It may not be as famous as Key West or Key Largo, but there are so many things to do in Islamorada is a must stop on any Florida Keys road trip. Located south of Key Largo, Islamorada is known as “The Village of Islands” consisting of four islands spanning 18 miles along the overseas highway.
Long known as the sport fishing capital of the world, there are plenty of things to do in Islamorada than hooking a fish. With microbrews, urban dining, water sports and yes even Key Lime Pie, Islamorada is sure to have plenty of outdoor activities to please everyone.
Things to do in Islamorada Florida Keys
Having transportation is a must for visiting the Florida Keys. If you aren’t driving yourself, check RentalCars.com for prices so you can do a proper Florida Keys road trip from Miami down the Overseas Highway all the way to Islamorada and Key West. Having a car offers a lot of freedom to get around Islamorada and explore all the hidden gems.
The Florida Keys measure everything by mile marker, so when you are looking for the address or location of each attraction, just keep an eye on the mile marker sign. It’s easy to figure out. So let’s get started!
1. Robbie’s Marina
Robbie’s marina was voted the number one place in all of the Florida Keys that everyone should visit and we agree! There’s local shops and markets, water sports, a bar and a restaurant and a waterfront deck. We had a delicious breakfast here and it was the first time we tried Key Lime Pie in the Florida Keys. Yum!
It feels like old time keys where life was laid back and simpler and there isn’t a care in the world. Everyone seems so relaxed and happy here.
Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory
If you really want to delve into sampling Key Lime Pie, make a visit to the Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie factory. If you want to take it to go, try their signature Key Lime dipped in chocolate on a stick! Make sure to go and check out the Serenity Garden located in the back courtyard. Address: 92220 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070, United States
2. Parasailing Robbie’s Marina
It was our first time parasailing and it is amazing! I can’t believe we’ve never done it before our trip to Islamorada Kay. Parasailing with Sundance Watersports. The parasailing adventure was a fantastic tour where we got to see the coast and explore a bit of the water before heading up into the sky for amazing views of Islamorada Key, the Highway bridges, the Alligator Reef Light and Indian Key.
It’s safe, fun and so easy that anyone can do it! The guides were safe, fun and entertaining and they kept a good eye on us to make sure we stayed safe in the sky.
3. Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s
While at Robbies you have to try your hand at feeding the tarpon that hang out at the dock. The story of how it all started is amazing. In 1976, an injured Tarpon was flounderin gin the waters. Upon further inspection, Robbie noticed that its jaw was torn open. They nursed it back to health naming it Scarface and eventually let it back in the water.
Scarface returned, again and again, bringing along friends and today schools of Tarpon hang out by the docks waiting to be fed. It’s a thrill indeed and no matter how ready you think you will be when that tarpon leaps out of the water and snatches a fish from your hand, you can’t help but scream with surprise and delight.
- Hot Tip: keep an eye out for the pelicans on the dock, they’ll snatch that fish right out of your hand when you are not looking.
- Address: 77522 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
4. Water Sports and Activities
From Robbies Marina, you can book all the Florida Keys watersports you’ve ever dreamed of from renting jet skies, to stand up paddle boarding, sunset cruises to snorkeling, they’ve got it all. Why not rent a kayak to explore the area?
It’s a 20 minute paddle to India Key State Park or if you don’t want to go far, you can paddle around the corner to the mangrove system and search for manatees. If you are into fishing, Islamorada Key is known as the sport fishing capital of the world.
- Robbies is located at Mile Marker 77.5
5. Florida Keys Brewing Co.
The Florida Keys Brewing Company is one of the best places on the island to enjoy some live music, a chilled out vibe and delicious microbrews. We took a brewery tour to learn about the fermentation and bottling process at this colorful and quirky business on a brewery tour before heading to their beer garden and tasting room where we enjoyed a flight of 10 different beers. I can honestly say, I enjoyed every one! (yes, I tasted them all).
Located in the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District this is a very cool place to hang out. You can book a room to stay overnight right on their property at FlaKeys Vacation Rental. There’s only one unit, so something tells me it fills up fast.
- Address: 81611 Old Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
6. Chef Michaels
Chef Michals also located in the trendy Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, just down the street from the Florida Keys Brewing Co. is a great place for dinner. This upscale seafood restaurant was one of our favorite meals in the entire Florida Keys. Help save the reefs by ordering the lionfish (an invasive species that is threatening the Keys reef system. They offer vegetarian options and we have to say, the Mahi Mahi and the sea scallops were to die for.
Address: 81671 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
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7. Morada Way Arts and Cultural District
Speaking of the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, make sure to spend a bit of time exploring. It has become a mecca for artists who have set up shop among the restaurants and bars on this “Downtown Mainstreet” in the heart of the Florida Keys.
Keep an eye out for the 1935 Hurricane Memorial, known as the Hurricane Monument, it pays tribute to those who lost their lives. It’s a stark reminder of how powerful Mother Nature can be down here. A famous place to stay here is at Green Turtle Inn it has been a landmark here since 1947. Even if you are not staying there, pop in for a bite to eat.
8. Islamorada Beaches
The Florida Keys are all about having fun in the sun and Islamorada Key has some great beaches too. With warm water, hot days and plenty of sunshine in the Sunshine State, you must go to the beach when hanging out on Islamorada. Read: 18 Best Beaches in Florida for Fun in the Sun
- Beaches on Islamorada
- Annes Beach is the busiest beach on Islamorada. There is a boardwalk, restrooms, and it’s a popular spot for kiteboarding and windsurfing.
