Islamorada/Florida Keys

Old Nov 14th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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Islamorada/Florida Keys

Husband and I visited FL Keys last June and love it. Stayed in Marathon and Key West. Summer of 2006 we want to bring our son along (age 10) to snorkel, enjoy beach. Last year I was struck by Islamorada. Been checking internet for place to stay. Does not need to be fancy at all but we'd like an onsite pool. Any lodging suggestions (max $100-$150 a day in June)? Also any local restaurants? We're not the touristy type. Like quiet places, even dives as long as the food is good! For a day at the beach, would you recommend Holiday Isle or Founder's Park? Husband is learning to scuba dive this spring, so I guess he should dive at Pennekamp or Bahia Honda? Any other snorkel/dive suggestions? Are there boats that take both snorkelers AND divers? Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old Nov 14th, 2005, 02:05 PM
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We liked the Islander-with the suite-kitchen, patio, etc. Cats roam the property so it made us feel at home. They even come into your apt. if you let them!
2 pools-one fresh and one salt water and a great dock to fish off of or just watch the fish. Very close to the Cheecka Lodge where the Bushes stay but way less money.
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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Excellent. Thanks for the feedback. Really appreciate it.
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 07:21 PM
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Hi again Sandy,
Just remembered that the Islander also has barbeque's you could use too. The restaurant we went to right across the road on the bayside was Lorelei's-good fish dinners. We liked snorkeling down in the lower keys better than Pennekamp. The clarity of the water was better. We enjoyed Looe Key, which really is just an old wreck of a 18th C. ship-but it is closer to Big Pine Key, it might be too far to go for the day. Bahia Honda is one of the few beaches you could actually swim at in the keys. There were lots of pretty colored squid when we were there. We just put on our masks and watched them. We also love the keys. Have a great time.
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Old Nov 16th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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Thanks again for the info. My son is VERY excited to try snorkeling...reading books on fish, etc. We can't wait to go back to the Keys and show him around.
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Old Nov 16th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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Hi Sandy,
My family stayed 3 nights @the Hampton Inn, Islamorada. We thoroughly enjoyed this place, nice little beach, very close to a sandbar. Nice pool and an included great hot b'fast every morning. We were upgraded to a suite, which our sons loved. There were 2 balconies, a full kitchen and a livingroom that had Nintendo. There is an Outback Steakhouse right next to the Hampton. We really enjoyed dinner at the Islamorada Fish Company, where we all tried alligator as an appetizer. This casual outdoor place on the water had great, fresh seafood.
The snorkeling @Pennecamp, the day we were there, was only okay.
We also stopped @Bahia Honda on our way down to Key West. Gorgeous beach!! It was also cool to see what was left of the old bridge. What we did that was a highlight of our trip, was the seaplane ride to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Have a great time!
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Old Nov 18th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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Thanks so much for the info. Will check it out. I would LOVE to take that seaplane!!!
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Old Nov 18th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Try Morada Bay restaurant, next to Islamorada Fish Company. It's a beautiful setting where you can sit outside and relax by the ocean. The food is excellent too. Islamorada Fish Company is nice also, for eating and browsing in the store. They have a very cool aquarium. Also right there, there is a place called Pierre's that while I have never been, it has been highly recommended as an elegant, beautiful setting.
Holiday Isle has quite the reputation as a party place on holiday weekends. However, just this week, the Herald reported that the site had been sold and was to be converted to luxury condos and such. The article is still available for free on the website www.herald.com if you are interested, but this might mean it wouldn't even be an option for you. And while I'm pretty past the age of partying there on holidays, it's a shame that another keys institution will be redeveloped beyond the economic range of so many people.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Wow! Thanks for the info. Didn't know about Holiday Isle. I'm past the age of partying too much myself. Thought it would be a nice beach to go to during the day. Thanks again for info!
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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Most of the time, snorkellers and divers don't mix well on boats - the water is too deep for snorkellers and too shallow for divers. However, Looe Key (off Big Pine Key - mm 29) is an exception to this. The reef is as shallow as 5 feet and drops to 30 feet so everyone can be on the same boat and still have a good time. You could combine the dive/snorkel trip with a half day at Bahia Honda. I second the suggestion of Morada Bay. Get there well before sunset and have a drink as the sun sets. You and your husband will be able to have a very nice dinner while your son meets new friends on the sandy beach (be sure he leaves his shoes near a tree that you all can find in the dark!). Also, check out Robbie's at mm 77 (bayside). You can feed wild tarpon there - - they are enormous!
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Old Nov 29th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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We just came back from Islamorda yesterday. We stayed at Pines and Palms, a delightful Mom and Pop "resort" with individual cabins. The cleanest place we've ever stayed. I would certainly recommend it. Not luxurious by any means but "old" Keys feeling.

The damage in the Keys was more extensive than I expected. Piles and piles of debris and appliances line the roads. Some of the debris is quite smelly.

The Lorelei and the Islamorada Fish Company are closed for 3 or 4 months. Both suffered a lot of damage to their outdoor areas. Lorelei was under 6 feet of water.

We ate at Pierre's mentioned above. Very expensive for what I would call NY food. Little local flavor or ingredients. The manager is from Dijon, France; the chef from New York City. None of that Keys feeling in the food although the ambiance is wonderful. Morada Bay shares its beach with Pierre's. Fabulous sunsets and great drinks. Drink there and go to Island Grill for casual local food. Best meal we had was at Lazy Days which was also clearly the most popular. Excellent.

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Old Nov 29th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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We had a great trip to Islamorada last March. Our sons were 11 and 13 at the time. We went snorkeling, diving (not the 11 yo), swam with dolphins, fished, ate, etc...

We enjoyed our stay at the simple, clean and friendly Coral Bay Resort. It had a pool and a dock area where we could snorkel. It is nice and quiet, but is a short drive to the many restaurants in the area.

We, too, liked Lazy Days for dinner. Breakfast at the Islamorada Restaurant and Bakery is highly recommended. Islamorda Fish Co was also nice.

We used Key Dives (right by Bud n'Mary's Marina) for our dive trips. They were great to deal with.

We went out on a snorkel trip from Big Pine Key (Looe Key area). I can't remember the name of the company, but I'll check.

Hope this helps! Have fun!
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