Key Largo, FL
Florida
By Lauren Kmec

Nicknamed “the diving capital of the world,” Key Largo, Florida offers plenty of sun, sand, and surf to its visitors. Its name is derived from the Spanish phrase “Cayo Largo,” meaning “long key,” an appropriate moniker for the biggest island in the Florida Keys archipelago.

Key Largo is often overlooked in favor of its sister city, Key West, but WhatsCheaper.com urges you to consider a visit to this tropical location. Though it feels somewhat remote, Key Largo is only an hour’s drive from Miami International Airport (airport code MIA) and just over 90 minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (airport code FLL). Let WhatsCheaper.com assist you with your travel plans today (https://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php). To make the most of your time in Key Largo, WhatsCheaper.com recommends staying at one of our top-rated hotels (https://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

To kick off your vacation, WhatsCheaper.com suggests a trip to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the nation’s first underwater park, located a just a few miles to the east of Key Largo. Dubbed “the crown jewel of the state park system,” John Pennekamp State Park is a scuba diving and snorkeling hotspot. Swimmers and divers will encounter the famous Statue of Christ of the Abyss, rising up from the depths of the reef. The park also boasts two beaches, several campsites, and various nature trails. Rent a kayak or canoe to explore the waters, or hop aboard a glass-bottom boat for a professionally led tour. And don’t miss out on the incredible reconstruction of a living coral reef in the 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium located in the visitor’s center.

For other notable places to dive, WhatsCheaper.com recommends Benwood Wreck and The Elbow, both of which are reef areas surrounding sunken ships. For experienced divers, WhatsCheaper.com suggests Spiegel Grove, site of an intentionally submerged Navy transport ship now serving as a backbone for a new reef system. Large schools of tropical fish frequent this area, and many have become accustomed to swimming side-by-side with humans, which makes for a truly unique experience.

Swimming with dolphins is unique activity that is not to be missed while vacationing in Key Largo. Dolphin Cove and Dolphins Plus are two organizations devoted to exposing people to the joys of interacting with dolphins and sea lions in their natural environment. Take a dip with the dolphins in the natural lagoon, or go for a shallow-water encounter if you want more hands-on contact with these lovable mammals. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity!

Although Key Largo is known mainly for its fascinating natural wonders and pristine beaches, WhatsCheaper.com encourages you to check out Key Largo’s growing art scene. There are a surprising number of galleries on the island, featuring works ranging from nature-inspired pieces by locals to works by more famous artists. WhatsCheaper.com recommends paying a visit to Stephen Frink’s studio, as he is one of the world’s most well-respected underwater photographers. Also worth visiting is the gallery at Kona Kai Resort. After admiring the stunning works of manmade art, stroll through the neighboring botanical garden to observe some of Mother Nature’s most striking creations, particularly in the orchid house and the tropical plant garden.

If you are looking for a side trip while in the Key Largo area, the Everglades National Park is only a short distance to the northwest. The world famous Everglades are America’s largest expanse of subtropical wilderness, stretching over ~1.5 million acres, and the natural beauty of this area is second to none. To get a true taste of the wild, WhatsCheaper.com encourages visitors to take a guided tour led by a park ranger. Those hoping to spot animals in action will not be disappointed; manatees, alligators, bobcats, and a plethora of bird species call the Everglades their home. With so many rare plants and animals residing here, it’s no wonder that Everglades National Park has been designated as a Wetland of International Importance. For adventurous travelers seeking the full eco-tourism experience, WhatsCheaper.com recommends spending the night in one of the designated camping areas.

Why wait to visit this gorgeous island paradise? Follow the links above, and let WhatsCheaper.com help you get started on your vacation planning today. For more information, please visit the Florida Keys Tourism Bureau website which can be found by following this link (www.fla-keys.com).

MUST SEE IN Key Largo, FL LIST:

  • 1. Dolphins Plus
  • 2. USCG Duane
  • 3. Key Largo Parasail
  • 4. Florida Keys Dive Center
  • 5. Grecian Rocks
  • 6. Molasses Reef
  • 7. Dolphin Cove
  • 8. MarineLab Undersea Laboratory
  • 9. USCG Bibb
  • 10. Spiegel Grove

Key Largo, FL EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Stone Crab & Seafood Festival - January
  • 2. Annual Garden Walk - February
  • 3. Conch Republic Days - April
  • 4. Songwriters Festival - May
  • 5. Key Largo Food & Wine Festival - July/August
  • 6. Key Largo Pirates Fest - October

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Hilton Key Largo Resort
97000 South Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL
By Keleigh M. Quinn

Bordering the Everglades National Park and offering beautiful access to the Gulf of Mexico, the Hilton Key Largo Resort is a fantastic place for a vacation. This hotel is just an hour from Miami, and just a short drive from downtown Key Largo. The private beach offers the perfect place to relax with a good book, or enjoy all of the activities available, including snorkeling, jet-skiing, or sailing. You can arrange to go out on a fishing boat or try scuba diving for the first time at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Get acquainted with the local wildlife at Dolphin Cove and the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center.

This resort sits on 12.5 acres of land, offering endless activities for the entire family. In addition to the beach, there are also two outdoor pools and a hot tub, surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs and even a waterfall. You can also keep active on the tennis courts, or head to the fitness center to use the cardio machines. The helpful staff will provide you with information on renting wave runners or planning an excursion.

If you work up an appetite while lounging poolside, you can head to Splashes Pool Bar, serving delicious cocktails, as well as sandwiches, salads and other snacks. Waves Beach Bar will grill up your favorite lunch options right on the beach while you cool off with a drink. Later, catch the sunset view from Treetops Bar & Grill while you enjoy fresh seafood, steaks and other local specialties. You can choose to sit inside or outside and they are open for breakfast, as well.

The rooms and suites are decorated with tropical décor, and feature large windows and private balconies with views of the bay or the nature trails. Relax and watch television, including premium channels, or go online when you pay a small fee for internet service.

Enjoy a tropical vacation without a passport when you book with WhatsCheaper.com by clicking here (https://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

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