- This little beach is located on the channel. It’s a good place for paddleboarding
- Holiday Isle Beach – Located at the Postcard Inn and Beach Resort, this is the nicest beach on Islamorada that is close to bars and amenities. You don’t have to be sating at the resort to use the beach. But you should go to the Tiki Bar to try its original cocktail The Rumrunner invented in 1950 by rumrunners going through the keys.
9. Holiday Isle Resort – Raw Bar and Tiki Bar
Speaking of the famous Tiki Bar, The Postcard Inn Beach Resort really does have a spectacular setting in Islamorada. Even if you aren’t staying at the resort, make sure to dine at the Raw Bar, the setting was beautiful overlooking the water and feeling the warm evening breeze. This is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail and a slice of Key Lime Pie.
- Address: 84001 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
10. Florida Keys History and Discovery Center
If it’s a rainy afternoon or you simply want to learn a bit more about the fascinating Florida Keys History, make sure to visit the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center. The 7,500 square foot oceanfront museum houses exhibits about the Indigenous People of the Florida Keys all the way through to the days of Pirates and Spanish Fleets to the creation of the amazing Overseas Highway. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.– 5 p.m
- Address: 82100 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
Looking for more Florida fun? Check out The Best Theme Parks in Florida to Visit
11. Florida State Parks
Many of the Florida State Parks can be reached from Islamorada Key either by boat or car. Here a re a few to check out.
12. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
Take a self guided walking tour along nature trails consisting of exposed fossilized coral reef. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park has five trails where you can explore nature and actually know what you are seeing with the guidebook provided by park rangers.
The 8-foot-high quarry walls let to see cross sections of the ancient coral reef. This quarry played an important part of Florida’s 20th-century history and you’ll see displays of the quarry machinery used to build the overseas railroad.
13. Indian Key Historic State Park
As we mentioned above, rent a kayak at Robbies Marina and head out to Indian Key Historic State Park or join a tour. You can get out to see the remnants of an old wrecking colony, snorkel in its clear waters or explore its walking trails around this island state park.
14. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park
Another interesting stop in the Florida Keys is the Lignumviatae Key Botanical State Park. Housing the Lignum vitae Tree (the wood of life) this is the best place in North America to see the densest tree in the world. The island is filled with rare plants, birds and insects. If you can rent a boat, make your way out to explore it from Robbies Marina.
15. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
If you have your heart set on interacting with sea turtles, dolphins, and other marine life, consider taking an introduction to scuba diving or even taking a snuba or discovery dive. Snorkeling is an amazing way to have an encounter. And if you have kids, hop on a glass bottom boat. Humans and animals are having a hard time sharing this earth together and no matter what we do, we’re having an impact on their environment.
16. History of Diving Museum
The Florida Keys is home to the largest coral reef in the United States and diving has been a major part of its development and industry. If you are an avid diver, you may want to check out the History of Diving Museum which displays artifacts, antiques, and documents related to the history of diving in the Florida Keys and 30 countries around the world. See old timer armored diving suits, helmets, a diving bell. Address: 82990 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
Things to Consider when visiting Islamorada attractions
We have mixed feelings about the Florida Keys Aquarium. We don’t normally go to aquariums or zoos because we don’t like seeing wildlife in captivity. But we do know that aquariums play a big part in conservation and raising awareness. They are a good way to introduce people to marine life and to teach them to respect oceans and species such as sharks. But swimming with manta rays or having tourists pet and feed sharks is not (in our opinion) a good way to go about it.
I love that they rescue and rehabilitate their marine life but I wish they would use it more as a sanctuary and let humans look at them from afar rather than having the animals to interact with people every day. We could tell that the staff and our guide seemed to love marine life and seemed to believe in what they were doing, but we just don’t think sharks should have to interact with humans day in day out.
And speaking of this, one of Islamorada Key’s top attractions is Theater of the Sea. It has been around since 1946 and it does have a 17 acre setting where marine life could thrive in captivity. While it states that a lot of their species are rescued and can never go back into the wild, they allow tourists to swim with dolphins and they have dolphin and sea lion shows. I’m not a fan of watching sea lions jump through hoops for human pleasure.
Most travel companies have shifted away from tours like swimming with dolphins in captivity which is the main attraction here. TripAdvisor stopped selling tickets to dolphin shows and captive dolphin swimming (although they still allow reviews) and Intrepid Travel among other travel companies stopped all tours that involve swimming with dolphins.
- Read Why you should never swim with dolphins on your vacation.
- Canada has passed a law banning keeping marine life like dolphins porpoises and whales in captivity.
Where to Stay on Islamorada
Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle – This is the most popular place to stay on Islamorada offering cottages and rooms with Marina and Atlantic Ocean views. There are water sports on site and you can book scuba diving in the Florida Keys from here. If you aren’t up for snorkeling or scuba diving, glass bottom boat tours are offered as well.
Hadley House Resort – We stayed at Holiday House Resort a boutique resort with cottages. I would recommend staying at the building overlooking the water. Cottages are set back from the sea and the hotel building seemed much better. Your $25 resort fee covers use of Stand up paddleboards and kayaks. There’s parking and a pool.
And these are the best things to do in Islamorada Key. It is much more laid back than Key West and it a fantastic chill out place to spend a few days. Plus, with all the great water activities, you’ll be able to check off your favorite beach bucket list experiences while you enjoy some fun in the sun.
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