare species at the Deering Estate. Free with estate admission.
Where: Deering Estate, Miami
KEY WEST LOBSTERFEST – Florida’s spiny lobster season is as brief as the lobster’s meat is sweet – divers and snorkelers have only two days to catch their limit of crustaceans. Celebrate the opening of the season with a beach party, lobster boil, free concert and street fair and more in the southernmost city in the continental U.S.
Where: Key West
TASTEMAKERS OF DELRAY BEACH – Sample fare from some of the city’s best restaurants. There’s a bonus, too: Your event $30 “passport” can be used for special promotions at each participating restaurant. Don’t wait – this event tends to sell out quickly.
Where: Downtown Delray Beach
ANNUAL MYSTERY WRITERS’ KEY WEST FEST – This relative newcomer is open to established and aspiring authors and fans of the genre. Included are workshops, presentations, panel events with renowned crime fiction and true-crime authors and one-on-one consultations with publishing industry experts.
Where: Marriott Beachside, Key West
DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS – Part music festival and part street party, it features five stages, a kids zone and great eats.
Where: Downtown Stuart
Web: facebook.com/stuartdancininthestreets and lyrictheatre.com
TROPICAL HEAT – More than a dozen intriguingly decadent all-male events, ranging from drag shows to themed pool parties and gatherings at island clubs, have made this a world-renowned gay vacation destination.
Where: Various locations in Key West
CAR SHOW & FARMERS MARKET – Who doesn’t like vintage and muscle cars and fresh seasonal produce? But wait, there’s more – arts and crafts vendors, all kinds of food (don’t miss the baked goods) and live entertainment.
Where: Heritage Park, Sunny Isles Beach
HANG 20 SURF DOG CLASSIC – Need a dog fix when you come to South Florida? Then don’t miss this fun gathering. In addition to doggie surfing and doggies on paddle boards, there are live bands, face painting, good eats, ice cream, cowabunga cocktails by Perfect Vodka and a whole lot more.
Where: Carlin Park at Jupiter Beach Civic Center
SARASOTA SLAM – Fishing amateurs beware! This is a fiercely competitive tournament for skilled inshore and offshore anglers yielding impressive results snapper, trout and other tough catches to weigh in and compete for money prizes. There’s a category for Jr. Anglers and a dockside BBQ and party for competitors and guests.
Where: Marina Jack, Sarasota