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keysmama Islamorada, Village of Islands - A travel report by MaxiStarr
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Islamorada, Village of Islands,  United States - flag United States -  Florida
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keysmama's travel reports

Islamorada Village of Islands

  13 votes
Sport fishing capital of the world is the slogan, but there are many interesting things to see on land as well. Mostly a tourist destination for fishing and diving enthusiasts, there is just not much structured entertainment aside from the bars.


Local flora, interesting trees and lots of coral rock.
Local flora, interesting trees and lots of coral rock.
Islamorada is a region in the Florida Keys, made up of the islands of Upper Matecumbe, Lower Matecumbe, Windley Key and Plantation Key. Off the road is Indian Key and Lignum Vitae Key as well, access by boat for day tours ( bring the mosquito spray).

OK getting to the American Caribbean is half the adventure. US highways 1 starts in Maine and ends in Key West. US 1 is called Overseas Highways once you enter the Conch Republic (aka the Keys). You can drive all through the Keys, and from Miami, Islamorada is about 90 minutes.
You can fly into Miami and rent a car, or fly to Miami and take the charter flights to Key West. This will still leave you with a 90 minute drive, but you get to drive 90 minutes through the Keys rather than Miami.

Favourite spots:
Key limes. Wait until they turn yellow to pick though! Leaves are great to use as herbs in dishes.
Key limes. Wait until they turn yellow to pick though! Leaves are great to use as herbs in dishes.
The parks, local restaurants, shopping villages and nature areas are interesting places to see some local flora and fauna.

My kids and I enjoy sight seeing from the parks and what few beaches there are. The parks cost entrance fees on weekends, and there are really no beaches in the Keys as the Keys are a coral rock island formation. Some hotels pour beaches though.

For a really natural look at the shore line, visit the Wild Bird Center on the south tip of Key Largo. Donations only- get a look at exotic and local birds who have needed a little TLC. Most are rehab- then set free, there are a few long-term residents too. Beach side feeding several times per day to the flocks of pelicans.

The Rain Barrel is a fun outdoor art mall with the best cafe in town- The Garden Cafe.


What's really great:
private beach in Islamorada
private beach in Islamorada
The sunset views, the open sky and yes, even the heat has a special lure.

Windley Key quarry is a great historical site and a great look at the rock formations making up the islands. Minimal admission as it is a state park, and it is really hot there, and buggy, but good cheap fun.

Right across from Kaiyo restaurant, is the 1935 Labor Day hurricane memorial. Worth seeing. Across the highway from there is the Islamorada library and behind that a public beach and great playground and picnic area.

Sights:
Definite iguana problem, but tourists love to see these non-indigenous critters!
Definite iguana problem, but tourists love to see these non-indigenous critters!
The public parks, the Wild Bird Center and other state parks make for very quiet family nature walks. Any of the roadside walking areas are great for views, but hot, close to crazy traffic, and very littered.

Accommodations:
typical water view from most areas of the Keys.
typical water view from most areas of the Keys.
Kon Tiki resort and The Moorings are villa style with private beaches, although the Moorings has the best view and nicest homes hands down. Kon Tiki has good dockage and sunset views as it is on the Bay side of the island.

Cheeca Lodge would be for those who want an all-inclusive feel. Good restaurants, spectacular ocean views and shops, a spa, 2 pools and pricey digs. Even a historical graveyard housing those who died in the early 20th century including the 1935 labor day hurricane.

Hangouts:
sunset
sunset
Morada Beach Cafe - beach music and island drumming on the weekends, and a huge Full Moon Beach Party every month.
Pierre's Lounge downstairs- get the French Kiss

Restaurants:
Historical beach graveyard
Historical beach graveyard
Kaiyo- ecclectic Asian and Fusion- great for the whole family too.
Pierre's- hands down best bay view and the desserts and drinks are fabulous
The Garden Cafe- best vegetarian ( and lovely fresh meats too)
Lazy Days - best ocean view and very friendly staff
For fresh gourmet breakfast, sandwiches and vegetarian fare too, don't miss Midway Cafe and say hi to Bob and Lindsey!

Other recommendations:
another sunset!
another sunset!
For tourists, there is Theatre of the Sea- a marine attraction, but it is pricey and not in the best shape. I would skip the tourist spots and rent canoes, a boat ( but only for the experienced boater, this is a coral reef area!). The parks have nice playgrounds, and there is a public park with great pool ( fee to enter).
There is a movie theater, 2 book shops with kid areas, and really that is about it. This is boating central, but if you like the Caribbean, and want to stay state-side the Keys is very very close to the Bahamas and Grand Cayman.

Published on Thursday August 11th, 2005


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Fri, Aug 12 2005 - 11:24 AM rating by akhila

Hi, can I have more information on getting to this place from Florida. How may days stay there would you recommend. What are the fun activities with kids (~3 yrs) can we expect here. Do you have more pictures to share?

Thanks
Akhila

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