For those who are looking for a tropical gateway, welcome to the Florida Keys, home to the white sand beaches, palm trees, and amazing landscapes you’ve been dreaming of. Get ready for an amazing holiday!
The Florida Keys is an archipelago that is located in the southern tip of Florida and is just 90 miles (120 km) away from Cuba. So it is not a surprise you can find a Caribbean vibe and good Cuban restaurants in the Florida Keys! It has not only incredible diving spots but also has amazing natural parks where you can see crocodiles, turtles, and even the endangered key deer. Excited? I sure am!
When it comes to choosing the best town in the Florida Keys you might get confused as there are literally more than 800 islands in this archipelago! Don’t worry I am here to help. In this blog post on where to stay in Florida Keys, I will talk about the 4 best towns to stay in the Florida Keys and will give the top hotels for all budgets. Just make sure to make a reservation in advance once you find your ideal place as these hotels are selling too fast!
Are you ready to land in the tropical paradise?
If you are in a hurry
Here are some of the best hotels plus Airbnbs in the top areas to stay in Florida Keys sorted by price. All of them have fabulous reviews, too:
Santa Maria Suites
Best luxury hotel
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Simonton Court Historic Inn
Best value for money
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here is a map of the best 4 areas to stay in the Florida Keys I will be talking about in this blog post, so you can easily visualize them:
|Neighborhood||Perfect for||Best Hotel|
|🕺 Key West||Historical sights, shops, tourist attractions, and nightlife||Santa Maria Suites|
|🌊 Key Largo||Water sports, Cuban restaurants, diving & national parks||Baker’s Cay Resort|
|🐬 Marathon||Family vacations, marine education centers & sandy beaches||Glunz Ocean Beach|
|🏝️ Islamorada||A laid back vacation, snorkeling, hiking & local breweries||Cheeca Lodge & Spa|
1. Key West – where to stay in Florida Keys for the first time
Key West is the most famous island in the Florida Keys thanks to the fact that it has so many historical sites, fancy shops, and great restaurants. One day you can enjoy stunning white-sand beaches, and the next you can travel back in time in the Old Town before bar hopping all night long. Sounds fun, right?
Key West lays claim to the Southernmost Point of the Continental US, so it is a must-do activity to have a photo at the monument. Don’t spend too long though because you need a lot of time to check out the famous Duval Street in the Old Town. With cute colorful buildings, tons of shops, trendy restaurants, and bars there’s enough to keep you occupied for days. During the sunset, the place you must be is Mallory Square, you will love the epic view from the waterfront and cool cafes and shops here!
Key West has a great selection of hotels but since it is the most popular island in the Florida Keys, hotels fill up so quickly so do not forget to make your reservation in advance! I’ve already picked the top 4 hotels in Key West but if you want more options check out the ultimate neighborhood guide for Key West.
This luxury resort has a very central location in Key West and is just a few minutes walk to the beach. There is a large heated swimming pool with a sundeck where you can chill under the palm trees and the spacious hotel rooms have a kitchen with luxurious amenities and a private balcony with a nice garden view. You can enjoy good cocktails and smoothies at the pool bar and have delicious foods at the on-site restaurant. Simply perfect!
Other accommodation in the Florida Keys, Key West
This hotel offers 4 swimming pools, bike rentals, a very good breakfast and is within walking distance to the Old Town
This hotel has rooms with Atlantic Ocean views, a swimming pool, a garden area, a good breakfast, and free parking
This Airbnb features a large terrace, spacious rooms, an outdoor pool, a fully equipped kitchen, and free wifi
Things to do in Florida Keys, Key West
- Have a photo at the Southernmost Point of the Continental US
- Shop and try delicious key lime pie in cafes at lively Duval Street
- Have a sunset walk at Mallory Square
- Go for a walk at the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
- Visit Ernst Hemingway’s House and the Key West Museum of Art & History
- Get a suntan at the white sand beach, Smathers Beach
- Go to the Key West Lighthouse and see the beautiful views
- Take a day trip to Little Palm Island
2. Key Largo – best area in the Florida Keys for water sports
Key Largo is the northernmost island in the Florida Keys and 2 hours drive from Key West. It is an island paradise for those who are keen on water sports activities such as jet-skiing, snorkeling, and scuba diving in crystal clear water.
