This submit 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, it’s also the biggest. 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.
Not like Key West, Key Largo’s sights are extra unfold out. It’s not handy to discover on foot, which makes it necessary to select a centrally positioned place to remain, like Mid Island or Tavernier, and have entry to a automobile or bike. Right here’s what I discovered about one of the best 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 an excellent spot to remain in if you wish to give attention to snorkeling or exploring most sights; you’re lower than a ten-minute trip from all of Key Largo’s finest seashores, parks, in addition to the favored African Queen Canal cruise. You can too 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 bought the sense that these divisions had 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, apart from choosing a lodge 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 a number of non-public seashores and complimentary kayak leases.
Lodges on the ocean facet of Key Largo are located on the canals and usually shouldn’t have clear views of the ocean. They’re additionally extra centered round excursions.
Bay Aspect Lodges – mini resorts
- ($) Rock Reef Resort: It is a family-run lodge, 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 seaside, 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 $159/night time. Ebook a keep right here.
- ($) Amoray Dive Resort: It is a fantastic place for a solo traveler due to its central mission to get individuals 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 seaside, a dock, free kayaks and bikes, a heated pool, and snorkel gear. You may simply bike to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, and should you 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 possibly can e-book a room right here.
- ($$) Sundown Cove Seashore Resort: This cozy small resort is nestled alongside the shoreline. There’s a non-public seaside with straw-roofed gazebos and seaside chairs, offering the proper setting for a private yoga apply or to look at the solar rise or set. Your keep contains complimentary kayak and stand-up paddleboard leases, and a continental breakfast. You possibly can stroll out on the pier, and should you’ve carried out any deep-sea fishing whereas in Key Largo, you may cook dinner your catch on the complimentary grills. Rooms begin at $208/night time. Ebook a keep right here.
- ($$$) Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay Resort: Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay Resort: This lodge features a non-public seaside 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, slightly additional south from the center of Mid Island. Rooms begin at $255/night time. You possibly can e-book a keep right here.
- ($$$) Gilbert’s Resort: Established in 1903, this is among the oldest spots within the Florida Keys. It’s a little off the overwhelmed path, however nonetheless only a few minutes from John Pennekamp and Dagny Johnson. What units it aside is its nightly dwell leisure and contemporary seafood on the waterfront Tiki Grill & Bar. Locals dock on the marina to benefit from the dwell music, which makes this an amazing place to fulfill new individuals. There’s additionally a pool, and parking is free. You possibly can e-book a room, beginning at $279/night time, right here.
Ocean Aspect – excursion-oriented
- John Pennekamp tenting: When you’re feeling adventurous, you may camp in your individual tent (or RV, not than 62 ft) at this campsite, which has electrical energy and water. There’s a picnic desk and grill at every of the 47 websites, in addition to a number of bogs with scorching showers and coin-operated laundry machines. The park retailer has meals (together with ready breakfast and lunch choices), plus snorkeling and seaside tools leases. Make a reservation right here at the very least three months prematurely, after which register on the park’s entrance while you arrive. Charges begin at $36/night time.
- ($$) 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, corresponding to leases for Jet Snowboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding, plus parasailing and journey excursions. Charges begin at $209/night time. You possibly can e-book a room right here.
Positioned slightly additional south and proper on the border of Islamorada, Tavernier is a handy place to remain if you wish to discover the remainder of the Florida Keys. Plus, you’re no additional away than a 20-minute drive from even Dagny Johnson Hammock Botanical Park, which is the northernmost standard attraction that Key Largo has to supply.
Inside strolling or biking distance to Tavernier are different prime locations, like Harry Harris Seashore and Park, Laura Quinn Wild Hen Sanctuary, and the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Manufacturing unit. Tavernier additionally has a bunch of cute backroads to discover, making it really feel extra like a residential a part of Key Largo. As with Mid Island, you’ve a alternative between the bay facet and the Atlantic facet.
If the south finish appears higher for you and your journey plans, listed here are 4 locations that I like to recommend staying:
Bay Aspect – peaceable getaways
- ($) Atlantic Bay Resort: That is just one.5 miles from Harry Harris Park, which has wonderful swimming and ocean views, but it surely additionally has its personal non-public seaside and bay entry. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are complimentary, as are bikes. (Biking is a good way to get round Key Largo. You may simply peddle over to the Laura Quinn Wild Hen Sanctuary, about three miles away.) The lodge 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. Ebook your keep right here.
- ($$) Drift Lodge: This property has a non-public seaside with solar decks and complimentary kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. There’s additionally a small pier that extends out into the bay and is protected by mangroves, making it simple to snorkel (gear is on the market to hire). It’s positioned simply north of Tavernier, placing it virtually midway to Mid Island. Parking is free. Rooms begin at $280/night time. Ebook your keep right here.
- ($$$) Coconut Palm Inn: This boutique lodge with gorgeous waterfront views, which you’ll be able to get pleasure from from the non-public seaside or dock, affords complimentary paddleboards and kayaks, and includes a pool and cabana. It’s nestled in the course of a coconut grove, so it actually does really feel such as you’re in Florida. Parking can be included in your keep, and should you resolve to hire your individual boat, there are non-public docks the place you may tie up. Rooms begin at $327/night time. You possibly can e-book a keep right here.
Ocean Aspect – glittering views
- ($) Oceanfront Paradise: It is a third-floor house with stunning ocean views, although you do must be at the very least 28 years previous in an effort to e-book 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 wonderful. The water could be very clear, and there are normally different boaters having fun with the submerged sandbar (shoal). This location can be prime for visiting the small mangrove island of Tavernier Key. On a peaceful day, you would even kayak out and discover the mangroves or go snorkeling. The house averages $250/night time. Ebook your keep right here.
- ($) Aqua Vista: That is extra of a family-friendly trip property (no minimal keep) with entry to a non-public seaside (with a gorgeous dock that ends in a gazebo) at Ocean Pointe Suites. Some rooms have balconies with ocean views. There’s additionally a shared pool, a scorching 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. Ebook your keep right here.
I adored Tavernier for the quieter setting that allowed me to discover the encompassing areas at my very own tempo. It additionally aligned properly with my mission of exploring the remainder of the Florida Keys. If I had been to go to Key Largo once more, nonetheless, I might in all probability keep in Mid Island in order that I could possibly be nearer to one of the best 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 could be very tempting.
The place do you assume you’d like to remain? Tell us within the feedback!
Concerning the creator: Nicole Edwards is a solo sailor who’s at the moment 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.
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