7 Best Key Largo Beaches

While it’s fair to say that none of the Key Largo parks and beaches are overly beautiful, the Florida Keys in general are not really known for beautiful beaches. If you want to find the best beaches near Key Largo, it’s worth traveling a bit further south to Founder’s Park, Cocoplum, Sombrero, or Bahia Honda for the best beaches. 

However, to find a decent stretch of sand along the ocean, the Key Largo beaches listed in this guide will do the trick. Nice beaches in Key Largo can be found at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, or the small and peaceful Key Largo bay at Harry Harris park. 

These are public beaches, and the latter is one of the best Key Largo dog friendly beaches for pet owners. Cannon and Far beaches at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, meanwhile, offer some of the best Key Largo snorkeling spots from the shore. 

Alternative Key Largo beach access is via the resorts which have their own private coastal stretches for guest use. Options like the upmarket Marriott Key Largo or the more laid-back Sunset Cove motel on Key Largo also provide you with another means of accessing a great beach during your Florida Keys vacation, as they come with their own private beaches. 

From the private beaches at the likes of the Key Largo bay Marriott beach resort to Key Largo public beach access, read on to discover where you can spend time on the beachfront in Key Largo – and even enjoy some shore snorkeling, playing at the park, swimming, picnicking or following a nature trail. You can even enjoy the sunset at the beach in Key Largo when camping overnight at some of these beaches. 

In this post:

MAP OF THE BEST KEY LARGO BEACHES

Best Key Largo Beaches

KEY LARGO BEACHES: PUBLIC BEACHES

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach Key Largo

Cannon Beach can be found within the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and is our favorite in the area. This pick of the public beaches in Key Largo can be found next to the park’s visitor center, and as such offers a great range of amenities.

You can book snorkel and glass-bottom boat trips and arrange kayak rentals nearby, and there is a food truck plus vending machines for all your food and beverage needs. It’s also possible to access shore snorkeling from Cannon Beach. 

As the beach lies within the boundaries of the State Park you’ll have to pay the usual entrance fee to access it. The well-maintained facilities make it worth this entry fee, and these include bathrooms, showers and a large picnic area. 

It seems that the name of Cannon Beach may have been derived from the shipwrecked remains of a Spanish vessel that sank here. Its cannons and anchor have since been colonized by a multitude of sea life, making this a great snorkeling and scuba diving spot. 

However the name actually comes from the twin cannons you can see right there on the sand. These date from the 1600s, and are a nod to Floridian history. As for the sand, it’s clean, fine and golden and provides the perfect setting for a relaxed day by the water on one of the best beaches in Key Largo. 

Kids will love exploring the beach lapped by warm, clear water and should find the cannons fascinating. Cannon Beach is also the ideal place to introduce them to snorkeling – and the same applies to grown-ups too.

The warm, calm water is also good for swimming, though it’s a wise idea to bring beach shoes as it can be stony underfoot. Even younger kids can splash about in the cordoned-off area in safety, though of course under adult supervision. Do be aware that alligators could pay a visit: though very unlikely, it’s not unheard of. 

One of the reasons we love Cannon Beach is because of the snorkeling that can easily be accessed from the shore. You can expect to see colorful tropical fish, as well as other small marine life such as crabs and shrimps. 

Larger species like tuna or barracuda are sometimes spotted too, even venturing close to the sand now and then. To spy bigger fish, venture toward the shipwreck site and you could see tarpon, manatees, rays and more. 

If you’re the sort that soon tires of lying on the beach, you can hire a kayak, go for a hike or take a glass-bottom boat trip from Cannon Beach. All equipment and tours can be booked locally, subject to availability. As with the park in general, you can camp overnight as long as you buy the permit allowing you to do so. 

Far Beach

Far Beach is located just a bit further down from Cannon Beach and is also within John Pennekamp State Park. As there are no amenities right there by the beach, there also tends to be fewer people. This beach is positioned by mile marker 120. 

It does get busy, though, especially during high season, so come early if you want to secure a parking spot – and a good space on the sand. It’s a small beach, so it can fill up fast. Even on hotter days, it’s normally easy to find a shady spot beneath a palm tree to shelter you from the sun. 

Again this is a good area for people of all ages to swim in, and beach shoes are also recommended here as the bottom can be rocky. The water tends to be warm, due to the fact that it’s a shallow area which can be quickly heated up by the sun. 

This is another place from which you can access Key Largo snorkeling from the shore. If you do want to try snorkeling from Far Beach, it’s best to bring your own equipment. The marine life is similar to what you can see at Cannon Beach, with species ranging from crabs and small fish to manatees. Alligators are also a possibility, so always be aware and follow any local advice.

Other items to bring include beach chairs – if you want them – plus any supplies like snacks, drinks and entertainment. Facilities are more limited at Far Beach than at Cannon Beach, so having your own picnic plus a blanket to lay it out on is ideal. 

If you feel like walking off your lunch, a nice nature trail can be accessed close to the beach and it can be fun looking out for native species such as lizards and local bird life. 

Far Beach also makes a good camping spot, and you can do this once you’ve purchased the necessary state park permit. 

Harry Harris

Harry Harris beach and park was closed until June 2022 for repairs, so now it’s open once more you get to benefit from the newly revamped amenities. 

