Islamorada is a small village and group of islands in the Florida Keys, located roughly halfway between Miami and Key West in the Upper Keys.
Including approximately 7 square miles of land area, the village extends from from Channel Two Bridge to the Tavernier Creek Bridge.
Islamorada includes the islands of:
Upper Matecumbe Key
Lower Matecumbe Key
Tea Table Key
Not as widely known, the population in Islamorada has been growing since the pandemic drew crowds looking for a place to hide away and ride out the storm. Totalling a little over 6K in 2010, the population grew by approximately 16% in recent years.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit this laid-back, kid-friendly destination is between March and May, when it’s not too humid. Avoid the hurricane season, which peaks in August and September.
What does Islamorada mean in English?
The Florida Keys, including present-day Islamorada, were originally named “Lose Martires” by Ponce de Leon in 1513. “Los Martires” is a Spanish word meaning “The Martyrs” in English.
Getting to Islamorada
The only way to reach Islamorada by land is via US Highway 1, or the Overseas Highway. Florida’s Overseas Highway is a world-famous scenic highway that consists of 42 bridges connecting the Florida Keys to the mainland. 90 minutes from Miami or Key West, you’ll pass lovely keys and bridges with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.
Flying to Islamorada
There are no airports in Islamorada.
The nearest major airport is Miami International Airport, while many visitors also fly into Fort Lauderdale or Key West International Airport.
Private helicopter charters are also an option for traveling to Islamorada.
Things to Do in Islamorada
Often referred to as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World, ” there are many popular attractions in Islamorada, especially for those who love water adventure, but the Islamorada Sandbar is the hottest attraction of all.
If you are looking to catch some rays and enjoy the beach then a trip to the Islamorada Sandbar is the place to go. One of the most popular sandbars in the Florida Keys, Islamorada sandbar, located just a mile offshore around Mile Marker 84 on the Atlantic Ocean side, is about as close to paradise as you can find within the continental United States.
Less than a mile from the shoreline, most visitors come to the bar by boat, but there are also kayak and SUP rentals available.While it can be an unforgettable beautiful and fun experience like none other in the US, it can be dangerous to kayak or paddleboard to the Islamorada sandbar, so paddlers should heed warnings and take precautions:
Make sure weather and water conditions are safe
Come prepared and fully equipped
Be especially careful of boat traffic
Stay out of the busy boat channels
Be mindful of alcohol consumption
Top 8 Attractions in Islamorada, Florida
They don’t call Islamorada the “world’s sportfishing capital” for nothing. In fact, Islamorada boasts the largest fishing fleet for every square mile on earth.
Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or just want to give the sport a try, Islamorada is the place to be to get your fisherman’s feet wet. Charter a private boat, join a fishing trip, or explore the many tours available. Depending on the time of year, the waters are teeming with sailfish, marlin, kingfish, wahoo, mahi-mahi, tuna, tarpon and bonefish.
But, there’s more to this laid-back fishing village than its fresh ocean bounties.
With pristine sandy beaches, calm waters, idyllic weather, 360 panoramic views, and breathtaking sunsets, there’s something for everyone on the isles of Islamorada -- and the best part is, it’s only about an hour’s drive south of Miami.
Theater of the Sea
A visit to this marine mammal park is, no doubt, one of the top things to do in Islamorada with kids. With its interactive exhibits and animal interactions, this marine park is sure to give you a slew of unforgettable experiences.
Experience a bottomless boat ride, visit the lagoon-side beach, and watch sea lion and dolphin shows, relax with stingrays, and swim with dolphins.
History of Diving Museum
The History of Diving Museum houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of diving memorabilia.
Where to stay: Hadley House Islamorada, 82749 Overseas Highway, Islamorada
Named after a local environmentalist, this public stretch will give you a heavy dose of vitamin sea. Clear and shallow waters make this beach a prime spot for swimming with kids.
Where to stay: Caloosa Cove Resort, 73801 Overseas Highway, Islamorada
located just past mile marker 77 on the Overseas Highway, is Robbie’s Marina, a Florida Keys staple. Grab a bucket full of fish and feed the humongous and fairly entertaining creatures.
Where to stay: La Siesta Resort & Villas, 80241 Overseas Highway
Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park
Accessible only by boat, this 280-acre park beckons visitors with its intriguing flora and fauna.
A place of wonders, overflowing with protected insects, birds and endangered plants, this dense and untouched island is like taking a step back in time to the days before the Keys were developed and civilized.
Where to stay: Sands of Islamorada, 80051 Overseas Highway, Islamorada.
Alligator Reef Lighthouse
First lit in 1873, this famed landmark stands guard over the USS Alligator wreck.
The Alligator Reef Lighthouse isn’t just an offshore beacon in Islamorada. Best known for its crystal clear waters and thriving reef that can be admired from the surface, the waters around the lighthouse are home to more than 500 marine life species, making it a prime spot for underwater adventure.
Where to stay: Lime Tree Bay Resort, 68500 Overseas Highway, Islamorada
The Florida Keys History and Discovery Center
Founded in 2013, this 7,500-square-foot museum details the history of the Upper Keys. Perfect for history buffs, this world-class museum is one of the can’t-miss things to see in Islamorada.
Through its research library, movie theater and exhibits, this museum will give you glimpses of the history of these keys and its marine life.
Wander around the museum, and discover fun information about the keys, including its over-sea railroad and pineapple farming.
Where to stay: La Jolla Resort, 82216 Overseas Highway
Indian Key Historic State Park
An uninhabited, serene island, this pristine island was officially added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Visitors can kayak to the island to enjoy outdoor activities including fishing, sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling.
Where to stay: La Siesta Resort & Villas, 80241 Overseas Highway, Islamorada