What to Pack For Your Trip to the Florida Keys

When packing for the Florida Keys, you want to make sure you have the absolute essentials. Flip Flops, a bathing suit, and sunscreen are all the basics required for a trip to paradise. But for the few items you may not remember to grab, we put together a list of what to pack for your trip to the Keys.

A Sense of Adventure

Pack your sense of adventure and take part in thrilling activities including jet skiing, parasailing, sport fishing, scuba diving, and more at Cheeca Lodge. Islamorada is full of action-packed activities to get you out of your comfort zone with new, exciting adventures.

The Urge to Learn

Islamorada has a rich history that goes way back to 1513 when the Spanish first discovered the Florida town. Satisfy your urge to learn about Florida history at numerous Islamorada museums during your visit to the Florida Keys. Stop by the Keys History and Discovery Center and the History of Diving Museum, both located near Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada.

An Empty Stomach

No matter what your taste buds crave, Islamorada offers flavorful dishes just waiting to be discovered. Bring your appetite and try authentic coastal cuisine at numerous restaurants across the Florida Keys. Our favorite restaurants in Islamorada include: Atlantic’s Edge, Mia Cucina, and Nikai Sushi Bar & Restaurant.

The Entire Family

Round up the entire family and travel to the Keys for your next vacation. With activities for both kids and adults alike, everyone is sure to enjoy their time in Florida. Drop the kids off at Camp Cheeca, where they’ll be entertained and educated, so you can enjoy some time to relax and unwind in Islamorada.

Leave Behind: Your Worries

Leave your worries behind when you travel to the Keys. Relax your mind, explore paradise, and enjoy yourself in Florida. Above all, Cheeca Lodge offers a tropical retreat for those looking to escape. Setting the standard for luxury amongst Islamorada hotels, we’re the ideal destination for a worry-free getaway.

Best Brunch Spots in Islamorada

A wise person once said, “Brunch without alcohol is just a sad breakfast”. We couldn’t agree more! Toast to the weekend at the best brunch spots in Islamorada. From your favorite breakfast items to refreshing mimosas and beautiful views, Islamorada is full of brunch spots that won’t soon be forgotten.

Marker 88

Offering beachside dining with fresh seafood, Marker 88 is an easy choice for brunch. Choose from classic selections with a coastal twist, like the lobster benedict, seafood omelette, and Hawaiian French toast. Pop some bubbly and enjoy endless mimosas, or try the Southern Bloody Mary for an extra kick!

Hungry Tarpon

Head down to the Hungry Tarpon for Caribbean cuisine in the Florida Keys. Here, brunch is offered every day of the week. Indulge in southern favorites, breakfast burritos, and champagne cocktails.

Chef Michael’s

Known for their dock-to-dish fish specialties, Chef Michael’s is a must-try Florida Keys experience. Conveniently located just around the corner from Cheeca Lodge, this spot’s  brunch offering includes Napoleon French toast, a lobster and asparagus omelet, and sauteed shrimp and grits. Be sure to try the hogfish, which is a local specialty. Pair any dish with a refreshing Island Sangria or a Good Morning Mary, made with TK.

Lorelei’s Restaurant

Have breakfast on the bay at Lorelei’s Restaurant. Their  Sunday School Specials include $3 bloody marys, screwdrivers, and mimosas. With traditional breakfast options and a laid-back local feel, Lorelei’s makes for the perfect way to start your day.

Our Favorite Treatments at The Spa at Cheeca Lodge

Relax and unwind this spring by with therapeutic massages, radiant facials, and other tranquil services at The Spa at Cheeca Lodge. Our Florida Keys spa features opulent amenities including a heated pool with butler service, a wet room with Vichy Shower, a fully-equipped fitness center, and more. Read on to learn more about some of our favorite treatments.

Signature Hot Lava Shell Massage

Discover a whole new level of relaxation with our Signature Hot Lava Shell Massage. Enjoy the warmth provided by tiger clam shells and embrace the invigorating energy flow for deep relaxation. For an even better experience, request this massage outdoors, at one of our oceanfront tiki huts.

Warm Mud Body Treatment

Detoxify the body, mind, and soul with our Warm Mud Body Treatment. Self-healing, mineral-rich mud exfoliates, stimulates the body, and releases toxins. Wrap up the treatment with an application of ultra-hydrating cream to soothe skin and enhance moisture.

Detox Algae Wrap

Rejuvenation is the goal of our signature Detox Algae Wrap. An organic bio-scrub blend of seaweed, pumice, acai, and guarana purifies pores and polishes skin. Following the scrub, the algae wrap detoxifies and hydrates skin for a truly remarkable glow.

