The best things to do in Islamorada, Florida

  • Post last modified:July 27, 2021
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Islamorada in the Florida Keys consists of five islands – Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and Tea Table Key. In the Islamorada area you find a tropical paradise with crystal-clear water and endless summer temperatures. And the best things to do in Islamorada include to spend time on and in the water.

Visit Indian Key Historic State Park

Not only one of the Islamorada things to do but also a highlight of the entire Florida Keys chain is the Indian Key Historic State Park. The fascinating Indian Key is situated just off Lower Matecumbe Key, and easily sighted from the Overseas Highway.

Today Indian Key is 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 island was a major player in the lucrative wrecking business.

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

Nowadays the Indian Key Historic State Park welcomes visitors to swim, snorkel, sunbathe, hike and explore the remainings of the once booming island. But the only way to access the park is by boat.

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. It’s so worth it and going to Indian Key when you visit Islamorada is both a great day out in the beautiful weather and a fun history lesson.

Blue water and boat
Take a boat or kayak to Indian Key.

Go out on the water for snorkeling or diving

You can’t get away from the fact that one of the circumstances that makes Florida Keys so unique is the abundance of water activities. And diving and snorkeling are very popular activities and some of the best things to do in Islamorada and the entire Florida Keys area.

About 5 miles (8 km) from the coast of Islamorada you find Alligator Reef. At Alligator Reed hundreds of marine species, a cool shipwreck and a historic lighthouse from the 1800s make visitors coming back.

The navy ship USS Alligator was once bravely combating the piracy in the Caribbean. But an early morning in 1822 she ran aground on the reef in the area. Later the area has been named after the navy ship

Eventually the well-needed Alligator Reef Lighthouse was built in 1873 to protect and warn ships about the shallow reef. But still on this day an old shipwreck lies in the water on the shallow ocean floor not far away from the lighthouse as a warning example.

The Alligator Reef area is one of the best diving and snorkling areas in Florida Keys. And going out there is a great thing to do when you visit Islamorada. The clear water, proud lighthouse, mysterious shipwreck, impressive corals and marine life make Alligator Reef the perfect spot on the water.

Lighthouse on the water
Alligator Reef Lighthouse.

Fishing is a top thing do to in Islamorada

If you’ve always wanted to try fishing, Islamorada is the best chance you’re ever going to get. In fact, Islamorada and the surrounding area is known as the Sport-Fishing Capital of the world.

In Islamorada you can get the ultimate fishing experience no matter if you are an experienced fisherman or just want to try out for the first time. You can join a fishing trip or even charter your own boat with a local guide to help you find the best fishing spots in the Keys.

What you get on the hook varies a bit depending on the season. But in the waters you find mahi-mahi, wahoo, kingfish, marlin, sailfish, tuna, tarpon and much more. Fishing is very popular in the area and one of the best things to do in Islamorada.

Dock, fishing boats and poles
Fishing in the Keys.

Find a favorite Islamorada thing to do along Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail

Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) consists of more than 90 miles (145 km) of trails along the 106 mile (171 km) corridor from Key Largo to Key West. The recreational pathway that parallels the Overseas Highway includes several historic Flagler Railroad bridges and exploring it is an interesting Islamorada thing to do.

Henry Flagler was a visionary with the ambition to connect mainland Florida with Key West and accelerate the connection with Cuba and South America. Flagler was a powerful man and construction began by 1905. In 1912 it was finally possible to catch a train from the mainland 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. With the train the Florida Keys had gone from wilderness to easily accessible.

The FKOHT not only provides opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and sightseeing. It’s also a great place for historical reflection as the Flagler railroad bridges form the backbone of the pathway system. The trail incorporates as many as 23 of the Flagler Railroad bridges for its users to admire.

Cutting through some of tropical Florida’s most impressive parts, from Key Largo to Key West, the trail is much more than a way to travel. Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is a gateway to the great variety of things to do and places to see in the Florida Keys.

Sunset, ocean and two palm trees
A favorite spot in the Florida Keys.

Check out the History of Diving Museum

In the Florida Keys life is a lot about spending time on and in the water. So what should you do when you are on land then? Well, what could be a better thing to do in Islamorada than indulging in the history of diving.

The History of Diving Museum in Islamorada is located right off the Overseas Highway. It’s a very convenient and fun Islamorada thing to do either as a break on a Miami to Key West drive or on your Islamorada vacation.

At the museum you can check out historical diving artifacts, documents and photographs. The vision of the museum is to tell the story of diving, from the very first attempts until today. And they also lift forward the role that Florida Keys has played in the history of diving.

But maybe the best thing about the museum is that they show the history of diving in a way that speaks to all ages. At the Islamorada museum young or old could have an interesting time. The History of Diving Museum is a great thing to do in Islamorada for everyone including families with young kids.

Diver and fish
Exploration of diving history in Islamorada.

Best things to do in Islamorada FAQ

Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

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 you find the best environment for fishing, amazing snorkeling spots like Alligator Reef and interesting history on Indian Key here. The Florida Keys ambience and all the fun things to do in Islamorada makes it a destination you don’t want to miss.

Where was Bloodline in Islamorada filmed?

The famous Netflix series Bloodline was partly filmed in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. And the most famous Islamorada location is probably 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. But in Islamorada there are also many other less pricey accommodation options to choose from.

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