22 Fun Things to do in Islamorada, Florida Keys Enclave

0
791


Adventurous Kate accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. If you make a purchase order via these hyperlinks, I’ll earn a fee at no further value to you. Thanks!

If you’re on the lookout for enjoyable within the Florida Keys, you’re going to like Islamorada Florida. There are so many issues to do in Islamorada! This small city within the Upper Keys is probably not featured in a Beach Boys tune like Key Largo, nor as well-known as perennially fashionable Key West, however there may be a lot to supply right here.

I’ve been visiting the Florida Keys for years, and once I first visited Islamorada, I used to be most excited to see the sights from the Netflix collection Bloodline (which I nonetheless extremely advocate when you haven’t seen it but). Much of the collection takes place at a lodge known as “Rayburn House,” which is shot at Moorings Village in Islamorada!

Located within the Upper Keys, Islamorada is usually known as the Village of Islands and is made up of six small islands.

Throughout the Florida Keys, there are ample alternatives for snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, and fishing — and Islamorada has all of those in spades. Fishing is particularly fashionable, and Islamorada is usually known as the sportfishing capital of the world. But that’s not all — I additionally actually take pleasure in Islamorada’s arts scene and craft brewing and distilling scene.

If you’re seeking to journey up and down the Florida Keys from a central location, Islamorada is a fairly good base, simply 20 minutes from Key Largo and an hour and 45 minutes from Key West.

Come to Islamorada for recent seafood and brightly coloured sunsets, craft beer and unforgettable souvenirs. This is among the gems of the Florida Keys!

This put up was printed in January 2024 and was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Susan Stephens.

People crouched on a dock, feeding small fish to the giant tarpon fish in the water!
Robbie’s Marina is an absolute-must when driving via the Keys!

The Best Things to do in Islamorada

Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s

Far and away, essentially the most distinctive factor to do in Islamorada (and my private favourite factor to do in Islamorada!) is feed the tarpon at Robbie’s of Islamorada. This is an absolute should within the Florida Keys. You purchase a bucket of small fish, lean over the sting of the dock, and hand-feed them to the large tarpon under!

This is thrilling and hilarious — particularly when you’ve got a slight worry of fish and bigger worry of birds, like I do. (Why birds? Pelicans hang around alongside the sting, hoping to seize a number of the tiny fish. Keep a good distance from them them; they’ll chunk.)

Get plenty of photographs and movies of you feeding the tarpon — it is a very Instagrammable exercise.

After you get performed feeding the fish, it’s also possible to kayak or paddleboard from Robbie’s or take a look at their restaurant, The Hungry Tarpon, to strive some native seafood dishes. Their Trailer Trash Bloody Mary is famous, that includes bacon, shrimp, a meat straw, pickled greens, and olives filled with blue cheese, pickles and pimentos.

If you eat exterior, don’t miss popping your head inside to see the inside, coated with greenback payments! Feel free to tape a spare greenback of your individual.

A colorful glass-blown fish in an art gallery.
Stop within the galleries of Islamorada for artwork like this.

Explore the Morada Way Arts District

Right within the coronary heart of Islamorada is the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, stuffed with a number of galleries, retailers, and studios that includes treasures made by native artists. If you’re on the lookout for a memento out of your time in Islamorada, that is the place I like to recommend you look.

The Morada Way Art Walk takes place on the third Thursday of each month, when elements of the streets are shut down from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, and the native shops keep open until late. The streets flip right into a competition, with stay music, foods and drinks, plenty of artists showcasing their wares.

This artsy occasion is an absolute should when you time your journey to Islamorada proper! It’s the most effective methods to fulfill some locals.

A woman biking on a cement road over the ocean.
Woman biking the Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, through Michael Rosebrock on Shutterstock.

Bike or Hike the Keys Overseas Heritage Trail

With 90 miles of trails Key Largo to Key West, this scenic hall threads collectively quite a few historic landmarks, ecological hotspots, and panoramic views of the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. Some individuals even bike the prepare the total size of the Keys!

