How To Spend An Amazing Day In Islamorada, Florida (2023)

A village made up of six of the Florida Keys, Islamorada lies halfway between Miami and Key West. Whether you’re making the entire fabulous road trip across the Overseas Highway or just heading here for a day trip from either end, this fun getaway will provide you with plenty of water sports, history, and succulent local food.

If you’re driving the 90 minutes from Miami or Key West, you’ll pass lovely keys and bridges with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. The best time to visit this laid-back, kid-friendly destination is between March and May, when it’s not too humid. Avoid the hurricane season, which peaks in August and September. A day of fun and adventure awaits!

Things To Do In Islamorada

Stroll around and visit the many sights at your leisure, or get a bit of exercise with an outdoor adventure like kayaking. Whatever you do, make time for some fishing in the Sport-Fishing Capital of the World. Here are some of the best things to do in Islamorada.

How To Spend An Amazing Day In Islamorada, Florida (1)

1. Swim With Dolphins At The Theater Of The Sea

The family-owned Theater of the Sea is probably Islamorada’s best-known attraction. A sanctuary for bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, rays, and even parrots, the site protects the animals as well as educates and entertains visitors. You can swim and play with dolphins (always under the watchful eye of their caretakers), get close to sea lions and sea turtles, go on a boat tour of the lagoon, and much more. The grandkids in particular will be so delighted that they may refuse to leave!

2. Learn All About Diving At The History Of Diving Museum

Islamorada is all about activities on, in, and under the water. Naturally, that includes diving. The History of Diving Museum is an incredible source of information about the underwater world, humankind’s attempts to explore it, and the techniques and equipment that have been used over the centuries. It also pays tribute to the Florida Keys’ protection of sea life and contributions to the sport of diving. A lot of special events and conferences take place here, so consult the schedule before you visit.

(Video) Best Things to do in Islamorada (Florida) - Florida Keys Galore!

3. Experience The Florida Keys History & Discovery Center

There is a lot more to the Florida Keys than lovely beaches and pretty fish. The history of the area is a long and interesting one, and there’s no better place to learn about it than the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center, located at the north end of the Islander Resort.

The second floor of the 7,500-square-foot building contains permanent exhibits on the First People of the area, the Spanish treasure fleets, pirates, Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railroad, and the devastating Labor Day hurricane of 1935. On the floor below are interactive libraries and other devices that will allow you and your grandkids to learn even more, all within the tropical gardens of the Islander Resort.

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4. Soak Up The Sun At Anne’s Beach

Named for local environmentalist Anne Eaton, Anne’s Beach is an absolute must during your day in Islamorada. The water is shallow, and the beach is white and soft and lined with mangrove trees. Swim or snorkel to your heart’s content, looking for octopuses and other fish. Dry off and walk along the wooden boardwalk through a natural wetland to get acquainted with the unique vegetation of the Florida Keys. There are picnic facilities, too, so bring a lunch basket if you’d like.

Pro Tips: Wherever you go in the Keys, sunscreen is an absolute must. When walking on the beach, be careful not to step into the crab holes.

5. Look For Shipwrecks At Indian Key Historic State Park

This state park on a tiny island is only accessible by boat. In the 19th century, wrecking was a thriving business in the Florida Keys, and Indian Key was the center of a wealthy wrecking community. Rent a kayak to see the many ruins that are left, yet another part of the local history. Indian Key is also surrounded by an exceptional bed of seagrass, and the park’s purpose is to preserve it and the many birds that have made it their home.

(Video) [Must-Do] Things To Do in Islamorada | Florida Keys [Florida Travel 2022]

Pro Tip: Bring shoes when visiting the parks, as well as bug spray.

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6. Feed The Tarpon At Robbie’s Of Islamorada

You could easily spend all day at Robbie’s of Islamorada! Located at mile marker 77.5, the complex is best known for its tarpon feeding, an exciting experience that you can participate in. At the marina, you can arrange a fishing trip, party boat rentals, or indulge in a delicious tarpon sandwich and a Trailer Trash Bloody Mary or two. But there is so much to see and do in the area that you might want to limit your time at Robbie’s to the tarpon feeding.

