Key West Vs Key Largo: What Are the Differences?

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Both Key West and Key Largo are well-liked vacation spots, but they provide very different experiences. To guide you toward the ideal vacation spot for you, let’s examine the many differences.

You might struggle to decide between Key West and Key Largo when booking your next vacation. These two keys have improved the Florida Keys’ standing as a top US tourist destination. Both are beautiful cities found in Florida’s warm climate. Although it may seem like we are contrasting two similar sites, there are a ton of differences between the two places.

Key West

Key West, a fabled and well-known destination, is unquestionably the best way to end your trip to the Florida Keys. In Key West, you can find an ingenious fusion of contemporary entertainment, the outdoors, local history, and culture.

Check out Can You See Cuba From Key West?

The numerous must-dos and must-sees in Key West offer a wide range of experiences. Along with stunning views and incredible seas, anticipate being swept away by a vibrant colonial town, exciting nightlife, and friendly locals.

Key Largo

Key Largo, the entry point to the Florida Keys and a mecca for scuba divers, perfectly accentuates the allure of Southern Florida. Despite being a part of a lucky group of islands, Key Largo has a lot of attractions that are enough to make it a phenomenon in and of itself.

Key Largo is just the start of a long list of adventures, which includes national parks, dive sites, and countless exciting pursuits. This formerly unremarkable stretch has become one of the US must-see locations as a result of its gifted geography and historical development.

Key West Vs Key Largo – Which to Select for Your Vacation?

The Florida Keys are very different from one another, and being aware of these differences will help you and your family decide which island is the best place to visit.

Closer to the Keys Versus Further Away from the Keys

In terms of the Florida Keys, Key Largo serves as an unofficial starting point and Key West serves as the final destination after a protracted, breathtaking journey away from the hectic pace of Miami and the surrounding areas.

If traveling a long distance worries you, keep in mind that Key Largo is only a little over an hour from Miami. Depending on the time of day and the volume of traffic, the drive to Key West takes about three and a half hours.

An attractive drive connects Miami with Key Largo. The journey to Key West is enjoyable even though it is not particularly scenic. The more time you spend driving across Seven Mile Bridge and the other bridges that connect the islands, the more you are engulfed in the beauty of the ocean.

Dive Shops Versus Dive Bars

Key West and Key Largo are both fantastic locations for water sports. In both locations, you can go ocean kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, on fishing charters, and with a jet ski. But be aware that Key West has more dive bars while Key Largo has more dive shops.

In other words, Key Largo is more of a destination for outdoor activities, whereas Key West has a vibrant social scene. Key Largo has some incredible bars — head to Sharkey’s Pub and Galley Restaurant or the Caribbean Club where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall shot a film called Key Largo.

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However, Key West has a lot more bars. Sloppy Joe’s, the Green Parrot, Captain Tony’s Saloon, and the Garden of Eden—the only clothing-optional bar in the city—are a few of Key West’s best bars.

In terms of snorkeling and diving, Key West offers some excellent opportunities, but Key Largo far outperforms the options around the southernmost Key. The reefs surrounding both islands are incredibly healthy, stunning, and largely accessible.

The best snorkeling location in Key West can be found in Dry Tortugas National Park. Great diving can be found in Key Largo at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the Mosquito Bank or Sea Gardens, Molasses Reef, and the Grecian Rocks (where you can also dive around the Christ of the Abyss statue).

Incredible Fishing Spots Versus More Limited Fishing Allowed

If you enjoy fishing, whether it be fly fishing or hook and line, Key West is unquestionably the superior choice. All through the year, Key West hosts a number of fishing championships and competitions at various sites on the island and in the waters nearby. However, fishing is prohibited in most of the protected waters around Key Largo.

Key West’s Edward B. Moore Marina is one of the best places to fish. Knight Pier as well as Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. You can hire fishing boats from a number of top-rated businesses, such as Dream Catcher Charters, to catch some monster fish off the coast, have fun partying with Gulfstream Fishing, or go deep-sea fishing with Key West Fishing Charters.

