After we got back, it was well past lunchtime so we went into town and had our second day of Cuban fare at El Siboney , a local institution, then took a little photo walk as we meandered back to our hotel. That evening, we ventured east once more to Ibis Bay Resort for dinner at the Stoned Crab , where I ordered … hogfish.
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This time, it came encrusted with pistachios and macadamia nuts. The restaurant also makes some pretty delicious drinks, served up in tiki-style barware. When we got back to the Marquesa that night, the hotel was also lit up and I contemplated diving right in for a second time that day. But alas, time for a little shut eye before a busy day to follow.
In the morning, we picked up our rental car and drove out to Smathers Beach for some photos in the early morning light. I own a paddleboard and frequently play around with yoga poses on it at home in Tennessee, but my minute class with Kyla was next-level awesome. A bonus that the water was perfectly placid.
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After paddleboarding, Kyla pointed us toward Salute! Healthy salads with a view of the ocean to boot. On our way out of town en route to the Middle Keys, we hit up the Hemingway Home for another visit. Next, it was on to Islamorada—with a few stops en route. Henry Flagler took a great interest in the Keys and during the heyday of the railroad, the Overseas Railroad extended all the way to Key West.
It was destroyed more than 80 years ago by a hurricane, but you can still see remnants at Bahia Honda State Park , which doubles as a refreshing swimming hole and snorkeling spot. We only stopped on Bahia Honda Key briefly before continuing to Islamorada, arriving while still light. We got situated at our hotel, Amara Cay Resort , before heading out again.
As opposed to our city stay in Key West, our Islamorada hotel was right on the ocean and has an on-site water sports outfitter.
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Luckily, we changed that in Islamorada. Florida Keys Brewing Co. The brewery is just two years old and run by a husband-wife team, Craig and Cheryl.
He tends to the brewing while she spearheads the marketing artwork—taps and beer cans included—and boy is it fun and colorful! Straight-up mermaid vibes going on at Florida Keys Brewing. But aesthetic aside, the beer was damn good, too. I love how Craig weaves in so many local flavors, including—you guessed it—key lime. Dinner that night was at Marker 88 , a year-old seafood establishment where we were slated to dine alfresco but a looming storm changed that plan.
We started our fourth day by backtracking a bit to Marathon to do the cutest activity in all of the Keys: visit the Turtle Hospital! This amazing facility rescues and rehabs turtles, many of them having suffered human-inflicted injuries from boats, fishing hooks and pollution, while others having been victims of shark bites.
That evening, we headed over to the Postcard Inn for cocktails at the Tiki Bar, which created the original rumrunner back in There were key lime mojitos and coladas on the menu, so I had one of each while SVV tested the rumrunner neither of us regret our decision. More tuna, more hogfish and, yes, more key lime pie. As we left the restaurant, we ran into a local and asked her where the best sunset in Islamorada is. And it took all of five minutes for us to see why Islamorada is said to have the best sunsets in all of the Florida Keys. On our final morning in the Florida Keys, we kicked it at the pool at Amara Cay until checkout time.
The South was under a pretty stifling heat wave, and it was hard to motivate ourselves to do anything besides being fully submerged in water. Then, begrudgingly, we packed our things in our rental car and tried to prolong our trip with a second visit to Morada Bay. This time, we had lunch at the Beach Cafe —and one last key lime pie—to hold us over until we got to Miami for our flight.
Or better yet? Stay a full week, then you can allot a couple days to each! I love lamb and I love the Keys! Your pictures are inspiring us to see a little more than we planned on. Thanks to the author for sharing this impressive blog. Really glad to read this article. This is an excellent choice for people who would like to make their own meals, or who are traveling with children, as some rooms come complete with fully equipped kitchen.
Located in the Middle Keys, Marathon stretches for ten miles and is a great choice for a family-friendly getaway. The island has a welcoming local community and a wealth of amenities to make your stay comfortable.
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Spend your time under the shade of the trees at Sombrero Beach and swim in the safety of the roped-off area of ocean. You can also try out all sorts of watersports during your stay on Marathon, or take a visit to the turtle hospital where you can learn about wildlife conservation in the Keys. There is a huge variety of accommodation in Marathon: you could choose to stay in a floating house in the marina or at one of the family-orientated resorts with tranquil sea views. Tranquility Bay Resort — A true slice of old-world luxury, this 4-star resort is all kinds of classic when it comes to decor: Tranquility Bay Resort is spacious, whitewashed, filled with beautiful furnishings, and elegant design details.
Stay in one of the simply opulent rooms in the hotel or opt for your own 2 or 3-bedroom beach house. Amenities include a grill area, a Mediterranean cafe and a beach bar. Rooms come with everything you need to make your stay run smoothly including a kitchen and the helpful staff will be more than happy to supply you with beach towels and equipment. These beautiful locations have been labelled as a village of islands, and are known for their depth of marine wildlife with people drawn to the area to explore the many reefs. Islamorada is also popular with keen anglers as there is a wealth of fish to be caught just off the shore.
Hiring a car is essential if you want to see all of what Islamorada has to offer, but you can also try out hiking the tropical trails at Long Key State Park.
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With so much of Islamorada surrounded by water it would be hard to find a hotel without views of the ocean. Amara Cay Resort — The modern and contemporary style rooms at this resort hotel have been recently renovated for extra added comfort. Each room is decorated with an island theme and feature balconies that overlook the water. Easygoing Big Pine Key is the place to come and kick back. Named after the pines that grow on the island, it is home to the beautiful Bahia Honda State Park.
Take some time out on the island and enjoy sunbathing, snorkeling or swimming in the enticing crystal clear waters around Big Pine Key. Or you can add a dollar bill to the walls of No Name Pub, a popular pub and eatery that is often the first stop for road trippers making their way to Key West.
The island is also famous for its large population of Key Deer that have dwarfed in size after many generations of living in the keys. There are a handful of shops and restaurants for visitors to choose from and the other more populated Keys are an easy car journey away. This is the island to choose if you are looking for peace and quiet away from it all. For Mac users, we recommend the latest version of Safari or Firefox.
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