7. Explore The Morada Way Arts & Cultural District

The six-block Morada Way Arts & Cultural District forms the only downtown district between Key West and Miami. You’ll find the Green Turtle Inn on one end and the Hurricane Monument on the other. Morada Way is the main road, so to speak, and the whole complex was created to provide artists and visitors a safe and inspiring environment. As a result, you can amble from one shop, stall, or studio to the next, admiring — and perhaps buying — works of art.

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8. Search For Fossils At Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

When workers were excavating for Flagler’s Over-Sea Railroad, they discovered a vast deposit of fossils. On a visit to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, you’ll see fossilized coral and other ancient sea life embedded in what’s known as the Key Largo Limestone. There are also some red stripes in the quarry; these were formed by thousands of years of acid rain, which dissolved dust blown from the Sahara and deposited it here. That might be hard to believe, but visit the geological site, and you’ll learn about this fascinating aspect of the region’s history.

(Video) Where is the best fish sandwich in Islamorada?

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9. Kayak The Whale Harbor Channel

For a somewhat different adventure that not many visitors know about, make your way to Whale Harbor Marina and hire a kayak (or jet ski if you prefer). Head to the sandbar located on both sides of the Whale Harbor Channel. The sandbar is a fabulous place to see the ocean before you and Islamorada’s little islands behind you.

Best Restaurants In Islamorada

After exploring Islamorada’s sights and activities, you’ll want to enjoy the area’s food and drink. Seafood is naturally at the top of the list — tarpon sandwiches and conch fritters are popular — and of course, there’s Key lime pie for dessert.

1. Whale Harbor Restaurant

Whale Harbor Restaurant might just be the best seafood buffet in the country. You can sit indoors, outdoors, or on the rooftop and enjoy all the specialties you can eat. Conch fritters, mussels, shellfish, oysters… you name it, they’ve got it. There’s no need to make a reservation — just turn up when you’re hungry.

2. Hungry Tarpon Restaurant

The Hungry Tarpon Restaurant in Robbie’s Marina is another great place to go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Try one of their signature dishes: tuna tacos, shrimp burritos, and lobster frittata. If you went fishing, they’ll even prepare your catch to your specifications.

3. Chef Michael’s Restaurant

Chef Michael’s Restaurant has been an Islamorada classic for more than 20 years. Of course they serve the finest seafood, but if you fancy a juicy steak, this is the place to go.

(Video) A Day In Islamorada Florida

4. Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory

The Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory doesn’t really require an explanation. Suffice it to say that 173 items are on sale, from traditional Key lime pie to cookies and other sweet things.

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Where To Shop In Islamorada

You will certainly want to buy a souvenir to remind you of the great day (or days) you spent in Islamorada.

1. Morada Way Arts & Cultural District

Look for key rings, handbags, picture frames, and coasters decorated with seashells. You could also take home a small painting by a local artist. Stroll through the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District for the best selection.

2. Rain Barrel Village

If you have time, stop by and say “hi” to Betsy the Lobster at Rain Barrel Village, a funky open-air complex of specialty shops, galleries, and boutiques. Here you can find everything from paintings to pottery.

Best Hotels In Islamorada

If you’ve decided to stay overnight, we’ve got you covered — Islamorada offers several great accommodations.

(Video) Key West in a 4x4, Mangroves, Sharks and more - Discovering Paradise ► | Islamorada Florida

1. The Moorings Village

The Moorings Village is a tropical paradise. You can stay in a private cottage, lounge on a private beach, explore the gardens, and much more at this oceanfront Islamorada resort.

2. Postcard Inn Beach Resort

Less pricey but also very pretty and comfortable is the Postcard Inn Beach Resort. There’s even a tiki bar!

Related Reading:

  • 12 Florida Keys Vacation Rentals Perfect For Your Next Getaway
  • The 10 Incredible State Parks In The Florida Keys
  • Key West Vs. Key Largo: 10 Key Differences Between Them


What is Islamorada Florida known for? ›

Known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, Islamorada is a popular vacation destination enjoyed for its up-scale small-town atmosphere, scenic bay and ocean views, sunshine, boating, fishing, locally owned restaurants, quaint shops and galleries.

Is Islamorada worth a visit? ›

Islamorada has an easygoing atmosphere and is filled with outdoor activities. There are so many attractions in Islamorada. It's certainly worth visiting. If you are driving from Miami to Key West, you'll drive right through it, so stop and check it out!

