Everyone’s heard of the Florida Keys. Located just off the coast of Florida, it’s a coral cay archipelago that includes around 1,700 islands boasting some of the world’s best beaches. With that many islands, you can be sure that you’ll find one that suits your budget and travel style.
Whether you’re looking for a laid back island feel, somewhere to drink cocktails near the ocean, or just a place to go swimming, snorkelling or diving, you’ll find it in these islands.
With so many places to choose from, it can be difficult to find the absolute best places to stay in the Florida Keys. That’s why we’ve created this guide, to help you find islands that suit your wants and needs, and are close to places where you can really make the most of your Florida Keys vacation.
- Where to Stay in Florida Keys
- Florida Keys Neighborhood Guide
- Florida Keys’ 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- 1. Key Largo – Where to Stay in Florida Keys for First Time
- 2. Islamorada – Where to Stay in Florida Keys on a Budget
- 3. Marathon – Best Neighborhood in Florida Keys for Families
- 4. Key West – Best Area to Stay in Florida Keys for Nightlife
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our top recommendations for places to stay in Florida Keys.
Best Airbnb in The Florida Keys: Waterfront Duplex
Whether you’re staying in the Florida Keys for one night or a longer stay, this duplex will suit all your needs. It’s pet-friendly, and has a great deck where you can sit out and enjoy the views. With open-plan living and a full kitchen, you’ll enjoy your time in this duplex and have all the amenities for a comfortable stay.
Best Hostel in The Florida Keys: Seashell International Hostel
Bright, colorful, and inviting – this hostel in the Florida Keys has everything you need for a comfortable, budget-friendly stay. The hostel offers lots of island charm as well as great facilities, including a kitchen area, laundry facilities, and great location. You’ll be within walking distance of the beach and popular shopping districts.
Best Hotel in The Florida Keys: Gilbert’s Resort
Easily accessible from Miami, this hotel in the Florida Keys has its own marina and boat dock. There’s a Tiki bar and restaurant on-site, as well as lots of facilities for outdoor activities. The hotel also has a swimming pool and a private beach area for you to enjoy.
Key Largo is the northern gateway to the Florida Keys, and the best choice when you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Florida Keys for your first time.
If you like adventure and are trying to decide where to stay in the Florida Keys on a budget at the same time, then Islamorada might be the answer you’re looking for.
Marathon is hands down the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in the Florida Keys for families. It’s a collection of small islands that are jam-packed with activities designed to keep the kids occupied.
You’ve probably heard of Key West, most people have. This island is at the southernmost tip of the Keys and was built on the back of cigar-making and the money taken from shipwrecks.
There are over 1,700 islands in the archipelago that makes up the Florida Keys, each of them unique and with their own attractions. This may make it a little hard for you to find the best Florida Keys accommodation for your vacation, but you just need to know which island best suits your travel style.
Key Largo is the best area for travelers heading to Florida Keys for the first time. Easily accessible from the mainland and with a great mix of amenities and adventure activities, there’s something to suit everyone.
The second place to look at is Islamorada, a group of six islands that offers a more local, down to earth feel. This is our top pick for those traveling on a budget, so if you like fishing and other activities that don’t cost a lot of money, this is where you’ll find them.
Next, Marathon is a collection of tiny islands that offers lots of family friendly activities, suitable for even the smallest members of your family. If you want to keep them occupied for a few days, this is the best place to base your vacation.
Finally, Key West is the best place to stay in Florida Keys for nightlife. This is probably one of the most popular islands, and for good reason – it’s full of everything from beautiful beaches to popular bars.
Florida Keys’ 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
There are lots of great neighborhoods in Florida Keys, but here are some of the best for travelers in the area.
- COOLEST thing to do in Key Largo – Take the African Queen Cruise along the canals, and follow in the footsteps of Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.
- BEST place to visit in Key Largo – Go diving or swimming over the SS Benwood, a steam cargo ship from the early twentieth century.
Key Largo is the northern gateway to the Florida Keys, and the best choice when you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Florida Keys for your first time. It’s easily accessible from Miami Airport by plane and offers a huge range of activities, beaches, and attractions for every type of traveler.
