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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrIslamorada, situated in the upper middle of the Florida Keys , is known as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World”, and attracts thousands of fishermen every year for multiple tournaments and everyday fishing. Islamorada consists of six islands, also known as keys: Lignumvitae Key, Indian Key, Lower and Upper Matecumbe Keys, Windley Key, and Plantation Key. Along with fishing, it is also the perfect destinations for families looking to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
HistoryAlthough the name Islamorada was first used in 1907, it was not officially incorporated until 1998 by the Florida Legislature. In 1935, The Labor Day Hurricane struck Islamorada and killed 423 people, of which, the ashes of over 300 of the victims exist at a memorial on the Overseas Highway at Mile Marker 82. The hurricane was a category 5 and the strongest hurricane to trigger landfall in recorded history.
Things To DoIslamorada is chock-full of activities both on land and in the water. Known as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World”, the number one activity in Islamorada is fishing. Visitors can rent or bring their own boat, or join a chartered fishing trip with a guide to show them the best spots. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, Islamorada offers the perfect opportunity for all kinds of fish, whether it is a Marlin you are searching for, or some Bonefish in the back-country, Islamorada is home to it. Not to mention, the marinas on every corner are home to hundreds of knowledgeable guides happy to share their passion for the sport with you.
For the animal lovers, make sure to visit Theater of the Sea marine mammal park, where guests can swim with dolphins, sea lions, rays, and even sharks! Established in 1946, it is one of the oldest marine mammal parks in the world and is family owned and operated. General admission is $ 32 USD for adults or $ 22 USD for children, with animal encounters as an additional charge. Theater of the Sea is even pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend to watch the dolphin show, as long as it is on a leash!
Another tourist favorite is a stop at Robbie’s Marina, located at Mile Marker 77.5 on the gulf side of the island, which allows guests to hand-feed Giant Tarpon from the dock and is only $ 3.00 USD for a bucket of fish. The huge Tarpon will leap out of the water at the dangling fish in a frenzy unlike one you have ever seen. Robbie’s also is home to a market full of souvenirs, artwork, and clothing perfect for some relaxing afternoon shopping. In addition, jet ski, paddle board, and boat rentals are all available as well as eco-tours and fishing charters.
Outdoor enthusiasts will not be disappointed in Islamorada. Feel free to explore the nature trails in Long Key State Park or Indian Key Historic State Park. Multiple operators offer eco-tourism excursions throughout the watery canals of mangroves, perfect for anyone interested in nature, conservation, and wildlife.
Divers may want to visit the History of Diving Museum before heading out for a chartered dive in the many beautiful coral reefs off the coast. Divers can opt to visit anything from shallow coral reefs to majestic shipwrecks. The most popular dive site is Alligator Reef, easy to spot with its 136-foot lighthouse. Once home to a shipwreck from pirates in 1822, the wreckage is nearly gone, but the coral reef has grown extravagantly around it. Bud N’ Mary’s Marina offers dive charters as well as many other local operators.
Destination weddings are another popular reason that people come to Islamorada. With beautiful, white sand beaches and sprawling, luxurious resorts, Islamorada is the perfect place for a destination wedding. The Postcard Inn offers wedding packages on their beach with receptions on-site. The resort is also home to watersports activities, a huge tiki bar, and multiple pools for your relaxation in the sun.
How To Get ThereDriving south on the overseas highway, also known as US1 and the only highway through the Florida Keys, drivers will enter Islamorada by crossing the Tavernier Creek Bridge at Mile Marker 91.
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Author: laurenriegner. Last updated: Dec 11, 2014