Cruise On Down To The Florida Keys

Cruise On Down To The Florida Keys
Thinking about combining a cruise from Miami or Fort Lauderdale with a relaxing pre- or post-cruise getaway? Head to the nearby Florida Keys. This lovely chain of islands is known for its laid-back style, fishing and soft adventure opportunities, nature-oriented attractions, expansive coral reef for snorkeling and diving, and much more.

Finding the right spot for your pre- or post-cruise vacation is critical. It’s important to travel far enough down the island chain far enough to capture the true feeling of the Keys, but not spend too much of your limited time driving. That’s why Florida’s Upper Keys provide the perfect location.

Islamorada is the gem of the Upper Keys. Located just a quick 90-minute drive from both Miami and Key West, Islamorada is the perfect home base for a tropical Florida Keys vacation. Comprised of four islands, Islamorada offers attractions for watersports enthusiasts, nature lovers, families, foodies and adventure seekers. There’s so much to experience and enjoy in this area.

Some favorites include:

Fishing Experiences. Islamorada is known as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World.” Hundreds of different kinds of fish inhabit the waters in this area including tarpon, sailfish, tuna, grouper, wahoo, swordfish and more. Charter fishing excursions are available in the area for avid anglers, families and first-timers. Vacationers can also fish from nearby bridges and piers, including the 525-foot wooden fishing pier available to Cheeca Lodge guests.

Sampling Delicious Key Lime Pie. Vacationers can't leave the Conch Republic without tasting a few of its mouthwatering delicacies. Key Lime Pie is Florida's official dessert, so make sure to try some while you’re here. Ma’s Fish Camp in Islamorada serves some of the best key lime pie with meringue in the Florida Keys. Their fresh fish tacos and mahi-mahi sandwiches are superb, too. Blue Heaven in Key West is another top choice for key lime made with meringue. If you’d prefer your key lime pie without any meringue, make sure to stop at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen in Key Largo.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving. Due to its location, Islamorada is fabulous for diving, snorkeling and all types of watersports. It’s situated north of North America’s only coral barrier reef, Alligator Reef, running 175 miles along the Keys. There are a number of wrecks and state parks for snorkelers and divers to explore nearby, including San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park off Islamorada and Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Families will also enjoy learning more about undersea exploration at Islamorada’s History of Diving Museum.

Paddling Through the Mangroves. Kayaking around the Keys’ mangrove islands and shallow flats is a popular family adventure. Participants can kayak at a relaxed, comfortable pace and learn more about the wildlife inhabiting this area. Tour operators provide information on this unique environment while kayaking through the Keys’ tranquil waters. Kayakers can also explore two popular Florida state parks, Indian Key Historic State Park and Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park. The Kayak Shack offers family-friendly mangrove adventures in Islamorada and Cheeca Lodge guests have access to ocean-based kayaks as well. Make sure to bring a waterproof camera for taking pictures.

Where To Stay

Great vacation destinations offer activities for every age group and interest. That’s one of the many reasons why Cheeca Lodge & Spa is the perfect place to stay. Everything vacationers could want to do is provided in one convenient spot. Cheeca Lodge is a casually elegant resort located on 27 beachfront acres in Islamorada. The property features world-class sportfishing, an extensive watersports program, tennis, golf, several pools, a great kids’ program, luxurious spa, and much more. Once you’ve arrived at Cheeca Lodge, you’ll never want to leave.

Cheeca Lodge celebrated its 70-year anniversary in 2016 and has been the destination of choice for Presidents, Hollywood stars and sports professionals. It’s easy to get hooked on coming to this beautiful vacation spot. The resort served as a retreat for President Harry Truman and President George H.W. Bush, an avid angler who helped co-found the George Bush Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament. Celebrities including Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Jack Parr, Ted Williams and Jack Nicklaus were often guests at Cheeca Lodge as well.

While the resort has a laid-back vibe, Cheeca Lodge’s accommodations and amenities are luxurious and well-appointed. The resort’s owners spent over $30 million dollars in renovations in 2005 and the Main Lodge was completely rebuilt and expanded in 2008. Cheeca Lodge has been recognized as one of “Florida’s Best Places to Dine” for good reason. The resort’s restaurants are exceptional.

Cheeca Lodge provides guests with a wide array of recreation options. The resort charges a daily per room resort fee which covers tennis courts and clinics hosted by a USTA pro, golfing at Cheeca’s 9-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed course, saltwater fishing rods (bait extra), beach cruiser bicycles, the use of sea kayaks and paddle boats/boards, 24-hour fitness center and much more. Families will also enjoy the free DVD rental library, Xbox arcade with an extensive game library, and Cheeca’s well-equipped game room. Free shuttle service within two miles of the resort is another complimentary amenity included in the resort fee.

Watersports are popular at Cheeca Lodge, including snorkeling trips and eco-tours, sunset cruises, custom boat tours and fishing charters. Spa lovers can be pampered at the Spa at Cheeca Lodge, which offers massages, facials, skin care therapies, and a wide range of other treatments. Adults will enjoy the oasis of tranquility at the spa’s adults-only pool and the resort’s tropical island water feature with its lounge chairs and palm trees.

If You Go:

For more information on planning a vacation at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, visit their website at

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