The path will take you alongside mangrove swamps and coral reefs, with some historic websites sprinkled in. Keep in thoughts that some elements are good and quiet, whereas some elements are proper up subsequent to the freeway. And it doesn’t matter what you propose to do on the path, it’s a good suggestion to pack loads of water and sunscreen with you. Some sandwiches for a picnic can be enjoyable, too!

If you’d prefer to discover by bike in Islamorada, you possibly can lease bikes from Backcountry Cowboy, or electrical bikes from Keys Ebikes. (As a lot as I like ebikes for getting up hills, you gained’t be going up many hills within the Florida Keys!)

Access to the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is freed from cost.

A round wooden sampler platter topped with several small glasses of beer.
Sampling all of them at Florida Keys Brewing Co!

Try Local Craft Beer

I like dropping by native breweries on my travels, and Islamorada is house to a number of the finest within the Florida Keys. And the employees are wonderful — as a result of individuals who stop their typical jobs to make beer for a dwelling all the time have tales to inform!

First up is Florida Keys Brewing Company, Islamorada’s first microbrewery. Nestled within the coronary heart of the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, the family-owned institution is famend for its revolutionary brews. The tasting room is open every day, and their colourful beer backyard is a enjoyable place to chill out and luxuriate in some board video games alongside along with your brews.

Not far off, Islamorada Beer Company provides extra tasty craft brews. Their declare to fame is “Sandbar Sunday,” which encapsulates the sun-soaked way of life of the Keys. Try their citrusy Islamorada Ale or the hoppy Floriday for an ideal Keys beverage.

Not a beer particular person? There’s a wine spot, too! Islamorada Wine Co. is a wine bar that includes a big selection of boutique wines, and their tasting room provides a comfy environment the place you possibly can sip and find out about their wine varieties. They’ve obtained a pleasant number of charcuterie and different dishes to pair with their wines.

A diver examining a giant shipwreck in Florida.
The Eagle shipwreck in Islamorada Florida, through Shutterstock.

Visit the History of Diving Museum

Delve deep into the ocean’s secrets and techniques on the History of Diving Museum. As you possibly can guess from the identify, the museum showcases the historical past of diving across the globe, with artifacts and displays just like the diving helmets utilized by early explorers to instance of underwater habitats.

If you’re on the lookout for issues to do in Islamorada on a wet day, it is a good selection!

Admission to the museum is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $12 for veterans. Students with ID pay $11 and youngsters 6-11 are simply $7. Kids 5 and underneath obtain free admission.

A stone memorial in Islamorada Florida remembering hurricane victims in 1935.
A memorial to victims of the 1935 hurricane, through Joni Hannebutt on Shutterstock.

Visit the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center

Here’s a terrific spot to immerse your self within the wealthy historical past and tradition of the Florida Keys. The Discovery Center provides a plethora of displays showcasing the area’s maritime heritage, pure surroundings, and Indigenous peoples.

Here, guests can discover the storied previous of the Florida Keys from a brand new perspective. You can delve into the tales of well-known pirates, find out about Indigenous peoples and their customs, and marvel on the various marine life that inhabits the encircling waters. The museum additionally hosts a wide range of non permanent displays.

Admission is $15 for adults, $12.50 for seniors, $6 for college kids, and children underneath the age of 6 can take pleasure in free entry. 

People sitting on a wooden dock in the Florida Keys, enjoying the view just before sunset.
Sunset-watching is the native sport within the Keys!

Catch the Sunset at Marker 88

One factor I like concerning the Florida Keys is that everybody appears to be in a terrific temper! And one place to benefit from the sundown amongst plenty of blissful Keys guests is Marker 88, a restaurant situated on Plantation Key in Islamorada.

Come right here to take pleasure in an ideal pink and purple Islamorada sundown. They have a pleasant cocktail menu, together with a “coffee margarita” if you wish to be a bit adventurous! And the meals is great, too, with plenty of seafood dishes and a uncooked bar.

And after all, there’s all the time key lime pie for dessert.

A calm sandy beach with a small beach hut and lots of tall palm trees.
Cheek Lodge’s grounds are definitely worth the spa entry alone! Via Shutterstock.

Enjoy a Spa Day at Cheeca Lodge

If you’re seeking to pamper your self in your journey to the Florida Keys, I like to recommend you take a look at the spa at Cheeca Lodge, one of many nicest resorts on the town. It’s additionally a good approach to get again to feeling like your self once more when you had a late evening the evening earlier than!

