Islamorada town, Florida Keys
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Islamorada is the second main town of the four towns in the Florida Keys (Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Key West). It is around the 82 mile marker. The town is just a strip of restaurants, tourist souvenir shops, and hotels along the main highway. Everything is retro, as if time stood still after the 1960s. It's quite amusing to see the faded old signs with their tropical vibe. There isn't much vegetation or shade, because it gets destroyed frequently by hurricanes. There are also a ton of mosquitoes that descend in the morning and at dusk during the summer. Many of the shops have piers out back where you can take in the lovely views across the water to the tiny, scattered mangrove islands. The Islamorada Fish Company is in an open-air thatched hut. Come for a drink to soak up the views and to see the tarpon fish swimming around. Avoid the food- it's disgusting. Most of the hotels have their own piers crowded with fishermen hoping for a catch. It's lovely to walk to take a romantic stroll at night once the mosquitoes have gone away- check out the lights of nearby hotels glimmering on the water and look down at the seagrasses in the clear water below.
The shoreline of the Florida Keys is not as you would imagine. There are very few beaches. When I heard this, I thought the shoreline would consist of large rocks where you could make your way down to perfect, clear ocean water. But not so. The Keys are basically a swamp. If you have a boat you can get out to the clean ocean water. But if you come straight from shore, you will encounter brownish water amongst mangroves, sea grasses, and filled with dubious creatures. A swim is always nice in the warm waters off Florida, but the Keys does not have the best swims around.
There isn't a pedestrian-friendly main drag in Islamorada. The best places to walk around are the small shopping marinas and the grounds of the various hotels and resorts.
Check out Robbie's of Islamorada, where little stalls are set up under coconut trees and you can find some nice jewelry for cheap prices.
The breezes are lovely at the Keys, and they help you feel semi-ok in the summertime as long as you're in the shade. But don't come to the Keys in the summer- it's just too hot and there are mosquitoes galore in the early morning and evening. Come from November-May if you can.
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Islamorada town is around mile marker 82.
From the Turnpike, take Highway 821, the Turnpike extension toward Homestead. Follow it for 46 miles to the end. Follow the signs to U.S. Highway 1 south. Continue 47 miles into the Florida Keys. You are in the town of Islamorada.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.