Once you step into Key Largo you will feel the tropical vibe of the town with many Cuban restaurants, white sand beaches surrounded by palm trees, and amazing nature. Key Largo has one of the best diving spots in the Florida Keys as well as amazing national parks where you can see a lot of animals in their natural habitats such as crocodiles, dolphins, and many more. Doesn’t it sound so exciting!
You won’t recognize how time has passed in Key Largo when you are spending time in the turquoise water and spectacular nature but you should also allow some time to discover the amazing food scene because here you will find so many nice seafood restaurants and cocktails bars your taste buds won’t believe it!
I found the best hotels in Key Largo with convenient locations to the beaches and all you have to do is pick your favorite one and make a reservation now. Since you are in Florida if you want to add another famous destination to your travel itinerary, check out the best places to stay in Miami.
Here are the best places to stay in Key Largo:
This beach resort offers luxurious rooms with amazing ocean views. Imagine waking up in the morning and seeing crystal clear water on your private balcony and within a few minutes, you are able to swim there. Baker’s Cay Resorts offers a very nice swimming pool, a private beach, a fitness center, a hot tub, and free parking. You can enjoy cocktails at the open-air bar by the pool and watch the beautiful scenery.
Other accommodation options in Key Largo
Set by the ocean, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with ocean views, an outdoor pool, and free parking
This hotel has a cute small beach, free kayak rentals, BBQ Facilities, free parking, and air-conditioned rooms
This Airbnb offers spacious rooms with modern amenities, a fully furnished kitchen, and a nice terrace overlooking the marina
Things to do in Key Largo
- Have a cocktail at Tiki Bar
- Join a dolphin watching tour
- See crocodiles at the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
- Go scuba diving in one of many amazing spots
- Get a suntan at Far Beach
- Have dinner at Sushi Sake Key Largo
- Visit the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary
- Discover Everglades National Park with a kayak tour or go fishing by taking fishing charters
3. Marathon – where to stay in the Florida Keys with family
Marathon is located in the middle Keys and an hour’s drive from Key West. It is a very charming island where you will find great family resorts with amazing beaches, beautiful national parks, and fun activities. Don’t worry, you don’t need to run a Marathon to get here!
Start your day by hitting one of many nice sandy beaches and enjoy swimming in the crystal clear water and building sandcastles with your family. Then you will find so many interesting things to do in Marathon such as swimming with dolphins, visiting aquariums and the most interesting one, the Turtle Hospital where you can see the saved sea turtles. Already excited? I am!
The hotels I picked in Marathon have family rooms and kid facilities, so all you need to do is choose the best one for you and start packing!
This hotel has an amazing private beach, 2 swimming pools including a kid pool, a well-equipped fitness center, and a good restaurant. The hotel rooms are spacious enough to accommodate up to 6 people and there are even oceanfront villas with a big kitchen and private pool access. In the morning you can have a very good breakfast while enjoying the ocean views.
Other accommodation options in Marathon
This beach resort has a kid pool, spacious rooms with a kitchen, a fitness center, and a very good breakfast
This hotel has an outdoor pool, family rooms with a private balcony and is within walking distance of the beach
This Airbnb has comfortable rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, BBQ facilities, and just a few minutes walk to the beach
Things to do in Marathon
- Take a day trip to the beaches of Little Torch Key and Duck Key
- Go to the Turtle Hospital and see different kinds of saved turtles
- Visit the Dolphin Research Center
- Go for a walk at the Curry Hammock State Park
- Build sandcastles at Sombrero Beach and Coco Plum Beach
- Learn about different sea species at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
- Visit the neighbor island Big Pine Key to see the endangered key deer
- Checkout the Crane Point Museum & Nature Center
4. Islamorada – best area to stay in The Florida Keys to relax
Islamorada is located 30 miles (40 km) north of Marathon and is a beautiful island with a relaxed vibe. By staying here you will have the chance to enjoy pristine beaches, snorkel in the crystal clear water, and discover amazing diving spots!
