This publish was written by Nicole Edwards, a solo-sailing freelance author for BMTM.
Key Largo is the primary of the Florida Keys, and at 33 miles lengthy, additionally it is the most important. The self-proclaimed “diving capital of the world,” it’s residence to stunning wildlife refuges and seashores, plus distinctive excursions and excursions, like spearfishing and the African Queen Canal Cruise.
In contrast to Key West, Key Largo’s sights are extra unfold out. It’s not handy to discover on foot, which makes it vital to select a centrally positioned place to remain, like Mid Island or Tavernier, and have entry to a automotive or bike. Right here’s what I discovered about the most effective locations to remain:
Mid Island – solo-traveler’s headquarters
Mid Island is a considerably unofficial time period for the part of Key Largo that begins the place the historic Abroad Freeway begins and ends simply north of Tavernier. It’s a really perfect spot to remain in if you wish to deal with snorkeling or exploring most sights; you’re lower than a ten-minute trip from all of Key Largo’s greatest seashores, parks, in addition to the favored African Queen Canal cruise. You too can simply dart again as much as Miami to catch your flight again residence.
Inside Mid Island, you’ll discover a number of different neighborhoods, like Angler’s Park, Thompson, Newport, and Rock Harbor. Once I visited, I obtained the sense that these divisions have been primarily for presidency functions (census and voting). As a result of Key Largo is fairly inaccessible by foot and the neighborhoods are inside a five-minute drive of one another, you may relaxation assured you’re in a central location irrespective of which you select.
So, other than selecting a resort based mostly on its facilities, opinions, and charges, the largest deciding issue is whether or not it’s on the bay facet or ocean facet.
A lot of the top-rated accommodations in Mid Island are positioned on the bay facet, as a result of they will capitalize on the nonetheless waters surrounded by mangroves. That is the place you’ll discover lots of non-public seashores and complimentary kayak leases.
Motels on the ocean facet of Key Largo are located on the canals and usually don’t have clear views of the ocean. They’re additionally extra centered round excursions.
Bay Aspect Motels – mini resorts
- ($) Rock Reef Resort: It is a family-run resort, positioned nearer to the northern a part of Key Largo. Lower than 5 miles from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, it’s extremely rated amongst solo vacationers. Included in your keep is a non-public seashore, a temperature-regulated swimming pool, kayaks, and a peddle boat! Rooms are non-smoking, and all have air con (surprisingly unusual within the Florida Keys!). Charges begin at $159/night time. Book a stay here.
- ($) Amoray Dive Resort: It is a great place for a solo traveler due to its central mission to get folks out on the water, together with its personal snorkeling and sundown excursions and excursions. If you wish to get scuba licensed, you are able to do that right here, too. Friends have entry to a non-public seashore, a dock, free kayaks and bikes, a heated pool, and snorkel gear. You might simply bike to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, and for those who didn’t go for an tour with the resort, John Pennekamp is only a few miles additional south. Rooms begin at $181/night time. You can book a room here.
- ($$) Sunset Cove Beach Resort: This cozy small resort is nestled alongside the shoreline. There’s a non-public seashore with straw-roofed gazebos and seashore chairs, offering the right setting for a private yoga apply or to observe the solar rise or set. Your keep consists of complimentary kayak and stand-up paddleboard leases, and a continental breakfast. You’ll be able to stroll out on the pier, and for those who’ve achieved any deep-sea fishing whereas in Key Largo, you may prepare dinner your catch on the complimentary grills. Rooms begin at $208/night time. Book a stay here.
- ($$$) Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay Resort: Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay Resort: This resort features a non-public seashore with chairs and complimentary use of paddleboards, peddle boats, and kayaks. There’s additionally an outside heated pool, a backyard, a library, and barbecue grills, in addition to free parking. The property is positioned only a few minutes’ drive from John Pennekamp, just a little additional south from the guts of Mid Island. Rooms begin at $255/night time. You can book a stay here.
- ($$$) Gilbert’s Resort: Established in 1903, this is without doubt one of the oldest spots within the Florida Keys. It’s a little off the crushed path, however nonetheless only a few minutes from John Pennekamp and Dagny Johnson. What units it aside is its nightly stay leisure and recent seafood on the waterfront Tiki Grill & Bar. Locals dock on the marina to benefit from the stay music, which makes this a terrific place to fulfill new folks. There’s additionally a pool, and parking is free. You’ll be able to book a room, starting at $279/night, here.
Ocean Aspect – excursion-oriented
- John Pennekamp camping: In case you’re feeling adventurous, you may camp in your own tent (or RV, not than 62 ft) at this campsite, which has electrical energy and water. There’s a picnic desk and grill at every of the 47 websites, in addition to a number of bogs with sizzling showers and coin-operated laundry machines. The park retailer has meals (together with ready breakfast and lunch choices), plus snorkeling and seashore gear leases. Make a reservation here at the least three months upfront, after which register on the park’s entrance if you arrive. Charges begin at $36/night time.
