After countless trips to the Florida Keys, not to mention more than a few road trips from Miami to Key West, I’ve had my fair share of experiences in the island chain’s hotels. I’ve stayed at basic roadside motels and luxury resorts.
The Florida Keys have a wide range of options, whether you’re looking for waterfront campsites or luxury resorts where you won’t have to lift a finger. Each stretch of the islands is known for something different, so choose your destination accordingly.
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Where to Stay in Key Largo
Key Largo is one of the first places to stay in the Keys, with a number of hotel options. It attracts scuba divers loooking to get up and close to the vibrant reefs as well as fans in search of the original African Queen boat used in the Humphrey Bogart film. John Pennekamp State Park is another must-see.
Baker’s Cay Resort
Baker’s Cay Resort (review here) is set on 13 waterfront acres with two restaurants and bars, two beaches, two pools (one adults only!), nature trails, bike rentals, a 24-hour fitness center, a salon, and watersports rentals.
The 200 stylish guest rooms feature balconies overlooking the private beach. All have comfy bedding, sitting areas, complimentary WiFi, flat-screen televisions, bathrobes, and coffee makers with compostable coffee pods.
Jules Undersea Lodge
Jules Undersea Lodge is the most unique stay on the island (and perhaps the Keys!) and is the “world’s only underwater hotel.” Underwater rooms are only accessible by water, with an opening to reach your room and dry bags to keep your belongings safe.
But your stay doesn’t have to be entirely in your room. The resort offers scuba diving certification and specialties and you can even have pizza delivered to your room, which has portholes to admire the underwater sea life.
Other Places to Stay in Key Largo
Amy Slate’s Amoray Dive Resort is another favorite for diving, with comfortable rooms and suites for when you’re on dry land. All have free WiFi, microwaves, televisions, and coffee makers. Guests also have access to free bike rentals and an outdoor pool.
Bungalows Key Largo is one of the few all inclusive resorts in the region, with adults-only bungalows, a private beach, daily yoga, four restaurants, two outdoor pools and jacuzzis, a full service spa, and an on-site fitness center. Meals and premium drinks are part of the price.
Drift Hotel is a lovely place to stop on your way south to relax on the beach and access the resort’s kayaks. The updated motel has flat-screen televisions and some rooms have a kitchenette with a fridge, a microwave and a stovetop.
Key Largo Kampground is spread across 40 acres and has waterfront campsites for RVs and tents, some with electric hookups, and a marina with 14 boat slips.
Playa Largo Resort & Spa is set on 14.5 private bayfront acres and has amenities like a year-round outdoor pool, private cabanas, a hot tub, fire pits, and water sport facilities. There are also two restaurants, a spa, and a marina.
Where to Stay in Tavernier
While not as popular of a stop, historic Tavernier is a good budget-friendly alternative for those looking to stay near Key Largo. Here you can see tropical birds at the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary is a rescue operation and attraction that houses birds that can no longer be released into the wild.
The relaxed Island Bay Resort is classic Keys style colorful and nautical decor as well as full kitchens. Perks include free WiFi, barbecue facilities, and patios with sea views. Guests can also book snorkeling and kayaking excursions.
Kona Kai Resort and Gallery is an adults-only retreat with a tennis court and botanical garden. Rooms hav everything you need, including toiletries, hairdryers, coffee machines, and flat screen televisions.
Rentals are another good option in this area. Tarpon Cove has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, bed linen, towels, a TV with cable channels, free WiFi, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a balcony with river views.
Where to Stay in Islamorada
Islamorada attracts sport fishing lovers. The History of Diving Museum is the area’s main attraction. The most popular activity is feeding the tarpon at Robbie’s Marina. Accommodations include sport lodges and restored motels.
Sport fishermen love this 200-room Cheeca Lodge & Spa for its pier and marina, 9-hole golf course, on-site spa, 525-foot fishing pier, three restaurants, and activities like snorkeling and cycling. The property is on 27 acres of lush gardens and 1,000 feet of private waterfront.
Rooms have balconies overlooking the resort, flat screen televisions with DVD players, free WiFi, and coffee makers.
Other Places to Stay in Islamorada
Amara Cay Resort is an upscale oceanfront resort with rooms and suites and a restaurant. Perks of staying at the resort include transfer services within 3.7 mi from the property, WiFi, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center.
The colorful rooms at Drop Anchor Resort & Marina attract budget-conscious travelers. Located near Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, the resort has an outdoor swimming pool, televisions, kitchenettes, boat docking, WiFi, paddleboards, kayaking, and beach towels.
La Siesta Resort & Villas has colorful suites and cottages with television, WiFi, and air conditioning. The resort has an onsite marina, an outdoor pool, and a bar.
The retro-style Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina has funky decor, WiFi, and flat-screen televisions. They have rooms and cottages as well as a marina with a tackle shop, a pool, and two onsite restaurants.
Sunset Inn is a converted motel with a garden, free private parking and barbecue facilities. With an outdoor swimming pool, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom.
If you’re traveling with a group, opt for a rental like the Anglers Reef Paradise, which has a private beach area, free bikes and an outdoor swimming pool are accessible in-house. This property offers free WiFi.
Where to Stay in the Middle Keys
The Middle Keys are a quieter part of the islands, with fewer attractions but a more local experience. Conch Key is a mostly residential island and Little Conch is privately owned. Duck Key has a number of activities like parasailing, fishing, and kayaking.
Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key
One of the best for family activities, Hawk’s Cay Resort has countless things to do from scuba diving to fishing to kids camps. The property has multiple dining options so you don’t have to leave to enjoy a good meal.
