Ultimate Guide To Key Largo
Girlfriend Getaways,  Southeast,  Travel

A Guide For Planning A Girlfriend Weekend In Key Largo in 2024

Spread the love

Planning a fun girlfriend weekend in Key Largo, Florida? Then this is the guide for you! 

Causal conversation over a glass of wine with friends can often become a glorious vacation planning session that rarely goes any further than the front door. Finding time for you and your best friends to sneak away for some much-needed R&R can seem impossible with work obligations, school schedules, and budgets. However, it is time to make those dreams a reality with a visit to the Florida Keys.

The Ultimate Getaway To Key Largo should always include Key Lime Pie On A Stick
The Ultimate Getaway To Key Largo Should Always Include Key Lime Pie On A Stick

Key Largo makes the ideal girlfriend retreat with affordable vacation rentals and plenty of activities for all types of vacationers. In this article, we dive into why the tropical Florida Keys make the perfect escape and what to do during your weekend getaway in Key Largo.

This site contains affiliate links meaning that if you make a qualifying purchase, I would receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Getting To Key Largo

Most guests visiting Key Largo will fly into Miami International Airport (MIA), rent a car and begin their adventure down the Florida Keys. Key Largo is only an hour from the airport. The entire drive from Miami International Airport to Key West is roughly 5 hours.

Another option is to fly into Key West International Airport (EYE) and rent a car to road trip up the keys ending in Miami.

Rental Car Planning Tip: When booking rental cars, a few locations are not on-site at the airport. One is the Fox Car Rental in Miami, which we know from personal experience. A shuttle will take you from the airport to the rental car area. You could wait upwards of 30-45 minutes for the shuttle alone, so plan accordingly.

While our Fox Rental Car was great, waiting for the shuttle to take you to and from the rental car place took an absorbent amount of time. After waiting nearly 30 minutes, we had to beg an employee to take us to the airport to avoid missing our flight.

Where To Stay In Key Largo

Splurge and get the beach house. After pricing out a variety of resorts and hotels, it always was more affordable to rent a house with a large group of people. That way, you could cook a few meals at the house and have space to spread out; many places have private pools, hot tubs, and beach access.

If planning a family vacation, I would consider a beach house, but many great resorts offer family-friendly activities and amenities.

Rental houses and units  are a great lodging option in Key Largo, Florida
Rental houses and units are a great lodging option in Key Largo, Florida

I recommend checking on Airbnb or VRBO for great houses to rent. Playa Largo Resort & Spa and the Atlantic Bay Resort are other great resorts.

Unique Lodging Opportunity: Plan a night in Jules Undersea Lodge. It is one of the few places in the world where you must scuba dive to get to your hotel room!

Budge Tip: I found lodging more affordable in Key Largo and Marathon than in Key West. If you want to stay on a budget, consider staying at a key near Key West and driving in for the day.

Things To Do In Key Largo, FL

Classic Americana roadside attractions scatter the Florida Overseas Highway (U.S. 1) from Key Largo to Key West. Whether you want to explore the different keys or stay close to your home base, there are tons of great activities to do in Key Largo, FL.

John Pennekamp State Park

As the first undersea park in the U.S., visitors can explore 70 nautical miles of coral reefs, tropical fish, and sparkling blue seas. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has plenty to do for those who prefer to stay on land, with sun-drenched beaches, popular fishing spots, and an informative Visitors Center home to a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium.

Experience snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Experience snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Paddle through the mangroves while looking closely for friendly manatees and dolphins. Water sports are the best ways to experience John Pennekamp State Park. Kayak and canoe rentals, boat tours, scuba, and snorkeling are available. You will want to make those reservations in advance as they tend to fill up quickly. The Glass Bottom Boat tour is a popular attraction for those wanting to observe marine life without getting in the water.

Find A Great Snorkeling Tour Here!

 An entrance fee to enter the park: 

  • $8.00* per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
  •  $2.00* Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, and vehicle passengers with Annual Individual Entrance Pass holders.
  •  $4.00* Single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle.
  •  *Plus $.50 per person Monroe County Surcharge.

