Imagine stumbling upon a gem hidden among the sun-kissed shores of Florida…

You guessed it right—it’s none other than the magnificent Florida Keys!

This captivating cluster of 1,700 islands, each adorned with pristine beaches, will leave you breathless. Whether you crave that tranquil island vibe where time stands still or simply yearn for a spot to dip your toes in crystal-clear waters and indulge in the legendary key lime pie, look no further than these wondrous 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 I’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.

Florida scenic highway
Cruising down the Florida Scenic Highway…

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Where to Stay in The Florida Keys

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are my top recommendations for places to stay in the Florida Keys.

It’s no wonder this paradise region of the sunshine state is a must-visit for most travelers in the USA given the combination of awesome beaches, incredible restaurants, and fascinating culture.

Floating Tiki Suite | Best Airbnb in The Florida Keys

This stunning abode features an oceanfront porch, a 50-inch LED TV, a king-sized bed, a freshwater tank, and even an electric mini fridge. The hut even includes everything you need to enjoy water activities like paddleboarding and snorkeling. A couple’s hammock is ideal when sunset comes around, and a ladder ensures easy access to the water.

It’s truly one of the coolest Airbnbs in the US, so don’t pass it up while you’re in Key West!

Seashell International Hostel | Best Hostel in The Florida Keys

Seashell International Hostel, Florida Keys

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 a great location. You’ll be within walking distance of the beach and popular shopping districts.

Modern Houseboat | Best Airbnb in The Florida Keys

This amazing houseboat is filled with every amenity you can imagine and is located near the beginning of the overseas highway that connects the keys. The home features a private balcony, and a spacious living room complete with a flat-screen TV. Experience a night on the Atlantic Ocean while having all the comforts of a real house. Catch a Keys sunset from the water after you get back from snorkeling, and know that a fully equipped kitchen makes enjoying fresh seafood easy!

Florida Keys Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in the Florida Keys

FIRST TIME IN FLORIDA KEYS
Key Largo, Florida Keys 1
FIRST TIME IN FLORIDA KEYS

Key Largo

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.

ON A BUDGET
Islamorada, Florida Keys 1
ON A BUDGET

Islamorada

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.

FOR FAMILIES
Marathon, Florida Keys 1
FOR FAMILIES

Marathon

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.

FOR NIGHTLIFE
Key West, Florida Keys 1
FOR NIGHTLIFE

Key West

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 its 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 the Florida Keys for the first time. Easily accessible from the mainland and with a great mix of amenities and adventure activities including scuba diving, there’s something to suit everyone and it’s home to some of the best hotels, Airbnbs, and VRBOs in the Florida Keys.

Islamorada: The second place to look at is Islamorada, a group of six islands that offers a more local, down-to-earth feel. This is my 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.

Marathon is a tiny island 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. You can even venture out to nearby islands like Big Pine Key!

Key West is the best place to stay in the 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 and fancy hotels with multiple swimming pools, Key West is the best!

Florida Keys’ 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

There are lots of great neighborhoods in the Florida Keys, but here are some of the best for travelers in the area.

1. Key Largo – Where to Stay in the Florida Keys for First Time

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 International Airport by plane and offers a huge range of activities, beaches, and attractions for every type of traveler. It’s even a great spot in Florida to go camping too.

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 the Florida Keys. If you’re looking for swimming pools, tennis courts, private balconies, a hot tub, and a fitness center all within close range of a sandy beach, then this is the one!

So if you’re ready for the perfect beach holiday, get packing and head to Key Largo.

Key Largo, Florida Keys 1
Key Largo has everything you could want from a Florida Keys vacation

Coconut Palm Inn | Best Hotel in Key Largo

Coconut Palm 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 this hotel is directly on the beach! Nothing better than a dip in the ocean to start your day. During your stay, you will enjoy easy access to fishing, diving, and snorkeling.

Waterfront Sunsets Cottage | Best Airbnb in Key Largo

Waterfront Sunsets cottage

This airy 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 a kitchen. As a bonus, it’s within walking distance of local bars and shops as well as being set right on the harbor.

