FLORIDA KEYS — Key West’s nightly Sunset Celebration has been named America’s best unheralded free attraction, and Bahia Honda State Park near Big Pine Key has been ranked number two in a list of best United States beaches by TripAdvisor.
Both accolades were determined by the TripAdvisor Popularity Index and TripAdvisor editors.
TripAdvisor-branded Web sites provide online travel reviews and feature more than 25 million monthly visitors and 10 million registered members.
For more than 30 years, Key West’s Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square has drawn large nightly crowds to applaud talents of colorful street performers, view local artisans’ handmade wares and watch the sun sink beneath the horizon beyond Key West Harbor. A tightrope walker, jugglers, mimes, quirky animal acts, fortune tellers, musicians and foodstuffs including “Pretty Good Popcorn” are among attractions as well as unobstructed views of the setting sun.
In its announcement of the designation, TripAdvisor lauded the nightly event as “a celebration of dazzling Key West sunsets” and quoted a TripAdvisor traveler who said, “You can’t imagine the beauty of this, it is just awesome.”
TripAdvisor’s number-two U.S. beach, Bahia Honda’s pristine sandy expanse, is part of a 524-acre state park located on Bahia Honda Key between mile markers 36 and 37. One of the Florida Keys’ most popular camping and recreation areas, Bahia Honda offers deep near-shore waters for swimming and snorkeling as well as camping, picnicking, water sports, a marina and rental cabins.