Can you walk around Islamorada? ›

The village is spread across six islands (or “keys”) but the walking tour is concentrated on a one-mile stretch of Upper Matecumbe Key along U.S. 1, which ties the keys together and leads to Key West, the southernmost point of the U.S.

How do you spend a day in the Keys? ›

Key West Day Trip In-Depth Itinerary
  1. Breakfast or Brunch at Blue Heaven. ...
  2. Snorkeling at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. ...
  3. Lunch at Cuban Coffee Queen. ...
  4. Snap a Pic at the Iconic 'Greetings From Key West' Mural. ...
  5. Stroll Through the Key West Historic Seaport. ...
  6. Get Key Lime Pie on a Stick at Kermit's Key Lime Shoppe.

What famous people live in Islamorada? ›

Notable residents include Miguel Cabrera, Gene Hackman, Jimmy Johnson, and Ted Williams. If you think the area looks familiar, you may recognize it from the TV show Bloodline which was filmed in Islamorada.

What TV show is filmed in Islamorada? ›

Islamorada was a place I wasn't familiar with until I became hooked on the Netflix original series Bloodline. This gripping family drama and thriller is set in the Florida Keys, filmed primarily in Islamorada. The locations are such an integral part of the show, it's like the Keys themselves are a main character.

What is the prettiest Key in the Florida Keys? ›

While Key Largo is undoubtedly the prettiest of all the Florida Keys, it's also one that's home to plenty of activities for the avid beachgoer. With scenic views like this, it would be tough not to fall in love with such a beachside beauty!

Does Islamorada have a downtown? ›

The Morada Way Arts and Cultural District is a lively and bustling downtown community in the heart of Islamorada.

Does Islamorada have swimmable beaches? ›

Anne's Beach

It is located at the southern end of Islamorada, practically the opposite where we began our exploration. It is the other famous beach on the island where you can swim in shallow, clear, warm water, walk along a boardwalk, watch birds, and picnic using the covered area provided.

Are there alligators in Islamorada? ›

A-12-foot-alligator made an appearance at a home in Islamorada. ISLAMORADA, Fla. (WPLG) - Officers and a trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were called to a home Tuesday in Islamorada after an unexpected visitor showed up.

Can you swim in the beach in Islamorada? ›

This beach has little to no wave action and offers a shallow swimming area great for young children and dogs. Anne's Beach also features a paved parking area, boardwalk, covered picnic tables, and public restrooms. Swim at your own risk.

Is it better to stay in Key Largo or Islamorada? ›

For those wishing for a more laidback, small-town vibe, Islamorada is the way to go; and for those wanting a more bustling, high-energy spot, Key Largo is where it's at. Either way, travelers will find a fantastic vacation destination that showcases the best of the beautiful Florida Keys.

Can you see Key West in 1 day? ›

If your stay in Key West is limited to just a day, however, you will want to live it up and make the most of it! As a small island, only 8 square miles, many think experiencing all of Key West can be accomplished in a day. Unfortunately, that's just not the case.

What is the cheapest month to go to the Florida Keys? ›

The fall (September–November) is the low season in Key West, and room rates can drop by 50 percent or more. The hot, storm-prone summer months also see lower prices, and you'll find decent discounts in April and May after the winter crowds thin out.

Are there alot of sharks in Islamorada? ›

The backcountry is also home to a variety of different sharks. In the winter months we see lots of acrobatic spinner sharks (which jump and twist), blacktip sharks, bull sharks, bonnetheads, etc. In the spring and summer months the lemon sharks are extremely active, as well as many of the other species.

Are there sharks in Islamorada? ›

Are there Sharks in the Florida Keys? You bet. It is common to catch nurse sharks while fishing on the flats. These bottom dwellers are generally docile and will only act defensively if provoked, so if you see one out snorkeling or diving there is no need for alarm as long as you do not disturb it.

Why is Islamorada called the Purple island? ›

Legend has it the area was named by Spanish explorers who, upon seeing the purple sky at sunset and the purple bougainvillea, called it “isla morado” or purple island. Islamorada is known as the Sport-Fishing Capital of the World. And recently the island was named one of the 17 most romantic destinations in the U.S.

