Islamorada is one of the best spots to go in the Florida Keys as there is so much to do! The best part is that it is so close to Key Largo so you can choose to stay in Islamorada or in Key Largo (40 minutes away).
Islamorada was very similar to Key Largo but we felt it had an even more relaxed vibe.
Like Key Largo it caters well to many different types of travellers.
It has snorkeling or diving for adventure seekers and calm, peaceful, beautiful beaches in Islamorada for relaxation.
As we like a bit of relaxation and adventure, Islamorada was right up our alley in terms of a holiday spot.
If you are planning your vacation, we have you covered with what we consider the best fun things to do in Islamorada.
We visited Islamorada as part of an epic Miami to Key West road trip. If you are making the same drive, you might like to check out our post for unmissable places to visit along the way!
Best Things to do in Islamorada
Anne Beach is the best rated beach in Islamorada.
It is known for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the Florida Keys.
The beach is particularly popular with families as it has really nice shallow water perfect for children swimming it.
It personally appealed to us as it had a stunning boardwalk that you can go for a walk on or enjoy a picnic. Another great part of the beach is that the picnic tables are shaded which is always a win.
Why the name ‘Anne’ Beach? It was named after a special eco-warrior Anne Eaton. Eco-warriors getting formal recognition for their hard work warms our heart.
If you are headed to Anne Beach from Key Largo allow 30-40 minutes by car.
Founders Park is another popular beach option among locals in Islamorada.
It is free for Islamorada locals but costs $8 USD per person entry fee for non residents.
Founders park is a popular recreational option in Islamorada as it has a bit of everything – an athletic field, olympic size swimming pool, marina and beach.
The beach isn’t huge but the water is clear and the sand is white.
While you can picnic there remember to BYO food as there is only a vending machine on premises, no shop.
Holiday Isle Beach
Holiday Isle Beach might even be more beautiful than Anne Beach.
Despite the fact it is traditionally a private beach owned by the Holiday Isle Resort complex some parts of the beach are open to the public for free.
Another great part is there is very convenient parking at Holiday Isle Beach and lots of facilities at the beach to enjoy.
There is a Tico Bar & Restaurant at the public beach. You can also reserve a fishing charter or eco boat tour in the same vicinity. Going snorkeling at one of the reefs off Islamorada is highly recommended.
On top of the public beach there is also a private beach for use of the people staying at the Holiday Isle Resort. You cannot enter this area unless you have a special wristband.
Feed giant Tarpon at Robbie’s
There is one cool, action packed activity we would recommend in Islamorada and that is feeding the giant tarpon at Robbie’s pier.
These fish are seriously giant – up to 8ft long – so it is a pretty cool sight for marine lovers.
To see the tarpon in action it costs $2.25 per person. If you would like to feed them (note: only for the brave!!) each bucket of fish is $4.00 (5-8 fish per bucket).
This was possible the best experience we had in the entire Keys! It was so fun.
Mike ended up with an injured arm out of it though – the Tarpon literally jump out of the water and swallow your arm trying to eat the fish.
Be prepared to get a little injured – the bit feels a bit like sandpaper. Or, you can always watch by the sidelines (as I did!)
Be careful of the other little fish in the water. The tarpon have no teeth but there are also “little” fish in the water which do!
Make sure you check out Robbie’s in Islamorada.
The Islamorada Library and Park
This is really a hidden gem and a local’s secret in Islamorada.
We only saw locals at this spot as most tourists don’t know about this ‘secret spot’ in Islamorada.
The easiest way to visit this park and little beach area is by placing ‘Islamorada Library’ into google maps. The Islamorada beach is just behind the Islamorada Library.
The best part of this beach is that it is very nature friendly. We saw some cool wildlife at this beach – we saw an iguana and a reef shark cruising by while we were at the beach.
Due to the wild nature of the beach and park we personally wouldn’t recommend swimming but it is perfect for relaxing or having a picnic. There is a stunning nature view from the picnic tables.
The beach is a well equipped beach with swing sets for children, picnic tables and BBQ facilities as well as toilets and a beach shower.
Florida Keys Brewing Company
Go beer tasting at the Florida Keys Brewing Company.
This is one for beer lovers. The Florida Keys Brewing Company is the Upper Keys first microbrewery.