Cheeca’s Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial

Our signature treatment, Cheeca’s Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial is formulated to minimize the signs of aging and works to prevent future damage. With ultrasonic sound waves, the Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial leaves skin deeply cleansed and hydrated. Custom hydration provides skin with a luxurious glow, leaving you nourished and revitalized.

Enjoy some quality time with mom this Mother’s Day by pampering her with a day at the spa! Discover all of our treatments & services at The Spa at Cheeca Lodge.

Insider’s Guide to Islamorada

Nestled toward the top of the Florida Keys lies Islamorada, a sport-fishing hotspot with a lot to offer in and out of the water. Named “purple isle” by its first inhabitants, Islamorada is undeniably captivating. A narrow spit of land surrounded by turquoise waters teeming with marine life, this key embraces the harmony between man & nature. Let us be your guide to properly embrace the island lifestyle that Islamorada has to offer.

Where to Stay

Setting the standard for luxury amongst Islamorada hotels, Cheeca Lodge offers endless relaxation and embraces the laid-back lifestyle of the surrounding area. With 27 lush tropical acres, Tahitian-style lagoon and waterfall, private 1,100-foot palm-fringed beach, 525-foot classic wooden fishing pier, beachfront Tiki bar, two pools, a 9-hole golf course, and a full line of land-based and watersports, Cheeca Lodge and Spa is the dream destination for your Islamorada vacation.

What to Do

Located in the Sportfishing Capital of the World, Cheeca Lodge is a premier destination for serious anglers. Charter a boat and find over 500 species of fish within minutes from shore. A host of other activities can be found at our Islamorada luxury resort, including snorkeling, sea kayaking, bicycling, and scuba diving.

Where to Eat Known for its upscale dining in a laid-back island setting, Chef Michael’s is a hit among the locals of Islamorada. Try Chef Michael’s delectable hogfish or the signature catch of the day. Looking for a beachfront setting to enjoy your meal? The Morada Beach Café offers light Mediterranean fare featuring an island-inspired menu of seafood and craft cocktails. Or opt for the best sushi and Japanese cuisine that Islamorada has to offer at Nikai Sushi Bar & Restaurant.  

How to Visit the Florida Keys with Kids

If you’re dreaming of a Key West vacation, why not bring the kids? Key West offers a wide variety of fun activities for the entire family. There’s no reason to leave anyone behind when your itinerary includes snorkeling, aquariums and even buried treasure! Read on to see how to create the perfect family vacation by visiting Key West with the kids.

The Perfect Place to Stay

Offering an exclusive deal for family’s traveling with kids, the Family Stay & Play Package at Cheeca Lodge is just what you need to unplug and reconnect with your loved ones on our legendary 27-acre tropical playground brimming with land and water-based activities and adventures. This package includes at least 2 nights in spacious suite accommodation, 20% off your choice of snorkel or sunset cruise excursion, two pizzas and two gelato sundaes of your choice at Mia Cucina, and a special keepsake 4×6 family photo to remember your vacation.

Book your stay now through December 22, 2019. Book Now

Adventurous Outdoor Activities

Spend the day on the water snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing and more! Cheeca Lodge boasts a full­-service watersports facility right on property for Islamorada snorkeling tours, fishing and more. Let the professional staff at Cheeca Watersports help you plan a perfect day on the water.

Indoor & Educational

Home to alligators, jellyfish, sharks and more, the Key West Aquarium is fun for all ages! Listen in on interactive conservation talks and experience live animal feedings. Or head over to the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum to discover the maritime history of Key West and learn about historic shipwrecks from the past. Ahoy matey!

Fuel Up

Feed the entire family at Mia Cucina, a warm, Neapolitan pizzeria serving made to order, artisanal pizzas, pasta and salads in a lively, family-friendly setting. Be sure to redeem your free pizza and gelato sundaes included in our Family Stay & Play Package.

5 of Hemingway’s Favorite Key West Haunts

“It’s the best place I’ve been any time, anywhere,” Ernest Hemingway wrote of Key West. In the early 1900s, Hemingway made Key West his home. Originally traveling to the keys to pick up a car, he explored the city and fell in love with the area. He eventually settled in Key West where he enjoyed deep sea fishing, writing novels, and making lifelong friends. Hemingway fancied many places along the keys, but a few specific locations were his favorite. Take a trip to Key West and stop by each of Hemingway’s favorite haunts.

Check Out Hemingway’s First Home in Key West

When Hemingway first reached Key West with his wife Pauline in April 1928, they lived in the Trev-Mor Hotel located at 314 Simonton Street. They resided at the hotel for two years before moving to their long-term residence on Whitehead Street. Although the hotel is not open to the public, you are able to visit the home’s atrium garden and gift shop on property.

