Islamorada: if you want to visit the Sportsfishing Capital of the World, you don’t have to go any further than here, the “purple isles”, named for the violet sea snails in the area. Located on Upper Matecumbe Key, the Islamorada area actually spans from Long Key to south Plantation Key, covering an area of about twenty miles.
Islamorada’s claim to fame is its world class sportsfishing. Islamorada has been the place of more world record size catches than anywhere else in the world. It is also believed that Islamorada is home to more fishing boats per square mile than any other place in the world.
The Florida Bay, located off the southern tip of Florida between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, features 30 square miles of shallow depths and small islands, making it the ideal place for backcountry fishing in shallow hulled boats. Tarpon, permit, redfish, trout, snapper and snook are among the most popular sportfish caught in the Bay. With shallow depths ranging from 5 to 10 feet in month places throughout the Florida Bay, it offers world class fly fishing for anglers.
Offshore, anglers can find marlin, sailfish, shark and dolphin.
There are also plenty of local activities for non-anglers in the groups around Islamorada. Walking tours of Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Site are given four days a week, with access by a short fifteen minute boat ride from Robbie’s Marina.
Indian Key State Historic Site is an 11-acre island also accessible by a short boat ride from Robbie’s Marina. Rangers offer 90 minute guided tours of Indian Key, revealing the interesting history of the island as a wrecking station and once home to a city, complete with a hotel, for the islands 50 permanent residents. There are several other points of interest in Islamorada and the Upper Keys for anglers and non-anglers alike.
Hospitality on Islamorada is well known and genuine, and many guests return year after year. Accomodations on Islamorada range from pitching a tent at the Long Key State Recreation Area to one of the upscale spa and resorts.
The Fiesta Key Resort KOA offers hookups for RVs, motels start in the $50 to $75 range, and resorts such as the Cheeca Lodge and Spa can run several hundred dollars a nite or more.
Locally run bed and breakfasts are available for those looking for a more personal or intimate touch, and even some houseboats are available for guests to rent, for those who want to experience living on the water in Islamorada as well. Houses and condos are also available, and are the perfect choice for those planning on staying for a month or longer.