Where to stay in Florida Keys, FL

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Plunge into the best places to stay in the dreamy Florida Keys. In north-to-south order, Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and the Lower Keys are palm-dotted gems perfect for lazing in the sun without any distractions. Brimming with liveliness and quirky attractions, Key West ends the eye-popping parade with a bang.

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Best location in the Florida Keys

While you find warm weather and a laid-back vibe all over the Florida Keys, each area within the region is unique. Therefore, we recommend exploring at least some of each — like on a road trip from Miami to Key West.

Generally, though, Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and the Lower Keys are the quieter locations, with fewer things to do. In contrast, Key West — loaded with sights, restaurants and bars — is where it happens.

We think it’s essential to check out Key West when you visit the Florida Keys, and it’s a beautiful place for a getaway, too. But if you’re looking for something really quiet, you might want to base yourself elsewhere.

Ready? Start from the top (north) or skip down to where you want to be.

Key Largo

You certainly don’t have to go far from the mainland to find breathtaking places to stay in the Florida Keys. Key Largo — only 67 miles (108 km) from Miami — is the Florida Keys’ gorgeous gateway.

Key Largo abounds with activities in and on the water. In particular, the undersea John Pennekamp State Park brilliantly shows how rich the Florida Keys’ marine life is. Dive into the water for close-ups of colorful fish, or sign up for a glass-bottom boat tour for a drier take.

Adding to the tranquility, quiet canals cut through Key Largo. Absorb the ambience aboard the African Queen, the 1912 steamboat made famous via the namesake 1951 movie with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.

Craving more things to do? Beginning in Key Largo, the legendary, island-hopping Overseas Highway is lined by roadside attractions. In the other (mainland) direction, you reach the alligator-loaded Everglades in under an hour.

  • Pick Key Largo for: John Pennekamp.

Playa Largo Resort

At luxurious Playa Largo Resort, you have all you need for a great time in the Florida Keys — and a little more. This bayfront resort offers top facilities crowned by a fantastic pool and private beach.

Sunset Cove Resort

Choose from low-key cottages, suites and diver’s dens set on an intimate 3-acre property radiating tropical vibes. The highlight is the small beach and dock where the sunset makes jaws drop every evening.

Overseas Highway sign in Key Largo
The Overseas Highway, Florida.

Islamorada

South of Key Largo, Islamorada comprises five main islands: Tea Table Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Windley Key and Plantation Key. These float halfway between Miami and Key West — a secluded yet convenient location.

Upper Matecumbe Key is Islamorada’s undisputed heart. Discover a surprisingly lively area with eateries — try Lorelei Restaurant for relaxed sunsets and seafood — bars, galleries, breweries and some of the best resorts in the Florida Keys, such as the Islander Resort.

But it’s on the neighbor, Lower Matecumbe Key, that you find the famous Robbie’s Marina. Here, indulge in yummy marine delicacies and feed the masses of hungry tarpons showing up at the dock — a classic Overseas Highway amusement.

The nearby Indian Key Historic State Park doesn’t have a road connection but is well worth the short paddle over. Delve into the ruins of a historic settlement, or just enjoy the gin-clear waters filled with exotic fish.

  • Pick Islamorada for: Seclusion.

Islander Resort

The sea, sand and sun come together exceptionally at the Islander Resort. Relax on the private beach while turquoise water laps the shore, or sit down at the on-site Tides Beachside Bar & Grill for casual favorites.

Sands of Islamorada

Simple but pleasant and (for the Florida Keys) affordable accommodation awaits at Sands of Islamorada. For some wow factor, snap up one of the ocean-view rooms.

Blue boat, palm tree, white sand and blue water in the Florida Keys
Islamorada, FL.

Marathon

The halfway point of the Overseas Highway, Marathon is the heart of the Florida Keys. Oozing laidbackness, this is an excellent spot to recharge your batteries for a few days (or why not weeks).

For prime relaxation, spread out a towel on Sombrero Beach. Boasting a sandy shoreline fringed by clear waters and swaying palm trees, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the Florida Keys.

Turtles love the warm Florida Keys waters just as much as you do. Visit the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital to learn all about turtles and the hospital’s noble efforts to save them — you’ll also get to meet patients.

A hidden Marathon treasure, Crane Point Hammock lets you wander through 63 untouched acres of the Florida Keys. Hike through native vegetation, admire Florida Bay views and acquire new knowledge at the museum.

  • Pick Marathon for: The Keys’ heart.

