Above all the Florida Keys is famous for its warm year-round weather, blue waters and relaxed ambience. It’s a tropical paradise that’s like no other place. But where to stay in Florida Keys for the best experience?
The best place to stay in Florida Keys for entertainment is Key West. Other areas with Florida Keys hotels are from north to south Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and the Lower Keys.
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You certainly don’t have to go far from the mainland to find nice places to stay in Florida Keys. The gorgeous Key Largo is the first island in the archipelago that you get to when you go from the mainland to Florida Keys.
It’s only 67 miles (108 km) from Miami to Key Largo that is known as the gateway to Florida Keys. If you come by car from the mainland, there is no other option for where to stay in the Florida Keys area that is easier to reach.
On the easily accessible island you find a relaxing environment and a good selection of Key Largo places to stay. Located at the start of the stunning Overseas Highway it’s also the perfect first stop if you plan to travel deeper into the Florida Keys.
Most of all Key Largo is a great place for activities in and on the water. In particular, John Pennekamp State Park is a highlight in the northern area of the Florida Keys. It’s an undersea park that shows you how very rich the Florida Keys marine life is.
In short, the easy access from Miami and its stunning setting makes Key Largo a great option for where to stay in Florida Keys. It’s not deep into the island chain, but the area offers some of the best Florida Keys accommodation.
- Pick Key Largo for: John Pennekamp adventures.
Best hotels in Key Largo
Playa Largo Resort
At Playa Largo Resort, you have all you need for a great time in Florida Keys, and a little more. This bayfront Florida Keys resort offers great facilities, including a fantastic pool and beach area.
It’s a true pleasure to spend time in such a beautiful setting by the ocean. Playa Largo Resort is a grand example of that you don’t need to go far south to find some of the best Florida Keys resorts.
Sunset Cove Resort
Sunset Cove Resort is a great option for where to stay in Florida Keys if you look for something less exclusive but still beachfront. At Sunset Cove, you are met by a retro look and a tranquil Florida Keys atmosphere.
And its pretty location on the beach just adds to the laid-back tropical vibe. It’s not fancy Florida Keys lodging, but it’s certainly a great place to unwind without breaking the bank.
South of Key Largo you find another appealing option for where to stay in Florida Keys, Islamorada. In Islamorada you’re about halfway between Miami and the southernmost island Key West.
The location of Islamorada is very appreciated by Florida Keys visitors. It’s deep enough into the Keys to feel away from the mainland. Still it’s also close enough to be easy to reach by car if you come from the Miami area.
Spread out over several Keys, Upper Matecumbe Key is the undisputed heart of the area. On Upper Matecumbe Key you find several iconic Islamorada resorts and a surprisingly active area to get to know.
On top of appreciated Florida Keys resorts the restaurants, bars, galleries and even breweries make a stay a real joy. It’s not like the entertainment scence in Key West, but Islamorada certainly is a fun place in the Florida Keys to explore.
One of the very best things to do in Islamorada is to pay a visit to Indian Key Historic State Park. As there is no road to the small Indian Key, it’s only accessible by boat. A memorable way to get there is to paddle over.
To sum up, Islamorada is one of the best areas to stay in Florida Keys if you look for something both secluded and convenient. The area is located fairly deep into the stunning Florida Keys and offers a relaxing island atmosphere.
- Pick Islamorada for: A secluded and convenient base.
Best hotels in Islamorada
The Islander Resort is one of the most popular resorts in the Florida Keys. The location directly on the beach is both beautiful and convenient.
In addition, the landscaping at the oceanfront Islander Resort is nothing less than phenomenal. The option for where to stay in the Florida Keys really is a slice of paradise.
Sands of Islamorada
Sands of Islamorada offers comfortable Florida Keys lodging by the water. At the southern end of Islamorada its location is also great if you plan to venture further south.
If you look for luxury it’s not the Florida Keys place to stay at for you. However, with its lower rates Sands of Islamorada is an excellent option for where to stay in Florida Keys on a budget.
Marathon is an option for where to stay in Florida Keys that’s located at the halfway point of the Overseas Highway. Therefore Marathon also is known as the heart of Florida Keys.
In the heart of Florida Keys you find an island oasis that promotes the traditional laid-back Florida Keys lifestyle. Marathon encompasses Florida islands far away from the hectic and complicated mainland life.
Its relaxed atmosphere has made Marathon known as one of the best places to stay in Florida Keys for families and other travelers who want a peaceful time.
