15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love

Key Largo is home to the world’s largest artificial reef and is sometimes referred to as the dive capital of the world. This beautiful part of the Florida Keys near Miami has something to offer anyone looking to have some fun in the sun, above or below the turquoise water.

With state parks, beaches, tours, museums, cruises, and reefs — there is so much to see and do! Here are 15 fun things to do in Key Largo, Florida, that you won’t want to miss.

JOHN PENNEKAMP CORAL REEF STATE PARK

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is one of the most unique parks in the entire country. Known as the first underwater park in the United States, and it’s probably the thing Key Largo is best known for.

Almost everyone wants to visit here once to see the Christ of the Abyss statue (photo above) but listen friend… this is a BUSY location. It’s about 6 miles out, so when the wind picks up tours are often cancelled. And when you can make it, there are hoards of people.

If you insist on going, make sure you book a half-day tour and that you confirm that the tour you book is actually going there. You will want to book the earliest tour possible, and if there is trip insurance then buy it. Especialy during hurrican season.

My recommendation? Remember that this park is huge, and the “Jesus” statue is just one small part. Here you’ll find 600 species of fish, 70 types of coral, manatees, crocodiles, dozens of species of birds, and lizards.

Booking any SCUBA or snorkel tour will be rewarding – I promise. There is just so much to see here. And if you don’t want to get wet, a glass-bottom boat tour is perfect for you!

SUNSET AT SUNDOWNERS

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of Sundowners

Sundowners has been a staple in Key Largo since 1985, no doubt it’s because of the epic sunsets location and the huge deck to enjoy it from. Sundowners is also known it’s seafood and steaks. 

I recommend the Hogfish… so good. Also, the key lime pie is unique here, served with a meringue topping.

While waiting for your food, you can walk the back deck and feed the tarpon fish.

HARRY HARRIS PARK AND BEACH

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of Harry Harris Park and Beach

Harry Harris Park is a favorite with locals and has a quiet, laid-back vibe. There is a boat ramp, bike path, picnic and BBQ facilities, ballpark and playground, and even showers. There are no food or concession stands in the park, so make sure to bring your own food if you’re planning to spend the full day at the park.

Fishing and snorkeling are both popular activities for the park, but a dive flag is required if you are snorkeling, especially around the jetty. There are tide pools to explore, as well as a small beach to relax on. 

HISTORY OF DIVING MUSEUM

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of History of Diving Museum

The History of Diving Museum is a fun way to learn about diving, even if you are not a diver yourself.

You can find over 4,000 years of diving history, including a detailed timeline of how diving became what it is today. You can learn more bout marine biology, view a collection of open-bottom and homemade helmets and different underwater cameras, and learn how everything has become better with time. 

My kids loved the Treasure Room, where we saw artifacts and other treasures salvaged from the sea. All sorts of diving gear used throughout the years are on display, including some of the very first prototypes. 

AFRICAN QUEEN CANAL CRUISE

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of African Queen Canal Cruise

African Queen Steamboat Cruise is another Key Largo staple. The mini steamboat was made famous after Humphrey Bogart and Kathryn Hepburn starred in a film with the boat, even naming the movie after it. Get off the sea and into the Florida canals for a totally different way to experience Key Largo. 

The boat only fits 6 passengers – be mindful of that if you’re in a large group. You’ll want the daytime cruise if you have kids (kiddos under 12 are more than half-off and infants are free) just be aware that it’s about 90 minutes long.

If you’re an adults-only group then the dinner cruise is great (but not always available.)

MOLASSES REEF

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of Molasses Reef

Molasses Reef is one of the most visited diving and snorkeling sites in the world. It has varying depths starting as low as 10 feet and maxes out at about 65 feet, making the reef accessible for almost anyone, including snorkelers. 

The extraordinarily clear and warm water makes it easy to swim with tropical fish, rays and skates, sea turtles, loggerheads, reef and nurse sharks, green moral eels, lobsters, crabs, and many more marine animals. 

Molasses Reef also has an abundance of corals including elkhorn, staghorn, star, brain and fire corals, sea fans, gorgonians, and several species of sponges. There are also three small wreckage sites, including a mechanical winch from the wreck of the Slobadana, a Spanish anchor, and a sunken cannon. 

DAGNY JOHNSON KEY LARGO HAMMOCK BOTANICAL STATE PARK

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love

Key Largo doesn’t just have beautiful beaches and reefs, they have lush forests as well. The Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is home to one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the US!

The nature trail is 2 miles (there is also a half-trail loop that is only 1 mile) and super shady – a nice respite from the sun. There are also more trails in the backcountry, but you’ll need to a permit to hike (or bike ride) on those.

There is a honor system fee of $2.50 pp upon entry. There is nowhere to get food or water in the park, so make sure to bring your own and take your trash with you when you leave.

