Searching for the perfect U.S. beach vacation? Set your sights on the Florida Keys and experience all the best things to do in Key Largo. Located off Florida’s southern tip, the island paradise is famed for its beautiful beaches, blue waters, and resort hotels. For sun-worshippers, Key Largo is one of the top destinations on the continent.
Among the top tourist attractions in Key Largo, you will swim among the world’s second-largest artificial coral reef in search of colorful marine life. In nearby nature parks, you’ll enjoy unforgettable outdoor activities and spot local wildlife. And like any great U.S. travel destination, you’ll also find plenty of cultural activities, from superb restaurants to museums.
Not sure what to do in Key Largo? Plan the ultimate family trip or romantic getaway with this guide to the best things to do in Key Largo, FL.
Best places to visit in Key Largo, FL
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Ready to explore Key Largo’s famous undersea treasures? Start your adventure at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The marine park is the first of its kind, covering a 70 nautical-mile square. For appreciating sealife, it’s one of the most interesting places to see in Key Largo.
At John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, you’ll fall in love with Key Largo’s colorful aquatic life. As you float among beautiful reefs, you’ll spot welcoming reef fish and other sea creatures living in the world’s largest artificial reef.
Get closer to John Pennekamp State Park’s teeming marine life with a glass-bottom boat tour, scuba diving, or snorkeling.
Based on your skill level and snorkeling experience you can also elevate your visit along Cannon Beach. One of the most popular Key Largo beaches, Cannon Beach will let you bear witness to the beautiful reefs, colorful corals, statues, and sculptures lying on the coast.
Swimming with dolphins is always an unforgettable experience. And among the top points of interest in Key Largo, Dolphin Cove is one of the best places in the Keys to do it. At the stunning five-acre marine facility, you’ll get up close and personal to enjoy a truly memorable dolphin encounter.
All year-round, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about these amazing mammals at Dolphin Cove. The center’s discovery program offers guests several different dolphin encounters. Top options include swimming with dolphins, snorkeling alongside them, or serving as a trainer for the day.
Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
Want to explore Key Largo’s natural beauty? Strap on your hiking shoes to explore the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. For hikers and outdoor adventures, the trail is one of the top Key Largo tourist attractions.
Take a walk along the recreational trail to enjoy some of the island’s finest sights. Or tackle it with more speed on a bike ride with the ocean breeze at your back and the brilliant blue waters of the Keys glistening in the sun.
The destinate ride brims with 76 miles of trails. With its unique beauty and a wide range of services, the journey is bound to be a pleasant one.
If you’re a cyclist or hiker carrying camping gear, you can use the trail’s well-spaced campgrounds. Many of the camping spots string along beaches, surrounded by mangroves and turquoise water. It makes a memorable overnight stay around Key Largo.
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
Find one of the USA’s largest tracts of hammocks at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. Named after a local environmental activist, the park is home to mesmerizing West Indian hardwood hammocks.
The hammocks at Dagny Johnson Park protect 84 protected plant & animal species. Hiding among them are species like wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe, and American crocodiles.
A mere $2.50 entry fee allows you to explore six miles of exhilarating outdoor activities and birdwatching opportunities.
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Enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch at the pavilion before heading to the 2.4-mile Port Bougainville Trail. Along the trail, you’ll get to explore the island’s tropical trees within one of the most popular Florida Keys state parks.
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Nothing says Florida quite like crocodiles and alligators At Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll see these magnificent creatures in a prime habitat covering 6,700 acres.
The mangroves and estuaries of South Florida, including the Florida Keys, are home to American crocodiles. The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1980 to conserve these important habitats.
Inside the visitor complex, you’ll learn more about the refuge’s crocodile conservation. The refuge is a mosaic of habitats, including tropical hardwood hammocks, mangrove forests, and salt marshes. Hundreds of plants and animals, including eight protected species, rely on the habitats for survival.
Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center
Located on the Overseas Hwy, The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center was created to protect local birdlife. The center’s mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-release injured native and migrating wild birds. It’s also a sanctuary for birds that are unable to survive in the wild.
The center provides humane, natural enclosures where the birds can live out the rest of their lives. Bird lovers can view nests of falcons, vultures, hawks, pelicans, herons, owls, vultures, and more on self-guided tours.
Guests can enter the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center free of charge. The facility does, however, request a donation of $10. This small donation goes a long way to support their admirable mission.
If you’re visiting with kids, the center offers an exceptional educational experience. Even parents will find themselves learn plenty along the way!
Everglades National Park
Looking for an escape from Key Largo? Take your sightseeing up a notch with a visit to Everglades National Park. The largest subtropical wilderness area in the U.S., the park is famed for its staggering natural beauty. Although often visited as a day trip from Miami, the Everglades is also one of the most popular Key Largo day trips.
Everglades National Park is home to 1.5 million acres of wetlands. It’s so important to North America’s geography it’s been named a World Biological Reserve and World Heritage Site. You can learn about its history at the visitor centers or take a walk along its scenic trails. For an extra exciting excursion, take a tour on an airboat along the waterways.
You’ll find the park’s main attractions and visitors at each of its four entrances. Vehicles require a $25 entry fee. The pass will remain valid for 7 days.
Planning to visit more than two to three national parks on your trip? Consider picking up an America the Beautiful Pass.
African Queen Cruise
Ready to explore Key Largo’s waterways? Book yourself onto the African Queen Cruise. Named after the timeless 1951 movie, the historic steamboat remains an icon to this day.
On this 1.5-hour boat ride, you’ll travel down the Port Largo Canals. You’ll float to the Atlantic Ocean before returning to Marina Del Mar. You can embark upon this historic steamboat cruise at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, or 4 pm.
