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Islamorada

Islamorada is made up of four separate and inhabitable islands: Plantation Key (southern end), Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key (the original community), and Lower Matecumbe Key. Dissatisfied with the County's bias toward Key West's financial interests, the residents of the area voted for self-incorporation in 1997 and officially renamed the area the "Village of Islands."

Legend has it that "Islamorada" means "Purple Isle," and that the name was given to the area by Spanish explorers who noticed a purple hue to the coastline. While the area is still affectionately referred to as such by some, the truth is the Islamorada was originally named "Island Home," after the Pinder Family's sailboat. They settled here in the 1870s after the area was homesteaded. Even though Islamorada has changed since the days of pineapple plantations and turtle farming, it is still a quaint fishing village in many ways.

Islamorada is also known as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World" because for of the huge variety of game fish that call the local waters home. With fishing in the backcountry, on the reef and offshore, the most world fishing records have been set in Islamorada. It's no wonder that the Village supports the largest concentration of charter fishing boats in the entire Florida Keys (ca. 400 offshore captains and 150 backcountry guides) as a result. For more than 100 years, "real" anglers have known about Islamorada. Fishing fans past and present include Presidents Bush, Carter, Truman and Hoover, Zane Grey, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig.

Islamorada is also a destination point for divers because of the abundance of tropical marine life, the islands' proximity to the largest living reef in the contiguous US, and the variety of underwater attractions including shipwrecks and artificial reefs. Recently, the Florida Keys was awarded the title of "America's #1 Dive Destination."

THINGS TO DO

Islamorada residents also swim, beach comb, snorkel, golf, hike, bike and parasail as the mood strikes. The area is home to four public beaches (some of the loveliest in the Keys), four state parks and one city park with an Olympic-size swimming and diving pool. During September and October, the Village's Heritage Days include historic reenactments, a golf tournament, and the Indian Key Festival. Islamorada has plentiful restaurants, unique shops and other attractions, such as the "Theater of the Sea," and the "Windley Key Fossil Reef State Geologic Park."

Several competitions are held in the area each year, from fishing tournaments to boat, jet-ski and windsurfing races.Well-attended festivals include the Nautical Flea Market, the Taste of Islamorada, and the Islamorada Home Tour. A performing arts center hosts a cultural series and the community theater produces half a dozen shows annually.

On top of everything else, Islamorada is also known for some of the best restaurants in the Keys. Serving everything from local delicacies to classical gourmet cuisine, the area can satisfy every palate appetite and budget. And then there are the charming island stores, galleries and boutiques...


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