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ISLAMORADA - A VILLAGE OF ISLANDS
 
(2013 - Winter Issue)

Writer: MARY BURNHAM



“Land of purple islands” in Spanish, Islamorada (pronounced “Eye-La-Mor-Rada”) is a village of six islands, from Plantation Key to Lower Matecumbe.

Often referred to as a “drinking town with a fishing problem,” this may be the only place in the world where you can go deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic and flats fishing in the nearby Everglades on the same day.

Plenty to do

Book a flats fishing trip to hook a giant tarpon or hand-feed them right off the dock at Robbie’s Marina, also the launching point for a kayak or boat ride to Indian Key, the island ruins of the first seat of Dade County. Walk the paths of the former community, snorkel off the coral rock beach and climb the observation tower for a bird’s-eye view.

A swim with dolphins, sea lions or stingrays is the ultimate encounter at Theater of the Sea, also home to alligators, crocodiles and sea turtles. Enjoy lush tropical gardens, aviaries and saltwater lagoons.

Explore more than 4,000 years of diving history at the History of Diving Museum. You can even board a charter to dive or snorkel the famous reef or an offshore shipwreck.

The last 100,000 years of geologic history of the Upper Keys are captured in rock at an old quarry turned state park—Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.

Kiteboarders congregate at Anne’s Beach, a casual, no-fee public beach where your dog can play. Founder’s Park also has a nice swimming beach, pool, marina and dog park.

Islamorada features dozens of artists’ galleries and small boutiques. Look for Betsy the Giant Lobster outside the Rain Barrel, a shady oasis of meet-the-artist studios, shops and a health food café.

Whether fishing is your passion or not, Worldwide Sportsman Bass Pro Shop is a fun stop for gear, clothing and local knowledge. Inside you can climb aboard the Pilar, the sister ship to Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat, and drink in the Zane Grey Lounge overlooking Little Basin of Florida Bay. Both sportsmen used to fish these same aqua-blue waters.

Resisting chain restaurants, Islamorada offers dozens of interesting locally-owned eateries, ranging from the Caribbean-inspired Island Grill and the casual Hog Heaven Sports Bar to the elegant Pierre’s Restaurant. From Lorelei’s nightly sunset beach celebrations to Morada Bay’s monthly full-moon party extravaganzas, there is always something happening after the sun goes down.

Travel Planner

For more information, call 1-800-322-5397 or visit:

Florida Keys Tourism: fla-keys.com/islamorada

Islamorada Chamber of Commerce: islamoradachamber.com

History of Diving Museum: divingmuseum.org

Indian Key Historic State Park:: floridastateparks.org/indiankey

Island Grill: keysislandgrill.com

Hog Heaven Sports Bar & Grill: hogheavensportsbar.com

Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar: loreleicabanabar.com

Morada Bay: moradabay.com

Pierre’s Restaurant & Lounge: moradabay.com/pierres

Robbie’s Marina: robbies.com

The Rain Barrel Artisan Village: keysdirectory.com/rainbarrel

Theater of the Sea: theaterofthesea.com

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park: floridastateparks.org/windleykey

Worldwide Sportsman Bass Pro Shop: basspro.com

 
 
 
 
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