“Hidden Gems of Florida” is an annual column I enjoy researching and writing. During a recent trip to visit my folks in the Sunshine State, I came across Islamorada, one of the lesser known Keys.
Islamorada, consisting of six islands, is located approximately halfway between Miami and Key West, and is one of those sparkling gems awaiting you to come and discover the Sportfishing Capital of the World, her beautiful coastal waters, myriad watersports, elegant or casual lodging options and the freshest bounty from the sea. Not to mention, enough Key lime dessert offerings to host an annual “best of” competition between the many, “best Key lime pie in the world” restaurants.
Many of the residents of Islamorada, first discovered the area while passing through on their way to Key West, 77 miles south of Islamorada.
I enjoyed my first Islamorada experience so much, I made a return visit. This time my base was The Postcard Inn Resort & Marina at Holiday Isle. (800) 327-7070 www.holidayisle.com Last year I stayed at the sister property Postcard Inn St. Pete Beach. The design of the resort creates a relaxing retreat. Each guestroom showcases a boathouse-chic design, accented with a marine color palette and furniture evoking a nautical theme. My room, one of the 14 lanai suites, opened to its own patio facing the beach. The resort boasts the longest private beach in Islamorada. Transient dockage, diving and snorkeling trips, and a large charter boat fleet are all available at the on-premise marina. Exploring from the water is one of the best ways to see Islamorada and the resort also offers kayak, jet ski and boat rentals.
Several food and beverage options dot the property. The world famous Tiki Bar – the legendary Islamorada bar, known for its frozen cocktails including the original Rumrunner drink, is the place to enjoy the magnificent sunsets.
Jaws Raw Bar, located on the ocean with fabulous views has a casual, Florida Keys atmosphere; serves local favorite seafood including conch fritters, grilled and fried fish sandwiches and shrimp. .
Shula Burger is the first fast-casual burger concept by legendary Miami Dolphins coach, Don Shula, featuring gourmet burgers, appetizers, salads, fresh seafood, and a full bar, as well a full breakfast menu..
Rumrunners Island Bar, a cross between the Swiss Family Robinson hideaway and the top of a pirate ships’ crow’s nest, Rumrunners features flat-screen televisions to watch the big game, spectacular ocean views and balmy breezes, featuring nightly entertainment Thursday through Saturday.
Wreck Bar, located ocean side, serves up refreshing frozen custard and island cocktails, with great appetizers.
Watch Chef Ben Loftus, executive chef of the resort prepare a pan-seared trigger fish which is a local catch..
At the Post Card Inn, enjoy the retro throwback feel of a nostalgic American beach vacation with a touch of whimsy.
Check out the scenery:
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