JULES UNDERSEA LODGE

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of Jules Undersea Lodge

One of the most unique hotels in the world, the Jules Undersea Lodge, gives guests an unforgettable experience. It is the “first and only underwater hotel where scuba diving is the only way to get to your room.”

Before entering the actual lodge, you make a stop into the wet room where you can take your gear off, take a hot shower and put regular clothes on. The inside of the lodge pays homage to the 80s and 90s for a totally nostalgic feel. The lodge is even air-conditioned and has WiFi, so you stay nice and comfortable. Each stay also comes with a pizza delivery!

 The lodge has many windows for you took look out into the underwater world. Outside you can see loads of tropical fish like the angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, and snappers. 

If you’re looking to get your SCUBA certification, the Jules Undersea Lodge is the best place to go. They offer regular certification, open water, advanced open water, and peak performance buoyancy. You can also just dive for enjoyment. You can take a guided tour to make sure you see all the lagoon has to offer. The lodge also offers night dives by appointment only.

HEAD OUT ON A FISHING CHARTER

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love

Key Largo is a world-class spot for fishing, so chartering a fishing trip is a must-do! There are dozens of chartering companies to choose from, with each offering something a little different than the other. Finding the right trip for you won’t be hard. There are day trips and multi-day trips available.

While sport fishing in Key Largo, you will have the opportunity to catch Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, as well as Mahi Mahi, Marlin, and Sailfish. Hogfish, Snapper, and Grouper are also typically caught while out in the sea. Out on the boat, you might also come across sea turtles, parrotfish, stingrays, sunfish, dolphins and manatees, nurse and reef sharks. 

USS SPIEGEL GROVE WRECK

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Courtesy of USS Spiegel Grove Wreck

The USS Spiegel Grove Wreck is a highly sought after diving location because of it’s size and the fact that it’s the largest vessel ever intentionally sunk.

You must have an advanced open water certification or higher to dive the reef, and you’ll want to take a special class on how to dive the wreck because of the size (nearly two football fields!)

It’s almost 3x deeper than Christ the Abyss… not a trip for snorklers. In fact, it’s common for even experienced divers to have to turn back from a visit because the currents can really be fierce near the wreck.

WHERE TO STAY IN KEY LARGO

Baker’s Cay Resort is a Hilton Curio hotel located in Key Largo, Florida. It’s a great option for families, with its spacious rooms, kid-friendly amenities, and convenient location on the beach.

One of the things that sets Baker’s Cay apart from other resorts is its focus on family fun. The resort fee includes a variety of activities for kids, such as bike rentals, beach chairs and umbrellas, fishing rods and bait, and archery. There are also plenty of water activities to enjoy, such as paddleboarding and kayaking.

In addition to the resort’s many family-friendly amenities, there’s always something happening on the beach. When I visited with my family, the kids were given bags for s’mores and the staff lit several beach fires. They roasted marshmallows before kayaking as the sun was setting. It was a magical experience!

If you’re looking for even more to do, Baker’s Cay offers a variety of bookable experiences, such as jet skiing, aquacycling, tequila sampling, and snorkel adventures to nearby John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Baker’s Cay also has multiple restaurants on-site, including Dry Rocks for a casual meal and the Tiki Bar right on the beach. I highly recommend Calusa, which has a more upscale American menu. Be sure to make a reservation in advance, as it’s very popular.

Calusa has a Mediterranean feel, with bright colored tiles and delicious seafood options. I ordered the snapper, my husband Dan ordered the steak, and the kids ate from the kids menu. Of course, we shared a piece of their award-winning key lime pie for dessert!

Overall, Baker’s Cay Resort is a fantastic option for families looking for a fun and relaxing vacation. It has everything you need for a memorable trip, including spacious rooms, kid-friendly amenities, delicious food, and stunning views of the Florida Keys.

DAY TRIPS

15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love
Key West

Key Largo has a great location, making it the perfect place to set out on day trips to surrounding areas. Here are a couple of our favorites.

KEY WEST

Key West is the southernmost part of the continental U.S. and is an easy day trip, or night trip, from Key Largo. It is known for fantastic food and shopping, live music and exciting nightlife. 

Read More: 29+ Perfect Things To Do In Key West For Every Type Of Traveler

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK

Everglades National Park is like nowhere else on earth. Best described as a grassy, slow-moving river, this national park covers 1.5 million acres. There are endless ways to explore this park and all the animals and plants that reside there. 

Kayaking, biking, hiking, bird watching, and boating are all popular things to do while visiting the park. Whatever you choose to do, be on the lookout for crocodiles, alligators, snakes, frogs, and lizards. The park is also home to rabbits, deer, foxes, otters, and dozens of species of birds.  

Read More: Discovering the Best Everglades Tour for Your Next Florida Vacation

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO FLORIDA

WHERE TO STAY IN KEY LARGO

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15 Fun Things To Do in Key Largo Adventurers Will Love