Just an hour-and-a-half drive from Miami, the cluster of islands known as Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, is the perfect getaway destination.

By Tom Austin
August 19, 2015
Credit: Carol Shaughnessy

Islamorada, a “village of islands” in the Florida Keys, is known for its pristine beaches, water sports and fishing, and for being a little less of a tourist draw than some of the other popular Keys destinations. Just a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Miami, it’s the perfect location for a quick getaway from the city.

For a culture fix, head to the emerging Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, featuring such studios as Morada Way Clay, a draw for ceramics and pottery enthusiasts, and tour the many artisans, galleries, dining and shopping options along the way. The center also conducts art walks every third Thursday evening of the month. Outside of the district, the Rain Barrel Artisan Village—marked by a 30-foot-tall, artist-created lobster out front, and clay, sculpture, jewelry and other artisans inside—is also worth a visit.

An art-infused drink or two is also part of Key’s culture, and the new Florida Keys Brewing Company, has local Hogfish beer, mermaid-shaped beer taps, and a bright mural behind the bar as a drinking buddy. If you need something in your stomach before all that beer, try a late lunch at the organic Bad Boy Burrito, a sister operation to Key West’s renowned hot spot of the same name.

If you like Islamorada so much you’re tempted to stay the night, you have several options. Serious money is at hand in the Keys, stretching back to the old-line Cheeca Lodge & Spa, set on 27 beachfront acres with a dedicated pier and plenty of spots to soak in a sunset view. The new Islamorada Resort Company comprises the Postcard Inn Beach Resort at Holiday Isle, La Siesta Resort, Pelican Cove Resort, and the Amara Cay resort. Amara Cay, on the high end, has Oltremare restaurant for dinner and a Mercedes car shuttle service.

The nearby Moorings Village & Spa (pictured) is even being used as a backdrop for Netflix’s “Bloodline,” starring Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard. The Keys is highly cinematic, and The Moorings is the place to imagine yourself in your own movie—or, failing that, televised series.

Tom Austin is based in Miami and covers the Florida beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @TomAustin__.