Key Largo is famous for being the Dive Capital of the World and is the first of the much-loved Florida Keys.
It is the site of the biggest artificial reef in the world, as well as numerous other fascinating places to visit, historical things to see, and other incredible sites to feast your eyes on.
It’s a beautiful place with a stunning ocean-atmosphere and plenty of opportunities for water sports.
With tropical sunshine, clear blue waters, and a long history of serenity, excitement, and vibrancy, there’s something in Key Largo for everyone.
Lush natural attractions, interesting museums, and lots of close islands and spots for day trips add to its overall appeal – which is likely why it’s such a popular tourist hotspot.
Not sure what to see or where to go while in this fantastic location?
To help you out, here are our picks for the 23 best and fun things to do in Key Largo, Florida.
1. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has long been hailed as one of the best things to do in Key Largo.
It was set up in 1963 as a way of protecting the remnants of the country’s last living coral reef, named after John D. Pennekamp, former editor of the Miami newspaper.
His work in the preservation of the area and the development of the Everglades National Park.
The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park covers a wide range of different areas, with marine life, tropical vegetation, and many different flora and fauna to enjoy and view.
The beach portion of the state park is all-natural, a formation of coral and rock, packed with birds like warblers, white ibises, catbirds, and egrets.
Along the beach, you’ll be able to participate in a wide range of activities, ranging from snorkeling to kayaking or canoeing and from boat tours to picnics.
In the summer, it’s great to come early to watch the sunrise, too.
Hiking trails are also a fairly popular part of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
A boardwalk forms The Mangrove Trail in the swamp area and the Grove Trail and Wild Tamarind Trail bring you on a loop through a hammock of tropical hardwood and other flora, with informational plaques affixed to trees.
Rangers also lead nature walks, which you can book in advance for your Key Largo trip.
The Visitor Center of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a large saltwater aquarium that boasts 30,000 gallons.
Invertebrates, corals, and fish are on display with information that identifies them, and there are hour-long nature films about coral showcased in the theater.
The camp also has a campsite that is always open.
Address: 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
2. African Queen Canal Cruise
The African Queen Canal Cruise is a simple cruise that brings you through the Port Largo Canals, to the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean, and finally back to its origin point at Marina Del Mar.
Though a fun experience in itself, it is not the cruise specifically that makes this one of Key Largo’s top 10 ways to spend your time.
That value lies, for the most part, in its history.
The African Queen rose to popularity after gaining fame in a movie of the same name in 1951, which starred Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.
The boat had been being used since the 1910s for service in the Belgian Congo, designed with a vertical boiler and riveted steel.
Back then, it was used for the transportation of missionaries, hunting parties, and cargo.
John Hutson, the movie’s director, saw it while hunting and immediately wanted it for his film.
After being immortalized, the African Queen went back to its original purposes, but in the 1960s, it was abandoned.
It wasn’t until 1968 where it was found in Cairo, Egypt, half-sunken and in bad shape.
In 1982, it found a new purpose in Key Largo as a boat for tours and cruises – a purpose it continues to serve today.
Address: U.S. Hwy 1 at mile marker 100 Holiday Inn Docks, Key Largo, FL, United States
3. USS Spiegel Grove Wreck
Looking for diving-related tourist attractions in Key Largo?
The USS Spiegel Grove Wreck is a fantastic choice!
Spanning 500 feet in length, the ship was once used for dock landings between 1955 and 1989 by the US Navy.
In 2002, it sank, and today it still rests beneath the waves of Key Largo, waiting to be explored.
The wreck is huge, offering many opportunities to find hidden corners and secret spots.
Horse-eye jacks, corals, and barracuda are scattered throughout the USS Spiegel Grove Wreck, naturally taking refuge among the bits and pieces of rubble and remnants of the structure.
Minnows and groupers also dart about.
In order to get to the USS Spiegel Grove Wreck, you’ll dive approximately 70 feet into the water below.
Strong currents mean that this can be a dangerous spot for the inexperienced, so only seasoned divers should attempt to make it here without a guide or teacher.
Address: Key Largo, FL, United States
4. Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
If you’re looking for free things to do this weekend and are in the mood to do a lot of traveling and exploring, why not hit the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail?
Spanning 76 miles of trails throughout a 106-mile Key West-to-Key Largo corridor, it’s a multi-use track that is perfect for recreation and fun, with space for skating, walking, biking, and more.
Termed as one of the cool places, the Overseas Heritage Trail is excellent for finding new places to visit, as it passes through many different states and even national parks.
These include the Everglades National Park and the Biscayne National Park.
