20 Best Things To Do In Key Largo Florida

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Key Largo is the first stop on the way down the Florida Keys, and it’s a great introduction to the idyllic lifestyle found throughout this island chain. You’ll find all the makings of a tropical destination here: turquoise blue waters, beautiful beaches, and warm weather all year long. 

But don’t mistake this for just any old island. There are tons of unique things to do in Key Largo, from diving in the country’s first underwater state park and exploring shipwrecks to visiting wildlife rehabilitation centers and venturing out to sand bars off the coast. Here are the best things to do in Key Largo.

Quick Travel Tips

Our Favorite Experiences and Tours In Key Largo

Key Largo Two Reef Snorkel Tour – Top Pick! Going snorkeling in Key Largo is one of the best things to do!

Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Adventure – Spot some wildlife including turtles and manatees.

Cruisin’ Tikis Key Largo Sunset Cruise – Best way to end the day is by going on a sunset cruise!

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

You’re on an island, surrounded by water, so make sure you get out on that water while you’re in Key Largo. And what better place to explore the water than an underwater state park?

Established in 1963, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first of its kind in the country. There are tons of ways to explore this water-centric park. You can snorkel, scuba dive, or take a glass-bottomed boat to get a look at coral, sea grass, and marine life. Or, stay above the surface and hike one of the trails, go fishing, or look for wading birds in the beachy section of the park.

Scuba Diving

As the self-proclaimed dive capital of the United States, it should come as no surprise that scuba diving is one of the best things to do in Key Largo. The aforementioned John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a must-see below the surface, but there are other great spots to dive around the island, too, including the USS Spiegel Grove Shipwreck, The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and Jule’s Undersea Lodge

There are tons of tours available for scuba divers wanting to explore beneath the surface, and snorkeling is also available at numerous destinations along the coast if you’re not keen on going so far down.

The Coral Restoration Foundation Exploration Center

For a more intentional scuba diving experience, visit the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo. Local conservationists run this not-for-profit in an attempt to restore damaged reef sections along the Florida Reef Tract. 

If you don’t have time to volunteer on one of their dives, you can visit the center and check out the education exhibits or sit in on a lecture.

History Of Diving Museum

If you’re interested in the area’s diving history but don’t want to get wet yourself, head to the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada.

This quirky museum features shipwreck artifacts and ancient equipment, including an impressive helmet collection. In addition to diving, you can learn all about the human history of exploring the seas in interactive exhibits, test how long you can hold your breath, and marvel at rotating art installations.

Take A Snorkel Tour

Snorkeling is one of the most popular things to do in Key Largo and a great alternative to scuba diving. With a snorkeling tour, you will get to see the beautiful coral reefs and explore the marine wildlife. The tour takes you out to the coral reef in a catamaran and includes all of the snorkel gear, snorkel vest, reef safe sunscreen and water.

While relaxing on the sun deck on the way to the only living barrier reef in the United States, learn all about the marine life and the surrounding ecosystem from the knowledgeable guides. This is one of the best ways to spend a day out on the water in Key Largo.

Harry Harris Beach & Park

One of the best things to do in Key Largo is to hit the beach – this is an island, after all! The Harry Harris Beach and Park is arguably the best spot for a classic beach day, thanks to the soft sand, calm waters, and swaying palm trees. It’s postcard-perfect!

The park also has plenty of great facilities, including picnic areas with public BBQs, restrooms, a playground, a boat launch, and more. Note that there is a fee to enter this park ($8 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors).

Go On A Sunset Cruise

A sunset cruise is one of the best ways to end the day in Key Largo. After an adventurous day of scuba diving and exploring the best of Key Largo, there’s no better way to relax and enjoy a cruise around the islands while watching the sky turn pretty colors.

There’s also a chance of seeing dolphins and manatees out on the water so be sure to be on a lookout while learning more about the marine life from the captain. This small-group cruise is the perfect thing to do in Key Largo for couples and for families alike.

Stay At Jules Undersea Lodge

The Jules Undersea Lodge is one of the most unique stays in Florida at the Key Largo Undersea Park. It is the only hotel in the world where you actually have to scuba dive to your hotel room which makes it quite the bucket list experience. If you don’t have your scuba certification, there’s no need to worry, the Park offers scuba training to get the necessary certification.

After getting to dive around the lagoon, you can head over to the lodge for your overnight stay, or just explore the place for a few hours. If you choose an overnight stay, the Jules’ Undersea Luxury Package is their standard package that allows you to stay at lodge with dinner, snacks and drinks provided.

Relax On The Beaches

What better way to spend your time on the tropical islands than on the beach? John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park comprises a big part of the island and the surrounding water, and is home to one of the most popular beaches in Key Largo, Cannon Beach.

This beach is beautiful with clear turquoise water and white sand that is perfect for any beach day activities. Whether you want to snorkel, swim, sunbathe, or even camp out on the beach, this is the perfect beach for it. however, there is a small admission fee to access this beach but it is well worth it.