Services right here embody a wide range of massages – from conventional Swedish and Jade Stone to distinctive choices like Hot Lava Shell Massage, a therapy that makes use of polished tiger clam shells to invigorate the power stream! Other physique remedies embody hydrating wraps, exfoliations, and facials. And they typically incorporate native elements, like Florida Keys sea salt and coconut oil.

While I didn’t get to strive any of the spa providers at Cheeca Lodge, I did get to hitch a Zumba class right here! Check their web site for the newest choices.

Dozens of small boats anchored off a sandbar in clear, bright green water.
There’s nothing like a sandbar social gathering within the Florida Keys! Via Shutterstock.

Party within the Ocean

Islamorada is unquestionably a vacation spot that may deliver the social gathering — however not in your typical seaside bar trend! In Islamorada, you don’t social gathering at a bar on the seaside, you social gathering IN the ocean.

The Islamorada Sandbar is situated a mile offshore, round Mile Marker 84. It’s precisely what it feels like — a sandbar in the midst of the ocean — however the individuals of Islamorada have turned it into the largest social gathering on the water. Some days you’ll discover tons of of boats alongside the sandbar, with individuals bringing their lounge chairs, grills, and extra to arrange within the shallow water of the sandbar.

Note that you just can’t stroll to the sandbar — it’s accessible by water solely, even at low tide. Many boats will take you right here nevertheless it will also be reached by kayak and paddleboard.

Another possibility for partying in Islamorada is to constitution a non-public tiki boat to cruise round and chill out with a cooler of your favourite drinks. You’ll drop anchor on the sandbar the place you possibly can sit back with a cool drink on the customized surfboard bar or take a plunge into the water for a refreshing swim.

The boat comes with 4 tower audio system so you possibly can jam to your favourite tunes. And maintain your eyes peeled – you would possibly spot wildlife like dolphins, seabirds, and fish. Prices start at $500 for a bunch of as much as six. Definitely definitely worth the splurge when you’ve got a bunch.

A man fishing off a boat, a strong fish caught by his pole. The fish is so strong it's bending the fishing pole.
There’s nothing like fishing within the Keys! Via Shutterstock.

Go fishing

As the game fishing capital of the world, it’s most likely no shock that fishing is among the prime issues to do in Islamorada. Whether you’re deep sea fishing for the primary time or an skilled angler, there’s a fishing constitution for you.

This fishing tour is led by native captain Dave and an enthusiastic staff of expert shipmates. Depending on the goal species for the day, you can be crusing regionally or heading offshore for 20 minutes to an hour.

The goal is to fill the boat with as many fish as allowed, weigh them, then head again to the dock. There, the crew fillets and ices your catch, packing them so that you can take pleasure in later — and that’s as recent as fish can get! Prices for this unique expertise start at $1,600 per group.

People relaxing in a speedboat during a purple sunset in the Florida Keys.
Catching a beautiful sundown is among the finest issues to do in Islamorada Florida!

Enjoy a Sunset Cruise

Getting on the water in Islamorada is a should, and a sundown cruise is one among my favourite issues to do within the Keys. There are a number of totally different choices, and I like to recommend you learn the descriptions fastidiously — some are extra tame, whereas some are all-out booze cruises.

On this personal sundown cruise, you’ll cruise to the bay aspect of Islamorada and luxuriate in some native wildlife earlier than the solar units. You would possibly even catch the legendary Green Flash because the solar dips under the water! On the journey again, put together for music, disco lights, and a dance-off underneath the celebrities. Prices begin at $350 per group of as much as six individuals.

How about a stunning sundown boat journey from Islamorada to the bay aspect of the island? On this group journey, you’ll take within the pure fantastic thing about the Florida Keys and luxuriate in some sneaky peaks on the posh properties that line the waterfront. Take within the sundown with a killer view from all angles. Prices begin at $86 per particular person.

Another possibility? Step onto a spacious 49-passenger pontoon catamaran and cross over to the bay aspect, the place the solar dips into the Gulf of Mexico, portray the sky with hues of gold. Grab a drink and take heed to crew members’ tales concerning the Keys and native marine life. You would possibly even spot a dolphin when you’re fortunate! Prices begin at $76 per particular person.

