5 Reasons to Plan a Winter Escape to the Florida Keys

The cold winter months getting you down? Cheer yourself up with a getaway to Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Explore the best nearby sights and discover the local beauty as you take in the stunning landscape. Read on to see why winter is better on Islamorada and start planning an unforgettable Florida winter vacation at Cheeca Lodge.

Escape the Cold

Kiss the snow and chilling temperatures goodbye when you set off for our tropical paradise. We keep it warm year-round here in the Keys. Whether you want to head to our white sand beaches or cruise around the crystal-clear blue water, leave your coats at home and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

Local Experiences

The Florida Keys offer visitors completely unique experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Just a few minutes from our doors, find the Theater of the Sea. Here you can swim with dolphins, sea lions, and sharks as well as meet alligators, sea turtles, and more. Next, thrill your inner adventurer and be an explorer for a day while you discover shipwrecks hidden below the surface.

Break Up the Long Winter Months

Each year, the winter months seem to drag on and on. With few holidays and unfavorable weather, the need for a getaway feels more necessary than ever. Make your escape to our island town and soak up the warm weather. The temperatures of the Keys never dip much below the mid-70s, so visitors can enjoy all that Islamorada has to offer during the winter.

Water Activities

Stay with us in Islamorada this winter and take to the sea where you can enjoy a variety of water activities. Unlike northern beaches, the water in the Keys stays warm all year. Embark on a day full of adventure where you can snorkel, parasail, jet ski, or scuba in the clear blue water. Or enjoy the water from above on a cruise around the scenic Florida Keys landscape.

Winter Sunsets

One of our favorite parts of winter in the Keys are the stunning sunsets. Trade cold gray skies for a vibrant kaleidoscope of color in Islamorada. Each evening around 6:30pm, head to the water and watch as the sky lights up with bright oranges, pinks, purples, and yellows. Snap some pictures and your Florida winter vacation is sure to be the envy of your Instagram feed.

4 Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day in the Florida Keys

Set the stage for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day in the heart of the Florida Keys. An intimate and inviting oasis, Islamorada offers visitors an escape from the hustle and bustle of every day. Whether you want to spend the day on the beach, get pampered at the spa, or dine out, delight in the romantic spirit of the Keys.

Couples Massage

Kick off your day of romance with a tranquil and rejuvenating couples’ massage. Soothe your senses and unwind next to your significant other in the comfort of the Spa at Cheeca Lodge. Couples can indulge in a variety of treatments including hot stone massages, body treatments, hydrotherapy, oceanside massages and more.

Beach Picnic

Spend the day under the sun with your loved one at one of Islamorada’s most pristine local beaches. Soak up some rays and feel refreshed in the salt and sand while enjoying a scenic beachside picnic. Quiet and intimate, some of our favorite nearby beaches include Anne’s Beach, Holiday Isle Beach, and Long Key State Park.

Sunset Cruise

What better way to spend your romantic Florida Keys vacation than out on the water? Set sail just before the sun sets – champagne in hand – to see vibrant tropical colors light up the sky as the sun goes down. Toast to the many happy years to come aboard our sunset cruises.

Romantic Dinner

A classic for a reason, nothing goes better with Valentine’s Day than a romantic candlelit dinner. Get the full Florida Keys experience when you sit down for an evening of tropically inspired cuisine at our flagship restaurant, Atlantic’s Edge. Afterwards, stop by our Tiki Bar for deliciously crafted cocktails and sweeping views of shimmering Atlantic Ocean.

The perfect setting for an unforgettably romantic Florida Keys vacation, plan your stay at Cheeca Lodge using our Valentine’s Day guide.

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.