When it comes to the Florida Keys, I guess you could say that I’m a middle Keys kind of guy. I’ve been going to Islamorada since I was a kid…hell, it’s the sport fishing capital of the world, and that works for me!
Where To Stay:
I should have bought a place years ago, but now it’s too expensive. That being said, I have two buddies with houses there, so sometimes I make like Kato and crash there!
There are so many hotel options, here are some of my favorite:
Amara Cay Resort - This place works for me, close to my friend’s house, a traditional, easy to get to hotel with a great tiki bar...and that’s all I need.
If you’re a family and need more than a hotel room, The Islander Bayside is the place for you! You get nice townhouses and it’s across the street from the Green Turtle:
For years Cheeca Lodge has been the premiere resort in Islamorada and it certainly has the best location, it’s in the middle of it all and you will pay for it. Hard to beat.
Caribbean Resort - Jimmy Buffet got married here; the owner Phil is the coolest and will even give you fishing spots! From villas to homes, it’s sick, in a good way.
For years we the Postcard Inn as “The Tiki Bar or Holiday Isle” and then it got nasty, but now it’s been re-done and it’s perfect, great marina, tiki bar and an Italian restaurant.
A little further south, but before Marathon is the Hawks Cay Resort. We’ve done broadcasts from there, I have been going there for years, you never have to leave, you can swim with the Dolphins, it’s awesome. You’re also close enough to Key West that you could do a day trip, they have a great marina and Angler and Ale is a great spot for a cold beer, glass of Papa’s Pilar and some smoked fish dip.
Where To Eat:
(By the way, Islamorada is the food capital of the middle Keys.)
Get a reservation at Chef Michael's NOW…it always fills up, Chef Michael is a genius, the local captains eat there, that should tell you something. Local tip: Sit at the bar if possible and meet Dave Kramer, he will turn you onto some great wines.
Green Turtle Inn.They have been there since 1947! It’s my go to breakfast place because of the shrimp and grits, but the bar is great too! Guy Fieri featured it on Diners Drive inn’s and Dives!
Every now and then you need a good steak, even in the Keys, and Ziggy and Maddogs always delivers.
Islamorada Fish Company. I love sitting out back under the tiki bar, watching the tarpon and having a cocktail. Great spot. Bring the kids.
Ever have shrimp fritters? You should. At Shrimp Shack.
I always judge a restaurant by how crowded it is, and Lazy Days is always crowded. We are always there. Plus they will cook your catch and that’s an awesome thing.
One thing about sushi, it needs to be fresh. Fresh and inventive it is at Kaiyo!
Where To Watch The Sunset:
When the sun sets in the Florida Keys, nothing else matters, so you better be ready, because most of the bars get packed, here’s where I go:
Lorelei - Been there forever, nothing fancy but good food, cold beer and live music
Morada Bay - This place actually has a beach, and their full moon parties are off the chain, they are also REALLY good.
Must Do Activity:
Feed the tarpon at Robbie’s, this was voted the number one place that every tourist should visit!
Who To Fish With:
Offshore. Captain George Campbell, I have fished with George for years, he’s a good friend, great with kids and boy do we catch fish! His boat is out of Hawks Cay.
Bud N Mary’s has lots of captains, but the most famous is Nick Stanczyk, who puts people on huge swordfish!
Skins and Fins Fishing Charters. I like fishing with nice people and Ted Benbow and his Son Donnie are the best! Snook, snapper, tarpon, redfish.