In this article, I’ll give you the a Florida native’s insider scoop on the best places to stay in the Florida Keys! You’ll also learn more about the most popular islands and what makes each one unique.
The Florida Keys is one of the best places to vacation. And the islands know what people want when it comes to accommodations. There is something for everyone among these stunning islands. You’ll find a luxury boutique hotel, a unique beach house, or a nature-rich campground.
Best Place to Stay in the Florida Keys: My Pick
Our pick is Amara Cay Resort on Islamorada because of its stunning private beach and views, luxury rooms, free shuttle rides, and the best seafood around!
⭐Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars — with more than 1,100 reviews!
Briefly, What You Should Know About the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a famous chain of islands off the coast of Florida. They extend into the Atlantic Ocean and offer breathtaking ocean views and some of the best beaches on Earth.
There are hundreds of isles that make up the Florida Keys, stretching approximately 120 miles (193 kilometers). The most popular islands are Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada, Big Pine Key, and the southernmost point, Key West, but the lesser-known islands are still worth exploring as well.
No two islands are alike, so finding the perfect place to stay depends on what type of vacation you are looking for!
Table of Best Places to Stay in the Florida Keys
Before we get into where you’re going to stay, it’s best to narrow down which island you want to be on. As I said before, no two keys are alike. Each island has its own attractions, sites, local restaurants, and activities.
Want a tropical vacation to the beautiful islands that make up the Florida Keys? You have plenty of great luxury resorts, beach houses, and other accommodations.
Want to experience wildlife and return to nature? Plenty of options for that too. No matter which you choose, you are sure to have an unforgettable getaway filled with sun, white sand beaches, and breathtaking sites.
Some of my favorite places to stay in the Keys are Amara Cay Resort on Islamorada and Pier House Resort & Spa on Key West.
The best thing about the Florida Keys is that there here are 42 bridges connecting all the islands. This makes it easy to go on a quick road trip to the others if you want to do more exploring.
Take a look at the breakdown below of each of the main islands:
|Florida Key & Its Atmosphere
|Top Island Attractions
|Amara Cay Resort
-Small Town Feel
|Sport Fishing Capital of the World
History of Diving Museum
|Reefhouse Resort & Marina
-Vibrant and -Nature-Focused
|John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
|Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
|Little Torch Key
|5 Star hotel on a private island getaway
|Isla Bella Beach Resort
-Laid Back and Beachy
|Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
Crane Point Hammock
|Big Pine Key Resort
|Big Pine Key
-Tranquil and Preserved
|Bahia Honda State Park
Blue Hole Observation Platform
|Pier House Resort & Spa
-Nightlife and Culture
|The Hemingway Home and Museum
West Martello Tower and Key West Garden Club
Best Place to Stay in the Florida Keys
Now that you’ve got the vibe for each of the major keys, think about which island is best for you. Then, check out my list of the best Florida Keys resorts on each of these main islands!
1. Amara Cay Resort – Islamorada
Islamorada is one of the best areas to stay in the Keys if you love luxury, fishing, seafood, and watersports.
Luxury Accomodations. Amara Cay Resort offers a picturesque luxury hotel in a prime location. You’ll also find
- a private beachfront
- a pool
- a tiki bar
- and preferred vendors for fishing charters
Free Shuttle Rides. If you aren’t bringing a car on your vacation, Amara Cay is a great choice because of the free shuttle. This shuttle will take you anywhere within four miles. This includes sites like:
- History of Diving Museum
- Islamorada Art Gallery
- and some of the best fresh seafood in the middle keys!
On top of the stunning accommodations, Amara Cay is one of the best hotels for sustainability.
Florida Green Lodging has often acknowledged Amara Cay for its sustainability practices. Which includes its engineering, landscape, and housekeeping.
Best Features: Private Beach, Free Shuttle, Sustainability
Location: 80001 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036
2. Reefhouse Resort & Marina – Key Largo
The Reefhouse Resort and Marina is a great mid-range option. And it puts you in the middle of all the best things Key Largo has to offer!
This luxury resort is set across 17 acres and offers visitors a front-row seat to stunning marine life.
Water Excursions. Key Largo puts a big focus on scuba diving and snorkeling. Reefhouse has an onsite marina, offering boating, fishing, parasailing, and diving excursions.
State Park 5-minutes Away. If you want to go offsite, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a quick 5-minute drive away. There are plenty of local dive shops in close by if you need to grab some gear.
