KEY LARGO, FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller Updated August 11, 2023

Key Largo, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Key Largo is the first key you come to when visiting the Florida Keys by car. This northernmost key is also the longest at 33 miles.

The Spanish gave it the name Cayo Largo, or Long Key.

HISTORY OF KEY LARGO, FLORIDA

For many years the communities on Key Largo were all lumped together under the name of Rock Harbor. 

Key Largo, Tavernier, Islamorada and the Ocean Reef Club all had Rock Harbor addresses until the early 1950s.

Poster from the 1938 movie Key LargoPoster from the 1948 movie Key Largo

This changed due to the popularity of the movie "Key Largo" filmed in 1948 and starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson and others.

Although the movie was filmed in California, it still put Key Largo on the map and the local residents changed the post office name from Rock Harbor to Key Largo.

KEY LARGO, FLORIDA TODAY

Today Key Largo is a diving center and tourist attraction.

Since it is the closest key to metropolitan Miami and other south Florida population centers, it attracts a lot of weekend visitors.

There are numerous residences, condominiums, restaurants, and marinas in Key Largo.

Christ of the Abyss Statue at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State ParkChrist of the Abyss Statue at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

One of the most popular and unique attractions in Key Largo is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

It is the first park in the United States to be under the sea.

Spirit of Pennekamp Glass Bottom BoatSpirit of Pennekamp Glass Bottom Boat

The park was established in 1963 and named for an editor of the Miami Herald who was an environmental activist.

His efforts helped establish the Everglades National Park as well as the park that would bear his name.

Sea Turtle at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State ParkSea Turtle at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The park is adjacent to the Florida Keys National Sanctuary. 

These two combined have almost 178 nautical square miles of mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.

Paddleboarding at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State ParkPaddleboarding at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

There are many things you can enjoy at this park including snorkeling, scuba tours, and rides in glass bottom boats. 

You can also rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Click on the map above for more information about Key Largo, Key West, and the rest of the Florida Keys.  Lodging, restaurants, tiki bars, and more.


THINGS TO DO IN KEY LARGO, FLORIDA

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Mile Marker 102.5 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo | (305) 676-3777

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, pictured and discussed earlier, is a beautiful underwater park famous for its vibrant coral reefs and marine life. We enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving to explore the colorful reefs and see a variety of fish.

Visitors appreciate the glass-bottom boat tours that provide stunning views of the underwater world without getting wet. The park also offers kayaking, canoeing, and hiking trails.

It's a great place for a family outing or a day of adventure. The visitor center and aquarium add an educational aspect to the visit.

Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder
31 Corrine Pl, Key Largo, FL 33037 | (305) 453-4321

Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder provides an amazing opportunity to interact with dolphins up close. We enjoy the various programs that allow guests to swim with dolphins and learn about marine conservation.

Visitors appreciate the educational presentations and the chance to see these intelligent animals in a caring environment. The facility is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals. It's a great place for a unique and memorable experience with family and friends.

The knowledgeable staff and well-organized programs make every visit special. Whether you're swimming with dolphins or attending a workshop, Dolphins Plus offers a fantastic day out.

African Queen Canal Cruise
Holiday Inn, 99701 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo | (305) 451-8080

The African Queen Canal Cruise is a charming and historic boat ride. We enjoy the relaxing tour on the famous boat from the classic film "The African Queen." Visitors appreciate the narrated cruises that provide interesting insights into the area's history and the making of the movie.

The boat ride through the scenic canals and waterways of Key Largo is a delightful experience. It's a great activity for history buffs and movie enthusiasts alike. The friendly crew and picturesque views add to the enjoyment.

Key Largo Fisheries
1313 Ocean Bay Dr, Key Largo, FL 33037 | (305) 451-3782

Key Largo Fisheries is a popular spot for fresh seafood and local delicacies. We enjoy the delicious seafood dishes at the restaurant and the relaxed, casual atmosphere.

The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying a meal with beautiful views of the marina. While dining you can enjoy live music, and feeding the Tarpon and mangrove snapper. 

Visitors appreciate the market where they can buy fresh fish, shrimp, and other seafood to take home. People who love to fish can even buy their bait here.

It's a great place to experience the local flavors of Key Largo. The friendly service and high-quality seafood make it a favorite destination.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
Mile Marker 106 on CR 905, Key Largo, FL | (305) 676-3777

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is a serene and scenic natural area. We enjoy hiking the trails through the tropical hardwood hammock and observing the diverse plant and animal life, including wild cotton and mahogany mistletoe.

Visitors appreciate the chance to see rare and endangered species in their natural habitat and the opportunity to learn about the unique ecosystem of the Florida Keys. The park offers guided tours and educational programs that enhance the experience.

It's a great place for nature walks, birdwatching, and photography. The lush, green surroundings and informative signage make it a delightful visit.

Molasses Reef
Offshore from Key Largo, FL 33037

Molasses Reef is a spectacular diving and snorkeling spot off the coast of Key Largo. From Key Largo you can see the Molasses Reef Light about 8 miles off the coast.

We enjoy exploring the vibrant coral formations and the diverse marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays. Visitors appreciate the clear waters and excellent visibility, making it ideal for underwater photography.

The reef is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, ensuring its protection and preservation. It's a great place for both novice and experienced divers. The stunning underwater scenery and abundant marine life make every dive memorable.

Harry Harris Beach and Park
50 E Beach Rd, Tavernier, FL 33070 | (305) 852-7161

Harry Harris Beach and Park, located in Tavernier about 10 miles from Key Largo, is a beautiful beachfront park perfect for family outings.

We enjoy the sandy beach and the calm, shallow waters that are great for swimming and snorkeling. Visitors appreciate the showers, picnic areas, playgrounds, and boat ramps.

The park also offers facilities for basketball, baseball, and other sports. It's a great place for a relaxing day by the water or a fun-filled day of activities. The well-maintained grounds and friendly atmosphere make it a favorite spot for locals and tourists.

Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary
93600 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070 | (305) 852-4486

The Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary is half of The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center. It is a haven for injured and orphaned birds. We enjoy walking through the sanctuary and seeing the variety of birds being cared for.

These are their non-releasable wild birds. The center is home to many species, including pelicans, hawks, and owls. You can take a walk along the boardwalk, watch the sunset, see a pelican feeding, and more.

Mission Wild Bird Hospital 
92080 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070 | (305) 852-4486

Mission Wild Bird Hospital is the other half of The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center. It has a gift shop and visitor education center.

Visitors appreciate the educational displays and the opportunity to learn about bird conservation. It's a great place for families and nature lovers to visit.

The peaceful setting and dedicated staff make it a memorable experience.



INTERACTIVE GOOGLE MAP OF KEY LARGO, FLORIDA




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