Accommodations include rooms, suites and villas, depending on your group size. Guests can rent bikes, go paddleboarding, and even swim with dolphins in the lagoon.
Long Key State Park, Long Key
The over 900-acre Long Key State Park was originally the site of a train depot for the rail line that continued to Key West. Not only is it an attraction for its pristine beaches. But the park also has hike-in, tent only camping.
Other Places to Stay in the Middle Keys
Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina is another campground on the island, set on 28-acres on a private island. Amenities include an on-site restaurant, beach bar, free WiFi, spa, and pool.
Lime Tree Bay Resort is right outside the state park with free WiFi, parking, and daily breakfast. You can also enjoy multiple heated swimming pools and a private fishing pier.
Where to Stay in Marathon
Marathon is made up of dozens of smaller islands including Grassy Key, Fat Deer Key, Little Crawl Key, Long Point Key, and Deer Key. Little Crawl Key is home to Curry Hammock State Park, but it spreads across multiple islands. The park has miles of trails and offers kayaking, kiteboarding, swimming, and snorkeling.
The Turtle Hospital is the nation’s foremost hospital and rehabilitation facility for turtles. They offer tours of the hospital as well as the tanks where the non-releasable turtles live. Seven Mile Bridge is another must-see, now with a walking path.
Tranquility Bay Resort
Stay at rooms and beach houses at Tranquility Bay Resort, which has three pools, a fitness center, spa, restaurant, watersports, and a beach. Every guestroom includes a flat-screen TV, small refrigerator, and coffee-making facilities.
Beach homes feature an en suite kitchen, 42-inch flat-screen TV, and private laundry facilities. Some rooms also have porches overlooking the beach.
Other Places to Stay in Marathon
Aqua Lodges at Coconut Cay Rv and Marina provides floating tiny house accommodations with free bikes, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a terrace.
Budget travelers will enjoy Captain Pip’s Marina and Hideaway, which has rooms, suites, and apartments as well as boat hires, an outdoor swimming pool, and free WiFi access.
Isla Bella Beach Resort & Spa has terrace rooms with a flat-screen TV, private bathrooms, and some with balconies. The resort also has a restaurant and fitness center.
Skipjack Resort & Marina‘s balcony rooms come with microwaves, small refrigerators, cable TV, air conditioning, and ironing facilities. There’s also a restaurant and tennis courts.
Hammock House is one of Marathon’s rental options with 2 bedrooms, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge and a coffee machine, and a bathroom with a shower and free toiletries.
Where to Stay in the Lower Keys
The Lower Keys are the last few stops before hitting Key West. Two landmarks not to be missed are the National Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge, the only place to see the unique Key Deer, and the No Name Pub, where you can enjoy a pizza and leave a dollar bill on the ceiling.
Geiger Key Marina has both tent and RV sites as well as waterfront hook-ups, boat slips, laundry, showers, and a fish camp-style restaurant with local seafood. You can also rent kayaks to explore the nearby reefs.
Little Palm Island
Little Palm Island on Little Torch Key is a private island and adults-only resort with luxurious bungalows. Amenities include an indoor/outdoor spa and onsite dining. Guests arrive by seaplane or private boat.
Other Places to Stay in the Lower Keys
Bahia Honda State Park is a state park created after Henry Flagler’s railroad connected it to the other islands. It has tent and RV campsites as well as cabins.
Sunshine Key RV Resort has incredible amenities like a swimming pool, fitness center, playground, and marina. In addition to their campsites, they have RVs for rent.
Where to Stay in Key West
Key West is a fun place to explore, with must-see spots like the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, where Hemingway lived with his family in the 1930s, and The Truman Little White House, where Harry Truman spent time after his decision to drop the atomic bomb. A number of hotels here are adults-only or cater to LGBTQ individuals.
Parrot Key Resort
Parrot Key Resort (review here) is outside the main area of Key West but offers a Duval Street shuttle so you won’t miss the action. The property also has an artificial beach so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Villas have porches, and mini fridges. The resort also has four outdoor pools and a bar and restaurant as well as an onsite spa.
Sunset Key Cottages
Set across the bay from Key West, Sunset Key Cottages are the ultimate luxury experience, only accessible by boat. The private island has one to four bedroom cottages, two dining options and a spa.
Other Places to Stay in Key West
Casa Marina Key West is a historic 1920s resort offering oceanside massages, a private beach, and 2 oceanfront pools. There are also two restaurants.
Oceans Edge Resort Hotel features nautical-inspired rooms surrounded by tropical gardens. They also have six outdoor pools, a marina, and an area shuttle.
Rooms at The Perry Hotel at the Stock Island Marina have balconies overlooking the water. Guests also have access to an outdoor pool, two restaurants, a boutique, and an area shuttle.
The Saint Hotel is a part of the Autograph Collection and contains 36 artsy rooms with kitchenettes, WiFi, and an outdoor pool. There are also two restaurants and bike rentals.
The Seashell Motel and International Hostel is one of the few hostels south of Miami with both dorms and private rooms, along with a kitchen and easy access to Duval Street.
Kimpton has a strong presence on the island. Winslow’s Bungalows has 3 swimming pools, free WiFi access, and complimentary continental breakfast. Ella’s Cottages has free WiFi and a poolside continental breakfast.
At the Kimpton Lighthouse Hotel, enjoy the outdoor heated pool, complimentary continental breakfast, and on-site bar. Kimpton Fitch Lodge has daily complimentary continental breakfast, WiFi, and an outdoor heated pool.
Kimpton Ridley House is adults-only and has an on-site outdoor pool. Key West Bed and Breakfast offers à la carte and continental breakfast and bicycle rentals. Rentals are another option like the Key Lime Cottage with free WiFi and televisions.