Key West vs Key Largo - which is perfect for your weekend getaway?

Are you planning a vacation to Florida’s beautiful Keys, but can’t decide where to go? Well, I set up a Key West vs Key Largo article for you, to help you decide.

On one hand, you have the vibrant nightlife and art scene of Key West, while on the other, Key Largo boasts secluded beaches and stunning coral reefs. It’s a tough call, but don’t worry, soon you will know what you want to do!

Key West vs Key Largo

The spectacular seven-mile beach in the Florida Keys
The spectacular seven mile beach in the Florida Keys between Marathon and Big Pine Key

In this article, we’ll compare the two destinations, highlighting their best activities, beaches, accommodations, and restaurants, so you can choose the ideal spot for your dream getaway.

Key Largo is the first of the Florida Keys you hit when you leave the mainland, and is only around one and a half hours away from the Metropol of Miami, which definitely is an advantage to the almost four hours drive all the way to Key West!

Then of course you will be mission out on the spectacular drive over the incredible seven-mile bridge between Marathon and Big Pine Key!

Although a lot more tranquil than Miami, Key West on the tip of the US is still famous for its vibrant nightlife and art scene. It is also an ideal destination for those seeking an active vacation both day and night.

If Key West’s bustling nightlife scene and endless activities don’t quite fit your vacation style, and distance is relevant, Key Largo may be the perfect alternative.

Whether you’re an adventure seeker or prefer a more laid-back getaway, Key West and Key Largo have something for everyone. So, let’s dive in and discover which one is right for you.

Looking For An Active Vacation? Choose Key West!

Going the plank on Schooner Wharf Bar in the Key West night
Pirate going the plank on Schooner Wharf Bar in the Key West night

The island offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, from snorkeling and diving to kayaking and paddleboarding.

For an unforgettable experience, plan a day trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park, located 70 miles west of Key West.

This stunning archipelago is home to the largest brick structure in the western hemisphere, the historic Fort Jefferson, which was built in the 19th century to protect the Gulf of Mexico.

Visitors can explore the fort’s many rooms and corridors, or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the islands.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back way to explore the island, rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll through the charming neighborhoods of Old Town. You’ll discover colorful Victorian mansions, quaint cottages, and lush tropical gardens at every turn.

And for an unforgettable sunset experience, head to Mallory Square, where crowds gather each evening to watch the sun dip below the horizon in a dazzling display of colors.

With so many activities to choose from, Key West is the perfect destination for travelers who want to stay active and explore the island’s natural beauty!

Prefer A Laid-Back Vacation? Go For Key Largo!

Pondering Key West vs Key Largo, there are a lot of stunning nature experiences to embark on in Key Largo just one and a half hour away from Miami like snorkeling on the Christ of the Abyss statue.
Snorkeling Christ of the Abyss in Key Largo

Known as the “Diving Capital of the World,” Key Largo boasts some of the best reefs and wrecks for scuba diving and snorkeling. For a more relaxing option, take a sunset sail aboard a catamaran or enjoy a picnic at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

The slower pace of Key Largo makes for a tranquil atmosphere, ideal for unwinding and reconnecting with nature. Take in the scenery of Florida Bay and views of the Everglades while fishing, kayaking, or paddleboarding.

There’s also a variety of eco-tours and birdwatching opportunities for those interested in learning more about the local wildlife.

Ready to hit the beach? Check out the upcoming section on “The Best Beaches in Key West” for a rundown on the top spots to catch some rays and cool off in the crystal-clear waters.,

The Best Beaches In Key West

Smathers Beach in Key West Florida
Smathers Beach in Key West Florida

When it comes to beaches, Key West has some of the most beautiful in the world. The island is surrounded by crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

One of the most famous beaches is Smathers Beach, located on the south side of the island. This two-mile stretch of sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing and taking a dip in the ocean.

For a more secluded experience, head to Bahia Honda State Park. This park has one of the best beaches in the country, with soft sand, turquoise waters, and plenty of opportunities for water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding.

Higgs Beach is another popular spot, with calm waters and a long pier perfect for fishing.

Looking for a more family-friendly beach? Check out Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The beach is surrounded by lush foliage, and the water is shallow and calm, making it perfect for kids to swim in.

There’s also a fort on the park grounds that you can explore, adding extra adventure to your day at the beach.

Now that you know all about the best beaches in Key West, it’s time to head to Key Largo to discover some of the best beaches in the area.,

The Best Beaches In Key Largo

Key Largo is a tropical paradise with some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in the world.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to catch some rays or a lively beach to surf and paddleboard, there’s a beach in Key Largo for everyone.