At the brewery you can take a tour or just enjoy the many seasonal and barrel aged beers they have on on draft.
You can go for a tasting or simply enjoy a beer of your choice in the cool beer garden.
The Islamorada Beer Company is another option for a Brewery in Islamorada.
Theater of the Seas
Another popular attraction in Islamorada is the theater of the seas.
Kind of like seaworld, the theater offers lush, tropical gardens home to dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles including green turtles, fish, sharks, stingrays, alligators, and birds.
It is possible to get up close and personal with the dolphins by having a dolphin experience.
Cost of basic entry to observe the animals is $40 USD a person.
A perfect activity for a family trip to the Keys at mile marker 84.
Visit a secret local beach
We stumbled across a secret local beach while hunting for the best beaches in town.
At this spot, locals enjoy free swimming in the crystal clear water.
If you would like to visit this “secret spot” we discovered you can find it on State Route 1 where the Indian Key Channel is.
Spend time at Key Fossil Reef
If you are interested in seeing fossilized coral then you are in luck as you can visit the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park in Islamorada.
There are 5 trails and lots to read and learn about the geological fossil reef around the park and Florida Keys history.
We suggest going in the afternoon as the park gets very hot.
It costs $2.50 per person to enter the park.
If you loved this geological state park you might also like to visit the key botanical state park while in the area.
Visit the History of Diving Museum
If you are a bit of a nerd you will just love the history of diving museum.
The museum provides a full history of diving including what diving was like in early times, you know aka metal helmets.
The museum if open daily between 10am-5pm.
It costs $12 USD to enter but they offer a free information evening on Wednesdays at 7pm.
Make the most of some awesome water activities in the area
There are some great water activities in Islamorada like diving, snorkeling etc after all it is a coral reef so if you are interested in snorkeling or diving, this is a great place to do it!
If you are not so interested in fish, you can always pick an alternative water sport like stand up paddle boarding or kayaking, there are plenty of opportunities to hire equipment in Islamorada.
One of the most popular trips is to head out to Alligator Reef Light House. Hire a kayak and jump out and snorkel when you hit the reef.
Get an Iconic Giant Lobster Picture
The Rain Barrel Artisan Village is famous for the giant lobster “Betty”. If you are passing by, make a quick stop to get an iconic Islamorada giant lobster photo.
The Rain Barrel Artisan Village also have a shop where you can purchase arts and crafts, handmade soap and clothing.
Spend a day in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Next door, around 20 minutes away in the nearby town of Key Largo you will find the awesome John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
The park is gorgeous and a relatively new State Park set up to preserve Key Largo’s coral reef.
It costs $9 (for 2 people) to enter John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park but it is well worth the entry fee.This fee is waved if you are camping which will set you back $43 USD a night including tax.
There are 2 awesome beaches at the State Park as well as nature trails.
We would suggest a visit to Key Largo in any event as it where the best key lime pie is at!
Where to stay in Islamorada?
Islamorada has lodging available for all budgets. Click here to search accommodation options in Islamorada during your dates.
Here is the places we would recommend depending on your budget:
- Budget – La Jolla Resort (good budget option with beach access)
- Mid Range to Luxury – Postcard Inn (has access to a great beach)
- Luxury – Casa Morada (limited guests so a very tranquil, relaxing experience)
You can also camp at Kohn Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park at a cost of $43 USD a night including tax.
What to eat in Islamorada?
If you are traveling to the Florida Keys, there are 2 important, traditional dishes to try – Conch and Key Lime Pie.
You can get both dishes all over the Keys. You can even pick up a Key Lime pie in Publix supermarket.
The best rated restaurants we would recommend dining at in Islamorada include:
- Twisted Shrimp
- Bayside Gourmet
- Mangrove Mike’s Cafe
- Midway Cafe and Coffee Bar
- Bitton Bistro Cafe.
Planning a trip to the Florida Keys?
If you are planning a trip to the Florida Keys, here are other posts that might be helpful to you:
- Miami to Key Largo
- Things to do in Key Largo
- Key Largo Beaches
- Best Key Lime Pie Key Largo
- Islamorada Beaches
- Things to do in Marathon
- Marathon Beaches
- Bahia Honda State Park
- Bahia Honda Camping
- Things to do in Key West
- Key West Beaches
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