Key Largo Holidays 2017/2018
The first of the islands that make up the Florida Keys, Key Largo is one of the southern state’s most beautiful areas, home to swaying palm trees, white-sanded beaches and a laid-back atmosphere best experienced from the comfort of a hammock!
Key Largo’s biggest and most famous draws have to be the plentiful scuba diving hotspots that run along and out of the coast. Here you can enjoy a huge number of coral reefs, underwater rock formations and wrecks, and if you’re averse to diving with a tank of air on your back, there are plentiful snorkelling areas to enjoy as well.
Add activities such as kayaking, canoeing and fishing, as well as trips around nature parks, and on glass-bottomed boats, you’ve got a great array of outdoor locations that are perfect for enjoying warm weather and plenty of sun in amongst the mangroves and islands.
Then there’s all the delicious food you’d expect from a sunny coastal location, including fabulous seafood restaurants that are perfect for sating your appetite after an afternoon spent shopping for deals and mementos.
For a relaxing holiday in the sun, you can’t do much better than Key Largo – here are some of the best bits about it.
Things to do in Key Largo
If you’re looking for a holiday packed with activities and excursions, you can’t go wrong with Key Largo. All across the island there are fun things to get involved with, many taking place in particularly beautiful natural hotspots.
Above the water, you can enjoy a stroll through the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, or a cruise on the African Queen, made famous in the novel and Humphrey Bogart film of the same name. Bird lovers will love the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre – a non-profit attraction that’s home to pelicans, hawks, tropical birds and more – and you can swim with dolphins and sea lions at Dolphin Plus Bayside.
Fancy something that gets your heart pumping a little? Key Largo is home to several water sports companies that offer kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and even paddleboard yoga! These take place along the coast and through the mangroves of the island, letting you see the plentiful wildlife up close and personal.
Then there’s the biggie – scuba diving. While you’ll either need an existing scuba diving qualification or be required to take a course in learning to scuba dive (in the same way you’d do with initial skiing holidays), underwater is where it’s at in Key Largo. There are absolutely loads of reefs and wrecks to explore here, and an amazing variety and sheer number of underwater creatures to see, especially at the world-renowned John Pennekamp State Park.
Where to eat in Key Largo
There are all kinds of great places to dine out in Key Largo, particularly catering for people with a sweet tooth
Some of the best-regarded are the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory, home of the fabled dessert; Café Moka, which is perfect for getting a little caffeine fix before heading out to sea or along the mangroves; and Key Largo Chocolates, possibly the best place on the island to get hold of ice cream, sweets, chocolate and more.
For savoury flavours, the best seafood dishes can be found at Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Café, where you can sit on the terrace and take in the seaside scenery, and The Fish House Encore, where the delicious plates have been featured on culinary TV shows!
American flavours can be found at Harriette’s Restaurant (try their muffins) and Hobo’s Café, where they’ll happily cook anything you’ve caught out at sea earlier in the day. The Buzzard’s Roost and Chad’s Deli are also good casual dining spots, almost as laid back as their host island, while if you want steak, head to Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen.
Where to shop in Key Largo
While it lacks the massive malls and fancy boutiques of the cities on the mainland, there’s still a lot to like when it comes to shopping, so if you’ve brought an extra suitcase to pack full with great buys, you shan’t be disappointed!
Lots of Key Largo’s best shops are firmly geared towards happy tourists, and nowhere is this more apparent than the fantastic Shell World. Here, shoppers can sift through all sorts of fun products that are linked by crustaceans – you can enjoy searching through big wicker buckets of strange and beautiful shells, finding pretty shell-themed handicrafts and clothes, or generally enjoying the fun and kooky curios that dot the store.
If you want to try classic Key Limes in all their glory, head on over to Key Lime Products and its sister business, the Key Lime Café. If you’ve been hunting for pies, cakes, sweets, sauces and beauty products to take back home, then head on over to this quaint store, and be sure to try a portion of cracked conch meat – it’s pretty famous around these parts!
It doesn’t stop there, of course. There’s the unmissable Sandal Castle where you can get all kinds of brilliant beach footwear; the Island Market Place, a flea market where you can browse all kinds of local goods outdoors; and culture spots such as the David Wirth Gallery and Key Largo Art Gallery.
Nightlife in Key Largo
When you’re not enjoying a drink on the terrace at your restaurant of choice or taking a moonlit stroll down the beach, enjoying the pretty constellations, Key Largo has a variety of night spots you can head to for a good time.
There’s Breezer’s Tiki Bar and Grille, located at the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort, where you can enjoy a yummy cocktail as you take in the sunset and have a chat to locals and tourists alike, and Caribbean Club, where you’ll be transported back to the 1948 Humphrey Bogart film, Key Largo. For the latter, head to the back terrace and enjoy the amazing evening views and live music Thursday through Sunday.
One of the most popular things to do after a long day spent at sea in Key Largo is to kick back with a drink and enjoy some music, so understandably most bars have great live music on throughout the week, including Bayside Grille, venue for an unforgettable evening.
To discover more laid-back Floridian destinations, be sure to take a look at our Secret Florida guides for the inside scoop on the best places the Sunshine State has to offer!