On this island, you’ll find everything from spots to swim, kayak and enjoy pretty much any other type of water sport, to lots of restaurants and convenient amenities. Key Largo is also home to some of the best hotels in Florida Keys.
This cozy cottage is a great option if you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Florida Keys on a budget. Suitable for 2 guests, it has a private bathroom and small kitchenette. As a bonus, it’s within walking distance of local bars and shops as well as the local state park.
Best Luxury Airbnb in Key Largo: Elegant Waterfront Home
Located in one of Florida Keys’ best neighborhoods, this home will satisfy all of your needs for luxury. With 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, it’s a gated property that’s ideal for up to 12 guests, and sits just steps from the ocean.
Best Hotel in Key Largo: Hampton Inn
Whether you’re visiting the Florida Keys with kids or with a group of friends, this hotel is a good choice. You’ll get a choice of room sizes to suit every travel group, as well as complimentary breakfasts to start your day. The hotel also has a pool, private beach and boat dock.
Things to See and Do in Key Largo:
- Take the kids to the Dolphins Plus Bayside aquarium
- Go parasailing with Keys Adventures Watersports
- Check out the shows and programs at the Island Dolphin Care
- Explore the 6,700 acres of wildlife habitat at the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Relax at the Crocodile Lake Community Butterfly Garden
- Get out on the water and learn about the plight of the ocean creatures at the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary
- Have a meal at local spots like Shipwrecks Bar and Grill, The Buzzard’s Roost, or Hubo’s Café
2. Islamorada – Where to Stay in Florida Keys on a Budget
- COOLEST thing to do in Islamorada – Sportfishing – this set of islands is known as the Sports Fishing Capital of the world!
- BEST place to visit in Islamorada – Keys History & Discovery Center for a thoughtful look at the history of the area.
If you like adventure and are trying to decide where to stay in the Florida Keys on a budget at the same time, then staying in Islamorada is your best bet. This chain of 6 islands is known more for sport fishing and outdoor activities than posh hotels and restaurants. So, if you’re looking to pay more local prices and spend your time outdoors for free, you’ll have plenty of chances to do it here.
This is one of the coolest AirBnBs in the Florida Keys for swimming and other water activities. The apartment has 2 bedrooms and is suitable for up to 4 guests, and has a private beach as well as ocean views from every room. All that for a very budget-friendly price!
Best Luxury Airbnb in Islamorada: Beachfront Cottage
This luxury offering has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, suitable for up to 5 guests. It’s also in the best neighborhood in the Florida Keys if you want to be close to the beach and the town. Situated in a gated community, this Airbnb has a private infinity pool. In addition, you’ll enjoy your own private beach and dock during your stay.
Best Hotel in Islamorada: La Siesta Resort & Marina
If you want ocean views at a reasonable price, then this is one of the best places to stay in the Florida Keys. It’s just off the highway for easy access, and offers poolside complimentary breakfasts. There’s also a bar and restaurant where you can have a late-night drink and bite to eat.
Things to See and Do in Islamorada:
- Enjoy a meal at Meze Morada, Calypso’s, or Bayside Gourmet
- Go swimming with dolphins or snorkeling at Theater of the Sea, one of the best marine parks in the area
- Go swimming or enjoy the sporting facilities at the Village of Islands Founders Park.
- Take a boat tour to get to know the area from the ocean
- Have a picnic or BBQ at the Library Beach Park
- Explore the unique History of Diving Museum
- Grab your hiking boots and make your way through Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
3. Marathon – Best Neighborhood in Florida Keys for Families
- COOLEST thing to do in Marathon – Take the kids to the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters for diving, snorkeling, and marine encounters
- BEST place to visit in Marathon – Sombrero Beach for a spot of rest and relaxation
Marathon is hands down the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in the Florida Keys for families. It’s a collection of small islands that are jam-packed with activities designed to keep the kids entertained. The islands are connected by a bridge for easy access to wherever you want to explore.
Marathon also has a lot to offer for adults visiting the area. This includes amazing beaches and attractions that will teach you about the islands, and all the marine life around it.
