The Florida Keys is a staple piece to any visit home for me. I probably have spent more time there in the last few visits home than my own house! With it being a short and beautiful drive from my South Florida home, we make the trip quite often. The Keys, as their called, are a group of 1700 islands linked together by sets of bridges, and it ends at the very last isle, Key West, marking it the most Southern Point in the USA.
With turquoise water, world-class fishing, boat-friendly sand bars, and laid back dive bars, it’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. Our favorite bit of the Keys is a town called Islamorada. It’s about an hour or so drive from the Miami International airport, and it is the picture perfect definition of what I think the Keys are all about. It’s also the area that the new Netflix series Bloodline was filmed in and is about.
There are many hotels you can choose from in this area, but I think the best way to see the area and really relax is to rent a condo or a house. If you’re into boating or fishing, there are great places to rent a boat for the day for around $200-400 USD a day. We rented from the boat rental office behind the Day’s Inn in Islamorada, and spent the day chugging along about on a pontoon boat.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of a party, head on over to the sandbar on the ocean side, anchor up and grab a few beers to relax in the crystal clear water. We can spend hours here just relaxing, chatting it up with neighboring boats and soaking up the sun.
If you want to go snorkeling or scuba diving, there are some great dive spots within a 20-30 minute boat ride out. Our favorite spot is the Just ask your boat rental place and they will be sure to give you awesome directions to great spots in the area.
There’s plenty of bars and restaurants that offer a stunning view, and there’s nothing that can quite beat a sunset over the Florida Keys. One of my absolute favorite spots for sunset watching is Morada Bay. It may be a but pricey for drinks, but the set up calls for beach chairs in the sand set far enough from each other for you to feel like you have the spot all for yourself. I really enjoyed their version of the Full Moon Party that usually occurs each month. They have a late night party with neon lights and dancers. It’s definitely a twist on the usual laid back scene in Islamorada.
A great spot for dinner is Islamorada Fishing Company. They’ve got two great bars, one on the water, one on the sand – a spacious dining set up outside and a massive world-class retail shop for all of your outdoor needs. A classic highlight of any trip is a stop at the Tiki Bar at the Postcard Inn. Back in the day, this used to be the number one spot, with crazy parties every weekend. Now, it’s a bit more pared back, but with the bar right on the water’s edge on the oceanside, you can’t go wrong. Finally, my last favorite place is the Lorelei Cabana Bar – great food, cheap drinks, live music and an awesome view for sunset.
As you can probably guess, it’s always 5 O’Clock in the Florida Keys. It’s nothing glamorous, but it’s a perfect hideaway from the craziness of South Florida. If you find yourself in Fort Lauderdale or Miami, I definitely recommend looking into renting a car and making your way down the mile markers heading south. Stop around Mile Marker 80, and I promise you won’t regret it!
Have you been to the Florida Keys? What’s your favorite part?