Where did Ted Williams live in Islamorada? ›

Ted's Place – the spectacular former estate of Ted Williams is superbly situated at Mile Marker 82 in the heart of fabulous Islamorada – the Village of Islands, the Sportfishing Capital of the World and recently described by the Miami Herald as 'the Cool Key'.

Why are there red street lights in Islamorada? ›

The area is known as the red light district due to the red ambient street lighting installed to protect turtles.

What movie was shot in the Florida Keys? ›

1. True Lies (1994)

Where is the bluest water in the Keys? ›

Fort Zachary Taylor Park Beach, Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a National Historic Landmark that offers some of the clearest blue waters for snorkeling and diving in Key West.

What is the most romantic Key in Florida? ›

With premier services and a prime location for both relaxation and recreation, The Islands of Islamorada is one of the most romantic places in The Florida Keys and is perfect for your next getaway!

What celebrities have homes in the Keys? ›

What celebrities live in the Florida Keys?
  • Judy Blume, author. ...
  • Jimmy Buffett, singer songwriter. ...
  • Bronson Arroyo, baseball player. ...
  • Ernest Hemingway, author. ...
  • Harry S. ...
  • Sandy Cornish, civic leader. ...
  • Wallace Stevens, poet. ...
  • Shel Silverstein, author.

What is the most popular Florida Key? ›

1. Key West. Key West is one of Florida Key's most famous and greatest keys. As we mentioned, it is the southernmost point of the Florida Keys, but it is also the southernmost point of the mainland US.

Which key has the nicest beach? ›

  • Cannon Beach: Key Largo.
  • Far Beach: Key Largo.
  • Founders Park Beach: Islamorada.
  • Sombrero Beach: Marathon.
  • Curry Hammock State Park Beach: Marathon.
  • Calusa Beach: Big Pine Key.
  • Loggerhead Beach: Big Pine Key.
  • Fort Zachary Beach: Key West.
Aug 22, 2022

What is the best time of year to visit Islamorada? ›

The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Islamorada for general outdoor tourist activities is from mid November to mid April, with a peak score in the second week of February.

Where can I walk around Islamorada? ›

Best walking trails near me in Islamorada, FL
  • All "walking trails" results in Islamorada, Florida. Showing 1-7 of 7.
  • Green Turtle Hammock Nature Preserve. 1.7 mi. ...
  • Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park. 2.4 mi. ...
  • Founders Park. 4.3 mi. ...
  • Long Key State Park. 14.5 mi. ...
  • Harry Harris Park. 16.3 mi. ...
  • Indian Key State Historic Site.

Do you need a car for Islamorada? ›

If you plan to stay anywhere in the Florida Keys outside of Key West, you will need automotive transportation. Almost everything is close to the highway, and it is extremely busy.

Does Islamorada have clear water? ›

Known as “The Village of Islands”, Islamorada is a collection of 5 small islands in the Florida Keys. A true taste of paradise, the area is famed for its beautiful coastline, crystal clear water, and tropical climate.

Which Florida key has the prettiest water? ›

The best beaches for swimming in the Keys are in the middle Keys (midway between Key Largo and Key West) Bahia Honda State Park between Marathon and Big Pine Key has the largest sandy beach areas with several good locations for swimming; those areas are some of the only smooth, sandy bottom swimming beach areas in the ...

Why are there no beaches in the Keys? ›

The lack of soft, white sand shoreline in Key West is the result of a beautiful live coral reef that extends from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas National Park. The coral reef prevents natural beach formation because the waves don't crash onshore as you might see in Miami beach.

What month are alligators most active in Florida? ›

From April to June, gators all across Florida will be more active with the start of the mating season. During these months, you are much more likely to see alligators. In fact, you might even spot one in your backyard or the pond across the street.

Are there snakes in Islamorada? ›

Ted Wilson, a captain with the Islamorada Fishing Guide, came across a five-foot Eastern diamondback rattlesnake swimming in the waters near the Florida Keys. It is the largest venomous snake in North America, according to the National Geographic.

Are there salt water crocs in the Keys? ›

Crocodiles are federally and state protected, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's position was that they were “reestablishing themselves in their historic range.” The American saltwater crocodile population, which is found almost exclusively in South Florida and the Keys, went from the hundreds ...

