Key Largo, Florida is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, wedding, or family vacation. Since this Key West town offers an array of activities, I have teamed up with Hotels.com to highlight things to do in Key Largo that you can only experience on the island. From swimming with dolphins to becoming a mermaid and visiting the first underwater park in the United States, let’s get started.
What to Do in Key Largo
Visit America’s First
Did you know that the only living coral reef in America lies in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo? Open since 1963, this park protects and preserves the area’s living coral reef, mangrove swamps, and seagrass beds.
While visiting, you can enjoy several underwater experiences as well as kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive. In addition, the park has an aquarium and theater that shows films about nature. There is a fee to enter the park, and it varies depending on if you drive, walk, or bike. However, the most you will pay to enter is $8. There are additional fees for tours, and it’s best to make reservations early especially during the holiday season.
If you rather explore underwater, Ocean Sirens offers guests the rare opportunity to become a mermaid. Learn how to swim with a tail and go on a photoshoot to document your unique experience on Instagram. Ocean Sirens specializes in underwater photography and even offers a bridal package to brides who want to wow their guests and their husband-to-be with a bridal tail.
Top off your trip with a stay at any of Key Largo’s beachfront hotels, guesthouses and resorts. At the Jules Undersea Lodge, sleep underwater or enjoy the space during a three-hour adventure. If you choose to stay overnight, the rooms offer views of parrotfish, tropical angelfish, and barracuda. Some of the hotel’s famous guests include Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.
Walk Into the Past and Enjoy the Present
Key Largo offers several opportunities to travel back in time and learn a bit of history. At the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, walk 76 miles of multi-use trails. This trail connects Key Largo to Key West and includes historic railroad bridges, scenic pathways, and tons of paths to explore.
Looking for even more things to do in Key Largo?
Visit several national and state parks such as Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, The Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge, and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Along the trails horseback ride, camp, fish, see lush gardens and learn the history of the area. Since the park entry fees vary, check out their websites to plan your visit.
Dive and Explore Sunken Ships
The Spiegel Grove Wreck site is Key Largo’s most popular dive site, and one of the most popular artificial reefs in the world. But beware, this dive is not for beginner divers.
Moved from Virginia to Florida in 2002, a lot of effort has been put into making this wreck site safer for divers and the environment. For example, some parts of the boat have been removed to make entry into cabins easier and minimize environmental contamination.
Cruise on the African Queen
Built-in 1912 to navigate narrow rivers and carry mercenaries, missionaries, cargo, and hunting parties on their voyages, the African Queen now resides in Key Largo, Florida. This vessel is most famously known for a 1951 film with the same name. This classic film had leading actors Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Today, you can take a cruise on this famous steamboat in the Port Largo Canal. It is also available for private events.
Lastly, when you visit Key Largo, you will be right on the water so make sure to check out the fresh seafood and scenic views at some of the best restaurants in town. Whether you want to get away with the girls or take a solo escapade, make sure to check out this beautiful destination just an hour from the hustle and bustle of Miami. You will find plenty of opportunities to relax and explore.
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.