The best things to do in Islamorada, FL

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Visit Islamorada in the Florida Keys to find a tropical paradise with crystal-clear water and endless summer temperatures. With such pristine conditions, the best things to do in Islamorada include awe-inspiring activities in and on the water.

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Soak up the sun in Indian Key Historic State Park

The fascinating Indian Key, situated just off Lower Matecumbe Key, is easily sighted from the Overseas Highway. An adventure of historic proportions, Indian Key Historic State Park is full of surprises.

Nowadays, Indian Key might be uninhabited. But once upon a time the humble looking island was a booming place.

In the 1830s, Indian Key even became Dade County’s first county seat. At the time, the Florida Keys island was a major player in the lucrative wrecking business.

About 50 people lived on the island, including wreckers, fishermen and turtlers. The bubbling key had stores, warehouses, cisterns and even a post office and a hotel.

Today, much later, Indian Key Historic State Park welcomes visitors to swim, snorkel, sunbathe, hike and explore the remainings of the once booming Florida Keys island — this is a unique thing to do in Islamorada.

However, the only way to access Indian Key is by boat, meaning it takes some extra effort to visit.

The best way to make it the about half mile (800 m) offshore from Islamorada to Indian Key Historic State Park is to kayak over. Often stingrays and sharks show themselves in the blue water as you paddle the distance across.

In fact, the paddle makes the Indian Key experience even better. What’s better than a day under the South Florida sun, surrounded by both tropical marine wildlife and history?

Blue water and boat in Florida Keys, FL
Paddle over to Indian Key, just off Islamorada.

Marvel at historic Alligator Reef

Florida Keys, offering crystal-clear waters and endless summer, is the ideal scene for water activities. Diving and snorkeling are, of course, some of the best things to do in Islamorada.

But which is Islamorada’s best snorkel and dive spot?

5 miles (8 km) off the coast, you find a location that stands out from the rest: Alligator Reef. Here, hundreds of marine species, a cool shipwreck and a lighthouse from the 1800s await.

Yes, this is a Florida Keys paradise for snorkelers and divers alike.

The reef and lighthouse are tributes to the navy ship USS Alligator, once bravely combating piracy in the Caribbean. Ending her career, she ran aground in the Islamorada waters an early morning in 1822.

Over half a century later, in 1873, Alligator Reef Lighthouse was built to warn ships about the shallow reef — better late than never.

Although USS Alligator is nowhere to be seen, another shipwreck lies on the shallow ocean floor, near the lighthouse, as a warning example.

The white and black Alligator Reef Lighthouse, Florida Keys, one of the best things to do in Islamorada, FL, for divers and snorkelers
Iconic Alligator Reef Lighthouse.

Take a bucket-list fishing trip

With Florida Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Islamorada is known as the sport fishing capital of the world. Here, fishing almost is like a religion.

For the full experience, join a fishing trip or charter your own boat with a local guide ready to show the best fishing spots in the Keys.

What you get on the hook depends on the season (there are different shades of Islamorada’s summer). However, possible catches include mahi-mahi, wahoo, kingfish, marlin, sailfish, tuna and tarpon.

Although the catches vary, one thing is certain: Whether you are an experienced fisherman or just want to try it out for the first time, Islamorada treats you to the ultimate angling experience.

Docked fishing boats ready for new tours — fishing is a top thing to do in Islamorada, FL
Get ready for some Islamorada fishing.

Discover the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail

Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) encompasses over 90 miles (145 km) of trails along the Key Largo to Key West corridor. Paralleling the Overseas Highway, this recreational pathway includes as many as 23 historic Flagler Railroad bridges.

Henry Flagler was a visionary man with the ambition to connect mainland Florida with Key West and thereby accelerate the connection with Cuba and South America. Construction began by 1905, and seven years later it was, finally, possible to catch a train from mainland Florida to Key West.

At the time, the stretch was called the eight wonder of the world. Celebrations took place for a whole week in Key West — Florida Keys had gone from wilderness to easily accessible.

On your Islamorada vacation, FKOHT provides exceptional opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and sightseeing. Cutting through some of tropical Florida’s most impressive parts, framed by crystal-clear waters, the trail is much more than just a way to travel.

Colorful sunset, reflecting ocean and two swaying palm trees in Florida Keys, FL
Discover the best trail in Florida Keys.

Uncover the History of Diving Museum

Islamorada and the Florida Keys is famous for its proud diving tradition. But how has diving evolved?

Revealing Islamorada’s love for water, the History of Diving Museum tells the story of diving, from the very first attempts until today. It puts extra focus on the role that Florida Keys has played throughout the years.

Come to check out the many historical diving artifacts, including fascinating diving equipment, dusty documents and early-day photographs. Or, maybe even more engaging, hold a silver bar recovered from a shipwreck.

The museum shows the history of diving in a way that speaks to all ages. In particular, the museum’s scavenger hunt makes it one of the best things to do in Islamorada for younger vacationers.

Diver watching a shoal of fish in clear water
Uncover diving in Islamorada.

Find a hotel for your Islamorada vacation

When you visit Islamorada, the icing on the cake is to stay at an oceanfront resort. By the water, you to the fullest can enjoy the tropical setting that the Florida Keys offers.

Use the booking tool below to find the best places to stay in Islamorada. Browse the map for options in various areas, or click on the search button to get all options listed.

Booking.com

Best things to do in Islamorada FAQ

Is Islamorada worth visiting?

Islamorada offers the patented laid-back Florida Keys lifestyle with warm weather, amazing water activities and the best coconut drinks. Uniquely to Islamorada, enjoy the best environment for fishing, amazing snorkeling spots like Alligator Reef and interesting history on Indian Key. The Florida Keys ambience and all the fun things to do in Islamorada makes it a destination you really don’t want to miss.

Where was Bloodline in Islamorada filmed?

The famous Netflix series Bloodline was partly filmed in Islamorada, and the most famous Islamorada location is the Moorings Village. A fun thing to do in Islamorada, especially to a fan of the show, is to check-in and feel like a Rayburn for a night or two.

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