Follow the Shipwreck Trail and Dive Through World History

The Florida Keys are home to a variety of popular tourist attractions, including everything from beaches to bars. Lesser known to those visiting, the Florida Keys also house a number of shipwrecks, preserved underwater for years. Scattered along the coral reefs and buried in the sandy shallows a few miles off shore, a trail of nine shipwrecks make up Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Shipwreck Trail.

Explore the rich history of some of the most famous shipwrecks in Florida.

The San Pedro

Found off the coast of Indian Key, find The San Pedro below the surface. This ship was a part of the 1733 Spanish treasure fleet and was caught by a hurricane in the Straits of Florida. The damage was too much and the ship sank 18 feet into the water one mile south of Indian Key.

The Bentwood

On a voyage from Tampa, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia, the Bentwood sank between the French Reef and Dixie Shoals in 1942. The Bentwood was 360 feet long and sank after colliding with another ship. It is among the most popular shipwreck dives in the Keys.

The Thunderbolt

A military ship used during World War II, the Thunderbolt was intentionally sunk in 1986 as part of a project with the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association. The Thunderbolt now offers divers a breathtaking experience, as it lies fully intact and upright, 120 feet below the surface. Divers can find the ship about four miles south of Marathon, Florida and Key Colony Beach.

Go on your own diving adventure during your stay with us in Islamorada. Get in touch with our team plan your visit and for tips on getting to the Shipwreck Trail.

Five Unusual Sculptures You Must Visit in the Florida Keys

Diverse and eclectic, the Florida Keys offer visitors a range of unique sightseeing opportunities. Explore the local art and cultural scene and discover an array of indoor and outdoor sculptures. From a larger-than-life replica of marine life to a haunted doll, light up your social feeds with images of these Florida Keys art classics.

Christ of the Abyss

Plunge into the mesmerizing depths off the coast of Key Largo and uncover a haunting underwater sculpture. Found just below the surface, the statue – Christ of the Abyss – is a 4,000-pound, 8.6-foot bronze statue of Christ installed at the Key Largo Dry Rocks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

巫迪文 / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Betsy Lobster

Made from fiberglass, Betsy is a 30 X 40 ft. biologically correct model of a Florida Spiny Lobster. She was created in 1980 by sculptor Richard Blaze to celebrate the species, which is native to the Florida Keys. Betsy is among South Florida’s most popular roadside attractions.

JOHN SMITH / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Florida Keys Sculpture Trail

A collection of innovative and inspired works of art, the Florida Keys Sculpture Trail features one-of-a-kind pieces flown in from the Art Students League of New York. Our favorite additions to the trail include Everything Between by Sarah Thompson Moore. This experimental sculpture is made of carbon and stainless steel and resembles both a cage and a shelter. Avis Gloria & Nature Eterna by Sheila Berger is another standout from the trail. This giant bird made of forged stainless-steel stands on a pedestal in Key West.

Robert the Doll

Sometimes referred to as “the world’s most terrifying doll,” the figure – which is believed to be haunted – is part of the collection of the Martello Gallery Key West Art and Historical Museum. It was the inspiration behind the popular horror film “Child’s Play” and continues to fright and delight visitors from around the globe.

Cayobo / Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

Remembering a Legend: George H.W. Bush

Known for his years of service in World War II and his major accomplishments on the international stage, the late former President George H.W. Bush served our country with respect and dignity during his single presidential term and years of public service. Another lesser known fact about our 41st president is that he always had a fondness for the Florida Keys, often making trips down to our very own Cheeca Lodge.

President Bush visited our Florida Keys resort during the years of his presidency, with First Lady Barbara Bush and a full security detail. The Florida Keys provided President Bush with a calming respite from the world’s most high-pressured job. Always one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and charming guests to grace Cheeca Lodge, President Bush will be remembered as an icon of American history. In his honor, we have created a guide to some of former President Bush’s favorite things to do on a visit to the Florida Keys.

Fishing

Both former President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush enjoyed a quiet morning of fishing during their stays at Cheeca Lodge. There’s nothing quite like casting off into the calming waters, while gazing out at the stunning surrounding landscape. Whether you want to go out to sea on a fishing charter or enjoy a causal day of fishing off the docks, enjoy the president’s favorite pastime during your stay.

Jogging

President Bush would often kick off his morning with a refreshing jog on the scenic roads near our resort. Often times, guests would catch a glimpse of the president during the daily outings. Explore the president’s favorite trails and other picturesque routes on Islamorada.

Spa Treatments

Perhaps no one more deserving of a relaxing spa day, the president would often request massage treatments – provided on-site – during his stays at Cheeca. Prior to a presidential visit, our team would comb through every detail of his stay, including everything from the rooms, menus, and seating charts, to special requirements, like spa services.

We honor and remember the late President Bush and his legacy, and will greatly miss one of our most beloved guests.

Stay Fit (and Have Fun) During the Holidays with These Vacation Workouts

Travel and fitness don’t always feel like the perfect pair. At Cheeca Lodge & Spa, the two go hand-in-hand. And with the holidays coming up, we know how important it is to exercise and stay in shape without sacrificing any relaxing vacation time. Cheeca offers a variety of guided on-site classes, making it easy to stay fit (and have fun) while you’re away from home for the holidays.

Paddle Board Yoga

For a challenging and unique yoga experience, take to the water on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Every Friday evening and Sunday morning, we offer hour-long SUP yoga classes that welcome both beginners and seasoned yogis alike. It’s a great opportunity to practice yoga poses while enjoying the relaxing sound and motion of the ocean.

