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: Lonely Planet Miami & the Keys (Travel Guide)
17 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.
1. Wander Around and Admire the Beauty of Islamorada
Begin your adventure with wandering around Islamorada and exploring the beautifully arranged alleys on 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. This is part of what being in the Florida Keys is all about. Soak it in and enjoy the sunshine.
2. Hit the Beach at Founders Park
Formed from a passionate community project, this is where the locals like to play. You’ll find a very family-friendly and laid back stretch of sand to enjoy when you visit. Bring a towel and your snorkel gear to enjoy an afternoon in the Florida sun.
3. Enjoy Library Beach Park
If you want to get up close and personal with the famed mangrove channels of the Florida Keys, this is the place for you. The park has a small beach with protected water access that is great for kayaking and paddleboarding.
Keep in mind that there is a current here, so young kids should be watched closely. The park also offers a playground, restrooms, a covered BBQ area.
4. Learn the History of Scuba Diving
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.
5. Visit the Keys History & Discovery Center
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.
6. Wander the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District
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.
7. 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 roadside stop is the 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 lingers 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 sandpaper type teeth and can leave marks if you don’t let go fast enough.
8. Explore Indian Key Historic State Park
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.
9. Learn about Geology at Windley Key Fossil Reef State Park
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!
10. 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.
11. 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, kite-boarding, wake-boarding, and paddle-boarding.
Paddle through the mangrove ecosystem of Tavernier Creek on a kayak or paddleboard on this guided tour. Ideal for first time or new paddlers, glide in shallow, clear water over sponges, grass beds, and sandy patches. Marine life like turtles, stingrays, dolphins, and manatees can sometimes be spotted nearby.
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.
12. 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!
13. 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.
14 Charter a Fishing Boat
Known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World, Islamorada offers the largest fishing fleet per square mile in the world. This easily makes it one of the best things to do in Islamorada. If you love to fish, this is the place you want to head out on the water.
You can charter boats to take a laid back day on the ocean with some casual reeling or a boat outfitted with huge trawlers for the big fish. You decide the kind of day you want to have on the water and the fisherman of Islamorada can deliver.
15. Watch the Sunset at Marker 88
Sunset doesn’t get much better when it’s paired with music, island drinks and palm trees. This is what makes a sunset meal at Marker 88 a special experience in Islamorada. It’s all about the vibe.
Order yourself some seafood, sip on a Hemingway and watch the sun melt into the ocean.
16. 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 a great restaurant where they will cook the fish for you. Yes, that is a thing in Islamorada!
17. Visit John Pennekamp State Park
With the close proximity of Key Largo and Islamorada, you can explore much of both islands if you have the time. That said if you have time to visit nothing else, be sure to add a side trip to John Pennekamp State Park to your Islamorada wish list.
This park offers you a chance to snorkel along the only living coral reef in the United States. It is accessed by booking a boat trip at John Pennekamp and enjoying a few hours out in the ocean.
If you have more time to spend, you can rent a kayak or standup paddleboard to explore the extensive mangrove channels within the park too.
Islamorada Travel Planning 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.
Need to book a car for your road trip adventure? We use Discover Car Hire for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies. (use italics, do not center and use block quote)
Finding Accommodation in Islamorada
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.
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