Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Shutterstock

The best things to do in Key Largo

Stroll through a museum, enjoy state parks, and feed monster fish in the best things to do in Key Largo.

Megan duBois
Written by
Megan duBois

If Key West is just a bit too far for a day trip or you’re looking for somewhere new to explore within the Florida Keys, you may want to consider Key Largo. With so many things to do in Key Largo, there’s no shortage of fun to be had. The beautiful island is home to some of Florida’s most exciting parks, including Everglades National Park, museums, and, of course, wildlife encounters. 

The best part about Key Largo is it’s a nice day trip from Miami at about two hours away or a fun weekend getaway from Orlando at about four and a half hours away. Once you make it to the island, you can sit back and relax as you enjoy sea breezes with a tropical drink in hand or get out and explore. No matter your vacation style, there’s always something new to see. These are the best things to do in Key Largo.

Best things to do in Key Largo

At almost 70 nautical square miles, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is an underground playground for everyone in the family. Visitors to the park can see the world below the surface with a glass-bottom boat tour, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Besides the coral reefs and dive sites, the park boasts mangrove swamps and picnic areas that can also be enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out Cannon Beach, home to a Spanish shipwreck about 100 feet offshore.

There’s no shortage of scuba sites in the Florida Keys, but one of the most unique is the Spiegel Grove Wreck. The USS Spiegel Grove was intentionally sunk to later become a reef. The ship is impressive at 510 feet in length and 84 feet across. Now divers can book day tours to explore the wreck and the nearby reef. Dive guides take you to the wreck, though if you have the advanced level certification, you can do the dive alone.


Those interested in the storied history of diving in the area will want to take a day to explore the History of Diving Museum, which is open daily except for major holidays. Every third Wednesday of the month, the museum hosts presentations from experts in the diving community to share their experience or expertise about a wide range of topics. Art exhibits at the museum are also rotating, ranging from realistic paintings to fantastical displays of fictional sea creatures like mermaids and sea monsters.

Less than a mile offshore at about the mile 84 marker is the infamous Islamorada Sand Bar. The stretch of sand is known by locals as a weekend gathering spot where they can enjoy the water and the sun while doing everything from having a bbq to taking out wave runners. The only way to get to the sand bar is by boat, and throughout Key Largo, there are special tours that can take tourists and larger groups to the iconic sand bar.


The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center is a fun spot to explore to learn more about native birds, and the area open to visitors is the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary. Here guests can see 40 different species of birds and get up close to them but not touch them. Staff at the center are always around to answer questions. One of the most exciting parts of a visit to the bird sanctuary is watching the brown pelican feeding, which happens daily at 8:00am and 2:30pm.

If you’ve ever wanted to feed fish that are actually the size of legends, head to Robbie’s. Here you can access the dock and buy a bucket of small fish as large tarpon fish swim just a few feet away from you, waiting for your hand to get close enough to the surface of the water to snatch the bait out of your grasp. Each day more than 100 large tarpons gather around the dock to vie for an easy dinner as people look on at the spectacle.


Start your canal cruise journey at the Marina Del Mar, where you’ll board the African Queen. This is the same boat used by Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in the movie of the same title. Each canal cruise takes about an hour and a half and goes from the marina through the Port Largo Canals and down to the Atlantic Ocean before making the trip back to the marina. If you’re lucky, the captain of the boat will allow you to take the helm for a moment.

    You may also like