Typically, when we think of Florida, we think of beautiful white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a plethora of recreational opportunities. In addition, if you’re thinking about taking a trip to the Florida Keys in the near future, you might be unsure of which islands have what you’re looking for or how to choose the best destination based on your personal tastes. After all, you’ve heard nothing but good things about both Key West and Key Largo, so why not visit them?
However, the truth is that both Key Largo and Key West are delightful Florida vacation destinations to visit. Several of the activities and amenities you’re looking for are available at these locations. The Florida Keys are vastly different from one another, and understanding these differences will assist you in choosing the best vacation destination for you and your family.
- 1. Feel of a small town versus a small city
- 2. Closer to the Keys versus further away from the Keys
- 3. Walking vs. Car Needed
- 4. Local hangouts vs popular tourist destinations
- 5. The difference between the cost of staying and the cost of getting there
- 6. Which has better beaches: Key West or Key Largo?
- 7. Which is more beautiful, Key West or Key Largo?
- 8. Which is the better choice between Key West and Key Largo?
1. Feel of a small town versus a small city
Key West has the feel of a city in Florida, even though it is an island city. When you arrive, it will immediately feel like you are in another state. It is much more like a small town or community atmosphere and pace on Key Largo than it is in other parts of the United States. This means that Key West is bustling with businesses, nightlife, parties, and every type of tourism and activity throughout the day and much of the night, whereas Key Largo has a more sedate pace throughout the day and most of the night.
There is also a much more intimate feel to Key Largo compared to Key West. Key West is a bustling city, but this smaller, more laid-back community feels more like home. Although you won’t run into familiar faces in Key West, you’ll feel more at home in Key Largo because you’ll feel more like you’ve arrived in a neighborhood rather than a tourist destination.
2. Closer to the Keys versus further away from the Keys
When it comes to the Florida Keys, Key Largo is the unofficial starting point, while Key West is the destination at the end of a long, beautiful journey away from the hurried life of Miami and its surrounding areas. The fact that Key Largo is only about an hour away from Miami should be taken into consideration if the distance is a concern for you. It takes approximately three and a half hours to drive to Key West, depending on traffic conditions and time of day.
Drive from Miami to Key Largo is a scenic journey. While the drive to Key West is not particularly picturesque, it is enjoyable. As you drive along Seven Mile Bridge and the other bridges connecting the islands, the more you become immersed in the beauty of the surrounding sea the further you go.
3. Walking vs. Car Needed
Pedestrians and bicyclists will find Key West to be one of the most pleasant places in the United States to be. The city anticipates that visitors will take to the streets, leaving their automobiles at their respective hotels. Almost everything on the island west of Fifth Street is walkable for anyone who does not have mobility issues, and the entire island can be traveled by bicycle.
If you’re planning a vacation in Key Largo, you’ll almost certainly need a vehicle. Because Key Largo is a much longer Key from end to end, things are more dispersed throughout the island. It is possible to get around Key Largo on foot if you are willing to do some exploring and a lot of walking, but most people prefer to use their cars to get from point A to point B.
4. Local hangouts vs popular tourist destinations
However, while both Key Largo and Key West are relatively tourist-friendly destinations, Key Largo has a greater concentration of tourist-oriented attractions than does Key West. Although both Key West and Key Largo are party towns with plenty of nightlife and activity, Key West is more laid-back and relaxed. This means that there will be more activities available to you during every waking hour of your stay in Key West.
In addition, Key West has a greater concentration of gift shops, boutiques, and restaurants catering to tourists than Key Largo.
Key West is your best bet if you’re looking for a plethora of things to do, activities to participate in, and attractions to visit. Key Largo, on the other hand, has a lot more to offer in terms of natural attractions if you’re looking for more of that. Key Largo, on the other hand, is the place to go if you’re looking for a laid-back, relaxing vacation filled with outdoor activities.
5. The difference between the cost of staying and the cost of getting there
The cost of a hotel room in Key West is not significantly higher than the cost of a hotel room in nearby Key Largo. Food prices are comparable — though Key West has a disproportionate number of high-end restaurants compared to Key Largo — and hotel rates are comparable as well. The fees for activities are similar on each Key, and the costs of charters are proportionate on each Key.