Snorkel Christ of the Abyss

Reaching out into the turquoise waters of the sea is the mysterious Christ of the Abyss statue. The statue has a fascinating history as it is one of three bronze sculptures cast from the same mold and submerged in the sea. Snorkelers and divers alike have traveled from around the world to see this wonder of the deep.

Key Largo offers a variety of snorkeling and scuba diving tours
Key Largo offers a variety of snorkeling and scuba diving tours

On August 25, 1965, it was placed in approximately 25 feet (7.6 m) of water off the coast of Key Largo near Dry Rocks, about six miles east of Key Largo in the National Marine Sanctuary, just outside of John Pennekamp State Park. The statue weighs around 260 kg, and the concrete base to which it is attached weighs approximately 9 tons.

Christ Of The Abyss
Photo from Sea Dwellers Dive Center

The other two statues can be found in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy and off the coastline in St. George’s, Grenada.

We took a snorkeling tour with Sea Dwellers Dive Center; they did a fantastic job! The boat ride out to the coral reefs, and Christ of the Abyss is not a leisurely cruise; rather, you are on a power boat. After seeing Jesus, we snorkeled two other coral reefs before venturing back to shore.

Tip: This is not the tour for those with seasickness. We had a few gals get sick who never suffer from seasickness because the ride is bumpy!

Planning Tip: Many times, the scheduled dive or snorkel to the Christ of the Abyss can be canceled because of weather and water conditions since it is in an area that can see higher waves.

Grab Drinks At Sharky’s

After our snorkeling adventure, we venture to nearby Sharky’s Sharkbite Grill for cocktails and appetizers. Sharky’s comes highly recommended by all the locals, and with good reason; everything we ordered was delicious!

Sharky's in Key Largo
For a great spot to grab drinks check out Sharky’s in Key Largo.

Salty sea breezes accompany your tropical cocktail as live music floats through the air. Sharky’s has your typical beach bar vibe but with way better food! The fish dip and grouper bites were on point!

Fun Fact: Sharky’s will cook your catch!! Put your fish fillets on ice, and Shary’s will cook up to 1lb per person!

Address: 522 Caribbean Dr, Key Largo, FL 33037

Dinner at Sol By The Sea

Splurge on a memorable evening by making a reservation at Sol By The Sea. Watch the sun dip into the ocean while savoring a glass of chardonnay and steamed mussels at this dreamy waterfront restaurant. Rustic beach shack decor compliments the coastal cuisine as you catch up on your daily adventures.

Dinner at Sol By The Sea
Dinner at Sol By The Sea

Sol By The Sea is a part of the lovely Playa Largo Resort & Spa, and reservations are highly recommended, especially for big parties.

Lobster Roll
Lobster Roll

Eat Key Lime Pie

One could question if you even visited the Florida Keys if you didn’t sample a slice of their signature Key Lime Pie. Throughout the Keys, this popular dish can be found on nearly every dessert menu and comes in various ways.

Blonde Giraffe's  Key Lime Pie On A Stick
Blonde Giraffe’s Key Lime Pie On A Stick

Key Lime Pie Martinis, cookies, ice cream, and even chocolate-dipped Key Lime pie on a stick are many delicacies you can sample. However, our favorite spot for Key Lime Pie was the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory in Tavernier, Florida.

After purchasing your key lime treats, venture to the serenity garden in the back. Locals informed us this was the spot to get the best Key Lime Pie with real meringue on top! It will only take one bite to see how they hang on to the title of Best In Florida. Take a few moments to enjoy the peaceful vibrant gardens, relish each bite of your delicious pie, then add your own love locket to the thousands found throughout the garden.

Love Lockets at the Blonde Giraffe
Love Lockets at the Blonde Giraffe

I recommend getting the chocolate-dipped frozen Key Lime Pie for a unique twist on this classic dessert! Then take a whole pie home with you to enjoy throughout the remainder of your trip.

Planning Tip: Indoor dining is not available. There is a single counter where guests will place their orders.

Address: 92220 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070

Go Kayaking

Explore Florida’s ecosystem with a kayak ride through the mangrove forests. Discover local wildlife as you paddle through the calm backwaters and mangrove tunnels. Many companies offer Kayaking Tours or rent a kayak for a self-guided adventure.

