ISLAMORADA

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We absolutely woke up like this every day for a week, some days later than others, but always with this gorgeous view. Considering this was my first vacation as an adult, I couldn't have found a single thing to complain about- even if I tried. I soaked up every minute of the Florida sun, gratefully so, while the rest of our friends and family braved out an ice storm back home! 


DESTINATION: ISLAMORADA

So Islamorada is basically in the middle of Miami and Key West, so its not too far for a day trip of exploring either. We flew into Fort Lauderdale, while the rest of our friends flew into Miami. The way I understand it is you will have a shorter drive from Miami to Islamorada and the Keys... BUT the time you spend at the Miami airport is semi horrendous. The Fort Lauderdale airport was a breeze, and was the closest airport that Southwest had a terminal.  We barely noticed the extra drive, the scenery was beautiful. Sunroof open, windows down, a good playlist and you're golden! 

We stopped in Key Largo to meet up with some of our group, and grab some lunch. I am not a seafood person, which Florida is definitely a seafood state. However, despite stopping at Snappers, the ocean side seafood restaurant/tiki hut... they had a fairly open menu. The thing I was most excited about was their section devoted to vegetarian and even unique vegan options. They had several signature cocktails which were SO good, but if you order a soft drink- be prepared for a Florida fave.... 

PAPER STRAWS.

They absolutely love their marine life, and that is a cause I can support. I do have to say, the paper straws in Florida were better than the typical ones we had used. But they were still paper straws. So I definitely suggest packing your own, and bringing it along. Because it was paper straws ALL WEEK LONG...

Small price to pay though for saving this little buddy. We had a guest at lunch and it was an absolute treat. We NEVER expected something like this to happen, and it was such a cool experience. Apparently it happens all the time. So be ready for a new friend to join your party! He swam underneath all of the docks, so close to the surface. Then, when he was done saying hello, he swam clear back out into the open and disappeared. 

So first of all.... I love VRBO. If you've never branched out from your traditional hotel stay- consider this, especially if you're traveling with a group. You have so much more space and privacy. Options to cook a meal, and no lobby to carry groceries through! The homeowners genuinely want you to have a good experience, so majority of properties are clean and well maintained. They want you to brag about your stay, and come back again! Check out our rental for the week. It was a 2 story, 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom, with a pool. It had 2 kitchens, and basically was 2 separate living quarters. You could only access upstairs, through the outdoor stairs. Which was more intimate, and you didn't feel like you were intruding on anyone/needing to pass through another persons area to get somewhere.

And just look at that view. It backed right up to the ocean, and had its own private beach. The VRBO came complete with paddle boards, kayaks, and a canoe. It had an outdoor bar, and jacuzzi- plenty of outdoor space to entertain our party for the week. We were in town for a wedding that week, which this property was actually the venue for! Everything was perfect and you couldn't have asked for a better all in one kind of venue. This particular house was only about 3-5 minutes away from popular restaurants and nightlife. But Islamorada is definitely more laid back than Key West. 

Robbies

Robbies is AMAZING. Family & kid friendly (but adults can certainly enjoy themselves as well). The best part about this place is obviously they have great food but it's really a great "touristy" spot. You can feed some amazing fish, shop, and even book an excursion. We decided to go out snorkeling- they also offer snuba (a cross between snorkeling and scuba). We were there during the day and experienced the "night life". Both were fantastic and laid back. 

Lazy Days

So the boys went on a fishing excursion and caught a ton of fish- which we joked about the "men bringing home the meat" but we definitely were NOT going to cook them back at the house. Turns out Lazy Days will actually let you bring in your own catch, they will prepare it how you like it (or by their specialty), and serve it with sides. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and great drinks. I think this was the last restaurant we ended up eating at that week - and I'm so sad we didn't visit them sooner!