What should I bring to Islamorada? ›

If you're heading to Islamorada, FL and want to pack the essentials, here's what I suggest. Bikinis, straw hats, sandals, sunglasses, crop tops, dresses, casual dresses for beach days and a couple cuter ones for dinners out.

How much does it cost to swim with the dolphins in Islamorada? ›

$279.99 per person/ Participants must be 48 inches tall to participate in the Royal Swim program. Children 48-54 inches must be accompanied by a paying adult (1 adult per child). or call us at (305)-289-9975 to make a reservation.

How warm is the water in Islamorada? ›

Average annual water temperature on the coast in Islamorada is 79°F, by the seasons: in winter 73°F, in spring 78°F, in summer 85°F, in autumn 82°F. Minimum water temperature (69°F) in Islamorada it happens in February, maximum (88°F) in August.

How do you get around Islamorada? ›

Islamorada Transportation
  1. Shuttle & Airport Transportation.
  2. Car Rentals.
  3. Bike & Motorbike Rentals.
  4. Taxis.
  5. Freebee.
  6. Freebee is changing the way people experience many cities, as well as the islands of Islamorada with free, electric transportation. Jump onboard and they'll take you around town in customized, eco-friendly cars.

What is there to do at night in Islamorada? ›

The Best 10 Nightlife near me in Islamorada, Florida
  • All "Nightlife" results in Islamorada, FL. Showing 1-41 of 41.
  • Tiki Bar. 0.8 mi. $$Tiki Bars. ...
  • Florida Keys Brewing. 1.1 mi. ...
  • The OceanView Pub & Sports Bar. 2.0 mi. ...
  • Holiday Isle Tiki Bar. 1.6 mi. ...
  • The Bug Pub. 4.0 mi. ...
  • Morada Bay Beach Café 1.2 mi. ...
  • Hog Heaven Sports Bar & Grill. 2.7 mi.

Which key has the best snorkeling? ›

Snorkeling Florida Keys – Middle Keys – Islamorada, Marathon, and Big Pine. And now, the best for last. By far and away the Middle Keys offer the best snorkeling grounds.

Is it better to snorkel in the morning or afternoon in Key West? ›

The afternoon sun is warm and bright making it a great time to relax on the catamaran and enjoy the temperate ocean water. The ocean currents and wind direction are often different than the morning, so if you've taken a morning snorkel in the past, chances are you'll go to a different reef location in the afternoon.

Can you see Havana from the Keys? ›

The answer the Americans do not like is “no, you cannot see Cuba from Key West. “ The problem is that the earth, being round, curves and Cuba, which is about 90 miles from Key West, falls below the horizon when you look towards it from Key West.

What is the busiest month in Key West? ›

Peak Season / Shoulder Season in Key West

Generally speaking, the best time to see Key West is during its high season which occurs from March to May. March is the busiest month because the weather is perfect. Most days stay around 75 degrees, and there is low humidity.

What is the busiest month in the Florida Keys? ›

March is peak high season in Key West, but the weather is great, with every day at 75°F and low humidity. The downside is higher prices for flights and lodging. April sees a small dip in crowds, and May is a great shoulder season time to come. Prices drop and and crowds thin.

What is hurricane season in Florida Keys? ›

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30 of each year. Historically, the most active time for hurricane development is mid-August through mid-October.

What are the rainy months in the Florida Keys? ›

The rainy season in the Florida Keys typically runs from June through October, covering the bulk of the hurricane season, which ends on November 30th.

Where is the prettiest water in the Keys? ›

10 Best Beaches in Florida Keys
  • Dry Tortugas National Park.
  • Sombrero Beach.
  • Zachary Taylor State Park Beach.
  • Higgs Beach.
  • C.B. Harvey Rest Beach.
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
  • Sunset Park Beach.
  • Anne's Beach.

Which Florida Key has the most beautiful beaches? ›

  • Cannon Beach: Key Largo.
  • Far Beach: Key Largo.
  • Founders Park Beach: Islamorada.
  • Sombrero Beach: Marathon.
  • Curry Hammock State Park Beach: Marathon.
  • Calusa Beach: Big Pine Key.
  • Loggerhead Beach: Big Pine Key.
  • Fort Zachary Beach: Key West.
Aug 22, 2022


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