Key Largo is one of the most visited places in the Florida Keys, and it’s no secret why. With world-class diving, beautiful beaches, and plenty of delicious places to grab a conch fritter there is no shortage of things to do in Key Largo!
Whether you are on a Florida Keys road trip or spending an entire week in Key Largo, let’s dig into the best Key Largo activities to try.
In this Key Largo travel guide, we’re going to take a look at:
- Where is Key Largo
- Why Key Largo is a Must Visit
- Things to do in Key Largo
- Best Restaurants in Key Largo
- How to Get to Key Largo
- How to Get Around Key Largo
- Where to Stay in Key Largo
- Key Largo Weather
Where is Key Largo?
Key Largo is the first island you will come across in the Florida Keys from the mainland. It’s the northernmost key, connected by US Highway 1. Key Largo is just 60 miles from downtown Miami.
It’s one of the top destinations in the Florida Keys, coming in a close second after Key West. It’s one of the best places in the entire United States for diving and snorkeling and is home to the world’s largest artificial reef.
Why is Key Largo a must-visit? Key Largo is one of the best small towns in the US, and fantastic for those after a tropical vacation with plenty of seafood, island vibes, and world-class diving.
The Best Things to do in Key Largo
1. Island Dolphin Care
Island Dolphin Care hosts dolphin therapy programs for people with special needs. On-site, you’ll find the therapy and education center, a natural lagoon, several aquariums, a touch tank, gardens, and exhibits.
The best way to experience this fantastic place is with a guided tour that’ll allow you to watch a dolphin training session and interact with the dolphins.
- Location: 150 Loreland Place.
- Tip: Join a Dolphin Float excursion and float around in the lagoon on a raft as the dolphins swim around you.
- Price: Reservations required to tour Island Dolphin Care/ A dolphin float starts at $150.
2. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is the perfect place to spend a day if you’re interested in combining educational experiences with outdoor activities.
There are six miles of nature trails in the park and as you explore the park, you’ll learn about local plants and animal species. It’s a vital habitat for the endangered Key Largo Cotton Mouse and more than 80 other protected species. You’ll find many informative panels along the trails during your self-guided tour.
- Location: County Road 905 and Mile Marker 106.
- Tip: There are guided tours available
- Price: $2.50 per person.
3. Overseas Heritage Trail
The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is a 90-mile multi-use trail situated along an old railbed that was once used by the Overseas Railroad. It’s a popular trail with hikers and bikers, and while many visitors explore the entire trail, a perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise is to explore a section or two of it while you’re in the area.
- Location: Starts at the visitor center at MM 106.
- Tip: Along the way, be sure to check out some of the attractions, including educational panels, scenic picnic areas, lookouts, piers and paths leading to the water.
- Price: Free.
4. Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
One of the best things to do in Key Largo is visit this refuge! Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a fascinating place to visit where you can earn about the tropical vegetation, mangrove forest and salt marshes that are home to these massive creatures and other protected species such as the Key Largo Woodrat, cotton mouse, and Eastern Indigo Snake.
- Location: 10750 County Road 905
- Tip: Visit the on-site Butterfly Garden.
- Price: Free.
5. Go Scuba Diving
As a dive capital, one of the best things to do in Key Largo is get out on a dive – even if you are a beginner! Some of the best diving sites in North America are in Key Largo. Horizon Divers runs epic dive trips every morning and afternoon.
A range of diving excursions are available, including Molasses Reef, where you might see small sharks, stingrays, barracuda, and other colorful fish species. And French Reef, which takes you a little deeper where you’ll see moray eels, canyons, caves and Elkhorn coral.
Other excursions for beginners include the Christ of the Abyss statue and The Benwood wreck.
- Location: 99222 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: Advanced divers can dive to the incredible Spiegel Grove Wreck.
- Price: Dives start at $95.
6. Try Stand Up Paddleboarding
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is a newer water sport that has been taking the world by storm recently and at PADDLE! in Key Largo, you’ll embark on an amazing paddling experience on calm waters near scenic mangroves.
Even if you’ve never been on a board before, the professional coaches are there to teach you the basics before embarking on a two-hour eco-tour.
- Location: 90773 Old Highway #1, Tavernier.
- Tip: PADDLE! offers SUP Yoga classes and night-time SUP tours on special boards that light up. Kayaks and skateboards are available to rent.
- Price: Tours start at $60. SUP and Kayak rentals start at $35.
