My Guide to the Florida Keys

If you’ve been down to the Florida Keys you know what I’m talking about…clear blue water all around you, amazing fresh seafood just caught that morning, beautiful sunsets and the most laid back feeling where people are just living and loving. Folks living in the keys are enjoying the easy life, some living off the grid, others born and raised here and will never leave. 

Something about being at the very bottom tip of the US on a thin strip of land surrounded by the ocean is so freeing and relaxing. Jim and I went for the first time in April to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary and I wanted to take my mom back to celebrate her 70th birthday. She loved it just as much! 

There are many parts of the Florida Keys but I’d say the main stops are Key Largo, Islamarada, Marathon and Key West.  It’s only about an hour south of Miami and it’s one road in and out. Definitely watch your speed in the small towns, I got a speeding ticket for going 44 in a 35.

I really like Marathon because it’s right next to the famous Seven Mile Bridge and the views are so vast and beautiful. 

It’s not a big beach destination as there are a lot of rocks, marinas and jetties. It’s well known for boating, sandbars, fishing excursions, jet skiing, swimming with dolphins and exploring the mangroves. You can rent clear bottom kayaks and go out on early morning excursions and see sharks rays, manatees and more. It’s just sooo peaceful and easy.  


In Marathon we stayed at Isla Bella Beach Resort and it was perfect! White plantation shutter style villas, private deck off every room that opens to a white sand beach, individual pools and sand beach bar with fresh caught seafood dishes and crafted cocktails. So relaxing, beautiful and delicious. I’m not really into fishing but we did rent jet skis and go around Marathon and that was amazing! Super fun and a great way to see the island


When we were in Islamarada we stayed at the Islands of Islamarada and it was SO peaceful. They only have 6 one-bedroom units and rest of the hotel is 3-4 bedroom units. Ideal for big groups, families. There are two pools, super mellow tiki bar, water sports and little beach. Beautiful property that is very quiet and secluded. The hotel is about two years old and feels brand new. 


We took a day trip south to Key West and I highly recommend it if you haven’t been. It’s worth going to the very end to explore, and sight see. Hemingway’s House was very cool and the Lighthouse. You want to make sure you reserve a golf cart ahead of time, it’s much easier to get around and see the the sites. 


Let’s talk food….

If you love seafood, you’ll be in heaven! And don’t forget about the key lime pie….I’m not a huge fan but when in the keys you will be. It’s pretty delicious. 

We really enjoyed the following during our stay…

Latitudes (Key West)

Mahina (Marathon)

Pierre’s (Islamarada)

Key Fisheries (Marathon) Must be 21. BEST seafood and bar experience. 

If you’re heading to south Florida take a few extra days and head a little farther south to Marathon. You will love how beautiful and easy the Keys are and will never want to leave. 

XX CALYgirl 

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