Just a 90 minute drive south of Miami and only half an hour away from Key Largo is Islamorada, a chain of six islands—Tea Table Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Windley Key and Plantation Key within the Florida Keys. Islamorada is a slice of paradise where you’ll fall in love with its up-scale small-town vibe, locally owned restaurants, quaint shops and galleries. But its real claim to fame is its moniker as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, where you’ll have no trouble finding professional offshore charter boats with tournament grade captains hoping to reel in a record catch.
Betty Bauman first began fishing as a child with a tree branch for a fishing pole. Today, she is the Founder and CEO of “Ladies, Let Go Fishing”, a very successful weekend seminar series offering a complete fishing experience in a non-intimidating environment. Industry leaders and professionals teach classes and provide hands-on training in inshore, offshore, bottom and fly fishing techniques. Of course, they offer fishing excursions complete with fish fillet instructions.
It’s always best to support local when you can, but even better if you can find a community favourite with a Canadian connection. Founded in 2015 by Canadian transplant Craig McBay and his wife Cheryl, the Florida Keys Brewing Company has a maple leaf and conch shell in its logo. Located in the heart of the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, FKBC is a micro brewery offering close to 30 styles of beer annually. You can enjoy your pint inside, but why would you when you can relax in their colourful beer garden tapping your feet to live music on afternoons and evenings.
This serene114-room oceanfront getaway is situated on Islamorada’s most picturesque piece of shoreline. At Islander Resort there’s always something to do: you can enjoy two pools, a hot tub, on-site activities like snorkeling, scuba, biking, and boating. After an activity-filled day you’ll appreciate the tasty island-inspired dishes at Tides Beachside Bar & Grill or Elements Lounge & Restaurant. We especially love that the Islander Resort has partnered with the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida in their mission to protect the outstanding animals and plants in our local ecosystem, and their management of the world’s largest coral rescue center.
Located in Plantation Key, Marker 88 has been a Keys tradition since 1967, serving award-winning continental cuisine and fresh seafood to presidents, celebrities and locals alike. If you’re there for the ocean fare (and you should be), you can enjoy the “Captain’s Platter” of broiled fresh Florida lobster, grilled mahi and grilled shrimp with a side of cilantro lime rice. You must save room for their tart Homemade Key Lime Pie, which is topped with a mile-high helping of toasted meringue. If you’re there for lunch you won’t be disappointed, but do your best to snag a dinner reservation and enjoy the live music while you dine on a Florida Keys natural beach enjoying a breathtaking sunset. Early in 2023 Marker 88 will be closed for renovations that will last several months, but don’t let that stop you from adding them to your must-visit list when they re-open.
If you treat yourself to a stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa (and you definitely should!), you’ll create unforgettable memories as you enjoy the turquoise water, towering palms, calm breezes and a luxury lifestyle. Your stay includes access to 27 acres of lush gardens, three heated swimming pools, a pampering spa, two open-air Tiki Bars, three first-class restaurants and unlimited use of fishing equipment, sea kayaks, bicycles and more. And while you’re there, make sure you take advantage of all the watersports they feature including snorkeling, eco tours, sunset cruises, paddle boards, parasailing, and of course, fishing trips.
For more ideas on how to make your Islamorada adventure unforgettable visit fla-keys.com.