Kayak Through The Mangroves

There are quite a few mangroves surrounding Key Largo so taking a kayaking tour is the best way to explore them. As you kayak through the mangroves, you will get to see the natural beauty of the island and learn all about the ecosystem of the area.

There is a high chance of seeing a variety of wildlife on this tour including turtles, manatees, dolphins, fish, jelly fish, birds, and many more creatures. You get a pick of single or tandem kayaks with life jackets included on this three-hour tour. Grab snorkeling gear with you as well for a chance to take a quick dip and see the marine life underwater even better.

African Queen Canal Cruise

A steamboat cruise may not be at the top of mind when you’re day dreaming about your island getaway, but taking a canal cruise is one of the best things to do in Key Largo. 

The African Queen Canal Cruise uses a restored 1912 steamboat that was used for the film “African Queen” in 1951, starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Today, it embarks from the Marina del Mar and takes guests on a 1.5-hour tour of the Port Largo canals. There are different types of cruises departing at various times throughout the day, so visit the website for more details.

Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen

After a busy day of exploring or lounging on the beach, you’ll likely work up a big appetite. There are tons of great restaurants in Key Largo, but one of the best is Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen. 

This American-Caribbean restaurant first opened its doors in 1976, and it has been wooing customers with its award-winning food and fantastic service ever since. Breakfast is especially popular here, with everything from traditional egg dishes to shrimp and grits. You can’t go wrong with lunch or dinner, either. No matter what time of day you visit, be sure to finish off with a slice of famous key lime pie.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

The land at Dagney Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park was once slated for development, but luckily, it became a protected state park instead! There are six miles of trails winding through the park, most of which are flat, paved, and easy to walk or bike on. 

The main draw here is the rare species of plants, including West Indian hardwood hammocks, wild cotton, mistletoe, and more. The park is also a great spot for birding, so keep your eyes peeled as you make your way along the trails.

Have A Thrilling Jetski Ride

Kick off your Key Largo stay with a thrilling ride on the jet ski. A jet ski rental allows you to enjoy the open water at your own pace with freedom to go wherever you want. Explore the mangrove-lined coastline or go out into the open water where you can watch for more marine life. For adventure seekers, riding a jet ski is one of the best things to do in Key Largo.

Dolphin Plus

If you’ve dreamed of swimming with dolphins, Key Largo is one of the places in the Florida Keys where that is possible. Not only do you have a high chance of seeing dolphins out in the open water, at Dolphin Plus Bayside you have the opportunity to get up close to these beautiful and gentle creatures.

With many dolphin encounters to choose from, you can pick the option that best suits you. Whether you want to swim with dolphins in deep water and get to do foot pushes or dorsal tows, or have a shallow water encounter, Dolphin Plus offer many different experiences. You can even be trainer for the day or paint with the dolphins.

Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is part of the four refuges in the Florida Keys. The refuge has different types of habitats for a wide variety of plants and animals. One of the species that this habitat is a refuge for is the American Crocodile which provides a protected nesting ground for this endangered species. There is a visitor complex that is the entry point to the refuge that covers over 6,000 acres.

Overseas Heritage Trail

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is an integral part of the island chain’s infrastructure. The trail was initially a rail line, but today, it is mainly used for biking and hiking. The trail connects Key Largo to the rest of the Keys and meanders past other important spots along the way, including Biscayne National Park, the Florida Keys National Maritime Sanctuary, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and more.

At 100 miles long, you likely won’t have time to traverse the entire thing, but you can pick a section and enjoy some beautiful scenery along even the shortest stretch.

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

If you run out of things to do in Key Largo, take a little road trip down to the next key (Tavernier) and visit the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center. The sanctuary’s mission is to rescue birds who need help from bad situations and rehabilitate them until they are ready to return to their natural habitats. 

You won’t be able to visit the hospital section of the center, but visitors are welcome to bird watch in the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary. There are usually dozens of different species here at any given time, allowing you to observe birds you might not get to see in the wild.


Fishing is a rite of passage in Key Largo, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newbie hoping to reel in their first catch. There are some great designated fishing spots along the coast, including Long Sound and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

The real fun can be found on a deep sea fishing excursion, where you’ll get the chance to fish with the pros and reel in big fish like tarpon, sailfish, sea trout, and mahi mahi. Tours are available year-round at all different prices and lengths. You can book a private tour for a whole day, or snag a spot on a charter for a few hours.

Day Trip To The Everglades

Base yourself in Key Largo and you’ll have easy access to some of Florida’s other top spots. The famous Everglades National Park is less than an hour’s drive from the island and makes for an incredible day trip if you have the time.

The park is home to a staggering 1.5 million acres of wetlands, filled with mangroves, crocodiles and other exciting species. Depending on the season, you can hike, take an airboat ride, or attend a ranger-led tour to learn more about this fascinating area. If you want to extend your day trip, you can book a site at one of the park campgrounds.