Spend the Fourth of July in the Florida Keys

Here in the Florida Keys, we’re getting excited to celebrate one of our favorite holidays: Independence Day, now just a month away. Enjoy a Fourth of July getaway to Cheeca and check out the many family-friendly special events in Islamorada and beyond.

Independence Day Celebration in Islamorada

Head to Founders Park at Mile Marker 87 for a lively Fourth of July gathering from 6 to 10pm. Featuring entertainment and activities for children, teens, adults, and even dogs, it’s a can’t-miss local event capped off with a dazzling fireworks show. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Location: Founders Park, 87000 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036

Marathon Beach Party and Fireworks Show

A full-day affair, the Marathon Beach Party is one of the most epic holiday events in the Keys. The festivities kick off at 10:30am with a patriotic parade, starting at Marathon High School and ending at Sombrero Beach, where admission will be free. The celebration will include food, drinks, entertainment, and of course, fireworks.

Location: Sombrero Beach, Marathon, FL 33050

Fireworks Show on Blackwater Sound

The still surface of Blackwater Sound amplifies this spectacular fireworks display in Key Largo. The show starts at 10pm, and the best seating can be enjoyed at nearby restaurants like Johnson’s Big Chill and Sundowners; reservations are recommended!

Location: Near Mile Marker 104 (bayside), Key Largo, FL

Rotary Club of Key West Annual Fireworks Show

Presented by the Rotary Club of Key West, this annual show is staged from the Edward B. Knight Pier starting at 9pm. From this vantage point, revelers can take in both the fireworks and beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, with sales to benefit the Rotary Club’s scholarship funds.

Location: Edward B. Knight Pier, White St, Key West, FL 33040

Stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa and enjoy luxury Islamorada accommodations near all the Fourth of July action.

Stay Fit (and Have Fun) with These Vacation Workouts

Travel and fitness don’t always feel like the perfect pair; however, at Cheeca, the two go hand-in-hand. In addition to independent activities, our resort offers a variety of guided on-site classes, making it easy to stay fit (and have fun) while you’re away from home.

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.

Adult 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 a competitive? Join our tennis round robin on Tuesday and Saturday mornings at 10am.

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 to 10am, 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.

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

Join us at Cheeca and enjoy these and other popular on-site offerings during your stay in the Florida Keys.

Live the Legend: The Evolution of Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Since reopening on March 30, 2018, Cheeca Lodge & Spa has been busy welcoming guests to our renovated resort—and it feels great to be back! Since 1946, we’ve been committed to providing the best tropical retreat in Islamorada. Now, with the last remnants of the hurricane cleared away and our vibrant island community once again thriving, we believe the best Cheeca experiences are yet to come.

We’re excited to share a few recent images of our recently reimagined property, from our inviting lobby to our famous 525-foot pier:

Guests entering the redesigned lobby.

Made in the shade: Our impeccably manicured grounds.

There’s plenty of room by the pool!

The Cheeca pier, illuminated at sundown.

Naturally, our stunning views remain the same.

Of course, there are plenty of changes that can’t be easily captured in a photograph, including several new on-site services and amenities. From updated water sports offerings to refreshed meetings and event space—plus an upcoming oceanfront pool planned for later this year—there’s so much to be discovered at our Islamorada resort.

The best way to experience Cheeca is by booking a stay in our luxury accommodations. We hope to welcome you to the Florida Keys soon!

The Best Things to Do During a Key West Day Trip

Found at the southernmost point of Florida, Key West is a unique island city packed with personality. From cultural landmarks to vibrant bars and restaurants, this tropical town offers more than can be experienced in a single day—but that won’t stop us from trying. Located just under two hours from Islamorada, Key West is a great choice for a fun-filled day trip from Cheeca.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

First stop: The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum on Whitehead Street. As the former residence of legendary author Ernest Hemingway, this historic property is a must-see for book worms and cat lovers. Take a tour of the house, check out the bookstore and gift shop, and don’t forget to say hello to the 40-plus feline residents.

Location: 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040

Key West Lighthouse

Located across the street from the Hemingway House, the Key West Lighthouse (the first in Key West) offers another storied piece of local history. Visitors are welcome to explore the Lighthouse Tower and Keeper’s Quarters; notably, the first Keeper was a woman, which was considered a rarity in the 19th century.