7. Do Some Snorkelling
While snorkeling can be done from almost any shore in Key Largo, the best and safest way to snorkel is with a guided tour like the ones offered by Snorkel Key Largo if it’s your first time. Enjoying a half-day snorkel tour is easily one of the best things to do in Key Largo. Head out on a 50-foot catamaran to some of the best snorkel spots around.
On board, there are shaded areas, bathrooms, sun decks, beverages and snacks. Mosquito Bank, White Banks and Patch Reef are some of the tours available and during a tour, you’ll see over 600 marine species including coral.
- Location: 90311 Old Highway & Plantation Drive, Tavernier
- Tip: The company also offers sunset cruises.
- Price: Excursions start at $55.
8. Gallery of Kona Kai
At the Gallery of Kona Kai, you’ll see a variety of unique and beautiful artworks. This gallery includes creations by both local and international artists.
- Location: in the Kona Kai Resort at 97802 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: Check out some of the other great art galleries in the area including Our Place in Paradise and Key Largo Art Gallery.
- Price: Free.
9. Harry Harris Park and Beach
Harris Park and Beach is one of the best places to have a picnic on Key Largo. As you enjoy your lunch or swim in the clear, warm waters, you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery. The park is also home to other facilities that make it a great place to spend an afternoon including a playground, basketball court, restrooms and baseball fields.
- Location: 38 Beach Road.
- Tip: On weekends, make sure to arrive early if you want to get a good parking spot. The park opens at sunrise so it’s a great place to start the day’s adventures.
- Price: $8.
10. History of Diving Museum
Yes, it’s a museum about scuba diving but even if you don’t enjoy scuba diving, you’ll find the History of Diving Museum quite fascinating. The exhibits take you from the very beginning of ocean exploration to the current day. As you explore them, you’ll learn about diving pioneers, how underwater breathing evolved, equipment through the years, and the evolution of the sport itself.
Also on display are items that were found in shipwrecks. There’s even an exhibit that allows you to test how long you can hold your breath underwater. This museum is in Islamorada so it’s best done when driving between Key Largo and Key West.
- Location: 82990 Overseas Highway, Islamorada
- Tip: If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love the scavenger hunts and other activities that the museum hosts.
- Price: $12.
11. Robbie’s Dock
It’s a 45-minute drive from Key Largo, but Robbie’s Dock is worth the trip to Islamorada! This legendary attraction’s main draw is the opportunity to feed the giant tarpons that hang out under the dock and often leap out of the water to retrieve food.
During your visit, you can also buy fresh fish, embark on a cruise, browse the souvenir shop or rent water equipment such as kayaks, parasail, and jet skis.
- Location: 77522 Overseas Highway, Islamorada
- Tip: Enjoy fresh seafood and other delicious dishes at the Hungry Tarpon Restaurant, followed by signature cocktails on the deck of the Thirsty Tarpon Bar.
- Price: $2.25 to access the pier and $4 per bucket of fish to feed the Tarpons.
12. Go Deep-sea Fishing
Fishing is a big industry in Key Largo, and you can embark on a deep-sea fishing excursion with Key Largo Fishing Adventures. The waters off the Florida Keys are said to be the best fishing grounds on earth, and during one of these trips, you’ll have a chance to land a variety of species including marlin, dolphin, tuna, sailfish, kingfish and wahoo.
Your excursion includes guidance from expert crewmembers who ensure your safety while creating a fun environment.
- Location: 99701 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: Key Largo Fishing Adventures offers discounted rates for several hotels including Bayside Inn, Holiday Inn, Marriott Courtyard, Marina Del Mar and Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort.
- Price: Starting at $725 for a half-day and $1,475 for a full day.
13. Florida Keys Brewing
If you’re a craft beer lover, you likely enjoy tasting local brews inspired by the local culture. The brews created at Florida Keys Brewing reflect local island life! Even the tasting room has an island vibe! There are 20 beers available including Hibiscus Kolsh, Grapefruit to be Alive, and Bayside Coffee Blonde.
You can enjoy your beverages in the beer garden where you’ll find table and lawn games and perhaps have a chance to listen to some live music. Brewery tours are available.
- Location: 81611 Old Highway, Islamorada.
- Tip: Be sure to check the brewery’s calendar of events as many events are happening throughout the year.
- Price: Flights start at $16.
14. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
The Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is a section of land made of limestone and fossilized coral once used by the Florida East Coast Railroad. Today, you can walk along an 8-foot-high quarry and learn about its history and what it was used for.
The park is a popular spot for bird-watching and picnicking. Be sure to check the five nature trails that are on site.
- Location: 84900 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 84.9 on Windley Key.
- Tip: Guided tours are available.
- Price: Park entry is $2.50. Guided tours are $2.
15. Sundowners Restaurant
Sunsets in the Florida Keys are amazing and in Key Largo, one of the best places to enjoy one of these epic sunsets is at Sundowners Restaurant. Sit down to a delicious meal of fresh seafood in the dining room overlooking the harbor.
Stick around for drinks as you watch the sun slip below the horizon. Live music is often featured as this is one of the best restaurants in Key Largo.
- Location: 103900 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: Visit the back dock and feed the resident tarpons.
- Price: Average price per meal is $30.
16. Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is one of the best beaches on Key Largo to take a dip in the ocean. Not only is the water very warm but it’s also safe for swimmers of all abilities because the water is shallow and calm. Snorkelers see a variety of tropical fish and beachcombers enjoy checking out the 17th-century cannons resting in the sand.
- Location: 102601 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: More experienced divers and snorkelers can head out to deeper water where they’ll see an old Spanish shipwreck.
- Price: $9.
17. Schnebly Redland’s Winery
At Schnebly Redland’s Winery, a variety of wines, including red, dessert, rose, sparkling and tropical fruit wines, are available to try. Enjoy a tasting in a beautiful location surrounded by lush greenery and coral waterfalls followed by a tour of the wine-making facilities.
- Location: 30205 SW 217th Ave, Homestead.
- Tip: Local cuisine and craft beers are served at the on-site restaurant.
- Price: Ultimate Wine Tasting Booking is $30. Winery tours are $16.
18. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Much of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is underwater, so snorkeling or scuba diving are the best ways to experience this park’s wonders. However, much of the 25-mile-long park can also be explored by kayak or glass-bottom boat tour so you can see the wonders above water.
As you explore the park, you’ll see coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, marine vegetation, sea creatures and a variety of birds.
- Location: 102601 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: There are hiking trails that you can explore on your own or with a ranger-guided walk.
- Price: $8 per vehicle or $2 for pedestrians.
19. The Pilot House
At the Pilot House, you’ll enjoy delicious food in a laid-back atmosphere but the most unique thing about this place is the location inside a marina that allows guests to arrive either by boat or car. Seafood is popular but you can also find a selection of burgers and sandwiches.
- Location: 13 Seagate Boulevard.
- Tip: Head to the glass-bottom bar where you’ll find a selection of wine and beer. The bar hosts live music several days a week.
- Price: Average $20 – $35 per meal.
20. African Queen Canal Cruise
The African Queen Canal Cruise is a 1.5-hour relaxing journey through the Port Largo Canals onboard a historic steamboat that was featured in the film “The African Queen”.
- Location: U.S. Hwy 1 at mile marker 100 Holiday Inn Docks.
- Tip: Make sure to inquire about having a turn at the helm.
- Price: $59
21. Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center
The purpose of the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center is to rescue injured birds, nurse them back to health and release them. The Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary is where you’ll see the birds that aren’t able to be released. Observe these birds, which include herons, owls, vultures and hawks, in habitats just like their natural ones.
- Location: 92080 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier.
- Tip: Stick around to watch a live feeding.
- Price: Free but donations welcome.
22. Jules Undersea Lodge
If you’re seeking a unique place to stay while in Key Largo, look no further than Jules Undersea Lodge. Not only is this lodge underwater, but you’ll also need to scuba dive to get to your room!
The atmosphere is a little eerie at first but once you settle into your isolated little nook beneath the waves, it becomes a relaxing retreat where you can watch colorful fish swim all around you.
- Location: 51 Shoreland Drive.
- Tip: You can embark on three-hour mini adventures without staying the night.
- Price: Starting at $1,125 for Jules’ Undersea Luxury Package.
23. Go Parasailing
Parasailing is an adrenaline-pumping activity and a great way to see the surrounding scenery from a different angle. With Key Largo Parasail, you’ll sail high above the landscape with expert instruction from a professional team who make your safety and enjoyment priorities.
- Location: 103900 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: Combine a parasailing adventure with a glass-bottom boat tour.
