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.

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.

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.

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.

10 Fun Facts About the Florida Keys

Don’t let the palm trees and sunshine fool you: The Florida Keys are more than just a great vacation destination. This beloved archipelago offers a rich history, beautiful biodiversity, and more than a few quirky characteristics.

 

Here are 10 of our favorite fun facts about the Florida Keys:

 

  1. There’s plenty to explore: The Florida Keys include over 800 islands, many of which can be accessed via a network of 42 bridges.

 

  1. There’s even more to uncover below the surface. The expansive Florida Reef is the only living coral reef in North America and the third largest coral reef in the world.

 

  1. The Sunshine State is also home to the largest nesting sea turtle population in the country. The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL is dedicated to the rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles.

 

  1. The diverse marine life—along with some spectacular shipwrecks—has earned the Keys the title of Diving Capital of the World.

 

  1. And that’s not all: Our island chain is also considered by many to be the Sportfishing Capital of the World. (Learn about Cheeca’s fishing charters and tournaments here.)

 

  1. The queen conch is a protected marine species; shell collectors should steer clear of picking up these massive mollusks.

 

  1. If you’re looking to escape the cold, this is the place to be: The Florida Keys boast the highest average temperature in the country.

 

  1. Despite the beachy climate, you might be surprised to learn that much (but not all) of the sand you’ll find on our islands has been imported from the Bahamas.

 

  1. Fortunately, cats seem to love the heat. The Hemingway House is Key West is home to dozens of polydactyl cats.

 

  1. Known as the southernmost point in the country, Key West is actually closer to Cuba than Miami, FL.

Discover the Keys and enjoy luxury accommodations when you stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa.

The Last Straw: A New Initiative at Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Although not a new issue, the consumption of single-use plastics has been a hot topic in 2018. According to a recent article by Business Insider, estimates have tallied the total plastic consumption worldwide at roughly 300 million metric tonnes. In an effort to address this issue, Cheeca is proud to introduce our latest eco-friendly initiative: the Last Straw, a commitment to remove all plastic straws from our property.

 

Here in Islamorada, we are particularly sensitive to the impact disposable plastics can have on the environment. The waters surrounding the Florida Keys are home to vibrant and diverse marine life populations—including the only living coral barrier reef in North America—and we’ve seen first-hand the adverse effects that plastics can have on this fragile ecosystem. The Last Straw is just one way we can act as a catalyst for positive change in our island community.

 

Beyond the Last Straw initiative, Cheeca will continue to champion a number of ongoing eco-friendly programs that encourage sustainable tourism. These additional efforts include cardboard and glass recycling; wastewater treatment; on-site thrill craft restrictions; a Camp Cheeca environmental awareness program for children; support of local conservation groups; and much more.

 

When you stay at Cheeca, you can enjoy beautiful island accommodations and amenities, without leaving a large environmental footprint. Reserve your eco-friendly vacation in the Florida Keys today!