Known as a beautiful village of six islands, Islamorada is a perfect destination for all kinds of travelers. Many visitors choose to visit this small paradise because it is considered the sportfishing capital of the world, but if this activity is not your cup of tea there are many other things to do in Islamorada that make it a great holiday spot.
Not only does Florida’s piece of heaven give locals and visitors the chance to indulge in a great number of outdoor activities, but it is also a great place for foodies and for people who are looking for a special, relaxing area.
If you want to plan the ultimate vacation in Islamorada this guide will help you start your adventure.
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Miami & the Keys (Travel Guide)
When to Plan Your Islamorada Visit
Islamorada is a great choice for those who want to escape the cold season. For tourists who prefer to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is in October and November. In case you want to visit during peak season, you definitely need to make early reservations since all the hotels are usually full from December until May, and everything gets booked a few months before.
How to Get to Islamorada
Many Americans prefer to drive from Miami to Florida’s Keys, not only because the drive is not extremely long, but also because this is one of the best road trips in the USA. If you land at Miami International Airport, you can rent a car and drive for an hour and a half until you reach Islamorada. Travelers who land at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will enjoy a longer road trip.
In case driving is not something you like doing while on vacation, just climb aboard a shuttle bus. Greyhound Lines, Keys Shuttle, TransFloridian will take you to your destination in safe and comfortable conditions.
We opted for the road trip experience, taking a week and driving the entire length of the Florida Keys from Miami to Key West by car. This gave us the freedom to stop off whenever and wherever we wanted along the way.
Secure your car rental through Priceline.
Eat Like a Local
Knowing the most exciting things to do in Islamorada will make your trip a great one, but only the best local food can make it unforgettable, especially if you are a passionate foodie.
Like all Florida’s Keys, Islamorada is filled with exceptional restaurants where fresh, delicious food is served by friendly people, and The Green Turtle Inn is one of them. Locals love eating in this delightful restaurant not only because of the authentic food but also thanks to its interesting, nostalgic feeling of “old Florida”.
The Green Turtle Inn is open all day long giving you the chance to have breakfast, lunch or dinner here. Whatever you choose, your taste buds will go wild! And don’t be shy when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth; their desserts are absolutely amazing!
Both locals and travelers who want to indulge in delicious seafood while admiring scenic views should go to the Hungry Tarpon Restaurant. The charming waterfront restaurant welcomes its guests with a relaxed, tropical atmosphere and a rich menu.
In the meantime, free-spirited people who are interested in having a different culinary experience should catch their own dinner! How does this sound? The charter boat captain you choose can recommend you a great restaurant where they will cook the fish for you. Yes, that is a thing in Islamorada!
Check out the top 5 best-rated restaurants in Islamorada by TripAdvisor:
- Twisted shrimp ***** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
- Bayside Gourmet **** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
- Midway Cafe & Coffee Bar **** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
- Mangrove Mike’s Cafe ***** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
- Overseas Kitchen **** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
Things to do in Islamorada
Islamorada is a charming destination welcoming everybody who wants to relax and forget about their daily worries while getting in touch with the beautiful nature and with themselves. In addition to captivating outdoor tourist attractions, there are also a few indoor landmarks all visitors should see.
Wander Around and Admire the Beauty of Islamorada
Begin your adventure with wandering around Islamorada and exploring the beautifully arranged alleys by foot. Stop every now and then and look at the charming buildings and even interact with the friendly locals. Explore this piece of heaven slowly, in a relaxed way in order to feel its fascinating rhythm.
Places you should check out in Islamorada:
- Indian Key State Historic Site
- Founders Park
- Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
- Library Beach Park
Learn about the History and Art
No matter where you go, every place has an interesting, and sometimes intriguing, history. Passionate travelers always learn about the past of the places they visit and this is exactly what you should do while in Islamorada. You can begin your historical experience with visiting the Florida Keys History of Diving Museum. Catch a glimpse of the fascinating equipment, trace 3,000 years of diving, and step into the world of the famous treasure hunter, Art McKee.
But your history lesson is not complete unless you also visit Keys History & Discovery Center. Not only will visitors have the chance to learn all about the past of this charming area, but they will also hear about the fictional characters that were born here while enjoying a compelling pirate exhibit.
If you are more interested in art than in history, you should check out the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District. Here you can admire interesting exhibits, and, on the third Thursday of the month, you have the chance to buy locally created crafts.
- Old Road Gallery
- History of Diving Museum ***** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
- Lobster Trap Art Gallery
- Florida Keys History & Discovery Center
Go to Robbie’s
If ever there was an institution on the Florida Keys that defines the experience of island life, Robbie’s is that for Islamorada. This road side stop is place that you can easily spend an entire day, shopping at the local stands, eating at the food carts, chancing your fingers by feeding the giant Tarpon at the dock or signing up for any variety of water sports on offer.
Of course, the main attraction is the famous Tarpon feeding. Massive Tarpon linger near the docks waiting for people to dangle a dead fish over the edge of the dock with their hands. In an attempt to beat the crowds, the Tarpon will leap out of the water at the fish taking it from your hand. You do have to be careful as they have sand paper type teeth and can leave marks if you don’t let go fast enough.
