When we decided to go to the Florida Keys, it never occured to me that some Keys would be more kid-friendly than others. I just assumed that the Florida Keys were a collection of pretty little islands with white sand beaches – a perfect playground for families. Luckily, we had some people tell us that isn’t really the case before we went. Some Keys are better suited for families than others. They pointed us in the direction of Cheeca Lodge, and we ended up having a great family vacation at Cheeca Lodge Islamorada. If you’re planning a trip, here’s what you need to know.
Family Vacation at Cheeca Lodge Islamorada
First of all, read this post about our road trip to the Keys and our stay in general (including some things I was surprised about). That post has a lot of general information about taking kids to the Keys. In this post I’m going to focus specifically on Cheeca Lodge, which we chose because it was recommended as a kid-friendly resort.
Is Cheeca Lodge family-friendly?
Yes. In our experience it was very family-friendly! There were lots of kids at the resort. The pool was perfect for kids (not too big, so I could see them all from one spot). They were building a third pool when we were there, too.
Does Cheeca Lodge have a beach?
Sort of, but not really? It has a stretch of white sand with palm trees and chairs, but there is a drop off into the ocean. It’s all (large-ish) rocks. There was also a lot of smelly seaweed around the rocks when we visited. You wouldn’t want to go in the water, and even if you did want to go in, the rocks pretty much make it impossible. It’s perfect for adults who want to lay in the sun (or, enjoy a drink by the ocean under a gorgeous moon, like I did one night). But it’s not a beach where kids can play.
Our best “beach” experience was when we rented a boat and sailed to Whale Harbor. The sandbar is a popular place to anchor and swim.
How far is Cheeca Lodge from the airport?
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and drove to Islamorada. The drive was about an hour and forty five minutes. It’s about the same from Miami.
How long is the drive from Cheeca Lodge to Key West?
If you want to visit Key West (you’re in the Keys, after all!), the drive from Cheeca Lodge is about an hour and forty five minutes. Keep in mind that the road is only one lane each way, so it could be impacted by an accident, weather, or holiday traffic.
What are the rooms liks at Cheeca Lodge?
There is a large resort on the beach, with rooms overlooking the water (and on the backside, the resort/golf course). We didn’t stay here, though, so I can’t say for sure what’s included in those rooms. We stayed in the Golf Course Suites, which are in the condo-like complexes. We didn’t get an ocean view, but we got a larger space with a kitchenette and a separate bedroom, plus a huge bathroom. Ours overlooked the golf course. This was a great option for a family. And since we were traveling with friends, it was really nice to have all that space so the kids could hang out in one place between activities.
There are lots of different room options, though!
Is Cheeca Lodge pet-friendly?
Yes, some suites can accomodate pets for an extra fee. So you can bring the dog!
What restaurants are at Cheeca Lodge?
We ate most of our meals away from the resort (cheaper, and also wanted to experience local food, which honestly was hit or miss). However, Cheeca has a couple of restaurants that would be suitable for kids. Atlantic’s Edge and Mia Cucina are two options.
But my favorite establishment was the Tiki Bar, which had the best blueberry mojitos I’ve ever had. They also have lots of typical bar fare and kid food, making it a good option if the kids want lunch or a snack by the pool. And, you get a stellar view of the ocean (and the pool!) when you eat here.
We had dinner twice right across the highway at Morada Bay Beach Cafe. This was the best place to eat with kids. The tables were on the sand, overlooking the water, and the kids had tons of room to run and play while waiting for food (which is good because it was a little slow getting our food).
What is there do with kids in Islamorada?
Visit Theater of the Sea and get up close and personal with sea life!
Drive to Key West (not Islamorada, but a fun day trip).
Go to Anne’s Beach. We didn’t visit so I can’t say for sure how it is, but it does look like the kids can get in the water here – and they have a place to picnic!
For more about visiting the Keys with kids, you can read about our Florida Keys road trip here.
I tried to answer all the questions I would have when visiting a new place…if I missed something, or if you have information to share, just let me know below!