Stop into the Hemingway House & Museum

With the help of Pauline’s uncle, Ernest and Pauline bought a Spanish Colonial home built in 1851. From 1931 to 1940, this house became home to Hemingway’s family, before Ernest moved to Cuba with his third wife. The house is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Key West, and easily the best way to learn about Hemingway’s history in Key West.

Go Fishing

One of Hemingway’s favorite past times was deep water sport fishing. Introduced by Key West natives, Hemingway grew his love for fishing and began fishing regularly with a group of friends known as his ‘mob’. Spend the day fishing like Hemingway at the sportfishing capital of the world when you book fishing excursions from Cheeca Lodge.

Relive Hemingway’s Love for Cuba

Hemingway first visited Cuba on a family vacation traveling from Key West to Spain in 1928. He would later return for fishing excursions and ended up buying a home near Havana in 1940. The best way to learn about Key West’s rich Cuban heritage is at the San Carlos Institute, which was founded in 1871 as an educational center. The institute now houses a school, museum, library, and art gallery focused on Cuba’s history with the Cuban-American community.

Visit Dry Tortugas National Park

Just 70 miles west of Key West lies a cluster of 7 small islands known as the Dry Tortugas. One of these islands houses historic Fort Jefferson, one of the nation’s largest masonry forts from the 1800s. These islands were also a favorite fishing destination for Hemingway and his “Mob”. Spend the day fishing around the Dry Tortugas, or bring supplies and camp out for the night!

Top 10 Experiences in the Florida Keys

Go beyond the beach during your next visit to the Florida Keys. Think outside the box and you are sure to enjoy a truly one-of-a-kind vacation. From nearby excursions and attractions to scenic day trips, explore the top ten experiences in the Keys during your visit using our guide below.

1. Kayaking

Reserve the best seat in the house when you explore the Keys. Get an up-close view of the breathtaking natural landscape as you paddle through the bright blue waters. We recommend heading over to Indian Key, just a few short minutes from our door. Once there, you can go snorkeling in the clear water or explore the overgrown ruins.

2. Swim with Dolphins

One of the most famous Islamorada attractions, the Theater of the Sea is a must for anyone visiting the Keys. Here you can swim with dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and sting rays. They also offer a range of other aquatic activities, including sunset cruises, painting with sea lions, and feeding sea turtles.

3. Dry Tortugas

Carve out a day during your visit to make the trip down to the Dry Tortugas. This must-see Florida Keys attraction is a small group of islands home to the grand Fort Jefferson. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortugas showcases brilliant blue waters and a diverse collection of coral reefs and marine life. Get in touch with our concierge to learn how you can plan your day trip to this iconic Florida Keys destination.

4. The Seafood

One of the perks of visiting a beach town is access to some of the best seafood in the U.S. Always serving up the freshest catch of the day, our local Islamorada restaurants offer a delectable selection of your favorites from the sea. Dig into the flavor of the Keys at local restaurants including our own Atlantic’s Edge, the Lazy Days Restaurant, and Whale Harbor Seafood Buffet.

5. Local Beaches

While it’s great to explore beyond the local beaches, they still warrant a top spot on your Islamorada vacation. Spend a day catching some rays and splashing in the refreshing water. Find some of our favorite nearby beaches just minutes away from our hotel. Top your beach hit list with Anne’s Beach, Holiday Isle Beach, and Long Key State Park.

6. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Drive 30 minutes up the keys and find one of the most well-known Florida Keys destinations: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This park is approximately 70 nautical square miles and features breathtaking coral reefs and a diverse array of marine life.

7. Seven Mile Bridge

On your way down to the Dry Tortugas, be sure to make a pit stop at the Seven Mile Bridge. The famous bridge connects the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys, and is among the longest bridges in the world. Featuring scenic and sprawling ocean views, you won’t want to miss a photo-op here.

8. Bahia Honda State Park

Found just shy of an hour away, Bahia Honda State Park is another Keys attraction worthy of a day trip. Somewhat of a hidden gem, this state park offers endless opportunity for adventure. From kayaking and canoeing to snorkeling and bird watching, feed your need for exploration at this popular local attraction.

9. Robbie’s Marina of Islamorada

Home to the world-famous tarpon feeding, Robbie’s is a staple of the Middle Keys. Handfeed the massive tarpons, try your hand at a variety of watersports with their rental equipment, or dine-in and enjoy their signature cocktails and classic seafood.

10. Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary

Spanning seven acres, the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary is a refuge for an array of injured birds. From great horned owls to green herons and brown pelicans, grab your binoculars as you try to spot some of the temporary and permanent residents of the sanctuary.