The cost of transportation will most likely be the most significant cost difference. It is possible to fly into Key West’s dedicated airport from a variety of locations throughout the country, though the majority of flights route through Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Because it is a small airport, the prices for those flights are more expensive.
Key Largo does not have its own airport, but it is a short one-hour drive from Miami International Airport, which is the nearest major airport. Renting a car in Miami and driving down the bridges to Key West, which is about 160 miles one way from Florida’s largest city, will be much more expensive than flying into Miami and renting a car with only 150 miles (round-trip plus getting around town) put on it during your vacation.
6. Which has better beaches: Key West or Key Largo?
If you’re expecting Key West and Key Largo to be famous for their beaches, you’d be surprised. We may disagree, but we believe that the beaches on both islands are superior to those found on the mainland, such as Miami Beach or Daytona Beach. The fact that they’re less well-known also means that there are fewer people and more space for solitude.
Rest Beach, a beach in Key West, is worth a visit. It’s a popular spot for beachcombing, dog walking, and picnics in the shade of palm trees. If you go on any day of the week, you won’t find too many other people on this beach, so you’ll have plenty of time to yourself.
Higgs Beach, also in Key West, has fine white sand and a similar atmosphere. Some great shore snorkeling can be found here.
More beach bars, cafes, and restaurants are available in Key West than in Key Largo. Having everything taken care of could be a huge benefit when planning a vacation or day trip.
As compared to Key West, Key Largo is less developed and more tranquil. Harry Harris Park and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are the two main public beaches in the area. Swimmers and sunbathers flock to Harry Harris Park, a popular spot for families and teenagers alike. A new shipment of sand is shipped every couple of years, so it’s a completely man-made beach.
John Pennekamp is a well-known author. It’s no surprise that Coral Reef State Park’s name is a reference to its coral reefs! Snorkelers come to this state park to see the exotic coral reefs beneath the surface, not the park’s small white sand beach. Submerged statues that are home to a wide variety of marine life and a Spanish shipwreck can all be seen by snorkelers in this area. If you’re looking for more than just a place to sunbathe, Key Largo’s beaches are ideal.
Generally speaking, the white sand beaches of Key West and Key Largo are both small, quiet, and relaxing. For snorkeling, Key Largo’s beaches offer easy access to coral reefs and a Spanish shipwreck. On the other hand, there are more beachside bars and amenities in Key West. As a result, we must declare this beach fight a draw.
7. Which is more beautiful, Key West or Key Largo?
Known as tropical paradises, both Key West and Key Largo are home to towering palm trees, powdery white sand beaches, and picturesque ocean views. However, it is possible that the biodiversity is more prominent in Key Largo.
In addition to a national park and two state parks, Key Largo is home to numerous creeks, hardwood forests, and natural aquatic life forms. Because of the beauty of this location, it was also used as the setting for the famous Hollywood film “Key Largo.”
Key West is an island city in the state of Florida and the state’s southernmost city. It’s also beautiful, but the downside is that it’s a city on a much smaller island than the rest of the world. The natural beauty that once existed on the island has been largely replaced by commercial developments such as restaurants, bars, chic boutiques, high-rise hotels, shopping malls, and other establishments.
As a result, unless you visit a beach or a business on the coast, you may easily forget that you are in Key West because the city has become similar to any other mainland city as a result of overdevelopment. The level of development in Key West versus Key Largo is a significant point of differentiation.
As a result, if you’re looking for natural beauty, Key Largo is an excellent place to visit. Wildlife, trees, plants, and other forms of plant and animal life can be observed in nature reserves and parks. Participating in the numerous recreational activities available in Key Largo, particularly snorkeling, will allow you to appreciate the natural beauty of the island even more.
8. Which is the better choice between Key West and Key Largo?
Key West is the most sociable and historically significant island in the Florida Keys, according to locals. In other words, if you’re looking to party, interact, and see the sites, Key West is a better choice than Key Largo for your vacation in South Florida. Key Largo, on the other hand, is a more laid-back destination if you’re more interested in recreational activities, relaxing, and taking in the natural beauty of South Florida.
Visitors will find that both Key West and Key Largo have something distinct and different to offer them, as well as some truly beautiful beaches. This is why there is no superior choice between the two – it all comes down to your personal preferences and goals in life. Have a wonderful journey!