Stay at a Marina in the Florida Keys – With or Without a Boat!

We don’t have a boat – yet – but are powerfully drawn to the water.  The unimaginable depths, the way light plays on the  surface… even the smell. 89% of humans want to be near the ocean, the other 11% near the mountains. Yes, I pulled that from just my experience but you have to admit is has a ring of truth to it.




The Florida Keys offer an abundance of choices for lodging, from predictable/safe chain hotels to sketchy bad-review dumps, with the best places being all the in-between that our Triple B team seeks out to inspire you to explore beyond the usual. Staying at a marina – especially without a boat – in the Florida Keys is not only beyond ordinary; we found it to be extraordinary.


Most of us would think of staying at a marina only if we can pull our boat up to refuel, get more bait, book a transient dockage and whatever else people with boats do. (You can tell I don’t have one. CH used to have a Mako, and Dad used to have a Grady White, and Mom used to have lots of boyfriends with sailboats, so I’m not completely ignorant of boating stuff.)  When I found out we could stay in probably the cutest, coziest, cottage-cabiny room with huge walls of windows looking over the marina and out to the ocean, my arms pricked up with goosebumps and my face was that face you get when you’ve finally lost six pounds and your favorite pizza walks in the front door.


our-room-duskThe Tackle Shop Suite: yes, directly above the tackle shop. And no, no fishy smells wafted up


Our first marina stay experience was at Bud N’ Mary’s Marina, in Islamorada, in The Tackle Shop Suite. Even that name. Who wouldn’t want to stay above the tackle shop? Bud N’ Mary’s Marina is a Florida Keys institution; you’d be hard put to find a fisherman who hasn’t heard of it. The oldest (since 1944) and largest fishing fleet in the Florida Keys, home to over 40 offshore captains and backcountry guides – with “800 Years of Fishing Experience” –  you’ll find every kind of fishing expedition imaginable. For us, just waking up to that view, watching the early morning charters prepare and motor out, and seeing the catches proudly displayed at the end of the day was excitement enough.





Bud N’ Mary’s offers an interesting variety of accommodations, including an oceanfront house, penthouse suite, hotel rooms, and houseboats.


pink-houseboat“Lucky Lady” houseboat, one of three custom designed houseboats where you can stay, with unobstructed views of the Atlantic


While houseboat living has always intrigued me (a floating bungalow!) our Tackle Shop Suite seemed the best of all worlds, up above it all with views of the boats and the ocean, the feeling of being in the center of the action yet as peaceful as though it was our own little cabin in the woods.


our-room-outside-veiwThat big deck was all ours – morning coffee, sunbathing, reading, napping, and evening wine


I took photos of the interior of our suite but I can’t find them.  Scary (insert expletive here), when that happens, but Bud N’ Mary said I could use theirs:



budnmarys-tackle-shop-interiorPhotos courtesy of Bud N’ Mary’s, click here for more


The Bud N’ Mary’s team isn’t just focused on providing the best fishing day you’ve ever had, there is also an onsite cafe and deli – Kev’s – and they’ve created an unusual, exclusive place to hang out. At the very end of the dock is The Sparrow’s Nest, a cozy gathering place with unbelievable views. The Sparrow’s Nest has undergone a renovation since our visit, and is also available for hire for events.


far-deck-viewNotice the fishing rod “tiki awning” at The Sparrow’s Nest






Bud N’ Mary’s even has a pet memorial area for loved ones who have crossed the rainbow bridge:



Photo opps for nature photographers also abound:







For once I’m at a loss for words to try to convey how beautiful the views and the vibe are at Bud N’ Mary’s. How about a few more pics:


whos-islandSomeone lives on this private island just to the south of our deck


serene-water-boats-sunsetOur view one night


our-view-pink-skyOur view another night


me-bud-and-marysA cell phone shot from a device that needs upgrading but nevertheless shows happy me


And just one more of this amazing place that you’ll just have to go visit; maybe you’ll find the words that I can’t!



Have you stayed here? Which room/suite/boat did you choose? Comment below!

Bud N’ Mary’s Marina

79851 Overseas Highway







  1. NICE!!!!
    “Hello Room Service… Can I have your dinner special please, plus a bottle of wine, and a side order of a bucket of minnows and some night crawlers!” Haha

    1. Haha Frank! NIGHT CRAWLERS. That’s especially illustrative of what could have been ordered! Amazingly enough there was no fishy smell at all, even from our huge deck overlooking all that freshly caught fish hanging on display.

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