Kayaking through the mangroves
Kayaking through the mangroves

Day Trip Visit Neighboring Keys

Tempting as it may sound, a road trip down to Key West may not be as doable as you hoped. With traffic, it is roughly 2-3 hours to get from Key Largo to Key West. Add-in stops and the 3 hours coming back means you will have minimal time in Key West. Therefore, we opted for a day trip to explore the neighboring keys instead.

Florida Keys Road Trip Ideas
Florida Keys Road Trip Ideas

Embracing the road trip spirit, we loaded in the cars and made our way to Marathon, which was only an hour and a half away. Naturally, it is a requirement to stop at classic Americana roadside attractions, make spontaneous stops, and get numerous photos, so this adventure took us all day.

Planning Tip: If Dry Tortugas National Park is on your radar for this trip, you will want to plan an entire day for this adventure. The Ferry ride to the park is roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes long each way, and the seaplane ride is 40 minutes each way. It leaves from Key West, making it a better adventure for when you are staying in Key West.

Road Trip Stops From Key Largo To Marathon

Blonde Giraffe

What better way to kick off your road trip than by stopping at the Blond Giraffe? As I have already raved, this is a mandatory stop to get that Florida Keys experience and sample the best Key Lime Pie!

The Rain Barrel Village

The giant crustacean is what drew me to this tourist trap. How can one say no to a photo with a giant lobster? Once out of the car, I figured I should look around. In a nutshell, the Rain Barrel Village is a collection of shops selling overpriced souvenirs, trinkets, and clothing.

Rain Barrel Village
Rain Barrel Village

Stroll the open-aired complex while browsing unique local art, crafts, and jewelry. Grab a Frozen Wine Slushie at the bar, nosh on conch fritters from the Lobster Shack, then relax by swaying in one of the many hammocks throughout the village.

Shopping at the Rain Barrel Village
Shopping at the Rain Barrel Village

Address: 86700 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

Holiday Isle Tiki Bar At Postcard Inn

Don’t leave the Florida Keys without trying the original Bacardi Rum Rummer at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar at Post Card Inn. The combination of rum, brandy, and banana liqueur is a staple in the Keys. Even if you don’t drink rum, this Tiki Bar is serving up fresh grilled fish tacos, frozen cocktail concoctions, and spectacular views. The Key Lime Colada with rum, cream of coconut, fresh pineapple, and Keke Beach key lime liqueur is a fan favorite.

Holiday Isle Tiki Bar at Postcard Inn
Holiday Isle Tiki Bar at Postcard Inn

While many of the bar’s patrons are folks staying at the Postcard Inn, grabbing a traditional Rum Runner is a right of passage for cocktail enthusiasts traveling up and down the Overseas Highways.

Turtle Hosptial

Step into the world of the everyday heroes who help nurse injured and sick sea turtles back to health with a visit to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon. What once was the Old Hidden Harbor Motel has been transformed into a sanctuary for sea turtles recovering from injuries.

Bubble Butt was the renowned sea turtle who was the first patient at the hospital. After a boat strike left, his shell was deformed by the strike, leaving a large “bubble” on his “butt.” This traumatic encounter with a boat also left him floating permanently. At the time, experts could not explain why he was unable to dive, and he became the first documented case of a turtle suffering from “Bubble Butt Syndrome,” named after the one and only Bubble Butt.

Turtle Hospital Ambulance
Turtle Hospital Ambulance

The hospital offers timed daily tours for guests to come behind the scenes and see how the turtles are cared for. The visitors and education center are open daily for all guests.

Planning Tip: If you want to see the sea turtles, you have to be at the Turtle Hospital about ten minutes before the last tour leaves. We missed seeing the turtles because we came at 4:15 pm, and the last tour of the day left at 4:00 pm.

Address: 2396 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050

Sombrero Beach

Step on the soft clean sand of Sombrero Beach for a peaceful walk along the water’s edge. Sombrero Beach is one of the prettiest beaches along the Florida Keys and the ideal spot to catch the sunrise with a cup of coffee.

Sombrero Beach, Marathon, Florida

Sombrero Beach is one of the Key’s hidden gems that locals often like to keep to themselves. A covered playground is ideal for the kids, while many outdoor enthusiasts will opt to launch their kayaks and go snorkeling. After visiting, I can see why they want to keep this little slice of heaven top secret.