Isla Bella Beach Resort

Let contemporary glamour enhance your Florida Keys stay. With 24 acres right on the ocean, Isla Bella Resort presents a carefully curated resort where each unit comes with a million-dollar ocean view.

Seascape Resort

For a resort in the Florida Keys, the Seascape Resort is refreshingly low key. Savor a private beach and miniature marina without the fanciness that these features often involve.

Wooden houses framed by palm trees in Marathon during sunset
Marathon in Florida Keys’ heart, FL.

Lower Keys

The humble Lower Keys extend from the west end of the landmark Seven Mile Bridge to Key West. Make acquaintance with a quiet area abounding with natural beauty.

Paddling and snorkeling along the shoreline of Bahia Honda State Park makes a stunning outing. To wind down, recline on the soft sand backdropped by the eye-catching Bahia Honda Rail Bridge, built in 1912 by Henry Flagler.

On Big Pine Key and No Name Key, the National Key Deer Refuge protects over 20 endangered species. Be sure to scan the terrain for the namesake key deer, the smallest sub-species of white-tailed deer.

Need something to drink with that? Try to find the elusive No Name Pub. Tip: It’s on No Name Key.

  • Pick Lower Keys for: Unplugging.

Parmer’s Resort

On Little Torch Key, Parmer’s Resort provides accommodation options ranging from free-standing cottages to basic rooms. Dotting the five-acre oceanfront property, hammocks, chairs, tables and grills make sociable spots.

Boats on calm, blue water surrounded by green vegetation in the Florida Keys
Life on water in Florida Keys, FL.

Key West

Celebrate your Florida Keys vacation in the buzzing Key West, the last island along the Overseas Highway. Fun fact: From here, Cuba, 95 miles (153 km) away, is closer than Miami, 165 miles (266 km) away.

For maximum convenience and the quintessential vibe, bed down in the historic Old Town. Staying in Old Town, you can effortlessly explore the island’s best by foot.

Along the main street, Duval, sample an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars. Stop by at Sloppy Joe’s Bar — once Ernest Hemingway’s favorite spot — for a cooling beverage and iconic photo opportunity.

Memorable Key West attractions (just a tiny sample from the huge buffet) include Hemingway’s Home, Key West Lighthouse and the Butterfly Garden. It’s certainly as easy as ever to entertain yourself in high-spirited Key West.

  • Pick Key West for: Liveliness.

Almond Tree Inn

At the heart of Key West, Almond Tree inn puts you in the first row for both sightseeing and partying. Embrace a property brimming with tranquility, with the palm-fringed pool the best place to be.

Douglas House

While you check in with Duval Street around the corner, Douglas House oozes seclusion. After a day of taking in the sights, recline in the lush courtyard, maybe with a glass of champagne in your hand.

Margaritaville Beach House

If you want to give New Town a chance, consider checking in at Margaritaville Beach House, steps from Smathers Beach. To the heart of Old Town, it’s roughly 2 miles (3.2 km).

Sign saying "no lifeguard on duty, swim at your own risk" on a beach in the Florida Keys
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach at the end of the road.

Where to stay in Florida Keys FAQ

Where is the best area to stay in the Florida Keys?

Key West is the best part of the Florida Keys if you crave liveliness and an array of land-based attractions. In contrast, Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and the Lower Keys are quieter slices with fewer things to do.

Is it better to stay in Key Largo or Islamorada?

Both Key Largo and Islamorada are beautiful places to stay in the Florida Key. Key Largo, the first area when you come from the mainland, boasts the wildlife-filled waters of John Pennekamp State Park. Slightly deeper into the island chain, Islamorada answers up with sights like Robbie’s Marina and Indian Key.

Where to stay in Florida Keys for nightlife?

For liveliness and nightlife, Key West is the best place to stay in the Florida Keys. No other area within the archipelago comes close to the famous buzz on Duval Street.

Which Florida Keys area is best for families?

The Florida Keys is in general a very family friendly destination. Therefore, you find great places to stay for families all over the tropical island chain.

How many days do you need in the Florida Keys?

The Florida Keys is a great place both for a weekend getaway and a longer vacation. With a long weekend at disposal, you can tick off several of the region’s highlights. But add time for lazy days and water activities — important parts of the relaxing and appreciated Florida Keys culture.

Are the Florida Keys worth visiting?

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 interesting sights and the quirky vibe that the island chain is so famous for.

Keep planning your Florida Keys trip

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