2022 marked the beginning for the Upper Keys’ new premier people’s choice awards. A year later, the Best of the Upper Keys is back and bringing new categories, bragging rights and an unforgettable awards night that raises money for a worthy cause.

The time has come to crown the best there is to offer on the upper island chain. The second annual Best of Upper Keys lets the people choose the nominees and winners in the food and drink, community and business divisions. A total of 65 awards are up for grabs, with several new categories added this year, including best margarita and wings, best artist and best fishing guide, to name a few. 

The Best of the Upper Keys is similar to the Key West People’s Choice Awards, which began in 2014, and the Best of Marathon, which began in 2008. Voters will have the chance to vote for all of their favorite people, places and things that encapsulates what makes Upper Keys communities the most desired locations to visit and live on the planet. So whether it’s local celebrities, favorite neighborhoods, best local musician or best local business – locals will name the very best of the best that the Upper Keys has to offer.

First Horizon Bank, Baptist Health Mariners Hospital, Dr. Michelle, audiologist, Whale Harbor Restaurants & Marina, Going Aire and Artisan Group Builders are among the event sponsors. Proceeds from the event will go to support the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter. 

“We are humbled and honored to bring this event back to our friends and neighbors in the Upper Keys,” said Jason Koler, Keys Weekly publisher. “This is about bringing everyone together to celebrate those who have dedicated themselves to their professions and service. The voting is subjective and we want everyone to have fun with the nominations while putting a spotlight on those who exemplify excellence in business and dedication to community.”


Nominate your favorites: Sept. 21 to Oct. 8

Visit at noon on Thursday, Sept. 21 to nominate your favorites in each category. Find the category list on the back cover. Nominate once per day for all categories, and must fill out 75% of the ballot to cast a valid submission. So visit often, or daily, throughout the nomination process to propose your favorite finalists.

The top three nominees in each category are placed on the finalists’ ballot. We do not create the top three (a commonly asked question). You, the voters, decide the top three finalists from among your nominees. Nomination voting begins at noon on Sept. 21 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 8. Updates and reminders will be provided by the Keys Weekly in print, digital and social media throughout the process. 

Choose the best: Oct. 12-29

The top three nominees in each category make the finalists’ ballot. The highest vote-getter among the finalists in each category receives the Best of the Upper Keys Award. 

Voting for the finalists in each category begins at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 12 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 29 at During this stage, voters can submit one ballot per day and must fill out 75% of the categories to cast a valid ballot. So visit often throughout the process and submit one ballot a day.  Updates and reminders will be provided at, in our daily e-blast, Upper Keys Weekly print editions and social media. The winners’ celebration is Nov. 11 p.m. at Whale Harbor Events.

The Event: Nov. 11

The Best of the Upper Keys celebration this year is on Nov. 11 at Whale Harbor Events, situated along the Islamorada shore. Tickets are not generally made available to the public due to demand. Winners, nominees and dignitaries are invited to attend and additional attendees are selected from a first-come, first-served waiting list. To be placed on this list, please email [email protected].