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Key Largo Snorkeling

Thanks to crystal clear water, sunny year-round temperatures and large areas of protected coral reef, Key Largo snorkeling ranks as one of the most popular vacation activities for visitors from around the world. Key Largo snorkeling even stands out ahead of the other spots in the Florida Keys, partly because of its location near the Gulf Stream.

Key Largo is the northernmost island in the Florida Keys, closest to the mainland. It’s at this point on the map where the Gulf Stream curves inward and comes closer to the reef than in other parts of the Keys. Gulf Stream water is clear water, and the combination of clear blue water and shallow water reef systems makes for some of the world’s best snorkeling. If you’re passing through the Keys, you just gotta do some Key Largo Snorkeling!

Most of the snorkeling boats that take visitors to the reef head toward Grecian Rocks, where the famous underwater attraction exists: Christ of the Abyss. This huge bronze 4000 pound statue is probably one of the most photographed underwater spots in the United States!

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the best place to start your day in Key Largo. There’s a marina with snorkel boats, visitors center, small beach, kayak rentals, canoe rentals, and a short nature walk through the mangroves. Explore the park, then go out for some Key Largo Snorkeling for an unforgettable day in the Florida Keys.

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Key Largo Scuba Diving

Scuba diving Key Largo is at the top of every serious diver’s to-do list. The Florida Keys area is well known for its ocean-based activities, with snorkeling and scuba diving Key Largo being no exception. One of the best places in the world to do this is in Key Largo itself.

Key Largo is the first and largest isle in the Florida Keys. It is also well known for its undersea activities, including diving and snorkeling, and was one of the first places in the world to begin conservation efforts. In 1960, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was created as the first undersea preserve in the United States. That’s why today we can boast that scuba diving Key Largo the top reason travelers come to this area of the Keys.

Scuba Diving Key Largo


Key Largo Wreck Diving

 

Key Largo has continued with conservation efforts, with the 1975 designation of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary, and is now home to six Sanctury Preservation Areas as part of the 2800 square nautical mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Key Largo is well known for its shallow reefs, which offer world class scuba diving and is ideal for both beginners and experienced divers. There are also many deep wrecks which provide excellent exploration opportunities for scuba diving Key Largo.

One of the Florida Key’s most popular snorkeling and diving spots is the Statuue of Christ of the Abyss, also known as “Christ of the Deep”. This 9 foot high bronze statue by Guido Galletti was placed as a memorial shrine to sailors and others lost at sea. This shallow spot, located at Key Largo Dry Rocks, is ideal for up close viewing of a wide variety of fish and undersea life.

Other popular reefs near Key Largo include Molasses Reef and French Reef, both known for the wide variety of sea creatures and fish species.

Scuba diving in Key Largo


Carysfort Reef Light House

 

Molasses Reef is often referred to as the most popular diving location in the world. The reef is as high as the ocean surface and reaches a depth of fifty-five feet on a gentle slope. Visibility is excellent due to the gulf stream.

There are also many wrecks which this area of the Florida Keys is famous for, offering world class diving for all skill levels. Key Largo has some of the best opportunities for exploring shipwrecks.

Bibb and Duane are both 327 foot US Coast Guard cuttters, which were sunk in 1987 in the area known as The Elbow Reef. They rest in 130 feet of water, Duane in an upright position while the Bibb rests on its starboard side. The City of Washington is among several historic shipwrecks in the area. The Elbow Reef is a mile south of Molasses Reef.

Benwood Wreck is a Norwegian freighter that sank during the Second World War near French Reef. It is quite shallow, and attracts many divers for night dives. French Reef also offers some fantastic coral caves and swim throughs, with excellent opportunities to see sea life.

Most recently, Key Largo added the 510 foot USS Spiegel Grove in June 2002 as an artificial reef, at the cost of over one million dollars. The Navy transport ship is the largest ever sunk as an artificial reef, is at a depth of 130 feet and resting on its starboard side. The USS Spiegel Grove is located near Key Largo’s Dixie Shoals.

Things to Do in Key Largo

There are lots of things to do in Key Largo, and most of them are in the water. In the actual town of Key Largo, you won’t find much on land that’s worth stopping for. There are convenience stores, tourist trap restaurants you should probably avoid, dive shops, and more mundane stores like Home Depot and gas stations. Things to do in Key Largo means John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park! It’s about the water and the resorts that were built for visitors to enjoy the water.