Beach House With Heated Pool | Best Luxury Airbnb in Key Largo

This spacious home is the absolute best Airbnb in Key Largo, thanks in large part to its heated outdoor swimming pool! Lounge underneath the palm trees, or soak in the hot tub once the sun sets–this is a Florida vacation rental that’s hard to leave! There’s also a fully equipped kitchen and other amenities like a golf cart and its own private beach just a few streets away.

ttd in key largo
Key Largo magical sunset

Things to See and Do in Key Largo:

  1. Get out on the water and learn about the plight of the ocean creatures at the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary
  2. Take an incredible sunset cruise
  3. Have a meal at local spots like Shipwrecks Bar and Grill or The Buzzard’s Roost
  4. Try out diving with a half-day scuba experience
  5. Explore Everglades National Park which isn’t too far from Key Largo
Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

2. Islamorada – Where to Stay in The Florida Keys on a Budget

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, if you are up for the adventure, you can even venture to Long Key State Park. 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.

Islamorada, Florida Keys 1
Designed for ultimate relaxation…

Ragged Edge Resort & Marina | Best Hotel in Islamorada

Ragged Edge Resort & Marina

If you’re looking for affordable accommodations with stunning ocean views, this place in the Florida Keys is a top choice. It offers easy access and private parking, and with an outdoor swimming pool, you can relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

Modern Houseboat | Best Airbnb in Islamorada

This incredible houseboat is filled with every modern amenity you can imagine and is located near the beginning of the overseas highway that connects the keys. The home features a private balcony, and a spacious living room complete with a flat-screen TV. Experience a night on the Atlantic Ocean while having all the comforts of a real house. Catch a breathtaking Keys sunset from the water after you get back from snorkeling, and know that a fully equipped kitchen makes enjoying fresh seafood easy!

Islamorada, Florida Keys 2
Islamorada is popular for ocean sports.

Things to See and Do in Islamorada:

  1. Enjoy a Private Islamorada Sandbar Tour
  2. Go swimming or enjoy the sporting facilities at Founders Park.
  3. Take a boat tour to get to know the area from the ocean
  4. Take on a Private 2 Mangrove Ecotour
  5. Explore the beautiful Long Key State Park
  6. Grab your best hiking boots and make your way through Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

3. Marathon – Best Neighborhood in The Florida Keys for Families

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 in the middle keys 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 on your Florida road trip.

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 them as well as some of the most family-friendly hotels in Florida Keys.

Marathon, Florida Keys 1
Marathon is super family-friendly.

Isla Bella Beach Resort & Spa | Best Hotel in Marathon

Isla Bella Beach Resort & Spa

This hotel is a comfortable choice for Marathon, It’s located a short drive from the beach, offering a sun terrace and outdoor pool for those warm summer days. Also offering a delicious complimentary breakfast, and a wellness area with a hot tub and fitness center, ensuring your relaxation and fitness needs are met.

Keys Hideaway With Private Pool | Best Airbnb in Marathon

This incredibly cute Marathon Airbnb might just be my favorite property on this list! The hosts really went above and beyond with the design–places like this are why you choose Airbnb over a hotel! The three-bedroom home has its own private pool, as well as a gas grill and beach chairs.

Sombrero Beach (one of the best in the Keys) is nearby as are top restaurants and shops. Beach lovers will also want to check out Sunset Park, where you can simply show up and start snorkeling thanks to the public dock.

Stunning Waterfront Mansion | Best Luxury Airbnb in Marathon

This iconic Marathon mansion is no doubt one of the best places to stay in the Keys. You’ll be right on the water, which you can opt to enjoy from your own private dock.

The home also has its own heated outdoor pool, meaning you can swim comfortably year-round. A fully equipped kitchen will meet all of your culinary needs, and it’s also pet friendly!

Marathon, Florida Keys 2

Things to See and to Do in Marathon:

  1. Have a delicious seafood meal at Stout’s Restaurant, The Island Fish Company, or Irie Island Eats
  2. Relax on the white sand at the Coco Plum Beach
  3. Take a tour of the nearby island, big pine key!
  4. Enjoy A fishing experience with a private boat!
  5. Have a picnic and take in the views at Sunset Park
  6. Go camping, fishing, or hiking at the Bahia honda state park
  7. Head to Sombrero Beach for a spot of rest and relaxation
  8. Explore Marathon from the sky with a Parasail Adventure!
The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

4. Key West – Best Area to Stay in The Florida Keys for Nightlife

You’ve probably heard of Key West, most people have. This island is at the southernmost point 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.

