10 Must-See Attractions In Key Largo: Does the mere mention of Key Largo get you humming the Beach Boys classic, Kokomo? Imagining the swaying palm trees, balmy weather and sapphire blue sea lapping the shore? As one of the most popular islands along the sun-soaked Florida Keys, you don’t have to imagine very hard…the reality is pretty dreamy! It’s hard to believe that this island paradise is a quick one hour drive from Miami, transporting you from city life to a laid-back small town in less than 60 minutes. Most of the attractions in Key Largo revolve around the sea so many of the most popular activities are water-based. There are, however, some fun things to do for land lovers.
1. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers visitors land and sea adventures, covering approximately 178 nautical miles, and is one of the top attractions in Key Largo. For those who prefer remaining on solid ground, nature trails, beaches and a beautiful mangrove trail will keep you busy for hours. For visitors itching to take a dip in the ocean, there are plenty of fun water-based activities in the park.
- Wild Tamarind Trail – a beautiful loop through the tropical hardwood hammock.
- Grove Trail – the trail starts near a mangrove and winds through the tropical hardwood forest, ending at a fruit grove. You’ll spot a variety of butterflies along this trail.
- Mangrove Trail – a relaxing route along a boardwalk winding through the mangrove swamps.
There are 42 campsites with electrical outlets, running water and sewer connections and are suitable for RVs.
There are four different types of boat tours, with the most popular being the glass-bottom boat tour which departs three times a day year-round. Boat tours last 2.5 hours with 1.5 hours being dedicated to exploring the reefs.
Paddle around the lagoons and near the mangroves, with equipment available for rent onsite.
Snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming:
For those keen on snorkeling or scuba diving, book a snorkeling tour or enroll in the dive classes at the park’s dive shop. The coral formations and the marine life they attract are truly extraordinary to see up close.
2. Snorkeling Tour
On the topic of snorkeling, book a luxury private snorkeling tour at John Pennekamp State Park. Your guide will point out the abundance of sea critters which include Parrot Fish, Barracudas and Stingrays.
3. African Queen Canal Cruise
Love history? You’ll love the 100+ year old African Queen boat which operates daily cruises along the tranquil canals.
4. Island Dolphin Care
The dolphins at Island Dolphin Care are very special dolphins…they help kids and adults with disabilities each and every day! Tours are personalized with a range of options on offer. One of the most interesting activities is floating on a raft in the dolphin pool and observing how the friendly and curious dolphins interact with you. They may even ask you to gently pet them depending on how lucky you are! There are free instructor-led yoga classes out on the dock so bring a mat along and zen out as the dolphins look on.
5. Dive the Molasses Reefs
Molasses Reef is a huge reef system with certain areas reaching up to 90 feet below surface level. The coral heads that pop out the reefs along with the diverse marine life is what attracts divers to this reef. Have your guide point out Fire Coral Cave and Eagle Ray Alley as you explore the reefs, they’re pretty spectacular. Near Molasses Reef are a number of shipwrecks and some of them are pretty big ones of up to 510 feet in length. 3 are so deep that an advanced diving certification is required in order to get down to them. The Benwood wreck is open to Open Water divers, being only 25 – 45 feet below surface.
6. Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre
Ever wanted to see an owl up close? You can when you visit the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre with over 90 rehabilitated birds calling the sanctuary home. Due to their injuries, they are not able to be released back into the wild, so are kept safe within the sanctuary. Be sure to arrive by 8am or 2:30pm for the daily pelican feeding, it’s quite a spectacle!
7. Harry Harris Park
Harry Harris Park is a top attraction in Key Largo for families with a safe man-made beach, picnic areas, playground and basketball court. Fishing is also allowed here.
8. Seaside Dinners
As a beach town, dinner next to the ocean is practically compulsory! There’s nothing more relaxing than sipping a glass of wine and tucking into delicious, fresh seafood as the water crashes against the rocks nearby. Skipper’s Dockside is positioned right beside the dock and serves some of the best calamari in town. Sundowners is a seafood restaurant and bar with a massive deck and beautiful views of the marina, especially at sunset.
9. Island Market Place
Over 50 vendors sell their fresh produce, cheeses, cakes, bakes, art, clothing, jewelry and more at this thriving flea market.
10. Key Largo Art Gallery
The Key Largo Art Gallery showcases the works of local artists with almost all pieces up for sale. Take your time strolling through the gallery and taking in the mesmerizing art pieces, many inspired by the ocean and sea life.
With more of a small town feel, Key Largo offers something a little different to some of the other islands along the Florida Keys. While most of the main attractions in Key Largo are aquatic activities like boating, snorkeling, paddling and diving, there are also many more relaxed activities for those looking to just relax. Hit the hiking trails in John Pennekamp State Park, laze on the beach at Harry Harris Park, visit the art gallery or enjoy sundowners and dinner on the waterfront.