Key Largo was once a series of small islands, but during railroad construction in the early twentieth century, fill was dumped between the islets and the result was one long continual land mass. We now call this Key Largo, from mile marker 100 down to the town of Tavernier, around Mile Marker 93.

Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site

There is just one of the things to do in Key Largo that’s on land, that might interest some nature-oriented vacationers That’s Kay Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site. It’s located half a mile down County Road 905, towards Ocean Reef as you leave Key Largo going north and east. It’s the road to Card Sound Bridge, which is an alternate route for those driving back to the mainland. The entrance to the park is hard to miss: it’s a giant creme-colored gate with a tile roof. It’s grand. Believe it or not, there are two-thousand acres behind that gate, containing a precious, rare, continuous stand of subtropical West Indian Hardwood Hammock. It’s one of the largest in the United States, actually. If you’re a nature lover and your looking for things to do in Key Largo, it’s a worthwhile place to visit. This is because it shows you how the Keys used to be: full of trees and jungly plants. Funny it’s located in one of the most heavily developed strip-like areas of the Keys, Key Largo. Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site almost didn’t exist, was almost torn down, denuded. A resort village to be called Port Bougainvillea was slated to occupy the land, and some model homes were actually built. They are still there, in ruins, in an off-limits section of the park. Of course, it’s a popular spot for teenagers of Key Largo and their spray paint. The ruins are spooky and strange, and you can actually see them if you kayak in the canal they made, which is accessible just outside of Garden Cove Marina’s canal, just north. There are sometimes sharks in there, and the whole kayak experience down the canal to the ruins is a gem of a trip.

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Driving west out of Key Largo, the next spot you’ll hit will be Tavernier, around Mile Marker 93. Here’s where we find another item on our list of things to do in Key Largo. About half a mile into Tavernier, on the bayside, look for homemade wooden signs signalling the approaching Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center. The entrance is wooded and hidden by leaves until you are right on top of it, hence the wooden signs. The last sign is in the shape of a heron, and it’s great because it’s old Keys, meaning it was there before big money and big condo and resort development hit the islands. The Center is run by volunteers and funded by donations and they take care of wild birds that have been injured, orphaned, or who are ill. They release the birds back into nature once they’ve been rehabilitated. As you walk the wooden boardwalk through a maze of cages, birdhouses, and pens, you’ll see pelican after pelican that’s been somehow injured in one way or another. Lots of the pelicans were injured by mono filament line from fishing. They get tangled in the stuff. You’ll also see cormorants and herons, too. There are some owls, and even a pen of orphaned racoons, although last time we were there the raccoon cage was empty. If you find an injured bird you can call the Center. This is many visitors’ favorite things to do in Key Largo.

Harry Harris County Park

Harry Harris State Park is a quiet oasis from the hustle bustle of the Overseas Highway and all its tourist-luring businesses on the main drag in Key Largo. At mile marker 92.5 just before you hit Tavernier, turn left onto Burton Drive and head for the ocean. There’s a beach and lots of picnic tables and playground. All this makes Harry Harris County Park an ideal spot to spend a casual afternoon enjoying the warm weather and the Atlantic Ocean, should you get tired of the actually being on or in the water. You can’t bring your pets, though, but it is a beautiful, low-key spot, which is hard to find on land in Key Largo area.

Key Largo

Key Largo FloridaKey Largo Florida is the first of the Florida Keys as you drive south from Miami. It’s also the only stop for many visitors who consider the waters around Key Largo to be amongst the finest in the world for diving. In fact, if your vacation is all about scuba, snorkeling, or fishing, Key Largo Florida has everything you need within a short drive from Miami International Airport or even Fort Lauderdale International Airport. There are also world-class resorts here, fine dining, and the best underwater marine state park in the country, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

This treasured state park hosts all sorts of marine activities, centered upon the coral reef that runs parallel to the Florida Keys from Key Largo Florida all the way out past Key West to the Dry Tortugas. What makes Key Largo Florida the best place for diving is the proximity of the Gulf Stream to the island itself. Nowhere else in the Florida Keys does the Gulf Stream come this close to the reef, which itself is closer to Key Largo Florida than in other parts of the Florida Keys.

Key Largo Florida is a top destination for vacationing divers, but you’ll find plenty of vacationers here that never actually get into the water. These would be the back country anglers who come for exciting flats fishing in the back country behind Key Largo. Anglers can fish Everglades National Park from Key Largo Florida, since the two are close to each other. A quick ride north from Key Largo lands sport fishermen right in the Everglades for all-day action-packed fishing for bonefish, permit, redfish, tarpon, and whatever else they may encounter in the abundant waters of Everglades National Park.

