Barbara Eads Realty, Inc.

Key Largo, FL Area Guide

Key Largo’s name is derived from the Spanish Cayo Largo, which means “Long Key”; Key Largo, at 33 miles long, is the largest and northernmost of the Florida Keys.

Key Largo is a popular tourist destination, calling itself the "Diving Capital of the World"; it attracts thousands of scuba divers and sport-fishing enthusiasts due to the living coral reef located a few miles offshore. It is also a premier destination for kayakers and ecotourists because of its proximity to the Everglades. Largely unpopulated until midway through the 20th century, the island gained its fame—and later, its name—from the 1948 film Key Largo. Geologically, Key Largo is an exposed, fossilized remnant of a coral reef, formed during a period of higher sea level then later uncovered and eroded during the subsequent ice age. In many places throughout the island, fossilized corals and smooth, eroded limestone caprock are visible at the surface level. The natural shoreline of the island is generally rocky and made up of slippery limestone-based clay called "marl". There are no natural sand beaches on the island; however, inland soil supports a diversity of flora and herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and hardwood trees. Like most of mainland Florida, Key Largo's climate is considered tropical and frost has never been recorded in the island. To learn more about Key Largo and the Florida Keys, please visit:

Monroe County Tourist Development Council Key Largo Information

Visit Florida Official Florida Tourism Key Largo Information


There is no record that any of Ponce de Leon’s ships came on shore while in search of the fountain of youth; despite this, his nautical notes include one of the first recorded sightings of the Florida Keys, dating circa 1513. Though discovered, mapped and charted far earlier, Key Largo, like many of the Florida Keys, remained mostly undeveloped until the middle of the 20th century. Pirate activity existed in the nascent days of Key Largo, with a fledgling U. S. Navy Pirate Fleet, established 1822, in hot pursuit. Settlers followed shortly thereafter; meanwhile, the indigenous population of Caloosa Indians and other mainland tribes vanished. Early settlers to Key Largo and the Upper Keys based their economy around citrus and fruit agriculture. Common early crops in the area included Key limes, tamarind, grapefruit, breadfruit and pineapples. A combination of mosquitoes and regular, nearly annual hurricane disasters curtailed urban expansion to the Keys until the completion of Flagler’s "railroad that went to sea" in 1912. The railroad, while impressive, did little for Key Largo communities, merely shifting their transportation centers from the ocean, where mainland contact had heretofore been provided by coastal schooners, to railroad stops. The Florida land boom of the 1920’s introduced land development to some portions of Key Largo; with the subsequent Florida land bust, Key Largo resumed its citrus economy. The destruction of Flagler’s railroad during the Great Hurricane of 1935 caused transport centers to revert back to the ocean. Later, the state purchased the former railroad property, constructing what is now Highway U.S. One (the Overseas Highway). Key Largo residents have cultivated a community identity that is based on self-reliance, mainly due to their location—while close to the mainland, Key Largo residents have historically been isolated from the amenities of “civilization”. Though today water, supplies and electricity are readily available through easy access to the mainland, Key Largo has proudly retained their sense of autonomy and self-sufficiency.

Portions of the 1948 movie Key Largo were filmed at what is today the Caribbean Club. Prior to this film, what is now Key Largo had undergone a number of name-changes and did not collectively self-identify as “Key Largo”; use of the Club's facade for the filming gave the name Key Largo instant, international popularity, which local businessmen wanted to capitalize on. In 1952, Rock Harbor Post Office was re-christened as the Key Largo Post Office. This re-naming resulted in the communities of Rock Harbor, the Ocean Reef Club, the Angler's Club and Newport into one postal community, now called Key Largo. In a very unique twist on history, the community of Key Largo emerged before the geographical designation, rather than the other way around. The 1950’s brought Key Largo growth and expansion, due to the combination of the end of World War II, construction of a fresh water pipe line, availability of public electricity, a certified High school’s establishment and the introduction of mosquito control. Growth, development and tourism have continued at a rapid pace, resulting in the Key Largo of today.
For a fuller history of Key Largo, or to access additional historical information about any of the Florida Keys, please visit:

The Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys

Parks and Recreation

With Everglades National Park to its northwest and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to its east, Key Largo is ideally situated for nature enthusiasts, environmentalists, and visitors who wish to experience the wonder of southern Florida. In 1960, Pennekamp Park became the first U.S. state park to be located entirely underwater; the site remains the only living coral barrier reef of the continental United States. World famous underwater sculpture, “The Christ of the Deep” calls the waters of Pennekamp Park its home. Visitors may view the sculpture either above or below water, as two locations of the sculpture are housed on state park grounds. Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the unsettled and protected lands of a 6,800-acre hardwood hammock that makes up a large portion of the upper part of Key Largo. This area is closed to the public, as it is also the primary breeding ground for the endangered American crocodile. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is comprised of one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the United States. Home to 84 species of protected plants and animals, the park’s trails give visitors a chance to experience the wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe and American crocodiles that have become endangered, while learning about the park’s delicate ecosystem and how to preserve and protect it. Neighboring Florida Keys Tavernier and Islamorada also offer residents and visitors ample access to the sun-drenched beauty of the Keys and their parks. To learn more about parks and outdoor recreation in Key Largo and other Florida Keys locations, please visit:

Everglades National Park
(305) 852-5119

John Pennekamp State Park and Christ of the Deep
(305) 451-1202

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
(305) 451-1202

Florida State Parks

Florida Division of Forestry

Key Largo Community Park
(305) 451-3422

Harry Harris Park (Tavernier)
(305) 852-7161

Indian Key State Historic Site (Islamorada)

Lignum Vitae Key State Botanical Site (Islamorada)
(305) 664-4815
(305) 664-9814

Anne’s Beach (Islamorada)

Visit Florida Official Florida Tourism Key Largo Parks

Attractions and Activities

For any taste or budget, Key Largo has an activity or an adventure to match. Here, visitors and residents can choose to charter or rent a boat, snorkel in the exotic reefs or dive to explore the incredible shipwrecks from Key Largo’s “pirate days”. Or instead, you may choose to experience artificial reefs full of marine life, swim with the dolphins, spend a lazy day fishing, take an airboat tour or learn about Florida Keys ecology. Bird watchers can absorb the sights at Key Largo’s wild bird sanctuary while the risk-takers visit an alligator farm. Houseboats are available for rental, and every Floridian experience should include the sights that can only truly be appreciated in a glass bottom boat ride.

From parasailing to kayaking and canoeing, the waters of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Everglades National Park or the Florida Bay offer an experience like nowhere else in the world. Landlubbers need not feel left out; nature trails, community parks, museums and other terrestrial activities abound throughout Key Largo as well. Dining and shopping destinations are as varied and colorful as the history of the Keys, with no Florida Keys encounter ever complete without a Floridian sunset over the water. To learn more about Key Largo’s banquet of attractions, activities and hidden jewels, please visit any of the links listed above, or explore the following links provided through Key Largo’s Chamber of Commerce:

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Directory

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Eco-Tours

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Fishing Charters, Boat Rentals and Sailing Charters

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Attractions & Water Sport Locations

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Dining in Key Largo Guide

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Shopping in Key Largo Guide


With no shortage of sunshine or easily accessible nearby locations, there is a wealth of ever-changing events to experience when visiting or residing in Key Largo. To discover what’s happening in the “Long Key”, please visit these links and enjoy the warm waters, sandy shores and golden sunshine that make Key Largo a paradise on Earth.

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Community Events Calendar

Monroe County Tourist Development Council Key Largo Information

Visit Florida Official Florida Tourism Key Largo Information


Phone (305) 853-5982
Fax (305) 853-5987
Mobile (305) 586-7326


Barbara Eads Realty

Po Box 2379
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