Florida Keys Resorts With A Private Island Feel

The Florida Keys is America's Caribbean where you’ll find a paradise of sun, sand, and warm waters connected to Florida by an overseas highway


With more than five million people visiting these islands each year, you might think that personal space is at a premium. But if you know where to look, there are select resorts that exude tranquility and evoke a private island feel. Here are five favorites.

A Natural Choice For Families Baker’s Cay Resort, Key Largo

Tucked away on the 15-acre site of a former pineapple plantation overlooking the quiet waters of Florida Bay, Baker’s Cay is a destination the entire family can enjoy. Nature trails wind through mangrove hammocks where breaks in the greenery overlook the water. The grounds include two waterfall pools plus a private 15-acre white sand beach with plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas. Grab a bike, paddle a kayak, or bait up a fishing pole. For the more adventurous, scuba diving, fishing charters, and seaplane rides can be arranged. If relaxation is on the agenda, you can catch a sunset with live music at the beach bar, enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach or join the evening fire pit conversation.

Bakers Cay Key Largo

The waters of Florida Bay create the perfect ambiance for memorable dining experiences at Baker’s Cay acclaimed Calusa restaurant or sunset celebrations at the Dry Rocks Cafe. Photo: Baker’s Cay

The hotel’s fresh tropical look unveils sea-inspired guest rooms with bay vistas from most of the 200 guest rooms and suites. Views of the mangrove forest are seen from the remaining 30 rooms, suites come equipped with kitchenettes and the larger waterfront suites are complete with Roman bathtubs and wraparound terraces. The family-friendly atmosphere also includes quiet and secluded places for adults and even a private small beach with a serene setting. At night, parents can enjoy the hotel’s own Patron Barrel Select tequilas paired with tacos at the beachfront venue Dry Rocks. For the younger set, there’s plenty to keep busy at the kid’s camp, from scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, s’mores bonfire, and more. Family pets are also welcome, and the resort even provides beachside tiki huts for dogs. https://www.bakerscay.com/

Key Largo Bakers Cay Room

Guest rooms and suites at Baker’s Cay provide expansive views of Florida Bay and showcase a nature-inspired décor designed to evoke a sense of easy, relaxed comfort. Photo: Baker’s Cay

A New Take on a Keys Classic Casa Morada, Islamorada

When a small 1950s-era waterfront motel fell far behind the times, some might have called the bulldozers and started on a high rise. Fortunately, Casa Morada escaped this fate and has instead been transformed into a 16-suite boutique resort with a garden setting. The centerpiece of the grounds is a private island reached by way of a footbridge. From the island pool deck, guests can enjoy sweeping views of the bay, sunset cocktails, and the gazebo. Beach cruisers, snorkel gear, paddle boards, and kayaks are on hand for the taking, and guests can arrange for sailing trips aboard an island-style sloop or take a sunset cruise on the resort’s meticulously restored classic motor launch.

Casa Morada

The waterfront at Casa Morada was transformed into a private oasis of relaxation with the addition of a private island adorned with towering palms. Photo: Casa Morada

The all-white exteriors of guest houses at this quiet adults-only property create a timeless look, while interiors promise casual elegance and offer indulgences such as private soak tubs, outdoor garden showers, and water-view terraces. Minimalist by design includes touches of nature and conjures up barefoot island style. Attracting adults averaging in age from 30 to 75 and beyond, the quiet and unique property offers a chance for romance where candlelit dinners on the island or in your garden or seaside terrace can be arranged. https://casamorada.com/

Casa Morada Room

Light interiors and premium fabrics contrast with warm woodwork in Casa Morada guest rooms, creating a sense of understated elegance and timeless style. Photo: Casa Morada/Angel Cortes

All-Inclusive Indulgence Bungalows Key Largo, Key Largo

No need to hop on a plane to the Caribbean to enjoy an all- inclusive beach resort. The recently-opened Bungalows on Key Largo is Florida’s primary all-inclusive adults-only beach resort, and it’s been named one of the best all-inclusive vacation experiences in North America. Food, activities, water sports, and premium libations are all part of the package but don’t think tequila shots and rowdy DJs. This is a destination for relaxation and recreation. The resort sits within a botanical garden along the ocean offering nature-inspired activities as well as pure relaxation and an easy disconnect from the hustle of the mainland.