How about things to do in Key Largo Florida for those who don’t fish or dive? Go to John Pennekamp State Park and discover Key Largo and the coral reef in a variety of other ways. They’ve thought of everything at this multi-faceted state park, and everyone. For those visitors who want a serene, calm look at the coral reef, there’s the Glass Bottom Boat tour, where you are driven out to the reef in a large, stable boat with glass panels in the hull for viewing the reef. This is a great option for families with very young children. You’ll also find canoe and kayak rentals, snorkel trips, ranger talks and a nature trail through the mangroves at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

There’s lots more to do in Key Largo Florida and surrounding areas we call the Upper Keys. From mile marker 110 down to mile marker 88 you get Key Largo, Tavernier, and Plantation Key. The water around the Upper Keys bayside provides miles and miles of backcountry within Florida Bay. This is perhaps the largest attraction of Key Largo, after John Pennekamp State Park.

Holidays to Key Largo can be whatever you want to make of them.

Key Largo Cottages at the Key Lime Sailing Club

Where else can you you get a room in the Florida Keys that comes with a 22 foot sailboat?   The Key Largo Cottages at the Key Lime Sailing Club offer unique accommodations with unusual perks, to say to the least!  You can take sailing lessons with an instructor who’s sailed with an America’s Cup winner and is of course a USCG Master Mariner license holder.  A complete family sailing vacation can be arranged at the Key Largo Cottages at the Key Lime Sailing Club.

While the sailing is great, and offers you the chance to brush up on your sailing skills or learn a whole new skill that you will enjoy as long as you like, there is so much else to do in Key Largo, even right here at the resort, we recommend branching out a little while you’re here!  The Key Largo Cottages at the Key Lime Sailing Club also offer their guests snorkeling gear, other types of boats, and even fishing gear.  Their private dock facing the back country can be put to many uses during your stay, for no extra charge.

Accommodations at Key Largo Cottages at the Key Lime Sailing Club range from an entire two-level house that sleeps an entire family to a cozy romantic cabin for two with a hot tub and tiki shower.

Key Largo Grande Resort & Beach Club

The Key Largo Grande Resort & Beach Club is a Hilton resort, which means full service, amenities galore, and top notch everything.  From upscale furniture to national standards for service and cleanliness, fans of the the Hilton chain of hotels will feel right at home at this Key Largo hotel.  You’ll find just about everything you need within the lush tropical borders of the 12.5 mile resort at Key Largo Grande Resort & Beach Club.

Business travelers to Key Largo will appreciate the in-room dataports on the telephone, wi-fi access, and wake up service.  There are also other services for the business traveler like secretarial services, meeting rooms, and video conferencing.  Everyone will love the private balconies, premium cable, individiual air conditioning, and in-room safe.  Fine linens, feather down pillows and upscale furniture set the tone for quality features that make this Key Largo hotel well worth the price.

For dining, there are four ways to eat dinner in the resort itself, including of course room service.  Bars on the beach, poolside, and indoors all serve delicious fresh meals – try the grilled local seafood!

The Key Largo Grande Resort & Beach Club also offers wedding services, and MSN featured this Key Largo hotel on its “Top 10 Wedding Destinations” report.  The grand ballroom, classic details and magic atmosphere of this resort will leave all you wedding guests with great memories of a great wedding trip.

Key Largo Hotels

Key Largo Hotels offer  retreat from the world where you can escape without having to drive far at all.  Located at the upper tip of the Florida Keys, Key Largo is the gateway to the entire chain of island that stretch from the end of the Florida peninsula all the way out the Key West, 100 miles down the Overseas Highway.  Key Largo technically starts at Mile Marker 110 and stretches to mile marker 95. Within those fifteen miles you will find Key Largo hotels for every traveler, and every budget.

Only 66 miles from Miami, Key Largo offers the quickest Florida Keys vacation for those with just a weekend or a packed itinerary.  The town caters to the quick getaway traveler, offering resorts and Key Largo hotels that seem to magically form a barrier between the outside world and the resort within.  You get a quick getaway, an ideal retreat, and lots of time for diving, snorkeling, sight seeing, boating, or just lazing around on the beach.

We give our viewers fresh info on all the best Key Largo hotels, from the larger resorts with full services and lots of amenities, to the small privately owned cottages offering an intimate setting and down home hospitality.