Family-friendly Island Adventures on Islamorada
You'll love the family-friendly atmosphere at Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The whole family can play on the beach, dolphin encounters at Theater of the Sea and water sports at one of the village's several parks.
Theater of the Sea
The most well-loved attraction in Islamorada is the Theater of the Sea. This marine mammal adventure park features eco tours, swimming encounters with dolphins, sea lions and stingrays. This facility provides fun for the whole family but also serves as a way to increase awareness and sensitivity toward animals, the environment and conservation issues. The dolphin swims last for 30 minutes. Kids will love dorsal tows, hugs and kisses from the animals, as well as the chance to snorkel with them. Aside from dolphins and sea lions, you'll get to see sea turtles, nurse sharks, tropical reef fish, crocodiles and birds. There's a lagoon beach for guests to enjoy sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling with tropical fish.
History of Diving Museum
You can learn the international story of exploration and adventures under the sea at the History of Diving Museum. There are artifacts on display including antiques, books, photographs and documents, as well as a tribute to the significance the Florida Keys has played in underwater exploration at the museum. People have been diving for thousands of years and the evolution of the diving helmet has made greater depths and explorations possible. Shipwreck sites are scattered throughout the keys and the Treasure Room at the museum shows off the priceless finds that have been recovered.
There are several state parks in Islamorada, some are along the water, one even goes below the surface and others serve as preservation areas for the region's history and wildlife animals.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
The Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park used to be a quarry and was owned by Henry Flagler in the early 1900s when he was building the Overseas Railroad. It's formed out of Key Largo limestone and fossilized coral. The quarry was used for keystone production until the 1960s.
If you visit the park today, you'll get to see the quarry walls' cross sections of ancient coral, learn more about its operations and discover how it played an important part in Florida's history. There are five short self-guided trails perfect for a stroll through the park. Before you leave, don't forget to stop by the visitors center to check out educational exhibits about the history of the site.
Founders Park features a pool, skate park and beach access. The whole family can enjoy water sports such as sailing, kayaking and swimming. You can have your own sand castle-building contest or relax by the water before cooking up dinner at one of the barbecue spots. There's even a kiddie pool for the little ones so you don't have to worry about them missing out on the fun.
Indian Key Historic State Park
This park is only accessible by boat but offers a list of fun things to do. There are several shipwreck sites around the island, as it was once a lucrative business for those living here. When you visit, you can enjoy swimming and sunbathing as well as playing on the beach and hiking. Boat and kayak rentals are available if you want to spend a day at sea.
San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park
If you're looking for a thrilling snorkeling or diving experience, head to San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park. It features a submerged shipwreck of the San Pedro that was part of a Spanish flotilla. The 287-ton ship sank in a hurricane in 1733 and its remains were discovered in 1960 in the Hawk Channel. There are seven replica cannons, an anchor and information plaque at the site and visitors can see the abundant marine life that now lives there. The park rests in 18 feet of water and is located 1.25 nautical miles from Indian Key.
You'll find Anne's Beach on Lower Matecumbe Key. This place is perfect for the family as there's a shallow swimming area, covered picnic tables, a boardwalk and bathroom facilities. Since there's so much shallow water on the beach, there are no waves, making for a calm and enjoyable experience for little ones. It's also a great spot to try out kiteboarding.