The beach in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is one of the most popular beaches in Key Largo, perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving as it’s right next to the world-famous coral reefs.

The beach is also great for families, with calm waters and plenty of facilities to keep everyone comfortable.

For a more secluded and quiet beach experience, head over to Harry Harris Park. The beach here is tucked away from the crowds and surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees.

The water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming, and there’s even a playground for kids and picnic tables for a family lunch.

If you’re looking for a beach with a lively atmosphere and plenty of activities, Cannon Beach should be your go-to. Here, you can rent kayaks and paddleboards to explore the bay, or simply relax on the beach and people-watch.

There are also volleyball nets and grilling stations, so you can make a day of it with friends and family.

Now that you know all about the best activities and beaches in both places, it’s time to start planning your trip. And what better way to do that than by finding the perfect place to stay?

The Best Places To Stay In Key West And Key Largo

When it comes to finding the best places to stay in Key West and Key Largo, it all depends on your preferences. If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, there are plenty of high-end resorts and hotels to choose from in both locations.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, both places have that too.

In Key West, some of the most popular top-rated options include The Reach Key West, Oceans Edge Key West, or entire holiday homes like Casa Isabelle. These resorts offer stunning ocean views, private beaches, and top-notch amenities such as spas, tennis courts, and swimming pools.

If you prefer a smaller, more intimate setting, you might consider one of the numerous bed and breakfasts or smaller boutique hotels scattered throughout Old Town.

In Key Largo, you’ll find a range of accommodations from basic motels to luxurious waterfront resorts. Some of the top-notch rated options include Atlantic Bay Resort, Largo Resort, and the budget-friendly Island Bay Resort.

Many of these resorts offer private beaches, water sports, and outdoor activities like tennis and golf. For a more secluded experience, you might opt for a cozy, waterfront cottage or a houseboat rental!

Now that you’ve got your accommodation sorted, it’s time to start thinking about one of the most important things in the world – where to eat!

Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Key West and Key Largo for some delicious and memorable dining experiences.

The Best Restaurants In Key West And Key Largo

When it comes to dining in Key West and Key Largo, you’ll find an impressive selection of restaurants featuring a mix of fresh seafood, Cuban cuisine, and the classic Florida Keys staple, conch fritters!

In Key Largo, you can’t miss the casual and lively atmosphere at The Fish House, where you can enjoy fresh fish right on the waterfront. For a more upscale dining experience, head to the Key Largo Conch House, infamous for its conch chowder and lobster dishes.

In Key West, you’ll find an even wider range of dining options, from casual cafes to high-end restaurants. For a hearty breakfast, check out Blue Heaven, tempting you with its fluffy pancakes and outdoor seating in a lush garden setting.

For lunch or dinner, head to the Cuban hotspot, El Meson de Pepe, where you can enjoy authentic Cuban sandwiches or seafood paella.

For a unique dining experience for all senses, head to Latitudes on Sunset Key, accessible only via a short boat ride from Key West. This upscale restaurant offers stunning ocean views and gourmet cuisine, perfect for a romantic date night or special occasion.

No matter where you choose to dine, both Key West and Key Largo offer plenty of delicious options to satisfy any craving. So sit back, relax, and indulge in the flavors of the Florida Keys!

How To Get There?

If you have a car, that problem is already taken care of, but if not there are a few options to get to both Key West and Key Largo.

The Greyhound bus has departures multiple times a day from Miami to both destinations and is a comfortable and very budget-friendly option but leaves no room for stopping and exploring when you want to!

You can get a rental car for the duration of your getaway, which is perfect for designing your own road trip and allows you to stop and check out all the fun and interesting sights on the way.

If you prefer not to drive (or can’t), but want some level of freedom, you can also choose a private transfer. That is a pricier option but gives you the freedom to stop here and there, chill in the back and enjoy the scenery when you are on the move.

Or even a one-day tour of the Florida Keys and get it all in a one-day round-trip!

Wrap-Up Key West vs Key Largo

If you’re trying to decide which destination to choose to visit between Key West and Key Largo, hopefully, this guide has provided you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Key West is great for those who crave an active vacation with heaps of excitement and buzzing nightlife, while Key Largo is the perfect destination for those who want to unwind on secluded beaches and soak up the natural beauty of the area.

Either way, the Florida Keys truly is a sun-kissed paradise that offers a wealth of adventure and relaxation opportunities for travelers seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Best Hotel Bookings: Booking, Expedia

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