People looking down at the blue underwater scene through glass panels in a glass bottom boat in Florida.
You’ll love seeing sea creatures via a glass backside boat! Via LukeandKarla.Travel on Shutterstock.

Go On a Glass Bottom Boat Tour

If you’ve by no means been on a glass backside boat tour earlier than, the Keys is a superb place to strive it. You’ll get a sneak peek of the underwater world whereas staying dry within the course of!

On this 46-foot glass-bottom boat tour, there’s loads of room to sit back, chill out, and drink within the beautiful views. The captain and crew aren’t simply professionals at crusing — they’re additionally natural-born storytellers and wanting to share their data with guests.

Alternatively, how a few evening tour by glass-bottom boat? The Transparensea is a 46-foot boat with loads of room to witness the ocean creatures of the evening (from a secure, dry distance!). With this boat tour, you’ll get particular entry to beautiful reefs like Cheeca Rocks, Alligator Reef, and Caloosa Rocks.

Four snorkelers in the neon teal water at Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo.
Snorkeling within the Florida Keys is a should.

Go Snorkeling

It wouldn’t be a Keys journey with out a little bit of snorkeling, one more of the very best issues to do in Islamorada. You can do it proper off the seaside in lots of areas or be part of a guided tour like those under.

In this 4-hour snorkeling and sandbar expertise from Islamorada, you’ll get loads of time to discover beneath the floor, adopted by a while enjoyable on the Islamorada Sandbar. This journey comes with gear, paddle boards, and refreshments, all led by a charismatic information.

Another possibility is this personal ecotour, which takes you across the mangroves to a number of the prime snorkeling spots — however don’t be stunned when you spot some unique birds or perhaps a crocodile on the way in which there!

If you’re on the lookout for a shorter expertise, this 2-hour snorkeling journey takes place in a protected space, the place you’re more likely to see fairly a little bit of marine life underwater. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins!

A few trees growing out of the surf on the edge of a white sand beach in the Florida Keys.
Anne’s Beach is the proper leisure spot in Islamorada Florida.

Relax on Anne’s Beach

Anne’s Beach is situated on the southern finish of Lower Matecumbe Key in Islamorada. This seaside, a brief stroll from the Overseas Highway, is a tranquil spot within the Upper Keys.

Fringed with mangroves and palm bushes, the seaside offers ample shade and picnic spots. A boardwalk winds its approach via a number of totally different seashores, permitting you to seek out your approach to the proper spot.

Don’t overlook your snorkel and masks — the coral simply off shore is good right here. And you must know that it is a pet-friendly seaside.

A boardwalk leading through the mangroves on a small island. A weathered wooden sign has directions to the town square and Northwest st.
A quiet spot at Indian Key State Park, through Shutterstock.

Explore the State Parks

Islamorada is house to 3 totally different state parks, every of them value visiting, with one thing totally different to supply. The entrance price to every of those state parks is $2.50.

Indian Key Historic State Park is a fascinating little island that boasts an enormous historical past. Once the county seat for Dade County, this park was house to individuals who salvaged items from ships that wrecked alongside the reef. Today, guests can discover the island’s historic ruins, meander alongside the character path, or take pleasure in a spread of water actions. It is just accessible by boat or kayak.

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is house to an historical coral reef that has since changed into fossilized limestone, giving a novel glimpse into Florida’s geological previous. The park additionally options 5 trails the place guests can study extra concerning the space’s pure and cultural historical past. The guests’ heart, with its displays of the park’s flora, fauna, and geological historical past, is effectively value visiting.

Lignum Vitae Key Botanical State Park is a panoramic pristine protect that hosts a wide range of plant and animal species. Named for the Lignum Vita tree, the park is situated on a small island and is just accessible by boat. The foremost attraction right here is the stone Matheson House, inbuilt 1919 and a throwback to the pioneer days.

A slice of chocolate syrup-topped key lime pie in a plastic container.
Stop on the Blond Giraffe for a number of the finest key lime pie in Islamorada Florida.

