Islamorada: A Gem in the Florida Keys

Before my husband and I started watching Bloodline on Netflix, neither one of us had heard of Islamorada. Key West, yes, Marathon, yes, Key Largo, yes, but never this other community right smack in the middle of Florida’s famous trail of islands.

The longer we watched that show, though, the more we wanted to travel there. We finally did in May, 2016.

It turns out that Islamorada is pretty fantastic, and during the “shoulder season” for the Keys, it is pretty quiet. Travelers find Islamorada about 40 minutes south of Miami, right between Key Largo and Marathon. Like the rest of the islands, Islamorada is known for great fishing, diving, snorkeling, resorts, seafood, and gorgeous sunsets.

We stayed at Cheeca Lodge and Spa, located on the east side of the island. The property features a 9-hole golf course, private beach, three restaurants, a tiki bar, two pools, a spa, fitness center, and daily watersports.

It’s amazing.

While there, we discovered this resort is a longtime favorite of President George H. W. Bush, and we didn’t have a hard time seeing why he often past holidays there. Cheeca offers understated elegance and a high level of service (see the complimentary champagne offered upon check-in). Once the car is parked and luggage is safe inside a hotel room, relaxation begins immediately.

Islamorada offers a number of other resorts, too, and many of them are also upscale. The big secret is that it matters what time of year a person travels to the Keys. Winter is obviously the high season but by May, the snowbirds have gone home, and the rates for many of the hotels decrease. We found Cheeca, for example, on one night as we searched for a unique place to stay.

If you go, be sure to check out the vibrant culinary scene in the area. The Green Turtle Inn recently was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Islamorada Fish Company, Islamorada Shrimp Shack, Woody’s, and more provide great places to start.

In short, if you have a chance to visit… do!

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