- ($$) Waterside Suites and Marina: These are two-story townhouses positioned on one of many canals proper the place lots of Key Largo’s snorkeling excursions and canal cruises happen. The townhouses include a kitchen and a second-floor balcony. There’s additionally an outside pool, free parking, bike leases, and watersports actions, resembling leases for Jet Snowboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding, plus parasailing and journey excursions. Charges begin at $209/night time. You can book a room here.
Positioned just a little additional south and proper on the border of Islamorada, Tavernier is a handy place to remain if you wish to discover the remainder of the Florida Keys. Plus, you might be no additional away than a 20-minute drive from even Dagny Johnson Hammock Botanical Park, which is the northernmost widespread attraction that Key Largo has to supply.
Inside strolling or biking distance to Tavernier are different prime locations, like Harry Harris Seaside and Park, Laura Quinn Wild Chicken Sanctuary, and the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Manufacturing facility. Tavernier additionally has a bunch of cute backroads to discover, making it really feel extra like a residential a part of Key Largo. As with Mid Island, you will have a selection between the bay facet and the Atlantic facet.
If the south finish appears higher for you and your journey plans, listed below are 4 locations that I like to recommend staying:
Bay Aspect – peaceable getaways
- ($) Atlantic Bay Resort: That is only one.5 miles from Harry Harris Park, which has glorious swimming and ocean views, however it additionally has its personal non-public seashore and bay entry. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are complimentary, as are bikes. (Biking is an effective way to get round Key Largo. You might simply peddle over to the Laura Quinn Wild Chicken Sanctuary, about three miles away.) The resort additionally has a freshwater swimming pool and personal docks, in addition to fishing amenities in case you want to try this. Rooms begin at $263/night time. Book your stay here.
- ($$) Drift Hotel: This property has a non-public seashore with solar decks and complimentary kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. There’s additionally a small pier that extends out into the bay and is protected by mangroves, making it simple to snorkel (gear is obtainable to hire). It’s positioned simply north of Tavernier, placing it virtually midway to Mid Island. Parking is free. Rooms begin at $280/night time. Book your stay here.
- ($$$) Coconut Palm Inn: This boutique resort with beautiful waterfront views, which you’ll be able to get pleasure from from the non-public seashore or dock, provides complimentary paddleboards and kayaks, and incorporates a pool and cabana. It’s nestled in the course of a coconut grove, so it really does really feel such as you’re in Florida. Parking can also be included in your keep, and for those who resolve to hire your individual boat, there are non-public docks the place you may tie up. Rooms begin at $327/night time. You can book a stay here.
Ocean Aspect – glittering views
- ($) Oceanfront Paradise: It is a third-floor house with stunning ocean views, although you do need to be at the least 28 years previous with the intention to guide it. Included in your keep is a washer, dryer, kitchen, fitness center, pool, and spa. Kayaks can be found for hire. Being on the ocean facet with water entry is fairly superb. The water may be very clear, and there are normally different boaters having fun with the submerged sandbar (shoal). This location can also be prime for visiting the small mangrove island of Tavernier Key. On a relaxed day, you would even kayak out and discover the mangroves or go snorkeling. The house averages $250/night time. Book your stay here.
- ($) Aqua Vista: That is extra of a family-friendly trip property (no minimal keep) with entry to a non-public seashore (with a wonderful dock that ends in a gazebo) at Ocean Pointe Suites. Some rooms have balconies with ocean views. There’s additionally a shared pool, a sizzling tub, a snack bar, tennis courts, and an elevated waterfront restaurant and bar with views of the Atlantic. The rental, which comes with a full kitchen, begins at $226/night time. Book your stay here.
I adored Tavernier for the quieter surroundings that allowed me to discover the encircling areas at my very own tempo. It additionally aligned nicely with my mission of exploring the remainder of the Florida Keys. If I have been to go to Key Largo once more, nonetheless, I might in all probability keep in Mid Island in order that I may very well be nearer to the most effective Key Largo snorkeling websites, which is what Key Largo is understood for! I actually loved the snorkeling, so the concept of getting SCUBA licensed within the diving capital of the world may be very tempting.
The place do you suppose you’d like to remain? Tell us within the feedback!
In regards to the writer: Nicole Edwards is a solo sailor who’s presently cruising world wide on her 1968 Columbia 26, the S/V Arta. She has visited Costa Rica, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, and about half of the USA, together with Alaska. Her favourite half about touring is making connections with locals who share inside data, along with being launched to a different a part of her residence on planet earth and including all of it to her coronary heart.