Eat All the Pie on the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory

I’ll admit it — every time I’m within the Florida Keys, I’m consuming key lime pie at the least twice a day. And Islamorada has a terrific place to pattern it — the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory.

Here they’ve plenty of sorts of key lime pie out there, together with pie with meringue, whipped cream, chocolate, bare pies, and even key lime on a stick. They have espresso-based espresso drinks, key limeade, and a very stunning backyard within the again that’s the good place to sit back with a slice.

And right here’s a tip — you will get a complete pie for the price of round 4 slices. So get a complete pie! You’re on trip! 

A wooden dock perched near lots of palm trees in Key Largo, Florida.
Key Largo is a gem of a getaway.

Take a Day Trip to Key Largo

Key Largo is the primary place you move via when driving over from the mainland, and it’s only a 20-minute drive from Islamorada, so I extremely advocate spending a little bit of time on this stunning place.

Key Largo is house to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which provides a number of the finest snorkeling within the Florida Keys. One of the very best methods to expertise it’s to be part of a snorkeling journey. The mangroves alongside Key Largo are extremely stunning.

There are additionally some quirky retailers in Key Largo, like Keys’ Meads, which makes a wide range of meads (honey-based liqueurs which have come again into trend currently) infused with plenty of recent native elements.

There’s additionally plenty of good meals in Key Largo. Both The Bayside Grille and Skippers Dockside have nice seafood. But Key Largo is house to my favourite key lime pie in all the Florida Keys: Mrs. Mac’s. I cease by every time I’m passing via!

Bright blue clear water leading to the white sandy beach on Bahia Honda State Park.; the land looks like a jungle
Calusa Beach in Bahia Honda State Park, through Shutterstock

Take a Day Trip to Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park is about an hour’s drive from Islamorada and is house to a number of the most well-known seaside pictures of the Keys. The seashores listed below are completely beautiful, with views of the Overseas Highway and historic bridges within the background.

Like in every single place else within the Keys, it’s all about having fun with the character and slowing down. But the seashores listed below are a number of the finest, particularly Calusa Beach. The water right here is so clear!

I’d advocate coming right here early if attainable, particularly if it’s a weekend or vacation, as a result of it could get so busy that they shut it to extra guests. Entry to the state park is $2.50 per particular person.

And when you’ve got time, the Turtle Hospital in Marathon makes a pleasant cease on the way in which again, the place you possibly can go to the ocean turtles being nursed again to well being by a devoted employees.

People gathering at outdoor booths for the sunset celebration on the edge of the water in Key West.
Key West’s Sunset Celebration is a celebration each evening!

Take a Day Trip to Key West 

What can I say about Key West that hasn’t been stated? It’s probably the most enjoyable locations on Earth!! Of course, Key West deserves as a lot time as you may give it — ideally, at the least three days. But when you don’t have that a lot time, you are able to do it in a day journey from Islamorada (1 hour and 45 minutes of driving every approach).

How do you spend a single day in Key West? The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a very attention-grabbing place to go to, the place you possibly can benefit from the structure, tales of Hemingway’s life, and see the various six-toed cats (descendants of Hemingway’s beloved pet) that populate the constructing.

I additionally actually love the Little White House, which was President Harry Truman’s trip house. I like the mid-century decor, and the guides have plenty of nice tales about Truman.

And Duval Street is a should, stuffed with tons of bars, eating places, and retailers. And the Southernmost Point has a brilliant pink and yellow buoy marking the southernmost level within the continental US, solely 90 miles from Cuba!

And when you’ve got time, end with the Sunset Celebration in Mallory Square, stuffed with road distributors, performers, musicians, and extra. Don’t miss the Cat Man, who performs along with his circus cats!

People sitting in chairs watching the sunset on the beach in Florida.
A number of days is an effective period of time to see the very best of Islamorada.

How Much Time to Spend in Islamorada, Florida

If you wish to discover the highest sights of Islamorada, you possibly can accomplish that in about two days. But who involves the Florida Keys to hurry from sight to sight? It’s all about soaking it in!

For that purpose, I believe 3-5 days is a pleasant period of time to go to Islamorada, which ought to provide you with sufficient time to do a couple of day journeys to different Keys when you’re based mostly there. (Though I all the time advocate including on a couple of days in Key West.)