The Hotel & Amenities. This 4-star hotel also boasts:
- a private beach
- a pool
- a fitness center
- a spa
- and guest rooms that include private balconies that overlook the bay
Best Features: Full-Service Spa, Outdoor Swimming Pool, On-Site Marina
Location: 103800 Overseas Highway Mile Marker 103.8, Key Largo, FL 33037
3. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa – Little Torch Key
Want to pretend to be a celebrity on a private island for a weekend? Little Palm Island Resort is the perfect place!
Although this isn’t on one of the main islands of the Keys, I couldn’t resist putting this gem on the list. It is the continental United States’ only private island resort, and a top pick if you are looking to splurge!
Located off the coast of Little Torch Key, this luxury resort is accessible only by boat or seaplane. This gives it a secluded and exclusive feel.
Guests can enjoy an adult-only gorgeous property with:
- overwater bungalows
- an indoor-outdoor spa
- and a pool that overlooks white-sand beaches and turquoise water
Their Island Grand Suites even give you the chance to relax on your own private beach!
The resort also provides guests with plenty of opportunity for adventure. Select your choice of water activities like:
- dolphin encounters
- and trips to Looe Key Reef (which are some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the area)
Best Features: On-Site Restaurants, Private Beaches, Luxe Guest Rooms, Adult Only
Location: 28500 Overseas Hwy, Little Torch Key, FL 33042
4. Isla Bella Beach Resort – Marathon Key
The Isla Bella Beach Resort is a Greecian-inspired hotel that puts you at the center of the action!
Before you get to the Seven Mile Bridge, you will find the Isla Bella Beach Resort located on Marathon Key.
Marathon island has a lot to offer. Some of my favorite things to do on Marathon Key are:
- visit the Turtle Hospital or
- stroll through the state parks and hike the nature trails
The Resort. Isla Bella Beach Resort provides amazing amenities for a stress-free vacation. It has:
- a one-mile private sandy beach
- an on-site spa
- five swimming pools
- and some of the best restaurants.
The resort also has a ton of included activities, making it a great value. These range from beach yoga classes to mini golf! Isla Bella also offers added water sports like jet ski tours, private charters, kayaking, parasailing, and more.
Best Features: Multiple Swimming Pools, Included Activities, Private Beach
Location: 1 Knights Key Blvd, Marathon, FL 33050
5. Pier House Resort & Spa – Key West
Key West is one of the most famous islands and part of the lower keys. It is also known as the “party island” and the birthplace of Key Lime Pie!
You can take a long road trip, or easily fly into Key West International Airport.
There are a ton of tourist attractions and things to do on Key West! The historical sites are
- The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
- a tropical garden
- an aquarium
- state parks
- bars, and delicious restaurants to enjoy
If it is your first time visiting Key West, you may want to stay a few extra days to take in all the island has to offer.
The Resort. Pier House Resort and Spa is right on Duval Street, giving you easy access to Old Town and the heart of Key West.
The private beach is a great place to admire the beauty of the natural palm trees and clear blue waters. You can also rest easy knowing there is a full-service spa on the property.
Pier House is well-known for its restaurants and bars featuring local catches and ingredients.
Best Features: Full-Service Spa, Private Beach, Waterfront Dining, Great Location
Location: 1 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
6. Big Pine Key Resort
Big Pine Key is a tranquil and well preserved isle! If you want to experience nature and wildlife, you can’t go wrong here.
Nearby Outdoor Activities. About a 7-minute drive from Big Pine Key Resort is Bahia Honda State Park. This is one of Florida’s most beautiful state parks with so many amenities.
- three beaches – Loggerhead Beach, Calusa Beach, Sandspur Beach
- Biking on paved roads
- birding – a variety of wading birds and shorebirds to observe
- snorkeling and boat tours
- picnicking and grilling at the pavilions
- cabins and camping
- and much more
Other attractions include: Coupon Bight – a 5,400-acre protected aquatic preserve Blue Hole Observation Platform- a former quarry that is now a lake and watering hole for wildlife. You you can find deer, alligators and fish here!
The Resort. Big Pine Key Resort has full hook up RV and also rustic camping sites. If you don’t have an RV or feel like camping, you can rent a luxury Airstream or Grand Design.
Other Spots to Stay at Big Pine Key. You can also rent a cabin at Bahia Honda State Park or check out the nearby VRBO listings.
Location: 33000 Overseas, Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Summary to Best Places to Stay in the Florida Keys
Although there are 1700+ islands that make up the Florida Keys, there five popular ones. The most popular islands are Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada, Big Pine Key, and Key West.
You should keep in mind that each island has its own personality. Before booking, it is important to decide which type of vacation you want to experience.
Whether it be big on nightlife, becoming one with nature, or diving to the depths of a coral reef.
Want to explore more of Florida’s amazing beaches? Check out