You don’t necessarily have to leave Key Largo to explore the trail, though, as there are plenty of spots within the city to enjoy, like lush gardens, historic sites, and individual nature trails.
Address: Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
5. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
The Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is home to six miles of trails across natural landscapes for bikers and hikers alike.
The park earned its name from a local green and environmental activist named Dagny Johnson and is home to a whopping 84 protected species of animals and plants.
Interestingly, the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is additionally unique because it is home to one of the country’s largest West Indian hardwood hammocks, a tropical area almost unprecedented anywhere else.
There are also other fascinating portions, including wild cotton areas, mahogany mistletoe plants, and even spots where the American crocodile makes its home.
As it is open all year round, the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is a convenient spot when considering what to do.
Exploration is convenient with a number of activities.
Self-guided tours are recommended, and well-distributed trail signs direct you through while discussing the many different forms of wildlife in each ecosystem.
Ranger-led tours are also available, as are a picnic pavilion, modern restrooms, wheelchair-accessible paved trails, and options for simple online payment of fees.
Address: County Rd 905 & Mile Marker 106, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
Paddleboarding is a fantastic way to spend time in Key Largo, Florida thanks to all the calm waters of the healthy, lush mangrove spots across the city.
Gulfs and oceans provide different difficulty levels for boarders of all skill levels, and many resorts offer paddleboarding facilities as additional free things to do when you stay with them.
If you’re looking for a more interesting way to get involved in paddle boarding, then one of the Key Largo attractions that you should visit is PADDLE!.
PADDLE! is an expert at coaching beginners to the sport and is also the Upper Keys’ best eco-tour, providing daily eco-adventures twice daily on paddleboards that span two hours.
At night, there are also special paddles that occur on lit-up boards, and there is even a SUP yoga class!
While you’re at PADDLE!, try your hand at other sports by taking a kayak eco-tour, renting your own boards or kayak, or even renting and using a skateboard.
Address: 90773 Old Hwy #1, Tavernier, FL 33070, United States
7. Island Dolphin Care
Island Dolphin Care is a rather interesting and unique experience.
As a program, it provides physical, emotional, and educational aid to adults and children with special needs via a little thing called dolphin therapy.
The goal of the organization is to provide animal-assisted therapy to all who need them, achieving therapeutic success while developing closer bonds between medical services and families in need.
Its one-of-a-kind nature makes it one of the city’s most exciting points of interest.
Guided tours are available at Island Dolphin Care, but you have to pre-schedule them if you want to add a day of fun at the facility to your Key Largo, Florida travel plans.
If you don’t want a full tour, you can also head in and watch the dolphins from above through a balcony, but do try to aim for the tour if you can so you can watch a therapy session up-close, learn further details about programs, and even enjoy a touch tank.
A gift shop at Island Dolphin Care is also available, with proceeds going towards scholarship funds.
Address: 150 Lorelane Pl, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
8. Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center
If you’re a bird-lover who seeks fun things to do in Key Largo, you simply must visit the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center!
The center is a mere 7 miles away from the heart of Key Largo and has a simple mission: to rescue harmed, abused, or injured birds, rehabilitate them, and then re-release them into the wild if possible.
There are two facilities at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center.
One is the animal hospital, which hosts all the injured and rescued birds.
The other is the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary, which has more than 90 birds from 40 different species that are unable to be released due to wounds or long-term injury.
As a rescue-focused group, the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center ensures that all birds live in natural enclosures and humane conditions, living out their lives in relative comfort.
If you come here to tour it – which is one of the city’s free things to do! – you’ll get to see birds like herons, owls, vultures, hawks, pelicans, and beyond.
Do note that the animal hospital is not available to visitors.
Every single bird rescued by the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center that lives at the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary has its story printed on informational cards on its individual cage.
Free-wandering birds are often also attracted to this sanctuary, so if you spot any outside of their cages, they’re wild ones!
Live feedings are available to watch and the staff is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.
Though there is no fee, donations are always welcome.
Address: 92080 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070, United States
9. Snorkel Key Largo
Snorkel Key Largo is a company that specializes in the provision of snorkeling excursions, provided from their catamarans: a Quicksilver sailer and a Reef Roamer, which is USCG-certified.
Each catamaran measures about 50 feet and is custom-designed to accommodate snorkeling activities, specifically with sea stairwards, shaded cockpits, sun decks, and onboard bathrooms.
There are many places to go in the city for a good snorkel, and Snorkel Key Largo will take you to them.
John Pennekamp State Park, Mosquito Bank, White Banks, and Canon Patch Reef are among options, and all-in-all, you’ll get to see more than 600 marine species and 50 coral species.