Tennis Clinics

Our resort also features several adult tennis clinics throughout the week. Our half-hour beginner’s clinics are complimentary for guests on Tuesday mornings, while our more advanced clinics on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings are $25 per attendee. Feeling competitive? Join our tennis round robin on Tuesday and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m.

Total Body Toning

Offering a classic workout experience, our Total Body Toning classes are held every day except Friday and are a great way to break a sweat. Head to our Fitness Studio and jumpstart your day with an invigorating session from 9-10 a.m., led by a certified instructor. Our facility also features the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Resort SCUBA Course

If you’re in the mood for something more adventurous, attend one of our hour-long resort SCUBA courses, held every Friday and Saturday morning. This class is highly recommended: The Florida Keys are home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef, and it’s certainly worth exploring.

Spa

We know the holidays can be hectic, and even stressful, which is why the Cheeca Spa is the perfect place to unwind and reset. Featuring luxurious amenities and services such as a heated pool with butler service, state of the art fitness center, and 7 spa treatment rooms, our spa is fully equipped to cater to your every need.

 

Check our calendar of events for the most up-to-date activities at our Islamorada resort.

 

 

5 Ways to Spend Thanksgiving in the Florida Keys

Swap pumpkin pie for key lime pie and spend Thanksgiving in Key West. Check out our favorite holiday events, where to catch Turkey Day football, and the best foods to add to your Thanksgiving spread. Here’s how we do Thanksgiving in the Keys.

 

Watch Thanksgiving football.

Football has long been a Thanksgiving Day tradition, and Thanksgiving in Florida is no exception. Whether you’re a Gators or Dolphins fan, you’ll be in good company this season. Here are the spots around town where you can catch some Thanksgiving football action:

 

Try local Key West specialties.

Move over creamed corn, here are some vibrant and tasty dishes from Key West that are sure to shine on Turkey Day.

 

Key Lime Pie

Sweet and tangy key lime pie is an obvious choice. It’s basically a staple food group in Key West. While Thanksgiving is traditionally lauded as the holiday of pumpkin or apple pie, in Florida, November is key lime pie’s time to shine.

 

 

 

 

Seafood

Looking for a local alternative to traditional turkey and stuffing? Try Key West pink shrimp or spiny lobster a new take on the popular Thanksgiving dishes. While some might raise an eyebrow at the thought of ordering seafood instead of turkey, a fresh taste of the Florida Keys is sure to make for a Thanksgiving dinner that won’t soon be forgotten.

 

And of course, we can’t not mention the gorgeous weather we’re surrounded with. Where else can you spend Thanksgiving Day on the water? Here are some of our favorite day trips to work up to the big meal on Thanksgiving:

 

Hit the waves for stand up paddleboarding.

Explore the open seas by renting a paddleboard from our resort at no charge.

 

See inside Ernest Hemingway’s house.

Explore the historic Hemingway House, where the famous novelist, writer, and journalist lived in the 1930s. The designed U.S. National Historic Landmark is located just across from the Key West lighthouse at the southern end of the island.

Go kayaking at Indian Key.

One of the many islands off the coast of the Florida Keys, Indian Key is only accessible by kayak, which makes for a great workout on Thanksgiving Day!

 

It’s never too early: Plan ahead and lock in the best rate for your stay this Thanksgiving.

4 Instagram Worthy Spots in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are some of the most gorgeous islands in the continental United States. With stunning reefs, historic revolutionary outposts, and luscious beaches and landscapes, there’s no shortage of Insta-worthy places to snap your vacation pictures. Check out our favorite spots to kick your Instagram game up a notch.

Hemingway House

Nestled in the heart of Old town Key West is the home of lauded American author Ernest Hemingway. Refurbished as a museum (open daily), the Southern Gothic home is most famous as a dwelling space for more than 40 local cats.

Dry Tortuga

Right off Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park sits in the open water. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortuga is home to Fort Jefferson, the coastal military center built in 1825, from which you can take breathtaking pictures of the surrounding turquoise water.

The Southernmost Point in the Continental United States

Not many can say they’ve been to the very end of a country. Hundreds of tourists flock to the Southernmost Point to take a picture with the iconic buoy, indicating that you’re at the end of the line – just 90 miles from Cuba.

Anne’s Beach

And of course, our own backyard has some pretty beautiful vistas, too. Anne’s Beach, just a short walk from Cheeca Lodge, boasts pristine white sands and crystal-clear water.

 

3 Hidden Gems on Islamorada

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The quaint town of Islamorada is full of hidden gems worth checking out. Here are our top picks for fun activities, where to find trinkets, and the best places to explore.


Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina

The hottest restaurant in town…for fish! The Tarpon, a medium-sized fish native to the Atlantic, usually stops at Robbie’s Marina for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hordes of these fish linger near the marina for hours, knowing that tourists and locals alike are sure to feed them. A spectacle to behold, and well worth the $4 for a bucket of feeding fish, head here throughout the day for instant entertainment and fun.

Kayak to Indian Key

The Florida Keys are dotted with little green islands, separated from the mainland by translucent turquoise water. Most of the islands are reachable by boat, but the real adventurers hop in a kayak and paddle out to Indian Key, a historical site that’s part of the Florida State Park system. The shallow water between Islamorada and Indian Key is perfect for kayaking in an area where the island’s many hidden historical secrets and treasures allow you to explore the day away.

Morada Way Arts and Cultural District

Nestled on the small island of Islamorada is a vibrant and growing arts and culture scene. The Morada district is known for its galleries, studio spaces, boutiques, and creative restaurants, making it one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the Florida Keys. The art galleries combine lush island themes and the presence of the surrounding and engulfing Atlantic Ocean, giving way to some truly unique pieces that are adept at communicating stories of the American islands diaspora.