Key Largo means “large key” in Spanish, and it’s the largest of the Florida Keys, about 30 miles in length. It’s the first island you get to in the tropical chain (a gateway to the Keys, if you will). Known as the Diving Capital of the World, Key Largo is a water lover’s paradise whether you’re on the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.
Key Largo offers a wide array of charter fishing boats, snorkeling trips, and soft sand beaches, making it an attractive destination for all sorts of travelers. Don’t get me wrong, I do love me some Key West, but Key Largo and the Upper/Middle Keys easily top my list of favorite Florida destinations.
With the shipwrecks, coral reefs, and offshore fishing of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the sapphire shades of the Gulf of Mexico on the other, it makes one of the best adventure vacations in the world. The island’s location in the Upper Keys makes it a terrific choice for access to Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, attractions in Islamorada and Marathon, and even day trips from Key West.
You’ll find amazing seafood restaurants, tropical tiki bars, unique wildlife and watersports activities, and some of the best resorts in South Florida in Key Largo. I like to describe the Keys as the closest you can get to the Caribbean lifestyle without a passport.
You have all the gorgeous scenery of palm trees and sapphire water, island-inspired cuisine, and unique creatures like iguanas, manatees, and tropical birds. And you don’t have the hassle of flying overseas and trekking through customs!
That being said, you still have to get there somehow. My preferred mode of transport is to fly into Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) – you could also choose Miami International Airport (MIA) – and rent a car to drive the rest of the way.
Key Largo is about an hour and a half drive from Fort Lauderdale. RentalCars.com is a terrific tool for searching for the right vehicle to explore all of the Key Largo attractions on our list.
|Most Significant Landmark||Christ of the Abyss underwater statue (John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park)|
|Best Park||Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park|
|Best Free Activity||Local Beaches|
|Best Activity for Kids||Theater of the Sea|
|Best Activity for Adults||Craft Brewery Visits|
|Best Food||Sunset Grille & Raw Bar|
|Best All-Around Accommodation||Hampton Inn Key Largo|