An in particular superb place for relaxation in Marathon is Sombrero Beach. It’s one of the the best Florida Keys beaches. Its sandy shoreline, calm waters and palm trees makes it a great place for lazy days in the heart of the Florida Keys.
And turtles love the warm Florida Keys waters just as much as you do. A great educational experience when you visit Marathon is to go to Florida Keys Turtle Hospital. There you get to learn about turtles and the hospital’s noble efforts to save them.
In conclusion, Marathon is one of the best areas to stay in Florida Keys for an authentic and laid-back experience. The heart of the island chain is an option for where to stay in Florida Keys that ticks every box for a relaxing holiday.
- Pick Marathon for: A laid-back stay in the heart of Florida Keys.
Best hotels in Marathon
Isla Bella Beach Resort
Isla Bella in Marathon is one of the best Florida Keys spa hotels. The breathtaking Florida Keys oceanfront resort feels secluded and away from it all.
Yet its convenient location near the Seven Mile Bridge also makes it one of the Marathon hotels near Bahia Honda Beach in the Lower Keys. So the Florida Keys resort is an exceptional base for exploring also the more southern parts of the island chain.
At Marriott in Marathon you stay with great comfort in the heart of Florida Keys. Its pool right by the Gulf of Mexico offers stunning views during every hour of the day.
If you want a Florida Keys resort that has it all, you don’t need to look further. The comfort, scenery and central location makes the area’s Marriott one of the very best places to stay in Florida Keys.
After Marathon the Lower Keys area is another great option for where to stay in Florida Keys. The area comes after the famous Seven Mile Bridge that separates Marathon from the Lower Keys.
If you pick the Lower Keys for where to stay in Florida Keys, you get a soothing atmosphere around the clock. The peaceful ambience in the Lower Keys area makes it a very popular area in Florida Keys for visitors who look for something off the beaten path.
In the quiet area you find a much smaller selection of Florida Keys lodging. But on the other hand the charming Florida Keys hotels and resorts in the area offer a quietness that it’s hard to find anywhere else.
You also find some good restaurants and even a few cool bars in the Lower Keys area. Still it’s certainly not the best place to stay in the Florida Keys for that big night out.
Instead the best things to do in the Lower Keys are about unwinding. Bahia Honda Beach is a picturesque beach with clear water and a long shoreline to explore. It’s tough to pick a winner between Bahia Honda Beach and Sombrero Beach in Marathon.
To sum up, Lower Keys is the best area to stay in Florida Keys if you want a peaceful escape without any distractions. In the quiet and soothing Lower Keys it’s mostly just you, the sun and the waves. The area is perfect of couples, families or anyone else who likes the idea of a serene Florida Keys stay.
- Pick Lower Keys for: An off-the-beaten path area.
Best hotels in Lower Keys
At Parmer’s Resort, you stay on Little Torch Key, located next to Big Pine Key. Its tranquility and location by the water makes visitors return to the cozy Florida Keys resort year after year. The beachfront Florida Keys resort also sits less than 10 miles (16 km) from the famous Bahia Honda Beach, making Parmer’s Resort one of the very few Florida Keys places to stay near Bahia Honda.
Key West is the last island that the breathtaking Overseas Highway takes you to. No other option for where to stay in Florida Keys is located as far south.
From the southernmost island it’s 165 miles (266 km) to Miami by car. Cuba is in fact closer as it’s not more than 95 miles (153 km) from the final island to the shore of Cuba.
When it comes to liveliness and attractions, no other option in the Florida Keys even comes close to Key West. The southernmost island is by a margin the best place to stay in Florida Keys for entertainment.
To be near everything that the island offers, including restaurants, watering holes and attractions, the best area to stay in Key West is its Old Town. From Florida Keys hotels in Old Town you easily explore the district by foot.
Along the area’s main street, Duval, you find many tasty restaurants and quirky bars to check out. Next to Duval you find the much quieter but as appreciated Whitehead Street.
All in all, the southernmost island along the Overseas Highway is the best place to stay in Florida Keys for entertainment. No other option for where to stay in Florida Keys offers the same great amount of things to do as Key West.
- Pick Key West for: A livelier Florida Keys stay.
Favorite location. When it comes to things to do no other alternative for where to stay in Florida Keys even comes close to Key West. In the quirky island city you find a wide range of attractions and an impressive selection of restaurants and watering holes.