Beginners are perfectly welcome to try their hand at snorkeling this way, as long as they know how to swim.
Sunset cruises are also provided.
If you don’t want to go with Snorkel Key Largo, you can try your hand at diving and exploring alone, though this is not recommended for inexperienced snorkelers.
Still, the city’s beautiful, crystal clear waves make for perfect offshore beach snorkeling, and lots of charters and eco-tours provide similar services to Snorkel Key Largo.
Address: 90311 Old Highway & Plantation Dr, Tavernier, FL 33070, United States
10. Harry Harris Park & Beach
Harry Harris Park & Beach is a great spot to head to for a little sightseeing and some walking around.
Like many Key Largo attractions, it capitalizes on some of the best beach experiences in the city, and though it is small in size, what it lacks in acres it makes up for in serenity.
Harry Harris Park & Beach is a simple park with a beautiful view of the world of Key Largo, Florida surrounding it.
Picnic areas make for quaint romantic or family-friendly locations.
The ocean’s calmer waters rush up against the shore here, making them ideal for snorkeling, fishing, and swimming.
A provided tide pool is great for young kids, too, as it is safely protected.
Address: Mile Marker 92.5 Oceanside, Tavernier Key, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
11. Jules Undersea Lodge
Jules Undersea Lodge isn’t just a famous Key Largo accommodation option.
It’s also one of its most unique tourist attractions.
If you want some underwater fun but aren’t much for snorkeling or scuba diving, then you can experience the tranquility of the land below the waves while staying crisp and dry at the lodge – after the initial wetness of getting there, that is.
Before it was repurposed into what it is now, the Jules Undersea Lodge was an underwater habitat and research laboratory.
Eventually, it was turned into a mangrove lagoon of sorts.
If you’re like to stay at night, you certainly can, but there are also Mini Adventures available that just last three hours.
Jules Undersea Lodge is named after the late great author Jules Verne.
Two fathoms down from the surface, you will don a scuba suit in order to reach your destination.
The lodge is separated from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Florida city, providing a calming and relaxing getaway from the world above.
Sleeping in the Jules Undersea Lodge is somewhat like sleeping in a submarine.
It’s a little eerie in its isolation, but it’s a great opportunity for the adventurous.
Through windows measuring 42 inches, you can see tropical angelfish, barracuda, parrotfish, and other reef fish.
Address: 51 Shoreland Dr, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
12. Robbie’s Dock
Robbie’s Dock is situated near Key Largo, on Islamorada’s shore, and it’s one of the things to see that absolutely no one should miss while visiting the Florida Keys.
If you’ve got free time this weekend, you simply must make the day trip from Key Largo to experience it for yourself!
Robbie’s Dock is a fantastic place with lots to do!
You can eat some deliciously fresh seafood, rent some parasails or jet-skis to head out on the waves, shop in the wide-ranging stalls of the open-air market, or buy some fish to bring back to your residence with you.
But the main attraction of Robbie’s Dock is the tarpons, a very large kind of fish that likes to gather in the docks.
People come from far and wide to feed them with all sorts of fish and pelicans fly by jealousy overhead.
Tarpons are mostly friendly and are often referred to as Silver Kings.
They leap from the waves to grab at any food you offer with a loose grip.
It’s pretty entertaining to watch about a hundred of these fish rush back and forth!
Address: 77522 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
13. History of Diving Museum
The History of Diving Museum is technically in Islamorada, but it’s commonly considered one of the top things to do in Key Largo because of its proximity and for its fascinating premise.
Even if you’re not much of a diver, it’s a fun place to check out thanks to its interactive nature.
At the History of Diving Museum, you’ll take a trip back to the past and learn all about the beginnings of ocean exploration, dating back to the very first steps taken into the mysterious underwater world all the way up to today.
You’ll learn about how underwater breathing apparatuses have changed over the years, who the first pioneers in the industry were, how scuba diving became one of the world’s most popular water sports, and what sort of technology came before the modern gear we know now.
At this museum just outside of Key Largo, Florida, you’ll also get to see all sorts of treasures found in shipwrecks on display.
Its most popular offering, though, is likely its most interactive exhibit, which allows you to test how long you’d be able to hold your breath while you’re underwater.
Address: 82990 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
14. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is one of the very best places to visit near Key Largo, Florida, and it is an extremely common day trip taken for some sightseeing.
It is an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site home to many swamps, mangrove forests, grasslands, wetlands, rivers, and other biomes.