Even though Islamorada is a laid-back town it is an amazing place to go on outdoor adventures. You can hike at the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, swim with dolphins, and visit the diving discovery centers. Islamorada is also famous for its local breweries so don’t forget to stop by one of them to take a pint!
The hotels I chose in Islamorada are right on the beach or just walking distance to the beach so you can simply chill under the palm trees and watch the ocean all day long if you choose.
I’m sure you’re curious about them so here they are:
Located right on the beach, this hotel has 2 swimming pools, a private sandy beach, 6 tennis courts, and a good fitness center. You will love the luxury spa that offers beauty treatments and a good massage. The glamorous hotel rooms have modern amenities and a private terrace with a nice view. There is a gourmet on-site restaurant and also the town’s famous Tiki Bar is located inside this hotel. What’s not to love!?
Other accommodation options in Islamorada
Located right on the sandy beach, this hotel has a swimming pool, rooms with private balconies, and free wifi
This Airbnb has a gorgeous garden, spacious rooms with modern amenities, and is within walking distance to the beach
Things to do in Islamorada
- Visit the History of Diving Museum
- Take a pint at Florida Keys Brewing Co
- Visit the Keys History & Discovery Center
- Go for a walk at the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
- Chill on the white sand beaches, Anne’s Beach, and Library Beach
- Enjoy the Theater of the Sea with dozens of cute sea mammals
- Have a meal at Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar
- Get a suntan at Village of Islands Founders Park
|👑 Luxury price:||$600|
|💵 Mid Range:||$350|
|📍Best area:||Key West|
|👪 Best area for families:||Marathon|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Santa Maria Suites|
|🧳 Best mid-range hotel:||Simonton Court Historic Inn|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Harborside Motel Marina|
Frequently asked questions about the Florida Keys
🗺️ Where is the best area to stay in the Florida Keys?
If you are visiting The Florida Keys for the first time Key West is the best area to stay thanks to its historical and cultural attractions and great restaurants. Some of the best hotels to stay here are Santa Maria Suites and Simonton Court Historic Inn.
✨ What is the prettiest Key in Florida?
Key Largo is the prettiest island thanks to its beautiful sandy beaches, amazing scuba diving spots, and national parks. Some of the best hotels to stay here are Baker’s Cay Resort and Waterside Suites Marina.
🏝️ Where should I vacation in the Florida Keys?
There are many great keys but here are the best ones:
● Key west – for first-timers: stay at Santa Maria Suites
● Key Largo – for watersports: stay at Baker’s Cay Resort
● Marathon – for families: stay at Glunz Ocean Beach
● Islamorada- for relaxation: stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa
🏖️ Which Florida Key has the best beaches?
Islamorada has the best white sand beaches in the Florida Keys. Some of the best hotels to stay here are Cheeca Lodge & Spa and Pelican Cove Resort.
🛎️ What are the best hotels in the Florida Keys?
Santa Maria Suites in Key West and Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo are the best hotels in the Florida Keys.
📷 What should I not miss in the Florida Keys?
Here are some of the famous attractions that you should not miss in the Florida Keys.
● Turtle Hospital
● The Southernmost Point of the Continental US
● Duval Street
● Mallory Square
● The Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
● The History of Diving Museum
● Smathers Beach
While you are getting ready for a tropical holiday, It is time for me to say goodby to you. Don’t forget to take your swimsuits and flip flops with you and enjoy every minute of your time in the Florida Keys!
I hope this blog post helped you to pick the best place to stay in the Florida Keys and you have already made your reservation to secure your place (seriously, I had to look 6months in advance to find availability at some of these hotels).
All of the Key Islands have amazing beaches so I let you decide on the area depending on the activities you want to do. No matter where you stay you can always do day trips and enjoy the scenic views of the Overseas Highway.
I know I gave a lot of hotel options but if you still can’t decide among them let me help you. Here are my top 2 places to stay in the Florida Keys that have very good locations and amazing reviews!
- Santa Maria Suites – The best luxury hotel in Key West that has a great location and luxurious rooms
- Simonton Court Historic Inn – A great place to stay in Key West with a nice swimming pool surrounded by the palm trees
If you have any questions or suggestions about the Florida Keys do not hesitate to leave a comment below. I’ll be more than happy to leave a reply!
Have a wonderful holiday,
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