Beautiful Florida Keys is a Major Star in Netflix's New Series "Bloodline"


Need some ideas where to visit on your next getaway with your loved ones? After you watch Netflix’s latest series Bloodline (the entire Season One with 13 episodes has been on Netflix since March 20, 2015), you may want to book your vacation in the Florida Keys.

Starring Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini and Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline is set and filmed in Islamorada, Florida. The show centers around the Rayburn family and the homecoming of their oldest son unleashing family “secrets and scars” in the process. Bloodline though only in its first season already garners rave reviews from both critics and viewers. Some even compares it to The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, two of the most loved shows in television history. Loaded with amazing actors, Bloodline also features another major star … its atmospheric, gorgeous film locations, the sun-drenched, laid back Florida Keys.

Screenshot from the opening sequence of Bloodline's pilot episode, filmed on location in the Florida Keys.

Screenshot from the opening sequence of Bloodline's pilot episode, filmed on location in the Florida Keys.

Screenshot from Bloodline's pilot episode filmed on location on the white sandy beach at the Moorings Village & Spa.

Screenshot from Bloodline's pilot episode filmed on location on the white sandy beach at the Moorings Village & Spa.

The settings and film locations of Bloodline are so compelling, Grantland.com’s writer Andy Greenwald declares it’s the main reason he watches this Florida noir. High praise for the Florida Keys indeed.

“From its opening frames, Bloodline has the sort of atmosphere you shouldn’t put a price tag on," stated Greenwald. "A warm breeze ripples through every frame, rustling the palm trees and the salt-sticky hair of locals. Cicadas chirp loudly underfoot, unseen lizards skitter through the mangroves. The sun, high in the sky, radiates an impossibly bright whiteness. It’s a natural spotlight that exposes as much as it dazzles. Anything is possible. Everything is visible.”

From its opening frames, Bloodline has the sort of atmosphere you shouldn’t put a price tag on.
— Andy Greenwald, Writer - Grantland.com, on the settings and film locations of "Bloodline."

One of the main locations of Bloodline is the beautiful family inn The Rayburn House. Standing in for the resort is the real-life charming Moorings Village and Spa. Nestled in the heart of Islamorada, Florida (halfway between Miami and Key West), the 18-acre/18-cottage Moorings Village and Spa was once a coconut plantation. The resort now offers one to three-bedroom lodgings, each self-sufficient with its own kitchen and in some even a washer and dryer.

A charming cottage at the Moorings Village & Spa - image via the resort's website.

A charming cottage at the Moorings Village & Spa - image via the resort's website.

Screenshot from Bloodline, featuring an aerial view of The Rayburn House filmed on location at The Moorings Village & Spa in Islamorada, Florida.

Screenshot from Bloodline, featuring an aerial view of The Rayburn House filmed on location at The Moorings Village & Spa in Islamorada, Florida.

One of the distinctive cottage verandas of the Moorings Village & Spa with views of the private, palm-lined beach - image via the resort's website.

One of the distinctive cottage verandas of the Moorings Village & Spa with views of the private, palm-lined beach - image via the resort's website.

The entire ground of the Moorings is featured on Bloodline, including its beautiful palm-lined beaches, docks and distinctive verandas. The resort’s restaurant The Morada Bay Beach Cafe is also featured on Bloodline. Located on a private, white sandy beach filled with palm trees and Adirondack chairs overlooking the Florida Bay, The Cafe has inside and outside dining areas from where you can watch the spectacular sunsets of the Florida Keys. With surfboards, longboards, and 60’s surf posters gracing its walls, The Cafe evokes the feel of both a California and Hawaiian beach cafe. 

The Beach Cafe at Morada Bay, one of the film locations of Bloodline - image via The Moorings Village & Spa's website.

The Beach Cafe at Morada Bay, one of the film locations of Bloodline - image via The Moorings Village & Spa's website.

Standing on the beautiful private beaches borderline the resort, you may even get a glimpse of the elusive gray ghost Bonefish, one of the top prize in sport-fishing in the area. “Life at The Moorings Village and Spa is quiet and simple,” stated on the resort’s website. It’s where one kicks off one’s city shoes, puts on a pair of flip flops and relax in the warm Florida Keys sun.

As to why or how the Florida Keys became the film location for Bloodline, the word "iconic" has much to do with the decision. "[W]e were looking for a place to set the show that had kind of an iconic sensibility for the United States, if not the world, shared Todd A. Kessler, one of the creators of Bloodline. "Many people if they've never been to the Keys have at least heard of the Keys or most people have at least heard of the Florida Keys. Something weird goes on down there. It's kind of like New Orleans or Las Vegas or Los Angeles, you know, places that people know of.

[W]e were looking for a place to set the show that had kind of an iconic sensibility for the United States, if not the world.
— Todd A. Kessler, creator of Bloodline, on how the Florida Keys became the film location for the Netflix series.

After extensive research for locations, the show producers all came to the same conclusion, that "... there is no place quite like the Keys and the color of the water and being outside and it really feeling like paradise and then having this kind of underbelly of what's going on underneath it," said Kessler. Initially, the production planned to shoot only exterior shots in the Keys, with the bulk of the interior shots filmed in Georgia, but the Florida Keys locations become such a big part of the story and its characters that the show ended up filming entirely in the Keys.

Screenshot from Bloodline featuring Sam Shepard, Ben Mendelsohn, and the color of the water. Any wonder it feels like Bloodline is a family drama/noir set in paradise?

Screenshot from Bloodline featuring Sam Shepard, Ben Mendelsohn, and the color of the water. Any wonder it feels like Bloodline is a family drama/noir set in paradise?

[T]here is no place quite like the Keys and the color of the water and being outside and it really feeling like paradise and then having this kind of underbelly of what’s going on underneath it.
— Todd A. Kessler, creator of Bloodline, on filming in the Florida Keys.
Screenshot from Bloodline of a scene filmed on the lawn in front of The Rayburn House (in real life The Moorings Village & Spa).

Screenshot from Bloodline of a scene filmed on the lawn in front of The Rayburn House (in real life The Moorings Village & Spa).

While in Islamorada filming, Sissy Spacek spent much of her free time at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, where she stayed in one of its vacation rentals. Linda Cardellini loved visiting one of the Keys most popular tourist traps, Robbie’s of Islamorada. Cardellini joined “the eminent cast of actors who came to the Keys” almost in the spring of 2014 for the eight-month shoot of Bloodline, based in Islamorada.

"The Keys are awesome, really extraordinary," Cardellini said as she was sitting at the Rayburn family table, a film set inside a warehouse-converted sound stage in south Miami-Dade County. "It's a great place to work and a beautiful place to be. I think it's a world people will enjoy being introduced to." No wonder, so many productions have filmed in the Keys.

The Keys are awesome, really extraordinary. It’s a great place to work and a beautiful place to be. I think it’s a world people will enjoy being introduced to.
— Linda Cardellini, Actor - "Bloodline."

Sitting at the Rayburn family table, a set inside a warehouse-converted soundstage in south Miami-Dade County, Cardellini added: "The locals are kind people and really relaxed. People seem to be enjoying island time, being out on boats, catching fresh fish to eat. It's a totally different feeling, being in a small community that's surrounded by beauty."

With strong reviews of the first season, new episodes of Bloodline will be coming back in 2016. The series was officially renewed for Season Two on March 31, 2015.

For information on filming in the Florida Keys, visit the Florida Keys and Key West Film and Entertainment Commission (a LocationsHub and Reel-Scout client). 

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PHOTO CREDIT: Banner image via The Moorings Village & Spa's website.

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