Planning a trip down to the Florida Keys? Key Largo is a great destination for a weekend getaway or a short day trip. Located just about 60 miles from downtown Miami, it's a small piece of paradise that's well within reach! Here are some of my favorite Key Largo activities.
Looking for a truly unique experience? Jules Underwater Lodge is a hotel located 30 feet below the water's surface. Obviously, you must be a diver to visit this hotel, but it's certainly a story that you'll share with your grandkids!
A glass bottom boat tour allows visitors to see the marine life from a distance in the comfort of a boat. The Spirit of Pennekamp, a 65-foot, high-speed catamaran glides through the water, over sunken vessels and shallow reefs. Glass panels in the floor allow visitors to see a fraction of the Florida Reef Tract, a 221-mile coral path that parallels the Florida Keys from Key Biscayne in Miami to the Dry Tortugas, west of Key West. Of course, most visitors want to see the fish, and the reef never disappoints; colorful parrotfish, menacing-looking barracudas and enormous grouper are almost always spotted during the tour.
The best way to see the underwater beauty of the Florida Keys is up close and personal! Scuba divers have the opportunity to see the most of what the Keys have to offer. The dive shop at John Pennekamp State Park offers certified divers the chance to visit the coral reefs for $60 per person.
If you find diving intimidating or don't want to take the time to learn the necessary skills, the clear water of Key Largo makes snorkeling almost as enjoyable an experience! John Pennekamp State Park offers snorkeling tours that run $29.95 for adults and $24.95 for children. After a brief orientation on the use of the snorkel, you'll get about 90 minutes of in-water time to enjoy the beauty of the coral reefs.
For those who prefer to stay on land, there are two beaches (manmade) and a few nature trails within John Pennekamp State Park. Camping is available, but book early, as the sites are popular. There is also a small snack bar in the park.