Key Largo, Florida is a scenic thoroughfare located between Miami and Key West. Tourists, like me, in search of the southernmost point of the United States sometimes stop for a night or two in Key Largo, before winding down Highway One to America’s very own paradise. This travel tangent makes sense to my family, considering the drive from Miami to Key West can be long and arduous. Key Largo offers a hidden gem of tropical tranquility complete with history, fresh seafood and underwater activities galore. Here are my four favorite things to do while visiting Key Largo, Florida:
Scuba diving is, by far, the most popular sport in Largo and there’s no shortage of trips, tours and shops. Some of the best of the best, in my opinion, are: Horizon Divers, Ocean Divers, Rainbow Reef and Sea Dwellers, to name just a few. Some diving trips even include a venture down to the famous bronze Christ of the Abyss statue, which is located 25 feet under water and weighs 4,000 pounds.
I have always dreamed of swimming with marine life and finally did so at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo. I opted for the Structured Dolphin Swim which is available daily and offers a two hour hands on experience with these gentle mammals. Another option is the Natural Dolphin Swim which includes a snorkeling sequence to watch and observe underwater play. Programs at Dolphins Plus are priced between $135 to $220 depending on the package.
Garl’s Coastal Kayaking
If you are looking to be one with nature in the Florida Keys, then you must book a trip with Garl’s Coastal Kayaking. Garl’s offers fascinating eco-tours of the mangroves and Everglades where you just might see birds, manatees, gators and even sharks. No worries, though. Garl’s trip are not dangerous and are recommended for all ages. Garl’s also advertises hiking and cycling tours through the Everglades to view magnificent wildlife and foliage. Everglade and ocean side kayaking trips range in price from $100 to $150.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Do not leave Key Largo without an afternoon at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. At Pennekamp, visitors can not only scuba dive, but also snorkel the vibrant reefs for just under $30. Guests can rent paddle boats, kayaks and canoes to self explore the mangrove line corridors that weave through the park. Other John Pennekamp activities include: camping, fishing, swimming and picnicking upon the scenic grounds. But my favorite tour at the park is that of the glassbottom boat. For just $24 dollars, you can climb aboard the Spirit of Pennekamp and experience two and a half hours of glorious reefs, spectacular wildlife and dozens of brilliant marine species, all visible through the boat’s glass bottom floor.