11+ Best Beaches in Key Largo

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If you’re looking for the best beaches in Key Largo, you’ve come to the right place! Key Largo is the largest island in the Upper Keys in the Sunshine State’s Florida Keys, and there are beaches aplenty here.

Stretching from the Biscayne National Park to Key West, this coral cay archipelago marks the southernmost part of the continental United States. It offers all the sunshine and hot weather of the tropics — minus the hassle of a long-haul flight!

Planning your trip to Key Largo last minute?

Key Largo is super popular for both Miami day-trippers and overnight visitors. Make sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment!

⛱️ Top Experiences and Tours in Key Largo:

  1. Snorkeling Tour in John Pennekamp State Park (My favorite Key Largo activity!)
  2. Mangroves & Manatees Eco Kayak Tour (Top-rated Key Largo tour!)
  3. Sunset Tiki Cruise (Fun party option!)

🛌  Top-Rated Beachfront Hotels in Key Largo:

  1. Playa Largo Resort & Spa (Super luxe option)
  2. Bungalows Key Largo (Adults only!)
  3. Sunset Cove (Great value for money option)

🚗 Renting a car on your Florida Keys trip? Find deals on car rental rates here.

You should know, however, that public beaches of Key Largo aren’t quite the stunners of other parts of Florida. It’s not that they aren’t jaw-droppingly gorgeous, but they tend to be on the smaller side and have a mix of sand and pebbles. Key Largo isn’t Sarasota.

You just need to consider them a gateway to some of the best water activities in the United States: snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, and kayaking set the tone of the best beaches in Key Largo. Teeming with seagrass, coral reef, and mangrove ecosystems, these crystal-clear waters are the natural habitat for tropical fish, dolphins, manatees, and — yes — even sharks. 

If you’re all about the sand in your toes, you’ll want to book a hotel in Key Largo with a private beach. 

This guide to beaches in Key Largo takes you to tiny islands, national parks, and private hotel beaches. Scroll ahead for more Florida Keys beaches near Key Largo.

This post was published in February 2024 and was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Hannah Cooper.

A beach with palm trees and soft white sand.
Far Beach, one of the best beaches in Key Largo, via Shutterstock.

The Best Key Largo Beaches

When it comes to public beaches in Key Largo, you have plenty of options! Whether you want to snorkel, scuba, paddleboard, or simply swim, there are plenty of things to do in Key Largo. Here are a few of the best options:

Far Beach

Far Beach sits on the shores of Largo Sound within John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Teeming with marine life and living coral reefs, these shallow waters are a great place to snorkel, scuba dive, paddleboard, or kayak. 

Although fed by the Atlantic Ocean, Largo Sound is tranquil and the beach has a small section cordoned off for swimming. As the beach is fairly pebbly, it’s more suited to enjoying the calm waters with a snorkel – kids and even adults appreciate their aqua socks here!

There is an admission fee of $4.50 to enter the state park. This also covers you for the next of Key Largo’s top beaches… 

A white bird walking the white sand beach in Key Largo.
Cannon Beach in Key Largo, via Shutterstock

Cannon Beach

Named for its 17th-century cannons, Cannon Beach is the other sandy spot in the John Pennekamp State Park. This is one of the most popular Key Largo beaches for snorkeling and taking glass-bottom boat tours from next to the visitor center.

Ideal for non-swimmers, these glide over the artificial reef and several shipwrecks – although scuba diving brings you closer to the tropical fish. As with its neighbor, Cannon Beach is bounded by mangroves. It’s somewhere you can easily hang out for a couple of hours enjoying the warm water and natural beauty.

There’s also an aquarium right next to the parking lot.

A white sand beach with tall palm trees.
Harry Harris Park Beach in Key Largo, via Fotoluminate LLC on Shutterstock

Harry Harris Beach and Park

Harry Harris Beach Park is the southernmost of the best public Key Largo beaches. It’s located on the Atlantic side of Tavernier and is the perfect place to spend a whole day with younger kids.

The park has a beach with a deep yet calm tidal pool for swimming. There is also a basketball court, baseball fields, a playground, and a boat ramp. Picnic tables and restrooms make it a practical pick for a longer stay.

The admission fee for Harry Harris Beach is $8 on weekends and holidays. It’s always free to residents in this part of Florida. 

A young girl in water wings jumping into a lake as her parents look on.
Rowell’s Waterfront Park in Key Largo, via Monroe County BOCC on Flickr.

Rowell’s Waterfront Park

Rowell’s Waterfront Park is a hidden gem among the public beaches of Key Largo. Situated next to mile marker 104.5, this is a recently developed recreation zone on eight acres. 

The beach park has a picnic area and a 20-foot-deep swimming hole. This is more like a giant, wild swimming pool rather than your typical tropical beach – it’s great fun for leap-frogging and having a splash around! There is also a launch for kayaks and paddleboards. Leashed dogs are welcome so anticipate making some four-legged friends.

It’s free to visit Rowell’s Waterfront Park and it is epic at sunset.

Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park

Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is a teeny-tiny forested island bobbing off the shore of Key Largo and Islamorada. Robbie’s Marina operates a very (very!) limited ferry service. Otherwise, getting there is via private boat or kayak, which gives a Robinson Crusoe vibe.

These turquoise waters protect 10,000 acres of seagrass. Kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling are permitted in designated areas. It’s also worth visiting the residence of William J. Matheson: the chemist who bought the island in 1919.

The admission fee for Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is $2.50. Note the park is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Beyond Robbie’s, there are several other local boat rentals.

