The 1982 song Key Largo, by Bertie Higgins, made Key Largo more than just a place in the Florida Keys. The vocals imparted the feeling of a free and beautiful lifestyle here on the islands. Two people falling in love surrounded by clear blue water and day-long carefree fun.
Key Largo comes close to matching the images the lyrics paint. Plus, Key Largo is the beginning of a Florida road trip to Key West.
At the very entryway into the Keys, a 100-mile stretch of islands that ends in Key West, Key Largo has the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Florida Bay to the north. Fishing offers both careers and recreation for those living on the island. There may be as many boats in Key Largo as cars!
Tourists and weekenders from Miami flood the Key Largo restaurants and bars during the season, and on weekends year-round. Most end up participating in some form of watersport.
Federal highway US 1 leads you through the Keys. Alongside the road are mile markers every mile. They start in Key Largo at about MM 106 and end in Key West at MM 0. Key Largo is also the name of a 1948 movie starring Humphrey Bogart. Part of that movie was filmed at the Caribbean Club at MM 104.1.
At MM104 you will find Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill. The former Dallas coach serves some rather good food and has a huge tiki bar built over the water. The Big Chill has occasional entertainment and great views of the bay.
At MM 100 you will find one of the locals’ favorite restaurants called The Lazy Lobster. This gem has not only the freshest seafood in town, but they have their own seafood market inside. If fishing was on your agenda, The Lazy Lobster will cook your catch. This is our most highly recommended restaurant in the area.
By the time you get to MM 100, you may be getting hungry. If so, look for Skippers Dockside. It is a little off the main road, but the food is better than average. Try the shrimp ceviche for a good Florida appetizer.
On our most recent trip in April 2023, we found a hidden gem of a restaurant in Key Largo. At 1313 Ocean Bay Drive off US 1, there is a wholesale fish operation that has an outdoor cafe.
Key Largo Fisheries is our newest addition to recommended restaurants in Key Largo. According to one guest with us, “this is the best grouper sandwich I ever had!” We know all the fish options are fresh.
Sunset at the Reefhouse Resort
Many Resorts in Key Largo
If you are looking for a place to stay before you complete your road trip to Key West, the Reefhouse Resort (a former Mariott) at MM103.8 is excellent. The resort’s sunset bar Breezer’s is a fabulous place for some appetizers and watching the sun creep into the bay. The photo at the left was taken from the landing at Breezer’s.
The Reefhouse has docking for your boat if fishing or diving is on your mind. A huge pool is surrounded by the buildings housing the rooms and another outdoor tiki bar at one end.
Down the road at MM 97.5 is another hotel option. Marriott has a property by the name of Playa Largo Resort and Spa. This resort has even more amenities. This resort has a small beach, a bar in the sand and several restaurants. This Marriott is much fancier than the one at MM 103. The price is reflected in the difference!
While Key Largo is the largest island city in the Keys, the most famous is Key West. The fact that Key Largo is the entryway into the Keys allows many visitors to discover the charm of the area on their Florida road trip to Key West.
For more information about Key Largo, check out our post on the Florida Keys and Key West. This post will detail your road trip all the way to Key West.