If you watch Bloodline, you’ve heard of Islamorada, one of the islands off the Florida Keys. It’s where the Rayburn family run that lovely beachfront hotel, and where the series is filmed. The weekend before Valentine’s Day, we took a mini vacation down to warmer weather.
Getting there: Took a quick flight to Ft. Lauderdale, then took Keys Shuttle down to Islamorada. They drove us right to the resort where we were staying.
Getting around: Uber hasn’t really made its way down to the Keys, and there were only be 2 cab companies in Islamorada. We never had to wait more than 15-20 minutes for a cab, but each ride cost at least $10, so it started to add up. I highly recommend renting a car.
Day 1: Postcard Inn, Lorelai’s and Chef Michael’s
We stayed at the beautiful Postcard Inn. We took full advantage of the private beaches and free snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking included with the resort fee.
In the evening, we headed to Lorelai's Restaurant and Cabana, where we heard was the best place to watch the sunset. It was highly recommended that we order their key lime colada drink, and it did not disappoint. It was so good, I forgot to take a picture of it *before* downing half of it. Yes, that is a graham cracker rim, and they blend graham cracker into the drink itself. It tastes like drinking an actual key lime pie!
We watched the sunset from the dock, accompanied by live music, and it was absolutely gorgeous. After the sun went down, we were in for a surprise. We were treated to a magic show by Michael Trixx, who has appeared on America's Got Talent, and even performed for former president Jimmy Carter.
When I think of magic shows, I typically picture GOB from Arrested Development: lame and predictably fake. But this guy was incredibly entertaining and convincing. One woman watched open-mouthed like her brain just exploded.
Since we had dinner reservations, we tore ourselves away, and made our way over to Chef Michael's. Oh baby, let me tell ya. You've never had fish like at Chef Michael's. I'm normally not much of a fish eater (with the exception of sushi and lox bagels), but this was the best fish I'd ever had in my life.
Fresh-caught every morning, their fish selections change daily. You choose your fish, and then you choose your preparation. I had the lionfish, since it was the most exotic-looking of all the choices, and chose to have it prepared with the simple "Adriatic": grilled with olive oil and a blend of herbs. Yum yum yum!
Day 2: Robbie's Marina and Full Moon Party
We started the day with breakfast at Midway Cafe. It's got a very cute and colorful interior, with hand-painted tables and art on the walls. We had the breakfast burrito and breakfast pita. Maybe it was what we ordered, but I didn't love the food. Their coffee however, was unique and delicious. I recommend the iced Almond Joy!
On to Robbie's Marina. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, and I encourage everyone to go! They have bunch of little huts selling seashells, trinkets made from seashells, local art, handmade jewelry, wooden signs, and more.
You can even feed giant fish called tarpon! You pay $3 or so for a bucket of fish, and lean over the dock where gigantic tarpon with huge mouths are waiting for you. There are also really aggressive pelicans with beady little eyes that look like they'd kill you for your bucket of fish.
After spending some time relaxing at Postcard Inn, we headed over to Morada Bay for the monthly Full Moon Party. We were super excited to experience this and see the actual Rayburn House from Bloodline!
We had planned to eat dinner at the Beach Cafe on the premises then head into the party. This was a huge mistake and a big fail. We got there only to be told that there was a 2 hour wait for the Beach Cafe, and even their fine dining restaurant (Pierre's) was reservation-only, but was already packed.
Starving, and with seemingly no other choice, we walked across the street to the closest restaurant, that "only" had a 45 minute wait. I was on the brink of a violent hangry episode, but this seemed like our best option.
LITTLE DID WE KNOW that after we FINALLY made it inside the Full Moon Party, there were tents serving BURGERS AND HOT DOGS INSIDE!!!!! Ooooh, I was angry. No one up front bothered to tell us there was food available inside. I even mentioned to one of the staff that we were "looking for other options for food," but they didn't say anything. GRRRR!
So, my advice to others attending a Full Moon Party, either eat dinner beforehand, come super early to get a spot at the Cafe, or know that they sell $15 burgers inside.
All that aside, the party itself was a ton of fun! There was live music, dancing, circus-like performers, fireworks over the water, a DJ, and more dancing. Look at my shiny cat ears!
Day 3: Paddle Boarding & Piña Coladas at Postcard Inn
For our last morning, we had breakfast at Mangrove Mike's. It's an eclectic little cafe that's connected to local art shops on either side. It may not look fancy, but the breakfast was delicious! We ordered the cinnamon bun french toast, and the pumpkin bread french toast.
We had some time between breakfast and when the shuttle was due to pick us up, so we spent the afternoon paddle boarding and drinking piña coladas on the beach. It was gloooorious.
Much too soon, we were back on the shuttle heading to the airport. Islamorada makes for an easy weekend vacation for those on the east coast, particularly the south. It's chill enough if you want to relax, but does have decent night life (especially during the full moon!). I also loved that it wasn't crowded with tourists, and all the locals were super friendly.
10/10 would visit again!