And when you’re coming for a soothing seaside trip, so long as you possibly can! Every week or longer can be pretty right here.

The overseas highway in the Florida Keys, on a bridge that crosses along the shallow turquoise water, connecting the islands.
The abroad freeway goes proper via Islamorada.

How to Get to Islamorada, Florida

The closest main airport to Islamorada is Miami International Airport. You’ll discover loads of home and worldwide flights touchdown right here. From right here it’s a few 90-minute drive to Islamorada.

Alternatively, Key West’s airport is about an hour and 45 minutes from Islamorada, however there are fewer flights that arrive right here.

I extremely advocate renting a automotive within the Florida Keys. I like to recommend Discover Cars for locating good rental automotive charges.

Uber is offered in Islamorada (which I urge you to make use of while you’ve had a couple of drinks), in addition to taxi providers, and there may be restricted public transportation by bus all through the Florida Keys.

A peaceful swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and deck chairs.
The pool at Cheeca Lodge is a superb place to remain in Islamorada! Via Shutterstock.

Where to Stay in Islamorada, Florida

There are a wide range of locations to remain in Islamorada, each proper on the Overseas Highway and tucked away alongside the water in additional remoted places.

Here are the top-rated locations to remain in Islamorada:

Top-Rated Luxury Hotel in Islamorada: Cheeca Lodge Spa. This tropical resort is a beautiful getaway, tucked away close to the water. Amenities embody the very best spa within the space, a non-public fishing pier, and a nine-hole golf course. Suites characteristic ocean views and fashionable decor.

Top Rated Mid-Range Hotel in Islamorada: Ragged Edge Resort & Marina. This waterfront resort has apartment-style lodging, supreme for individuals who wish to do a little bit of self-catering throughout their journey. Decor is straightforward, and the waterfront location can’t be beat.

Budget Hotel in Islamorada: It’s onerous to seek out low-budget lodging on this a part of the Keys, however The Breezy Palms Resort provides a lower-cost possibility for Islamorada with excessive worth for cash. This beachfront location options apartment-style lodging with small rooms, however plenty of persona.

Find offers on locations to remain in Islamorada right here.

Several scruffy looking outdoor stands in front of palm trees in the Florida Keys. One sign reads "Half day fishing $45."
Spring is my favourite time to go to the Florida Keys!

Best Time to Visit Islamorada, Florida

I’m an enormous fan of visiting the Florida Keys throughout the spring months — March via May — for fantastic climate that’s heat sufficient to swim within the ocean, sunbathe a bit, and escape chillier temperatures up north. I believe that is the very best time to go to the Keys.

Winter can be an exquisite time to go to Islamorada and the Keys, although know that you just may not be getting {the summertime} temperatures you anticipate. It’s nonetheless fantastic for having fun with sunshine within the outdoor, although! Expect chilly nights and produce a light-weight jacket.

Summer is extremely sizzling and humid within the Florida Keys, and I don’t advocate visiting throughout this time of yr except you’re the type of one that thrives in warmth and humidity. (That was me as a child, teenager, and younger grownup — however I can’t deal with the warmth the way in which I used to!)

While I’m an enormous advocate of shoulder season to most locations, I solely advocate spring, not fall, as fall is within the coronary heart of hurricane season (which peaks in September and October) and I strongly advocate avoiding the Keys throughout this time. If you go to and a serious storm arrives, take heed to the authorities and observe their directions.

Read More: Best Time to Visit the Florida Keys

A pink Cadillac turned into a boat, sitting at a dock in the Florida Keys, palm trees in the background.

Is Islamorada Worth It?

I like Islamorada and assume it’s an important a part of a visit to the Florida Keys — even when it’s solely to go to Robbie’s! So lots of my favourite Keys reminiscences have been made right here.

Do that you must truly keep in Islamorada? You don’t need to. I believe you possibly can take pleasure in plenty of the facilities of Islamorada when you base someplace else — maybe Key Largo, simply 20 minutes up the street.

More on the Florida Keys:

More on Florida:

Have you been to Islamorada? Any recommendations?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here