Best hotels in Key West
Almond Tree Inn
At Almond Tree Inn you have all you need for a peaceful stay in the heart of the southernmost island. The Florida Keys accommodation is located near Duval street in the center of the action.
Still Almond Tree Inn is very neat and quiet and has all you need for a relaxing stay. It’s not a place for Florida Keys on a budget, but the attractive inn is also truly something extra.
Douglas House is another great Florida Keys inn. From the place to stay near Duval Street in Old Town you have walking distance to many of the famous things to do on the island.
In particular Douglas House is rated as a great option for where to stay in Florida Keys for couples. When you visit the Florida Keys inn, it’s certainly easy to see why.
Margaritaville Beach House
At Margaritaville Beach House you stay in the New Town area of the island. Roughly 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from the Southernmost Point in Old Town it’s a location away from the buzz.
But very conveniently so the popular Florida Keys accommodation is located just steps from Smathers Beach. With such a location it has never been easier to hit the beach.
What to do when you stay in Florida Keys
With its endless summer Florida Keys stays are appreciated around the year. But if you’re up for it, there’s much more to enjoy than just pleasant weather.
Go underwater at John Pennekamp
From north to south one of the first major attractions along the Overseas Highway is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It’s a celebrated Key Largo park, where you get to explore the rich Florida Keys underwater life.
For the full experience you can dive and snorkel in the fascinating marine park. However, a dry option is to tour the park by glass-bottom boat.
Paddle to Indian Key
Off the Islamorada shore the unique Indian Key Historic State Park is located. It’s a highlight in the Florida Keys that’s both historic and scenic.
Even though it’s nowadays hard to imagine, the tiny and uninhabited island used to be a county seat. As you visit the island, you find remains of structures from a very different time.
On top of the island’s history the paddle to get to Indian Key is appreciated too. In the clear Florida Keys water at Indian Key you often spot alluring marine life.
Hang out on the beach
What would a stay in Florida Keys be without some lazy time in the sun? Although several Florida Keys resorts offer private beaches, there are also nice public beaches to relax on.
One stunning option is Marathon’s Sombrero Beach. Its soft sand, calm waters and pretty palm trees makes the beach a popular choice.
Another appealing option for the beach bum is Bahia Honda Beach in the Lower Keys. Here you find not only an award winning beach but also a historic bridge.
Visit a turtle sanctuary
An educational highlight in Marathon is the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital. The turtle sanctuary, just off the Overseas Highway, rehabilitates injured turtles and return them to their natural habitat.
It’s an excellent place to increase your knowledge about an important member of Florida’s animal kingdom. To learn about the turtles is both educational and fun for animal lovers of all ages.
Discover Old Town
You find gems all over the Florida Keys, but there’s only one winner if you want a big selection of things to do. Old Town in Key West is by a margin the liveliest area in the Florida Keys.
Duval Street and Whitehead Street offer a fun buzz around the year. With the many restaurants, watering holes, shops and attractions it’s a place where you always find something to do.
Home also to many top Florida Keys hotels you have all you need for a good time. If you look for where to stay in Florida Keys for entertainment, you can stop searching.
Where to stay in Florida Keys FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay in Florida Keys, FL.
The best area to stay in the Florida Keys if you want liveliness and land based attractions nearby is Key West. In contrast Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and the Lower Keys are much quieter and more water focused. However, all over the Florida Keys you find a laid-back vibe and a stunning environment to explore.
You find an abundance of water activities in both Key Largo and Islamorada. Key Largo is the first area when you come from the mainland and Islamorada the second. Both are beautiful places to stay in Florida Keys, but good or bad Islamorada feels and is further away from the mainland.
The Florida Keys is in general a very family friendly destination. Therefore you find great places to stay in Florida Keys for families all over the tropical island chain.
For liveliness and nightlife Key West is the best option for where to stay in Florida Keys. No other Florida Keys area comes close to the famous buzz on Duval Street in the southernmost city.
The Florida Keys is a great place both for a weekend getaway and a longer vacation. A long weekend gives you time to see some of the highlights in Florida Keys. But add time for the lazy days and water activities that are important parts of the relaxing and appreciated Florida Keys culture.
The Florida Keys is the perfect place to visit if you think endless summer, a laid-back vibe and stunning water activities sounds like a good time. Add to that the interesting places to visit and the quirkiness that the island chain is so famous for. The Florida Keys is a unique place that isn’t like the rest of Florida or the US.
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