Planning Tip: While many of the articles I had read said Sombrero Beach has free parking, we encountered parking meters there when we went in May of 2023, or perhaps we missed the free parking area. While plenty of parking spots are available, remember you may have to pay a few bucks for parking.

Sombrero Beach

Address: Sombrero Beach Rd, Marathon, FL 33050

Brass Monkey

As the popular Beastie Boys’ “Brass Monkey” song lyrics run through your mind, you may feel inclined to swing into this neighborhood dive bar. With cheap drinks, good live music, and a no-fuss atmosphere, the Brass Monkey is the place to be. Did I mention they are open till 4 am? All the locals were very friendly. Some a little too friendly if you catch my vibe, but overall you won’t find a better dive bar in the area.

Address: 5561 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050

More Great Places To Visit From Key Largo To Marathon

Time often seems to be an issue as I plan out my itineraries. Before I know it, the whole trip is planned, and I am left with an ever-growing bucket list. Here are a few fun things we didn’t have time to squeeze in this trip that might be exactly what you are looking for!

Family Friendly activities in Key Largo
Key Largo and the neighboring keys have lots of family-friendly activities.

Theater of the Seas

If swimming with dolphins has been on your bucket list, visiting the Theater of the Seas is a must. Theater of the Sea lagoons and lush tropical gardens are home to dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, fish, sharks, stingrays, alligators, and birds. Educational animal programs and shows are always crowd-pleasers. However, it is their diverse animal encounter programs, such as swimming with dolphins or sea lions, that guests flock to.

Address: 84721 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

Dolphin Research Center

Meet a family of dolphins and sea lions living in natural seawater lagoons in the Gulf of Mexico. Spend a couple hours or all day experiencing their personalities in fun-filled, narrated behavior sessions. In between, watch educational presentations, visit the tropical birds, play in the Sprayground, or simply enjoy the beautiful outdoor Florida Keys setting.

The Top Things To Do In Key Largo, Florida

Planning Tip: Last admissions at 3:30 pm. 

Address: 58901 Overseas Highway | Grassy Key, FL 33050

Take A Ride On The African Queen

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take go on the African Queen Canal Cruise. The iconic vessel, the African Queen, is located in Key Largo Florida. Made famous in the 1951 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, she still remains a timeless classic. This famous steamboat is available for daily canal cruises in the Port Largo Canal area and also for private events.

Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary

Stroll through the beautiful refuge to learn all about the different species of birds that call the sanctuary home. Every bird in the sanctuary has suffered injuries that prevent them from living in the wild. With the help of the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary, they can live out their lives with the appropriate care they need.

Address: 93600 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070

Everglades National Park

One of the best things to do while visiting Florida is to visit the Everglades National Park. It is one of the best places in the United States to see an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitats for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther.

Check out the National Parks Website for updates on park trails, closures, and hours.

Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System. The refuge has a small visitor area that includes a native butterfly garden, an informational kiosk, and a visitor center that is staffed seasonally by volunteers. 

Address: 10750 County Rd 905, Key Largo, FL 33037

Family-Friendly Activities in Key Largo, Florida

COCO Plum Place

A great place to grab breakfast in Key Largo is the COCO Plum Place. Resembling a beach shack, this tiny beach hut offers big flavors in a traditional Florida Keys setting. Sit under the swaying palms as your sip on your all-natural paradise smoothie full of fresh mango and pineapple.

Address: 103200 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037

History of Diving Museum

The Florida Keys History of Diving Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, displaying, and interpreting artifacts, antiques, books, documents, photographs, and oral history relative to the History of Diving. The museum offers a unique experience to learn about the history of scuba diving and how we explore the seas.

Address: 82990 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

With beautiful beaches and shallow waters, Key Largo is the perfect place to plan a long weekend getaway with friends and our family. Remember to snag our FREE 3-day itinerary below. It will be delivered straight to your inbox!

On the hunt for more great Florida Family Vacation Ideas? Check out these related articles:

15 Family-Friendly Things To Do In Sarasota, Florida

35 Amazing Things To Do In Siesta Key, Florida

15 Awesome Things To Do At Indian Rocks Beach

Pin this post for future vacation planning.

The Ultimate Key Largo Getaway Guide