A pink and purple sunset off the end of a pier sticking into the water in Key Largo, Florida Keys.
Sunset off Playa Largo Resort & Spa in the Florida Keys

Best Private Beaches in Key Largo

As noted above, the public Key Largo beaches can be a bit crowded and are often more of a gateway to water activities than somewhere to relax in the sand. If that’s what you’re looking for, consider staying at a resort with a private beach.

Rock Reef Resort

The Rock Reef Resort is a family-owned property on the bay side of Key Largo. Its bonsai gardens and stunning private beach are exclusively for hotel guests.

This mellow beach is strewn with hammocks, loungers, and picnic spots plus a pier for dreamy sunsets. Complimentary kayaks, peddle boats, and paddleboards are available for guests to take cruising around the mangroves. At an additional cost, the hotel’s private boat ramp and dock are suitable for boats no longer than 21 feet.

Make time for island time and check rates for the Rock Reef Resort.

Bayside Inn Key Largo

Slap-bang in Downtown Key Largo, the Bayside Inn unfurls onto a private beach overlooking Buttonwood Sound. This guests-only beach is cocooned in between two piers to create a protected tidal pool for swimming.

Leaping into the calm waters is strongly encouraged but you can also hole up under the palm trees with a book for hours upon hours. The sunsets here are to die for. If you do one thing, take out a paddleboard and catch Mother Nature’s show from the water.  

Book a stay at the Bayside Inn Key Largo

Playa Largo Resort & Spa

Playa Largo Resort & Spa is where to stay in Key Largo for unabashed luxury. Claiming 14.5 acres of white sand and aquamarine waters, the hotel has a great beach for lounging under the sunshine and dabbling in watersports.

I had dinner here one night, and it was a fabulous meal with the view of a fantastic pink and purple sunset just off the beach. That’s the photo you see above in this post.

Separate from the main lodge, The Hammocks at Playa Largo comprise exclusive bungalows and one three-bedroom beach house directly on the shoreline. The cottages are surrounded by palm trees and have a real castaway feel – but with all your four-star creature comforts. 

Splash out on a night at the Playa Largo Resort & Spa.

Sunset Cove

The fuss-free motel Sunset Cove is an excellent place for a back-to-basics Floridian beach getaway. A huge bonus: many cabins are dog-friendly so you can bring Fido along for the private beach experience. 

Waterfront suites and tiki cottages spare you the bother of having to drive out to the public beaches in Key Largo. There are also a couple of “Fun and Interesting” accommodations such as retro trailers with beach access. From there, dive straight into the crystal-clear waters of Florida Bay and help yourself to complimentary kayaks and paddleboards from the dock.

Browse availability for Sunset Cove.

Bungalows Key Largo

Bungalows Key Largo is an adults-only resort in Key Largo with all the luxury trimmings. In addition to the private beach, the all-inclusive has two pools and a full-service spa. Grab a tropical cocktail from the Sunset Tiki Bar to sip on the sand or put your name down for the floating tiki boats. 

Private bungalows are either swallowed up by the botanical garden or set directly on the sand with gulf views. There are tons of activities on-site but do make time to kick back in one of the beachside cabanas.

Check rates for Bungalows Key Largo.

Coconut Palm Inn

Nestled in a coconut grove directly on the beach, this little oasis in Tavernier overlooks the Florida Bay. Coconut Palm Inn has a private boat dock where you can moor a rental as well as complementary kayaks for guests.

Paddle out across the shallow waters and explore the mangrove islands floating in the lagoon off the protected harbor. After an aquatic adventure, you can put your feet up in one of the hammocks on the private beach. This awesome resort also has beach games like Giant Jenga plus free s’mores goodies to enjoy around the fire pits. 

Book a stay at Coconut Palm Inn.

A few trees growing out of the surf on the edge of a white sand beach in the Florida Keys.
Anne’s Beach, just 30 minutes from Key Largo, via Shutterstock.

More Great Beaches Near Key Largo

If you’re up for a little road trip or a visit to a nearby island, you’ll have even more beach options. Here are a few other beaches worth checking out in other towns. For more, be sure to check out my guide to the 25 Best Beaches in the Florida Keys!

Anne’s Beach

Comprising a white-sand beach and super shallow water, Anne’s Beach is a great spot for a paddle in Islamorada. The boardwalk through the mangroves is perfect for a leisurely stroll with the chance to spot local birdlife. Located at mile marker 73.5, it’s a 40-minute drive (26 miles) from Downtown Key Largo.

For more in Islamorada, be sure to check out my guide to the best things to do in Islamorada!

Indian Key Historic State Park

Made up of coastal and tropical hammock, mangroves, and rugged beaches, Indian Key Historic State Park drifts off Islamorada’s Atlantic coast. Most folk launch their kayaks from Robbie’s Marina and spend a day circumnavigating the island. The day fee is $2.50 (payable online).

Sombrero Beach

Fifty miles west of Key Largo (mile marker 50), Sombrero Beach in Marathon is where Loggerhead turtles nest between April and October. As one of the sandiest Florida Keys beaches, this is the perfect spot to lay a towel under the bobbing palm trees or get a cardio boost on the oceanfront volleyball courts.

Calusa Beach

No list of the best beaches in Key Largo can pass on a mention of Calusa Beach – one of the few natural beaches in the region. Located in the Bahia Honda State Park, this one is closer to Big Pine Key and Key West. However, if time is on your side then it’s worth the 1.5-hour drive from Key Largo and you could consider camping for the night.

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Have you been to Key Largo? What are your favorite beaches? Share away!

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