It’s one of the most diverse parts of the country ecologically, boasting a unique landscape that will be a treat to explore this weekend.
There are many different kinds of animals that live in Everglades National Park, ranging from crocodiles to panthers and from manatees to birds of all kinds.
It’s not always easy to spot these cool fauna, but if you love wildlife watching, you’ll be able to catch glimpses of them if you’re lucky!
There are plenty of other ways to check out Everglades National Park, too.
Full-day kayak adventures on double or single kayaks, led by expert guides, take you through mangroves and let you view sharks, alligators, manatees, sawfish, and dolphins.
Tram tours lasting two hours take you into Shark Valley and the River of Grass.
Naturalist guides provide information regarding the wetland ecosystem as you climb to an observation deck for a stunning view of the world surrounding you.
With so many options, you’re spoiled for choice!
Address: Florida, United States
15. Playa Largo Resort & Spa
The Playa Largo Resort & Spa was the first resort to be freshly built in Key Largo after two decades of no new structures of its kind.
The resort teams with a luxurious atmosphere and beautiful beaches, with grounds and interiors fitted with glamor and decor.
The main reason for a visit to Playa Largo Resort & Spa is if you’re wondering what to do in Key Largo for good food.
Three delightful restaurants are located onsite.
Las Olas is a simple lobby bar that serves sushi rolls and ceviche.
La Marea Steakhouse is famous for its locally sourced meats, cooked to perfection.
The most popular restaurant at Playa Largo Resort & Spa is Sol by the Sea, a creative and innovative eatery situated in a boathouse, restored on the waterfront.
Its fun concept is accompanied by a relaxing atmosphere and gorgeous sunset views.
Tropical hand-crafted cocktails and mouth-watering fresh seafood dishes serve as a glorious touch to the end of a day by the beach.
Address: 97450 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
16. Mile Marker 88
Done with Key Largo attractions and making your way to an Islamorada day trip?
Stop by Mile Marker 88, a wonderful restaurant famous with visitors and locals alike.
It is famous in the Florida Keys and most tourists in Key Largo consider the trip here well worth it.
The location of Mile Marker 88 is part of what makes it such a great stop.
Most tables here provide you with gorgeous panoramic views of the ocean waters, and a beach stretch of the restaurant lets you watch the sunset in peace.
There is often live music in the evenings, too.
Dishes at Mile Marker 88 include crispy and savory yellowtail, gourmet dishes of mango guacamole and lobster, and unique tastebud-tingling offerings like key lime seafood penne.
After your entrees, order dessert in the form of sinful molten lava chocolate cake or tart key lime baked Alaska!
Address: 88000 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, Florida 33036, United States
17. Florida Keys Brewing Company
Want more fun things to do in Key Largo?
Well, if you enjoy a good craft beer, visit the Florida Keys Brewing Company!
The local company is a microbrewery that is situated on Islamorada, perfect for that day trip from Key Largo.
It is home to more than 20 different kinds of beers and is well-known for innovative flavors inspired by island living.
The beers are distributed across the Keys and have become fairly well-known.
The tasting room at this brewing company is designed to be welcoming.
Tie-dye color schemes make for a vibrant atmosphere and a few locals are always around to add to the homey environment.
Some of the most popular brews include Grapefruit to be Alive, Hibiscus Kolsh, and Bayside Coffee Blonde.
Drink your choice of brew in the backyard at the tropical beer garden, where picnic tables, lawn games, and a view of the taproom drum up an exciting time!
Address: 81611 Old Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States
18. Go On A Fishing Charter
Key Largo is famous for its fishing, so it’s only natural that one of the activities you should try while you’re here is taking a fishing charter.
These charters are able to bring you to all the most opportune places to go to get your fishing game on.
Ocean fishing in this city is one of the most rewarding ways to really get your time’s worth, and a mix of shared and private charters are available, with different lengths, features, and expert crew based on your preference.
One such charter is Graceful Fishing Charters, which has often been responsible for helping fishers catch “the big one”.
It uses a Bertram sport fishing boat that spans 40 feet and is owned and operated by Captain Matt.
The captain has spent most of his life in the industry and has a USCG 100-ton master’s license.
Coast charters head up to 20 miles away from the coast, allowing you to fish up to 1000-foot depths and reef charters go to 7 miles and 280-foot depths.
Mahi-mahi, shark, marlin, mackerel, tuna, porgies, snapper, wahoo, grouper, and sailfish are among the common catches.
Another such charter is Miss Chief Fishing Charters, which runs characters for fishers of all skill levels, providing gear, licensing, bait, and water as well as services to fillet and bag any catches that you land.
