Islamorada, often called “Islamorada, Village of Islands”, is known for its pristine fishing opportunities (it is the sport fishing capital of the world), stunning views, coral reefs, and excellent snorkeling and scuba diving locations. You’ll need a guide to point you in the right direction (we’ve got yours here!). Here is Boatsetter’s Islamorada Boating Guide:
- Top boating destinations in Islamorada
- Friendliest marinas in Islamorada
- Dive deep: More on the Florida Keys
Read the entire blog post to catch all the Pro Boatsetter Tips.
Top 3 Boating Spots in Islamorada
While Islamorada is made up of only six small islands, it is abundant in adventure, exploration, and on-water experiences. We’d love to list every seashell-spangled beach we know, but that might overwhelm you. Still, we’ve got your back with our top 3 places in Islamorada for a great boat day:
- Indian Key Historic State Park
- Shell Key
- Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve
Indian Key Historic State Park
If kayaking among tropical mangroves sounds like something you would enjoy, come to Indian Key Historic State Park. This park is located on a discrete offshore island and can only be accessed by kayak.
While Indian Key is pretty much a ghost town, it was thought of as the next wrecking empire during its heyday. Today, this island holds 14,000 years of Native American history, the golden years of the wrecking industry, and rich greenery.
You find the ruins of a town square, an observatory tower, the Houseman’s home, and more. The southeast coast is designated for snorkelers.
Pro Destination Tip: There are no restroom facilities or drinking water on this island.
Shell Key is just a mile northwest of Islamorada. It is a safe haven for tropical nesting birds.
You may boat around the island and go paddling in the shallows.
Pro Destination Tip: Do not land ashore here. To keep this island pristine and protect the precious wildlife, the local government has made it illegal to boat to the shore.
Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve
Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve is a shallow basin filled with several precious islands that disappear and reappear with tides. Pleistocene limestones underlie this special place, and it is the convergence point where freshwater from the everglades meets with the salt water from the mangroves to support lots of wildlife, especially crustaceans.
This reserve is home to the Fort Jefferson National Monument, seven coral reefs, and the major banks of Loggerhead, Long Key, and Pulaski. With 200 archeological sites here, there are potentially more to be discovered. The native tribe, the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, uses this space as their headquarters.
You will see lots of salt marshes, brackish water estuaries, wet parries, mangrove forests, beach and dune complexes, coral reefs, and cypress swamps.
The Islamorada Sandbar, or the Whale Harbor Sandbar, is a hotspot for boat lovers and partygoers alike. There are easily well over 100 boats here at any given time, especially on weekends and holidays. The people here are a blast; you’ll make new friends right from the get-go.
Pro Destination Tip: When the tide goes out, most boats are firmly planted on the ground with no water to carry them away. If you don’t plan accordingly, this sandbar may hold you overnight.
This is the destination to let down your hair, mingle with warm people, and have a carefree day in the ocean by the Florida Keys.
Friendliest Marinas in Islamorada
Bud N’ Mary’s Marina — The sportfishing capital of the world
- Address: 79851 Overseas Highway (mile marker 79.8) Oceanside, Islamorada, Florida Keys
- Dockage: Transient (Slips 45)
- Features: A tackle shop, fuel, an outdoor cafe, a deli, dive shops, and more.
Coral Bay Marina — Walking distance from Downtown Islamorada
- Dockage: More than 30 wet slips
- Address: 601 Mastic St, Islamorada, FL 33036
- Features: A full-service boatyard, maintenance services, a pump out station, pressure spraying, bottom painting, dockage, dry storage, WiFi, cable tv, super clean bathhouses, boat hauling, and more.
Dive Deep: The Florida Keys
Like what you’ve read? Check out our other Florida Key guides.
Discover more destinations like Key Largo, Alcatraz, and New York City at Boating Resources.
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