Bungalows Key Largo

A focal point of Bungalows is the oceanfront pool deck and docks where guests can enjoy the sunsets over the waters of Florida Bay. Photo: Bungalows Key Largo

Guests are housed in individual bungalows that provide private outdoor soak tubs, rain showers, and outdoor verandahs. Surrounded by lush tropical gardens and candlelit spaces where relaxation is enhanced by the soothing sounds of nature. There are the expected amenities of an upscale all-inclusive —five on- site restaurants, two pools, hot tubs, a fitness center, water sports, daily activities, and entertainment — but that’s just part of the picture. Each bungalow comes with two cruiser bikes for exploring the property. There’s also a Zen garden, yoga sessions, al fresco spa treatments, and a unique floating tiki bar for sunset celebrations. https://www.bungalowskeylargo.com/

Bungalows Key Largo Rooms

Each private villa at Bungalows provides 900 square feet of indoor/outdoor living, with king-sized beds, private porches, verandas with soaking tubs, and outdoor showers. Photo: Bungalows Key Largo

A Picture-Perfect Place The Moorings Village, Islamorada

When walking the palm-fringed beach of this landmark property, you might think you were on a movie set. And you’d be correct. The Moorings Village has seen its share of photo shoots and film production, including everything from a Sports Illustrated swimsuit feature to the setting for the Netflix series Bloodline. Most days, the vibe is decidedly lower key as there are just eight private cottages tucked into an oceanfront estate where orchid-filled gardens are shaded by hundreds of coconut palms that line the longest private beach in the Florida Keys. A short walk from your doorstep brings guests to a day at the beach, out to the pier, or cozied up in one of the hammocks strung throughout the property.

The Moorings Islamorada

In addition to The Moorings eight private cottages, guests can rent the 6,000-square-foot Blue Charlotte residence with its 18- meter pool, chef’s eat-in kitchen, and private office. Photo: Daniel Garrido/Flickr

Set on a former 18-acre coconut plantation, the property was a private estate back in the early 1900s and the grounds have remained pretty much the same. After a rebuild following hurricane Irma, today the enclave is much more than glorified hotel rooms; the cottages offer airy island-inspired decors that take in ocean views and come with all the comforts of home. The grounds include a 25-meter pool, grilling stations, and a fitness center. The staff can arrange a variety of activities from water sports and fishing trips to dinner reservations. A favorite with many guests is starting the day watching the sunrise over the Atlantic, then walking the short distance across the island later in the day to catch the sunset over dinner and drinks at the Morada Bay restaurant. https://themooringsvillage.com/

The Moorings Islamorada

Guests at the Moorings Village have exclusive access to one of the longest and most scenic white-sand beaches in the Florida Keys. Photo: Patrick Farrell/Flickr

A Touch of Tahiti Little Palm Island Resort & Spa Little Torch Key

If you were dropped blindfolded onto the shores of this private island, you might think you’d arrived in the South Pacific. With powder-soft beaches, a sparkling lagoon, towering coconut palms, and iconic thatch-roofed bungalows set among tropical gardens, Little Palm Island is like nowhere else in North America. You arrive aboard a vintage motor launch and are ushered into a secluded oasis of relaxation and indulgence. The four-acre island is located three miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean and fronted by a unique white sand beach. You’ll enjoy surreal sea vistas during the day and dramatic nights dotted with stars.

Little Palm Island

The ocean-view pool at Little Palm was designed to emulate a South Seas lagoon where sea breezes ruffle the palms and a thatch-roofed tiki bar serves refreshing libations. Photo: Todd Dyess

Fresh from a recent island-wide makeover, this acclaimed resort now promises to exceed its standards for luxe vacations in the Florida Keys. The 30-thatched-roof bungalows are discreetly nestled throughout the property hidden by tropical foliage and backed by hundreds of Jamaican coconut palms. Private sundecks, outdoor showers, and ocean views are enjoyed with no distractions. The resort has no phones, televisions, or alarm clocks to interfere with total relaxation. Think gourmet dining, wine tastings, in-room massages, private soak tubs, and wellness programs in an Indonesian-inspired spa. Active types can always opt for fishing, sailing, and snorkeling trips, but the overall vibe is low-key luxury with an extra helping of relaxation. https://www.littlepalmisland.com/

Little Palm Island Rooms

The interior of a premier suite at Little Palm showcases a British West Indies theme. Each of the resort’s 30 bungalows received a total renovation in 2020. Photo: Todd Dyess