The charter primarily targets kingfish, wahoo, mahi-mahi, and shark. It’s also a child-friendly charter, so you can bring the whole family along.
Looking for more thrill outside Key Largo? Why not check out Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Orlando? If you do plan the trip, here’s our list of what to do in Fort Lauderdale, some of the best things to do in Jacksonville, FL, and some cool things to do in Orlando!
19. Gallery of Kona Kai
The Gallery of Kona Kai is one of the more unique points of interest in Key Largo, Florida, situated within the famous Kona Kai Resort.
It features works by all sorts of local artists, giving you a glimpse into the art scene of the area, while also promoting some from famed artists from around the globe.
Like the Kona Kai Resort, the Gallery of Kona Kai is owned by Joe and Veronica Harris, a pair of extremely passionate art collectors.
They began amassing their collection in the 1980s and opened the resort in the middle of the 1990s, finally opening the Gallery itself in 1996.
It’s a fun and fascinating way to keep your finger on the artistic pulse of the region.
Address: 97802 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
20. Key Largo Parasail
Notice how so many Key Largo attractions are water-based?
One must take advantage of the delightful Florida beaches and waves, and Key Largo Parasail does just that!
For more than two decades, this company has been serving guests in an exciting and breathtaking sport.
Solo flights, flights for two, and flights for three are all available at this parasail company.
The minimum age to parasail solo is 14 and all crews are certified to perform first aid and CPR if necessary.
Boats are limited to six people each without reservations, and observers are allowed to come along if they fit!
When you parasail, you get a beautiful view from above of the delightful expanse of Key Largo.
From this bird’s eye angle, you’ll feel just like you’re flying for real!
Address: 103900 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, Florida 33037, United States
21. Dolphins Plus Bayside
At the northmost corner of Key Largo, a five-acre stretch of lagoon called Dolphins Plus Bayside awaits in picturesque perfection.
It is one of the city’s most fun tourist attractions, especially for families with kids or for anyone who loves dolphins!
At Dolphins Plus Bayside, you’ll get to interact with a swim next to dolphins in the lagoon.
But if you want something even more novel, then opt for the natural swim.
Each trip begins with a boat ride that lasts for half an hour that brings you through backcountry waters.
During this process, you’ll learn about what to expect when you’re with the dolphins while learning some facts about them.
Once the ride is over, an optional – but highly recommended – Natural Swim dolphin encounter.
In this encounter, you’ll swim with dolphins who aren’t trained in human interaction, meaning you get a relatively authentic experience in an enclosed but fairly open space of ocean.
Address: 101900 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, Florida 33037, United States
22. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary holds a large majority of the dive locations in Key Largo.
The protected area spans a total of 2,900 square nautical miles and was first set up in 1990 as a means for protecting aquatic wildlife and coral reefs.
It was created as a venture between the Florida state government and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Some of the most visited dive spots and things to see in the National Marine Sanctuary are right off Key Largo’s coast itself.
French Reef, Grecian Rocks, and Molasses Reef are among them, as well as multiple shipwrecks near the coast that are ripe for exploration.
You’ll love Molasses Reef for shallow water snorkeling and Grecian Rocks for its many teeming fish and crystal clear waves.
Third-party dive shops in the area can be contacted in order for dives to be scheduled and planned.
It’s generally recommended that you book a scuba or snorkel tour using an operator recognized by Blue Star.
Address: 95230 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
Want to experience more excitement? Why not visit Pensacola, Sarasota, and Tampa? If you do plan the trip, here’s what to do in Pensacola, some top Sarasota attractions, and some of the best things to do in Tampa!
23. Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re a fan of big, snapping reptiles, then one of the best things to do in Key Largo is to take a trip to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
It was first founded in the year 1980 in order to protect the crocodile habitats of America, preserving them and allowing them to live in peace.
If you take a trip to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, you will, unfortunately, be unable to visit the place where the crocodiles themselves live unless you are a volunteer.
However, the refuge is a fascinating place regardless, as you’ll get to learn about the plight of the local crocodile habitat and how it can be aided.
For more fun, you can check out the Butterfly Garden, which is home to over fifty native flora species and functions as a pollinator garden.
It’s well-maintained and is a very calming area – not one of the places to visit that you’d expect in a crocodile refuge, but a great choice for what to do, nonetheless!
Address: 10750 County Rd 905, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Key Largo
Key Largo, Florida is a wonderful place for a sunny holiday.
Its many places to visit mean there’s something to entice virtually any sort of tourist, whether you seek water recreation, beachside relaxation, seafood deliciousness, or natural serenity!