USS Spiegel Grove Wreck
Searching for another underwater adventure on your Key Largo trip? Explore the USS Spiegel Grove Wreck. Wreck divers and recreational divers alike love plunging the depths to marvel at the Spiegel Grove. With its vast exploration opportunities, it’s a popular diving destination for technical and rebreather divers.
Dozens of barracudas and French angelfish live around the wreck below the bright blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll also spot hundreds of yellowtail snappers swimming and soft corals growing alongside.
It’s important to note that his dive spot should only be attempted by advanced divers. The wreck is known for the strong currents swirling around it.
Harry Harris Park & Beach
Need a break from all the adventure? Enjoy the warm waters of Key Largo and an afternoon of relaxed vibes & family fun at Harry Harris Park & Beach. Often considered one of the top-rated beaches in the Florida Keys, the park is a must-see on your Key Largo itinerary.
At Harry Harris Park & Beach, coral rocks protect the beach from rip currents and large fish. The barrier consists of several screened culverts, creating a quasi tidal pool. Several covered picnic tables and a bathhouse are also available in the park.
If you want to hang out for a while, be sure to pack a picnic lunch and beverages before visiting. There are no concessions at the park.
History of Diving Museum
Finished exploring the waters of Key Largo? Dry off with a visit to the History of Diving Museum. Located on Islamorada, the museum explores thousands of years of diving history. For underwater enthusiasts, it’s among the top things to see & do in Key Largo.
At the museum’s interactive exhibits, you’ll see dive paraphernalia and relics recovered from the bottom of the ocean. You’ll also learn how technology has helped researchers discover new species and document underwater environments.
After checking out the diving exhibits, be sure to head over to the museum’s aquarium to dazzle at its colorful tropical fish collection.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
To dazzle at the ocean’s most spectacular wonders, venture into the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The marine park covers a whopping 2,900 square nautical miles. It comprises the Florida Coral Reef, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-lined islands, and over 6,000 species of marine life. The sanctuary also hides shipwrecks and other significant archeological treasures.
Activities in the shallow waters include swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing, and scuba diving. Be aware of the sanctuary’s rules and regulations, set in place to protect its natural & cultural resources.
Built up an appetite on your Key Largo adventure? Save time to chow down at Marker 88. Often touted as one of the best restaurants in the Florida Keys, Marker 88 offers delicious food and views over the pristine waters.
Time your visit to Marker 88 to enjoy a beautiful sunset while sipping on a fine sundowner. On the eclectic menu, you’ll find both exotic flavors and more familiar local ones.
Dabble in usual seafood items, like Oysters Rockefeller and crab cakes with Pommery mustard. Or settle on one of the restaurant’s more surprising dishes. Try its guacamole with lobster and mango or Mahi Martinique topped with bananas grilled over charcoal.
Marker 88 is located on the Overseas Highway in Islamorada, between Key Largo and Key West. Arrive hungry.
Molasses Reef Sanctuary Preservation Area
Divers and snorkelers alike will love exploring the Molasses Reef Sanctuary Preservation Area. The underwater reef system sits offshore southeast of Key Largo. It’s one of the most interesting places to go in Key Largo to discover its aquamarine wonders.
Molasses Reef offers divers and snorkelers a wide range of underwater experiences. The calm waters charm visitors with their abundant marine life and coral reefs.
Among the reefs, you’ll spot hundreds of species. Keep your eyes peeled for Nurse sharks, lobsters, eels, shrimps, and crabs. Watch as schools of tropical fish—from snappers to angelfish to parrotfish—swirl about.
Visit one of Key Largo’s many dive centers to join a dive charter to explore the beautiful reef.
Jules Undersea Lodge
Fans of classic literature will recognize the literary themes at the Jules Undersea Lodge. The unique lodgings honor author Jules Verne’s masterpiece book, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” One of the most interesting things to see in Key Largo, the underwater hotel is full of retro 80s and 90s cool.
Room service at Jules Undersea Lodge is a unique experience to say the least. Watch as a chef scuba dives into your room to prepare dinner while you sip on a beverage.
There’s even a lagoon offering scuba training with a depth up to 30 feet. Here, you can obtain an Open Water certification, or take a Discover Scuba Diving course.
Florida Keys Brewing Company
All your Key Largo sightseeing got you thirsty? Head over to Islamorada to enjoy an ice-cold beer at the Florida Keys Brewing Company. At the craft brewery, you’ll find a wide selection of beers seasoned with fruit extracts like mango, passionfruit, and pineapple. It’s the perfect pit-stop for any Florida Keys road trip.
The impressive menu at Florida Keys Brewing Company includes craft beers, lagers, Kolsch, browns, wheat ales, and IPAs. Be sure to try their Key Largo Lager, brewed with the tropical goodness of passionfruit.
Best places to stay in Key Largo for sightseeing
For travelers, the best places to stay in Key Largo are around the island’s city center. You’ll also find a good selection of accommodations in neighboring Tavernier and Islamorada.
One of the top budget picks, this hotel sits minutes from the Key Largo city center. Enjoy fun in the sun on the private beach or paddle around with a free kayak rental.
Located on the Overseas Hwy, this resort offers guests excellent amenities in a waterfront location. Chill out on the private beach and sunset pier after a day of kayaking on the waters.
One of Key Largo’s best luxury hotels, this resort delivers the perfect Keys vacation. You’ll love hanging out around the year-round outdoor pool and soaking in the hot tub. End the evening with fresh fish & seafood dishes, rum in hand, at its classy waterfront restaurant, Sol by the Sea.