Check out this tour to enhance your visit: Island Adventure at Robbie’s
Get in Touch with Nature
Travelers who are passionate about nature will completely fall in love with the mesmerizing Indian Key Historic State Park. Not only does this natural park offer outdoor activity enthusiasts well-maintained trails and scenic views, but history lovers can step back in time while admiring the intriguing relics of an imposing ship.
Another great attraction for people who are interested in the natural beauty of the world is the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park. Prepare for learning about the history of the area and for examining the fossils. Walk the lovely trails and enjoy the interesting look back in geological time!
- Indian Key State Historic Site
- Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park **** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
- Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park
- Islamorada County Park
Beer tasting at a local Brewing Company
If you want to do something different while in Islamorada, you can visit the well-known Florida Keys Brewing Company. Catch a glimpse of one of the first microbreweries in the Upper Keys and enjoy the interesting activities available here. One of the top attractions is the brewery tour, of course. However, there are many travelers who know that this brewery has a great range of delicious beers so they are more interested in the tastings.
- Florida Keys Brewing Company ***** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
Say “Yes” to the Water Adventures in Islamorada
Just like all of Florida’s Key, Islamorada is a great destination for all visitors who are interested in scuba diving. But its clear waters are also welcoming those who are passionate about snorkeling, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, and paddleboarding. Fearless tourists can also enjoy the spearfishing services available in this area. And if water sports are not your thing but you still want to feel adventurous, parasailing is a must-do activity while visiting Islamorada. Admire the blue waters of the Atlantic while flying for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Eco-Adventure and Snorkel Cruise
- 2 Hour Kayak or Paddleboard Eco Tour
- All Day Kayak Rental
- Night Tour with Lighted Kayak/Paddleboard
Enjoy a Romantic Day or Just Relax at Anne’s Beach
There are interesting things to do in Islamorada, but there is nothing like relaxing on the warm sand of a beautiful beach. Anne’s Beach has a few secluded areas where you can have a romantic picnic, far from the eyes of the curious. And if romance is not what you are interested in, just enjoy the quietness of this beach and when your batteries are recharged, adventure into your favorite watersports.
Whether you are into kite surfing, wading or you just like swimming, the calm waters at Anne’s Beach are perfect for these activities. No wonder it was voted Best Hidden Beaches of South Florida!
- Anne’s Beach
- Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
- Habanos Oceanfront Restaurant **** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
- Lobster Crawl Bar & Grill **** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
Treat Yourself to a Massage
In order to have the ultimate vacation, you should consider treating yourself to a massage. And for those who want a full spa day, Cheeca Lodge and Spa is the answer. Well-known for its luxurious amenities, the flawless service, and the magnificent oceanfront setting, this spectacular spa is where every person who wants to relax must be.
Enjoy a massage therapy or a body treatment and then indulge in the delicious food served at one of its restaurants. And if you feel like having a drink, check out the fancy oceanfront Tiki Bar available at Cheeca Lodge and Spa. After spending a day in this paradise, you will feel like a newborn, ready to conquer the world.
- Cheeca Lodge & Spa **** Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor
There are many interesting things to do in Islamorada and everybody leaves this lovely region with the desire of coming back. However, in order to have a memorable vacation, you must find great accommodation. Whether you are traveling with friends or family, finding a local host through Airbnb is always a great idea. Not only do you have the chance to stay in a comfortable room or apartment but the friendly hosts usually offer useful information that can definitely enhance your stay in Islamorada.
In case Airbnb is not a platform you normally use, you can always choose one of the many hotels, resorts or B&Bs available in the area. Pines & Palms Resort is a great example of what this destination can offer its visitors. With charming oceanfront accommodations, a private beach, lovely patios and barbecue grills, as well as a heated outdoor pool and a beautifully designed Tiki bar, this resort is a great choice for all types of tourists.
Top luxury hotels in Islamorada Florida
Casa Morada ***** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
The Moorings Village ***** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
The Caribbean Resort at Sea Isle ***** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
Top mid-range hotels in Islamorada Florida
Drop Anchor Resort ***** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
Coral Bay Resort ***** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
Pelican Cove Resort & Marina ***** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
Top budget hotels in Islamorada Florida
Fisher Inn Resort & Marina **** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
Hadley House Resort **** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
La Siesta Resort & Marina **** TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
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Looking for more on Florida?
Resources for Planning Your Trip to the Florida Keys
Recommended Guide Books For The Florida Keys:
- Lonely Planet Miami & the Keys (Travel Guide)
- The Florida Keys Bucket List: 100 Offbeat Adventures From Key Largo To Key West
- Lonely Planet Florida (Travel Guide)
- Lonely Planet USA’s Best Trips (Travel Guide)
- Lonely Planet USA (Travel Guide)
Must-Have Miami to Key West Maps:
- Miami and the Keys: destination touring map & guide (National Geographic Destination Map).
- Florida (National Geographic Guide Map)
Travel Insurance: We use Allianz travel insurance and have since our first trip to Mexico in 2003. They’ve been there for us on our adventures – and many friends and readers – multiple times over! If you want to book with Allianz Travel Insurance, simply use this link to get their travel insurance!
Car Rental: Secure your car rental through Priceline, We got a killer deal!