- Price: Starts at $99.
24. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a vast area that was set up to protect a variety of sea creatures and coral reefs and it’s home to many of the top diving sites in the region including French Reef and Grecian Rocks.
As you explore this unique ecosystem, you’ll see the third biggest coral barrier reef on earth, seagrass fields, mangrove forest and shipwrecks.
- Location: 95230 Overseas Highway.
- Tip: Visit one of the local dive shops to arrange a dive.
- Price: Free
25. Go on a Road Trip
The 105-mile drive through the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West is one of the top road trips in the United States. Travel along the Overseas Highway through Marathon, Islamorada, and Big Pine Key.
See top attractions including Dry Tortugas National Park, Ernest Hemingway House, Key West Lighthouse, Key West Aquarium and the Seven Mile Bridge.
- Location: From Key Largo to Key West
- Tip: Stop at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe and try the famous Key Lime Pie.
- Price: Free minus the price of gas.
26. Tour the Coral Restoration Foundation Education Center
The Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) is an amazing nonprofit headquartered right in Key Largo and well worth a stop when you are driving from Key Largo to Key West.
Did you know that we have lost 50% of the world’s shallow-water coral reefs in the last three decades? It’s estimated by 2100, we could lose them all if humanity does not act fast. Did you also know that coral is an animal (not a plant)? As these animal numbers decline, their genetic diversity and population resiliency are lost.
It’s estimated that 500 million people rely on coral reefs for survival, accounting for almost 10 trillion dollars in business. Their significance on this planet is astounding, and that’s why we are so thankful for the Coral Restoration Foundation which works with the reefs, and aid in their recovery process. They have large-scale cultivation and outplanting process and actually plant new coral reefs in the ocean! It’s mainly volunteers that carry out these tasks of working in the “coral nurseries.”
Visitors can venture into their Key Largo center to learn about their projects, or divers can go underwater and actually plant new coral themselves! There’s nothing better than feeling like you are giving back on vacation, and this is a great cause to give back to!
Best Things To Do In Key Largo Map
Best Restaurants in Key Largo
Key Largo has some of the best bites in the Florida Keys, only rivaling Key West! There are plenty of options for places to eat – especially if you like seafood! No matter where you go in Key Largo make sure to try Stone Crab, Conch Chowder, and definitely Conch Fritters!
- Conch House: Family-owned and operated and has a strong focus on sustainability. The ambiance is laid back and homey, with a specialty of, of course, conch.
- The Fish House: Eclectic eatery that’s great for dinner out. Most items are purchased from local commercial fishermen. This means you always get the freshest seafood, but also means availability always depends on conditions and season.
- C&C Wood Fire Eats: If you are all fished out and seeking something a little different, C&C dishes up the most delicious wood-fired pizzas you can find.
How to Get to Key Largo
To get to Key Largo it’s best to fly directly into Miami or Fort Lauderdale and rent a car from there. It is just over an hour to get from Miami International Airport to Key Largo on US-1 S. From the Fort Lauderdale Airport it will take 1.45 hours to get to Miami.
If you start your trip in Key West, it will take 2 hours (97.6 mi) via US-1 N to reach Key Largo. Though it’s a fantastic drive with great stops, so it will likely take you longer than 2 hours.
How to Get Around Key Largo
There is a bike path in Key Largo that runs alongside the highway, though this is not the best way to get around as it’s not very pleasant. We recommended picking up a car rental in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Key West to road trip around the Florida Keys. Discover Car Hire is our favorite place to search and compare car rentals in Florida.
Where to Stay in Key Largo
The best place to stay in Key Largo is Baker’s Cay. This 13-acre, 200-room private resort is one of the most comfortable places we’ve visited in the United States.
Baker’s Cay has a great location off the Overseas Highway, with a large private beach big enough for the entire family to enjoy. They have a great lagoon and swimming area with stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and a great beach bar to chill out at. Make sure to get a sunset-facing room!
Best Time to Visit Key Largo
The best time to visit Key Largo is between the months of December and March. This is when Key Largo is the dryest and temperatures are bearable. Don’t worry – they will still be plenty pleasant enough for your vacation.
We visited Key Largo in early May and had fantastic weather, though it was often hotter during the middle of the day than we are used to. The worst time to visit Key Largo is during the Atlantic hurricane, which begins in June and runs through November, with the highest chance of a hurricane being during August and September.
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel around the world for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.