Location: 938 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040

Blue Heaven

In the afternoon, head to Blue Heaven, a beloved neighborhood spot that specializes in Caribbean cuisine, seafood, and vegetarian dishes—a little something for everyone. We recommend dining al fresco (as long as you don’t mind the occasional rooster) and you’d be remiss not to order at least one slice of the key lime pie. 

Location: 729 Thomas Street, Key West, FL 33040

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

The family-friendly Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is truly a delight for visitors of all ages. Featuring 50 to 60 butterfly species from around the world, this awe-inspiring conservatory features glass-enclosed habitats, a robust Learning Center, a gallery with original artworks, and a gift shop full of keepsakes.

Location: 1316 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040

Duval Street

End your day in Key West with a stroll down Duval Street, which runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Shop for unique souvenirs at the locally-owned boutiques, grab a refreshing drink at your choice of eclectic bars, or simply relax at one of the beaches off this bustling commercial street.   

Location: Duval Street, Key West, FL

Plan unforgettable day trip to Key West when you stay at Cheeca in Islamorada.

Earth Day (and Every Day) at Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Earth Day always inspires us to reflect on our own environmental efforts at Cheeca Lodge & Spa. We believe travelers are more interested than ever in planning eco-friendly vacations and seeking out businesses that support sustainable tourism. In fact, according to a recent article by the South Florida Reporter, responsible tourism is on the rise and will continue to be a top travel trend for 2018.

At Cheeca, we are dedicated to becoming the most eco-friendly resort in the Florida Keys. Our property is located in one of the most pristine and environmentally sensitive regions in the world—hence its perennial appeal as a top travel destination. As a steward of our environment, we have launched a number of programs to promote green travel and minimize our carbon footprint:

  • Cardboard: Cheeca recycles 100% of its cardboard, which has reduced garbage disposal costs. According to our recycling company, Cheeca produces and recycles the most cardboard in Islamorada.
  • Glass: Cheeca also recycles its glass.
  • Water: Cheeca’s wastewater treatment plant recycles 31,000 gallons of water each day through a water reuse plant. This grey water is used for irrigation of the gardens and golf course. When the new lodge was built, water cisterns were added under the lodge to collect rain water from the main lodge tower roof and the air-conditioning drain lines. This water is pumped into the irrigation lake.
  • Scrap Materials. Scrap metal, wood pallets, golf cart and car batteries are recycled. Fluorescent light bulbs, small batteries, old paint and chemicals are taken to the Monroe County Landfill for recycling.
  • Cheeca Lodge does not allow jet-skis and other thrill craft in the waters surrounding the resort. They destroy sea grasses and endanger marine life. They are also a source of noise pollution.
  • Cards in rooms encourage guests to save water and detergent by giving them the option of how often they would like their sheets changed and their towels replaced.
  • Our Camp Cheeca Environmental Awareness Program for children ages 5-12 teaches campers about the fragile Florida Keys environment with a wide variety of entertaining and engaging activities.
  • A sign at the end of the resort’s trademark fishing pier encourages “catch and release” fishing, discourages discarding fishing line and garbage into the water, explains proper fishing etiquette, and offers instructions on who to call if an injured bird or other sea life is spotted.
  • Cheeca uses biodegradable and low-phosphate cleaning products whenever possible.
  • Our restaurants limit the use of disposable items like Styrofoam cups and plastic utensils whenever possible.
  • Cheeca Lodge supports numerous local, regional and national environmental conservation groups like the Turtle Hospital and the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, among others.
  • The resort dims and limits the use of outside lights on the beach during turtle nesting season.
  • Cheeca is changing all lighting throughout the property to LED which consumes up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs.

We strive for sustainability every day, and we encourage our guests to enjoy a green travel experience with minimal impact on the surrounding island landscape. This ensures that generations of future travelers can continue to discover our piece of paradise for years to come.

Book your stay today at one of the most eco-friendly resorts in the Florida Keys.

Plan the Perfect Florida Keys Vacation

Discover a tropical paradise without ever leaving the United States: The islands of the Florida Keys are all situated within easy reach of the mainland. Home to some of the most picturesque beach towns in the world, the Keys offer a truly unique vacationing experience that rivals the Caribbean. Spanning a stretch of around 115 miles and connected by a series of impressive bridges, this vast archipelago is best explored via car over the course of several days.

After a brief period of rebuilding, the Keys are now officially up and running with all remnants of last year’s hurricane cleared away. There has never been a better time to immerse yourself in the breezy beach town mindset of these island communities. Use this guide for inspiration while you plan your visit.