The city is welcoming to everyone, offering everything from expensive restaurants to hidden dive bars. This is what makes staying in Key West ideal when you’re deciding where to go in the Florida Keys for nightlife. It’s also home to the Key West International Airport so it’s a convenient spot.

Key West, Florida Keys 1

The Grand Guesthouse | Best Hotel in Key West

The Grand Guesthouse

This inn provides cozy accommodations, bicycle rentals, and a delicious continental breakfast to kickstart your day of adventure. Located within walking distance of popular attractions like the botanical gardens and Audubon House, you’ll have easy access to the best of the Florida Keys.

Orchid Key Inn | Best Luxury Hotel in Key West

Orchid Key Inn

Here, you’ll enjoy fantastic features including a daily continental breakfast to kickstart your day of adventure. Take a dip in the heated pool and relax in the soothing hot tub, or head to the on-site bar for some well-deserved relaxation. The hotel’s convenient location puts you within walking distance of numerous popular shopping areas, local attractions, and some of the island’s finest restaurants.

Floating Tiki Suite | Best Airbnb in Key West

Florida Airbnbs just do NOT get more iconic than this! Experience the historic town of Key West from the ocean in this luxurious floating tiki suite.

This stunning abode features an oceanfront porch, a 50-inch LED TV, a king-sized bed, a freshwater tank, and even an electric mini fridge. The hut even includes everything you need to enjoy water activities like paddleboarding and snorkeling. A couple’s hammock is ideal when sunset comes around, and a ladder ensures easy access to the water.

Key West, Florida Keys 2
Key West is a very welcoming area of the Florida Keys

Things to See and Do in Key West:

  1. Go on a snorkeling trip
  2. Learn about historic Key West on a conch train!
  3. Explore the Key West Shipwreck Museum
  4. Have some fun at a Key West bar crawl
  5. Try the local food at A&B Lobster House, Two Friends Patio, and Sunset Pier
  6. See Key West by cycle
  7. Relax on a Sand Bar Cruise on a Tiki Bar Boat
  8. Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum to learn about the island’s most famous resident
  9. Stand at the southernmost point on mainland USA
Palm tree
Palm trees and blue skies…
Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

FAQs About Where to Stay in Florida Keys

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Florida Keys and where to stay.

Which key is the best in Florida?

One of the most popular and well-known keys in Florida is Key West. Located at the southernmost point of the United States, Key West offers a unique blend of tropical beauty, vibrant nightlife, historical attractions, and a laid-back island atmosphere.

What month is best for the Florida Keys?

The months of December to May are generally considered the most popular and pleasant for visiting the Florida Keys. During this period, the weather is typically warm and dry, which makes it ideal for enjoying outdoor activities such as snorkeling, diving, fishing, and exploring the beautiful beaches and parks in the area. But keep in mind, Florida is blessed with good weather year round!

What is the best part of the Florida Keys to stay at?

Ultimately, whether you prefer a lively ambiance or a tranquil and nature-oriented setting, both Key West and Islamorada offer unique experiences. Consider your interests, the type of activities you want to engage in, and the overall vibe you’re seeking to make an informed decision about the best part of the Florida Keys to stay at for your trip.

What To Pack For The Florida Keys

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for The Florida Keys

Picture yourself on the beach, carefree and relaxed, without a worry in the world, knowing that your travel insurance has your back. It’s like having a sidekick, watching over your well-being, ready to swoop in and save you from the calamity of unexpected medical expenses!

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

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 enjoying 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.

I’ve got you sorted with the ultimate lowdown on where to crash during your upcoming Florida getaway. But for now, I’ll let your imagination wander, daydreaming about laying out in the warm Floridian sunshine on a pristine beach.

Looking for more info on travelling to Florida Keys and USA?
a beachside orange and yellow sunset as seen while staying in the florida keys
Sunset? Don’t mind if I do.