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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Plan a Corporate Retreat in the Florida Keys

Back to school season isn’t just for kids: For many adults, the beginning of fall marks a return to the daily 9-to-5 grind. However, the end of Summer Fridays doesn’t need to signal the end of fresh air and sunshine. Plan a corporate retreat in the Florida Keys and enjoy an inspiring work experience outside the office.

 

Business meets paradise at Cheeca, where we offer 4,600 square feet of versatile conference space. Our elegant venues can accommodate a wide range of events, from small business meetings to large company outings. We also invite guests to go beyond the boardroom with a range of on-site amenities and activities, from thrilling water sports to island-inspired dining and relaxing spa treatments.

 

This season, we’re making it easier than ever to plan your next business retreat with our exclusive Free Falling offer. Available on select midweek dates from September 30 to December 20, 2018, this stress-free meeting package includes a free 45-minute welcome reception, a free general session meeting room, and discounts on our daily resort fee.

 

To qualify for the Free Falling offer, you must reserve a minimum of 15 rooms for stays of two nights or longer, with a catered food and beverage minimum of $75 per room, per night. Contact Cheeca Group Sales at (305) 664-4651 for additional details and availability, and book your group today!

 

4 Tips for Planning Your Florida Keys Wedding

First and foremost: Congratulations on your engagement!

If you’ve decided on a beach wedding, we like the way you think. Offering beautiful weather and ocean backdrops, our vibrant island community is the ideal choice for a destination wedding. And at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, we are proud to be the full-service venue of choice for elegant ceremonies and receptions in Islamorada, FL.

Wondering where to begin? Below we’ve shared four tips to help you start planning your Florida Keys wedding.

1.) Timing is Everything

It’s important to keep in mind that a destination wedding requires some advanced planning for both you and your guests. For example, save-the-dates should be in the mail a bit earlier than a local wedding (think: 10 to 12 months ahead of time) to make it possible for your nearest and dearest to schedule PTO, book transportation, and make other travel arrangements.

2.) The Site Visit

We recommend visiting Cheeca before your big day—consider it a “venue vacation.” Take time to sit down with our dedicated on-site coordinators and discuss your vision, and set up meetings with our some of our preferred Florida Keys wedding vendors. We’re happy to refer the best local entertainers, hair stylists and makeup artists, photographers and videographers, and more.

3) The Wedding Planner

Enlist the help of a full-service wedding planner or day-of coordinator for added peace of mind. The expert planners and coordinators at Cheeca offer diverse, personalized services that ensure a seamless experience for you and your guests. These services may include securing outside vendors, providing event timelines, overseeing design and the placement of decor, and more.

4.) Enjoy Yourself!

Remember why you chose an island wedding in the first place, and make sure to schedule time to soak up the relaxing Florida Keys atmosphere and our on-site amenities. In addition to stunning event spaces, Cheeca offers luxurious accommodations, world-class dining, nearby adventures and activities, and a 5,700-square-foot spa.

Learn more about Florida Keys weddings at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, and submit a request for proposal today.

The Top 5 Treatments for Summer at Our Islamorada Spa

Summer often means increased exposure to sun, sand, and surf, a combination that calls for a rejuvenating treatment (or two) from The Spa at Cheeca Lodge. Our lush 27-acre oasis features a heated lap pool, cabanas with butler service, and other premium amenities. It’s the perfect place to slip away to for a little self-care, especially when the rest of the family is off enjoying our many on-site activities.

Treat yourself to the ultimate island indulgence with the top five treatments for summer at our Islamorada spa.

1.) Summer Breeze

The Summer Breeze massage is inspired by classic, stress-relieving Swedish techniques and uses light rhythmic pressure. This blissful service is enhanced with relaxation stretching.

2.) Barefoot Elegance Massage

With endless summer activities, your feet may be in need of a little extra love. Opt for our Barefoot Elegance Massage, which not only soothes tired feet, but promotes healing and relieves stress in other parts of the body.

3.) Ocean Cocoon Body Treatment

The perfect companion to a day at the beach, this refreshing treatment embodies the essence of the ocean with a full-body, salts of the earth scrub, followed by a soothing white algae body mask. The accompanying natural seaweed gel adds an ample dose of moisture.

4.) Vitamin Sea Facial

This seasonal facial is packed with vitamins and, like the Ocean Cocoon Body Treatment, it includes the added benefit of seaweed-based products that hydrate, replenish, and repair skin.

5.) Pick Me Up Facial

This quickie facial is the perfect choice for those with a busy summer schedule. It’s light yet effective, and designed for all skin types. Plus, it only takes 25 minutes.

In addition to our luxurious treatments, we recommend taking advantage of our unique selection of spa refreshments. Make your service even more special with a bottle of bubbly or a sparkling wine split, and satisfy cravings with a cheese course or tropical fruit plate. And be sure not to skip our extra sweet local favorite: the key lime tart.

Learn more about our Florida Keys spa and submit a request for summer spa services today.