Your escape to a tropical paradise needn’t take you further away than the good old Florida Keys.
Balderdash, you say!
There isn’t any place in Florida where you can go truly à la tropicale.
Oh, you’re so very wrong.
At 24° 56′ 9″ north latitude, Islamorada kisses the cheeks of the Tropic of Cancer (23° 26′ 15″ north latitude) which passes through the nearby Florida Straits.
Make plans today to park it on a beach on Islamorada and enjoy the trade winds and an honest-to-God island sunset.
You’ve even seen it in the the movies
Big time movies have made to Upper Matecumbe Key and Islamorada many more times than once.
The Anthony Hopkins’ version of “Red Dragon” from 2002 features Islamorada as the home of FBI Agent Will Graham, who studies to run a commerical fishing boat and much prefers living on island time.
For a showcase of Islamorada’s sheer tropical splendor, you can’t beat David Mamet’s 1997 “The Spanish Prisoner,” a comedy of errors about the Big Con filmed on location.
Yep, all those royal palm trees and the sugar-white sand are only a few hours away and not just in your pipe dreams about Hawaii and Tahiti.
From the lover of big-time resorts to devotees of fishing and camping, there’s something for everyone.
And in your price range as well.
Getting there is easier than you think
Islamorada is a straight shot down I-95 S.
No tolls. No foolin’around.
Here are the details:
- Route: I-95 S
- Distance: 420 mi.
- Drive Time: 6 hrs. 24 mins.
- Gas money at 30 mpg & $3.60/gallon: approx. $50.40 one-way
Go for the setting, stay for the history
You guessed it.
Besides pristine beaches and coral reefs just ready to be dived, Islamorada is chock-a-block with Florida history-with-a-Capital-H.
And good news for travelers on a budget – much of the area is now state parks, where admission is less than $10 dollars a carload and camping might run you $50 a night.
In 1733, a Spanish treasure fleet wrecked on the reefs at Islamorada and started a salvage boom made the Florida Keys one of the wealthiest areas of the United States for nearly 70 years.
The first seat of Miami-Dade county, the 11 acres of Indian Key just off Islamorada had been a Spanish trading post since the 1600s when it was overrun by Indians in 1840.
For the next 200 years or so, immigrants from the Bahamas and wealthy planters settled in and around Islamorada.
It is the site of the very first canning factory for pineapples, which were raised locally along with tomatoes and watermelon, limes and other vegetables.
As you’d expect, commerce moved slowly until 1903 when Henry Flagler started building his railroad to Key West.
By 1912 he could ride it through little old Islamorada all the way to the bottom of the Keys.
Don’t screw yourself out of that dream vacation to the tropics you’ve always wanted by being an snob.
Get to Islamorada and figure out what the tropics are all about.
GJE will see you when she sees you, and she’ll be there when she gets there.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org