Great for couples, this guest suite is located in the best neighborhood to stay in the Florida Keys if you want to live like a local. It’s modern and clean, and has its own dock as well as lots of local restaurants close by.
Best Luxury Airbnb in Marathon: Oasis in the Keys
This is one of the coolest places to stay in the Florida Keys if you like views, as it offers floor to ceiling ocean views in every room. It has 3 bedrooms, and the owner provides a variety of equipment for water activities for you to use during your stay. You’ll also have access to the Cabana Club, so enjoy the pool and hot tub!
Best Hotel in Marathon: Coconut Cay Resort
This hotel is budget-friendly and comfortable, a worthy addition to any Florida Keys neighborhood guide. A short drive from the beach, it has a sun terrace and pool, so you can enjoy those warm summer days as well as a delicious complimentary breakfast every morning.
Things to See and to Do in Marathon:
- Have a delicious seafood meal at Stout’s Restaurant, The Island Fish Company, or Irie Island Eats
- See the dolphin shows and learn more about these amazing creatures at the Dolphin Research Center
- Relax on the white sand at the Coco Plum Beach
- Take a tour of the Turtle Hospital
- Take a canoeing or kayaking tour
- Have a picnic and take in the views at Sunset Park
- Let the kids explore the past at the Marathon Air Museum
- Go camping, fishing or hiking at the Curry Hammock State Park
One of the best investments you can make is a worldwide travel adapter that will work anywhere! The one featured here is tough, reliable and a solid buy – Don’t leave home without one.
Buy your travel adapter on Amazon now.
4. Key West – Best Area to Stay in Florida Keys for Nightlife
- COOLEST thing to do in Key West – Relax on the beach or enjoy some water sports at the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
- BEST place to visit in Key West – Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum to learn about the island’s most famous resident
You’ve probably heard of Key West, most people have. This island is at the southernmost tip of the Keys and was built on the back of cigar-making, as well as money taken from shipwrecks. As a result of this history, the island is filled with beautiful mansions and cottages in white and pastel colors, but it’s still a laidback and relaxing area to visit.
Key West is welcoming to everyone, offering everything from expensive restaurants to hidden dive bars. This is what makes it the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in the Florida Keys for nightlife.
Just one block back from the boardwalk with its amazing restaurants and shops, this one bedroom apartment is in one of the most convenient areas of the Florida Keys. It includes shared access, a deck and heated pool as well as all the amenities you’ll need during your stay.
Best Hostel in Key West: Not Your Average Hotel
This hotel in the Florida Keys offers the perfect combination of comfort and budget-friendly facilities. It has 3 pools and 2 hot tubs, and is within walking distance of local attractions like the botanical gardens and Audubon House. The rooms come in a variety of sizes to suit any travel group.
Best Hotel in Key West: Caribbean House
This hotel in the Florida Keys is adult only and pet friendly. It’s within walking distance of several popular shopping areas and local attractions as well as some of the island’s best restaurants. The hotel offers both on site parking as well as a bar. In addition, it has has comfortable rooms with a variety of amenities.
Things to See and Do in Key West:
- Take in the beauty at the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
- Take a tour through the Key West Lighthouse
- Explore the area’s wartime history at the USCGC Ingham Maritime Museum
- Enjoy some live music at the Key West Amphitheater
- See a show at the Waterfront Playhouse
- Try the local food at A&B Lobster House, Two Friends Patio, and Sunset Pier
- Raise a glass at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Lagerheads Beach Bar & Watersports, or the Hog’s Breath Saloon
- Spend time on Higgs Beach Smathers Beach until you decide which you like best
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in the Florida Keys
Whether you’re trying to find the best places in the Florida Keys to stay for a family holiday, on a Florida road-trip with friends or a solo-adventure, there’s so much to choose from.
Whether you end up in a luxury resort or choose to go camping instead, the Florida Keys offer so much in terms of great food, amazing natural experiences, a relaxed island atmosphere and stunning beaches with lots of chances to enjoy the water.
So if you’re ready for the perfect beach holiday, get packing and head to the Florida Keys!
And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
“Find out how YOU can support the site. We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web, for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers [that’s you!]. Please visit the link to find out how you can help keep the site going 🙂
For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support.