I got to enjoy a quick visit to Anne’s Beach today in Lower Matecumbe and I found a few beauties. Unfortunately, the one above had a crab in it. (Although in the Keys, you can keep live shells [except conch] if you have a saltwater offshore fishing license.) I put him back 🙂
This fat little banded tulip was empty though! I got to take him home. Anne’s Beach is great at low tide, but at high tide, it’s near impossible to get in the water and search. I can always find shells over by the mangroves.
Anne’s Beach does have picnic tables and bathroom facilities. You will also find two parking areas about 1/4 mile apart.
Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada is a new favorite. It opened this summer (2015) at the site of the former Hampton Inn (and Outback Steakhouse) at Mile Marker 80. For those of you who grew up in the Keys like I did, this was also formerly the site of Ocean 80. Now that you know where it is, let me tell you what they offer.
The lobby is cool – ultra cool. They have these swing chairs that make it fun to wait for someone. And the restaurant in the lobby, OltreMare, offers Italian seafood in a comfortable setting. They make their own pasta every day! The fettuccine is so creamy and the presentation will make you go, “Oooooh!” I also had fresh cobia (chef’s special that day) and I think it’s the best I’ve ever had. Meatball appetizer also fantastic. It’s one dinner that’s worth the money.
Their rooms have been redone in a simplistic, modern-chic design. The rooms reminded me of a bachelor pad, in a very good way. Clean walls with little artwork, couch, big TV, a wine chiller and bar area, comfy beds and a good bathroom. I lucked into an ocean view room and it was spectacular.
Here is a photo of the pool deck. There is a full bar outside here to the right so you can overlook the pool or the Atlantic.
You can rent kayaks or go diving with their onsite dive center, Sea Monkeys. Great way to go explore for seashells 🙂
If you’re looking for an OK beach in the Florida Keys, Anne’s Beach in Islamorada (or Lower Matecumbe) might be what you’re looking for. It’s at mile marker 73 on the oceanside, and there is a little parking at either entrance. If you pass the first entrance as you’re heading south, there is another entrance 1/4 mile on the same side.
I have found a few tulips here and some augers and turbins. Nothing spectacular but it’s pretty and it’s fun. There is a boardwalk that will take you from one parking lot to the other through the mangroves. There are picnic tables and facilities. The water is shallow and goes out a good ways before it will get deep. Many shells have crabs in them here. They hang out by the mangroves.
Finally made it back to the east coast and the boys went fishing off Islamorada. That’s a dolphin fish (also known as a MAHI MAHI). Locals have pretty much stopped calling it ‘dolphin fish’ since everyone thinks you’re talking about the dolphin mammal when you say the word! It can get annoying.
Mahi makes for a great dinner, it’s light-colored flesh cooks up so flaky and tasty. All you need to do is marinate in a little Italian dressing and throw it on the grill. If you don’t want to cook it yourself, or you can’t go fishing, our favorite place to get a great mahi dinner is in Key Largo at a dive place called SHIPWRECKS Bar and Grill. It’s located in north Key Largo at 45 Garden Cove Dr, Key Largo, FL 33037. They don’t have a website so I can’t link you there! Friday nights is their All-You-Can-Eat Fish Fry (or grilled or blackened) for only $12.
Not much luck shelling from the shore in Islamorada today, but I did spend a lovely evening at the OceanView Inn (locals call it the OV). This place has a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor, although it doesn’t look like much from the road.
Thursday nights are steak night. It’s $18.95 for a New York strip steak with a big ol’ baked potato. Can’t beat it.
This place also has rooms available (hence, the name INN in the name). I haven’t stayed here, but reports are it’s clean. In the meantime, I hope you can go to shell soon!
Spent a weekend in the Keys, Islamorada to be specific. I stayed at the Postcard Inn which is right on the Atlantic ocean. The views were amazing and the sunrises were even more spectacular. This is the location of the former Holiday Isle. If you grew up in South Florida as I did, you probably spent many a day or night at Holiday Isle. I can’t drink rumrunners to this day (I tried to have all my weekend fun in one night, paid for it)!
Anyhow, I haven’t found any shells yet, except for a queen conch shell right off the shore which was occupied. But I don’t think you can take conch shells in the Keys regardless. I’ll keep looking and keep you posted.