Islamorada, FL Area Guide
Islamorada, FL the “Purple Island” is part of a chain of village islands collectively known as the “Village of Islands,” in the Florida Keys. One of Islamorada’s claims to fame is its unofficial status as the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World”. Islamorada is an incorporated village of Monroe County, Florida and is located on the islands of Tea Table Key. “Islamorada, Village of Islands” comprises of the habited areas of Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and the two islands that are part of the Florida State Park system, Indian Key and Lignum Vitae Key. Islamorada is flanked by the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park to one of its sides. On the other side lies North America’s only coral barrier reef in the waters of the Florida Straits.
Geologically and historically rich, Islamorada’s history includes the excavation of artifacts from aboriginal Floridians and the coral reefs that were formed during the Sangamon interglacial period. The Windley Key was once two islands, shown in the 1870 U.S. Census as the “Umbrella Keys”, later becoming one island when Henry Flagler’s railroad crews filled the shallow space between the two islands around 1906-1907. It is during Flagler’s era that Islamorada was named, in order to justify a train stop. A full service railroad depot and the construction of homes nearby signaled the birth of Islamorada as it is known today.
The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 struck Upper Matecumbe Key almost directly, leaving almost nothing standing and exacting a great toll of human life. The determined citizens of Islamorada rallied together to rebuild their home and in remembrance of the event, erected a memorial, including the ashes of over 300 victims, at Overseas Highway mile marker 82. Thankfully, residents of Islamorada today can safely live and enjoy their unique location with the help of state-of-the-art hurricane-tracking technology, evacuation programs and mass media.
With a balmy tropical climate, sparkling blue Atlantic waters and under 2 hours drive time to either Miami or Key West, Islamorada is truly a paradise within reach.
To learn more about Islamorada’s history, please visit: The Historical Preservation Society of The Upper Keys http://www.keyshistory.org/
Florida Keys Official Homepage
Parks and Recreation
Islamorada, in addition to being home to three unique parks of its own, is located handy to many of south Florida’s other parks and recreational activities. The Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay offer residents and visitors fishing, diving, snorkeling, parasailing, wind-surfing, kayaking, boat racing and a variety of nature excursions to choose from. Authors and sportsmen, such as Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey have attracted outdoor competitors to the area, where every month a calendar of tournaments, races and sporting challenges are available to participate in or enjoy as a spectator. To learn more about the parks of Islamorada and its neighboring areas, please select from the list of links below, and start exploring the beauty of Florida at its finest!
Everglades National Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (Key Largo)
Harry Harris Park (Tavernier)
Indian Key State Historic Site (Islamorada)
Lignum Vitae Key State Botanical Site (Islamorada)
Anne’s Beach (Islamorada)
Ecotourism is a nationally rising industry, and Floridian’s are committed to both preserving their precious natural lands and sharing these wonders with tourists and residents. To find out more about “touring green” in Florida, please visit: The Florida Keys and Key West http://www.fla-keys.com/greentravel/
To learn more about the state parks of Islamorada and other nearby south Floridian parks, please visit: Florida State Parks http://floridastateparks.org/
Attractions and Activities
The island villages of Islamorada offer residents and visitors ample parks, museums and historic events to choose from in their leisure time. There is a wealth of laid back locales where visitors can relax under the glory of the golden sun’s rays and enjoy the best of what south Florida has to offer. Whether your tastes run towards cocktails on the beach front, fishing on a chartered boat excursion, shopping at the eclectic collection of galleries and storefronts, taking in a sunset cruise or sampling the fine dining and world-famous Florida seafood of our restaurants, you will find Islamorada truly embodies the sentiment that “good things come in small packages”.
The Theater of the Sea is one of Islamorada’s more significant landmark attractions. The salt water lagoon was originally a rock quarry for Flagler’s railroad; as of 1946, The Theater of the Sea became a marine mammal facility and has remained the second largest in the country ever since, featuring daily dolphin shows. Another local favorite is the History of Diving Museum, displaying exhibits of rare diving artifacts and focusing on the story of “man’s quest to explore under the ocean”. Visitors to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park can picnic while enjoying the unique geology or educational exhibits. Cheeca Resort and Spa offers its guests the opportunity to pamper themselves while enjoying the luxurious location on the “purple island”. To explore more of what Islamorada has to offer, please visit: History of Diving Museum. http://divingmuseum.org/
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
Theater of the Sea
Cheeca Lodge & Spa
Florida Keys Islamorada Fishing Charters and Boats
Florida Keys Islamorada Attractions
With no shortage of sunshine or easily accessible nearby locations, there is a wealth of ever-changing events to experience when visiting or residing in Islamorada. To discover what’s happening in the Village of Islands, please visit the links and enjoy the warm waters, sandy shores and golden sunshine that make Islamorada a paradise on Earth.
Florida Keys Calendar of Events
Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Calendar of Events
Visit Florida Official Florida Tourism Islamorada Events