Islamorada, Florida

Spanish explorers dubbed this island, "Islamorada," or purple island, for the colors of the flowers and the sky at sunset. Jump a few centuries to 1907 when William Krome established the townsite. It wasn't until 1998 that it was incorporated by the state legislature as "Islamorada, Village of Islands." It has a population of about 6100.

Located in the Florida Keys, Six islands make up Islamorada, Florida but the village is on Upper Matecumbe Key. Tourism is the obvious basis of its economy, especially the sport fishing aspect. It is accurately hailed as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World." Sitting almost midway between Miami and Key West, it is not only a good stopping place, but a great destination.
Sunset Islamorada, Florida Keys
There are more things to do in this small Florida village and its surrounds than in the whole of some states. The water sports include kiteboarding, stand-up paddling, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, swimming and the inevitable parasailing.

Ecotours are easy to find at marinas, parks and resorts. A powerboat tour will visit areas that have coral formations, dolphins, tropical fish, crocodiles, manatees and exotic birds. Kayak and canoe tours are good alternatives and travel through sea-grass beds and shallow tidal flats.

This place is serious about sport fishing. Some restaurants will cook up a visitor's catch for dinner. Mahi mahi and snapper are good food fish. Catch and release fish are large sailfish, tarpon and swordfish, among others.

Islamorada Founders Park is 40 acres of fun. Boredom is not an option with an Olympic-sized pool and diving boards. There are ball fields and water sport rentals along with a fishing jetty, basketball, tennis, bocce, a skate park, a multi-purpose path, and a dog park. There is also a shallow-water beach and a vita course with 18 exercise stations. It's exhausting to think about.

The Marine Mammal Park, called Theater of the Sea, is an in-the-water family activity. Swim with dolphins, sting rays and sea lions in natural salt-water lagoons that are 10-15 feet deep. There are also shows with parrots and shows with dolphins and sea lions and a bottomless boat ride.

The tropical climate is conducive to doing everything outdoors, including eating and drinking. Water-side dining and drinking are plentiful. Some restaurants can be reached by boat if guests just can't tear themselves away from the water. Ocean-front dining is upscale and not inexpensive. Land-based dining is available in many different cuisines.
Islamorada is for tourists.


Key Largo, Florida

Key Largo, Florida, is the mecca for divers looking for adventure off the shores of the United States. The largest of the famous Florida Keys at 33 miles long, Key Largo is the go-to place for fun in the sun, surf and sand. Arts and culture are also a big part of the experience of Key Largo, making it a well-rounded place for a family vacation.


The island of Key Largo is found between two national parks: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Everglades National Park. It the John Pennekamp state park that people flock to for underwater diving experiences along the only living barrier coral reef in the United States. In fact, the entire island is made of fossilized coral reef. Just over 10,000 people call Key Largo home, though thousands more tourists can be found there during peak vacation months in the spring and summer.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo Florida
With its tropical climate virtually guaranteeing warm, sunny days and pleasant nights, Key Largo is a great destination for water sports. In addition to diving, Key Largo offers numerous outlets for boating, swimming, skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing and more. Many travelers choose to venture into the everglades for guided tours and discussions about ecology and preserving the wildlife found there, while still more go on dolphin encounters.

There are also many indoor activities to take part in while at Key Largo. In fact, a film starring Humphrey Bogart, aptly titled "Key Largo," was set there in the 1940s. The area remains a center for the arts and culture today, with dozens of museums and art galleries. View sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs and more from some of the top artists in the area as well as from across the country. Festivals featuring local artisans are frequently held at Key Largo, so planning a trip to coincide with such events is an added bonus.

With so many things to do in Key Largo it is no wonder the island just south of Florida's coastline is such a hot vacation spot for families, singles and couples. Plan a trip today and see everything this oasis in the Florida Keys has to offer.