Neighborhoods We Love: Islamorada

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Northwood (1)Why Do We Love It?

I grew up in the Florida Keys on this island called Islamorada. I have been going back my entire life, and I believe you should go too. A name that translates to “the island of dwelling,” many people call this place home, and for good reason. There are some local and tourist favorite places that make Islamorada great….

Island Grill is an all time favorite for a lunch in the middle of a seriously relaxing boating day. Pull up by car or by boat and enjoy their “world famous” tuna nachos. If they actually aren’t known around the world they definitely they should be. Spend the day wading and snorkeling with sharks, barracudas, and stingrays at Alligator Reef and lighthouse. The stairs used to be open to climb to the top, and it used to be a popular jumping point until the Coast Guard starting busting people, but if you wont tell, I wont tell. After swimming and eating it’s time to drink so enjoy 5 o’clock somewhere at the Sandbar right off of what used to be the famous Holiday Isle. Beware of low tide, many boats have fallen victim and have had to stay put until the rising tide (what a bummer to have to stay and drink a few more hours). For dinner put on your nice beach clothes and head over to Lazy Days for a hefty meal or some of your own fresh caught fish prepared one of the restaurants signature ways. The upstairs patio and downstairs beach area are the best for nighttime views of the ocean and the lighthouse off the coast. The Islamorada Fish Company is a staple of the island, with dock seating and Caribbean music all day long. Watch the staff feed the tarpon and shop at the Bass Pro Shops outpost while waiting for a table. Chef Michael’s is a local date night and nice dinner spot that serves some of the best seafood on the island. Make sure to make a reservation and trade those sandals in for some wedges. Anchor behind Founders Park on a windy day and people watch those on the beach or at the yacht club. On a day with 1-2 foot seas head out to Hens and Chickens reef and try to find the elusive shipwreck. Need a day without the boat? Go feed some tarpon at the famous Robbie’s or rent a paddleboard for some bay cruising from the Otherside, a local business. Need some adventure? Parasail on the ocean behind Cheeca Lodge and get the bird’s eye view of the entire island.

Places not to miss:

  • Lazy Days – the perfect dinner spot for he whole family, try the chicken parmesan if you nix the seafood options
  • Islamorada fish Company – A tourist favorite with a huge tiki outdoor dining space right on the water
  • Islamorada Beer Company – A new local’s favorite brewery that serves up refreshin brews
  • Island Grill – famous for thier tuna nachos, this place is perfect for a mid-boat day snack
  • Otherside watersports – the perfect place to rent equipment for all day watersports
  • Chef Michaels’s – the ideal date night spot for a Florida beach getaway
  • Cheeca Lodge – a fantastic resort with a huge pool that host parasailing over the reef from their dock
  • Founder’s Park – a bayside hangout where you can pull your boat up close to the shore, people watch, and hide from the wind
  • Molasses Reef – admittedly a bit north of Islamorada, this reef is home to the Christ of the Abyss statue and stunning deep coral reefs
  • Hens and Chickens Reef – try and find the wreck at this local’s favorite dive spot
  • Alligator Lighthouse and Reef – the iconic lighthouse is a must for every visit to Islamorada
  • Islamorada Sandbar – relax in the afternoon sun at the perfect nature made sandbar
  • Theater of the Sea – go for the animal education and stay for the shows and swimming with the dolphins
  • Robbie’s Marina – The best place to get up close and personal with the wildlife while feeding the tarpon
  • Anne’s Beach – the perfect place to go with chairs and a barbecue if you don’t have a boat
  • Craig’s Diner – a locals favorite stop for the famous super fish sandwich
  • Lorelai Cabana Bar and Restaurant – this restaurant on the water has all of the seafood your heart could want




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