First Stop: Key Largo

The most well-known of the northern Keys is Key Largo. Found just about an hour and a half outside of Miami, Key Largo is known for housing North America’s only barrier reef, which happens to be one of the largest in the world. Explore the breathtaking reef during your stay in Key Largo while snorkeling or scuba diving at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Animal lovers will delight in the variety of marine life found in the reef.

Second Stop: Islamorada

Next on your journey down the Keys should be Islamorada. Found in the middle Keys, Islamorada offers a one-of-a-kind island experience enveloped in a distinct island vibe. From relaxing on the amazing and secluded beaches, feeding massive tarpons at Robbie’s Marina, or sampling the best local brews at the Florida Keys Brewing Co., there is something for adventure-seekers of all kinds.

With so much to do in Islamorada, you’re guaranteed to want to stay more than just one night. For a relaxing home in the Keys, Cheeca offers casually elegant accommodations and calming amenities right along the water. End the day watching an unforgettable sunset in Morada Bay, less than 10 minutes walking from Cheeca. For more information, or to book a stay at Cheeca, visit www.cheeca.com or call (866) 853-9338.

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Next Up: Marathon

Continue your Florida Keys road trip, making sure to stop in Marathon Key. About an hour from Islamorada, Marathon offers its own special take on life in the Keys. One of the top attractions in Marathon is the famed Turtle Hospital, sure to be a heartwarming stop on your journey through the Keys. Marathon also offers visitors countless beaches to relax and explore, including the historic Pigeon Key.

Last Stop: Key West

After making it across the Seven Mile Bridge—the longest bridge in the Keys—you aren’t far from the farthest and final Key: Key West. Outdoor adventure, great eats, and beachside relaxation await visitors of Key West. Scuba dive 100 feet below the ocean’s surface while you explore the Vanderberg Shipwreck, the second largest in the world, or dine at a local classic, Banana Café, known for their sweet and savory crepes.

Whether you plan to visit for a couple days or want to explore the islands for a week or more, we recommend hopping in your car—or flying into MIA and picking up a rental—to uncover the best of the Keys.

 

The Animal Lover’s Guide to the Florida Keys

From red-shouldered hawks to six-toed cats, unique residents inhabit nearly every corner of the Florida Keys. It’s no surprise that this tropical archipelago is a favorite travel destination among animals lovers.

At Cheeca, in keeping with our commitment to eco-friendly tourism, we encourage our guests to seek out humane local organizations—such as wildlife rescues and rehabilitation centers—that allow visitors to appreciate the animals without disrupting their natural habitat. (Although, in the case of the Hemingway House cats, cuddles are encouraged.)

Learn more about our top picks for unforgettable Florida Keys animal experiences below.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon

Located in Marathon, The Turtle Hospital first opened its doors in 1986 with a mission to “rescue, rehab, and release” injured sea turtles. This veterinary center offers guided, 90-minute educational tours that include a presentation on sea turtles, a behind-the-scenes look at the rehabilitation facilities, and an introduction to the permanent residents. Reservations are highly recommended.

Location: 2396 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida 33050

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Open to the public 365 days a year, the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary provides a humane, natural, and protected refuge to hindered birds. Permanent residents include Leopold the barred owl and Charlie the turkey vulture, among many others. Alongside the sanctuary, the Mission Wild Bird (MWB) center features three wings: administration, education, and an avian hospital.

Location: 92080 Overseas Highway, Tavernier, Florida 33070

National Key Deer Refuge

The 8,542-acre National Key Deer Refuge is most well-known as the home of the endangered Key Deer, unique to the lower Florida Keys and a subspecies of the White-tailed deer. However, the Key Deer share this refuge with a number of other endangered species, including the Barram’s hairstreak butterfly and the Lower Keys marsh rabbit. Stop by the Visitor Center in Big Pine Key for tips on where to observe the wildlife.

Location: 179 Key Deer Boulevard, Big Pine Key, Florida 33043

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Travel a bit further south to Key West and get acquainted with the many polydactyl (six-toed) cats that reside at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. The 40-50 cats that live on the property grounds are believed to be the descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s cat, Snow White. Following a tradition started by Hemingway, each of the beloved felines is named after a famous person.

Location: 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, Florida 33040

Ready to explore? Book your stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa and check out these (and other) popular Florida Keys attractions.