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Pedestrian Friendly Versus Car Needed

The best place in the country for pedestrians and cyclists is without a doubt Key West. The city anticipates visitors to use public transportation and leave their cars at their hotels. For anyone without mobility issues, almost everything on the island west of Fifth Street is walkable, and the entire island is bike-rideable.

Additionally, you can travel around Key West’s city on the Conch Tour Train.

In contrast, a vehicle is probably necessary for a trip to Key Largo. Since Key Largo is a long island overall, everything is spread out more. It is possible to travel from point A to point B on Key Largo by foot, but most visitors opt to use their vehicles instead.

Familiar History Versus the More Obscure

Many tourists to the Florida Keys are already aware that writer Ernest Hemingway owned a home in Key West. Additionally, they are probably aware of the fabled six-toed Hemingway cats, which continue to reside in the yellow mansion and are open to visitors. Visitors may be familiar with Pan Am Airlines, which launched its first flight from Key West, and may have heard of the notorious Conch Republic.

Key Largo has a much smaller number of well-known historical sites. There’s the 1942 Norwegian SS Benwood that wrecked along Key Largo and the defunct Port Bougainville housing complex.

As a result, Key Largo will be less interesting to those looking for significant historical significance and more interesting to those who are interested in lesser-known history and unusual locations.

Local Hangouts Vs Popular Tourist Destinations

However, despite the fact that Key Largo and Key West are both relatively tourist-friendly locations, Key Largo has more attractions geared toward tourists than Key West.

Key West is more laid-back and relaxed even though Key Largo is also a party town with a lot of nightlife and activity. This implies that you will have access to more activities throughout each waking hour of your stay in Key West.

Additionally, compared to Key Largo, Key West has a higher concentration of gift shops, boutiques, and eateries that cater to tourists.

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The best place to go if you’re looking for a ton of things to do, things to do, and places to go is Key West. When it comes to natural attractions, Key Largo, on the other hand, has a lot more to offer.

On the other hand, Key Largo is the destination to choose if you’re looking for a leisurely getaway packed with outdoor activities.

The Difference Between the Cost of Staying and the Cost of Getting There

In comparison to Key Largo, which is close by, Key West’s hotel rates are not notably more expensive. Hotel rates and food costs are comparable, despite Key West having a disproportionate number of upscale eateries compared to Key Largo. Each Key has comparable activity fees, and each Key has proportionate charter costs.

The biggest difference in price will probably be in transportation costs. Although most flights pass through Miami or Fort Lauderdale, flights can arrive at Key West’s dedicated airport from many different cities across the nation. Prices for those flights are more expensive because it’s a smaller airport.

Although Key Largo lacks an airport of its own, Miami International Airport—the closest large airport—is only a short one-hour drive away.

It will be significantly more expensive to fly into Miami and rent a car with only 150 miles (round-trip plus getting around town) put on it during your vacation as opposed to driving down the bridges to Key West, which is about 160 miles one-way from Florida’s largest city.

Conclusion: Key Largo Or Key West – Which is Better?

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Key West can undoubtedly allay your worries if you want to take advantage of everything that Florida’s tropical climate has to offer. You could easily become overwhelmed by the variety of crowded and uncrowded beaches, natural parks, historical attractions, and aesthetic delights. Especially because every holiday necessity is so readily available here.

Visit Rest Beach, a beach in Key West, it’s worth it. It’s a well-liked location for picnics under the shade of palm trees, dog walks, and beachcombing. There won’t be many other people on this beach on any given day of the week, so you’ll have plenty of alone time.

Fine white sand and a similar atmosphere can be found at Higgs Beach in Key West. Here is a great location for shore snorkeling. In comparison to Key Largo, Key West has more beach bars, cafes, and restaurants. When organizing a trip, whether it be a day trip or a vacation, having everything taken care of could be very advantageous.

Of course, Key Largo is a close second with its less complicated yet no less impressive features. In addition to being close to most of Florida’s natural parks, it is situated close to the mainland. Despite how crowded it is, Key West has more attractions and thrills to offer. However, for some vacationers, it might also be the ideal location.

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