You will need to pay a fee to enter this beach at weekends, and in return you get access to a sandy beach protected by a rock jetty, shaded picnic tables, BBQ grills and showers. There is also a boat ramp here for those who want to explore the water from above rather than within or beneath the surface. 

Harry Harris isn’t the most amazing beach in the world, but the fact that it can cost more than the state park to enter does put some people off. Which means that those who do spend time here often experience it as a relaxed, peaceful place. 

There is everything you need for a day out here, including the BBQs, shaded picnic tables, showers and toilets. The little lagoon is also nice to swim in, and feels safe for kids as the rock jetty offers some protection from the waves.

A play park also offers another form of entertainment for children, and they may even get to see iguanas running around on the grass there. Another creature to watch out for in the water is jellyfish, which do frequent Harry Harris beach from time to time. 

This is a clean and well looked-after beach, so if you don’t mind paying an entrance charge in exchange for peace it can be money worth forking out. If you visit on weekdays, you may also be given access to the beach without paying a fee. Pet owners also find this to be a dog friendly beach on Key Largo. 

KEY LARGO BEACHES: RESORTS WITH BEACHES

Playa Largo Resort, Spa & Bungalows

 

Playa Largo Resort and Spa is one for those seeking the best place to stay in Key Largo on the beach, as it has a stretch of sand for the exclusive use of guests. This Key Largo Marriott beach resort is a sizable property with over 170 rooms, including a beach house, suites, hotel rooms and bungalows. The biggest of these has three bedrooms.

Accommodations at the Autograph Collection’s Playa Largo resort come with flat screen TVs, safes, mini refrigerators, free WiFi and coffee makers. The larger suites and bungalows come with extra space in the form of lounge areas, balconies, kitchens and even in some cases private pools.

As well as the private beach, guests here can make use of three restaurants, a spa, swimming pools, a hot tub, tennis courts and a pool bar, and hotel staff are happy to help with arranging dolphin swimming experiences, scuba diving trips and other local activities. Other deluxe touches include fire pits and private cabanas, and you can also dine on fresh seafood by the waterfront. 

This Marriott resort on Key Largo belongs to the Autograph Collection, and the upmarket feel reflects this. The resort has an elegant look throughout, with sleek flooring and furnishings, luxury linens and subtle hints of coastal hues. 

Bungalows Key Largo

 

Bungalows Key Largo is just one of the alternatives to the Marriott hotel on Key Largo. This resort is spread over a 12 acre seaside site, and there are 135 luxurious wooden bungalows to stay in. Bungalows resort has a lot more to offer than simply sumptuous accommodation – including a private beach. 

The complex also boasts half-a-dozen bars and restaurants, including pool and tiki bars, a gym, a sauna, the full-service Zen Garden Spa and a stunning infinity pool. One of the eateries, Fish Tales, specializes in freshly-prepared seafood, while Sea Señor fuses Mexican flavors with those local fruits de mer. With a laid-back vibe throughout the resort, you can dress for dinner here however you like.

Guests can also use the water sports equipment supplied and take part in yoga classes on a complimentary basis. The equipment provided includes snorkels, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks, so it’s easy to try out something new or get back into the swing of things. 

The bungalows themselves at this Key Largo beach resort come with rainfall showers, plus the likes of private decks, outdoor tubs and of course ocean views. Interiors are decorated with soothing neutrals, and feature a polished, refined finish. 

Coconut Palm Inn

 

If you’re taking a Key Largo family vacation, then the Coconut Palm Inn is a great bet as it offers BBQ grills, bikes and kayaks for guests’ use. It’s also a favorite among those who enjoy fishing as it has a cleaning station plus a pier and marina. 

Rooms at this Key Largo hotel on the beach come with basic kitchen equipment such as microwave, fridge and coffee machine, so it’s possible to do some self catering while staying here. Suites have full kitchens plus living and dining areas, and all accommodation is equipped with WiFi throughout and a flat screen TV.

The private beach is a glorious spot with hammocks swaying in the breeze and a tranquil, secluded feel. As the name suggests, there are palms dotted around the grounds of the inn, which actually form part of a coconut grove. The outdoor pool is a pleasant place to relax by day or evening, especially after a busy day of sightseeing, fishing, diving or snorkeling. 

This resort is much loved by past guests. Although it’s not quite as elegant as Bungalows or the Playa Largo Resort, this gives it a more laid-back air that some visitors prefer. 

Sunset Cove

 

Sunset Cove Key Largo is also ideal for those seeking a more casual beach resort. It offers a range of accommodation and some great shared amenities, including water sports equipment, a picnic area with BBQ grills and a boat dock. The tiki huts scattered among the grounds also give it a lovely tropical feel.

Rooms at Sunset Cove beach resort on Key Largo range from motel-style rooms to beachfront cottages. Pets are permitted in some accommodations, making this place perfect for those who come here on vacation and need to find a dog beach on Key Largo for daily walks.

Larger rooms at Sunset Cove resort in Key Largo are equipped with full kitchens and sofa beds, while the smaller options have microwaves and mini fridges. Cable TV is supplied and there is air-conditioning to keep you cool. A daily buffet breakfast is served to guests.

If you want to find something more affordable than the Marriott Key Largo or Bungalows at Key Largo beach, Sunset Cove is a good alternative beachfront hotel on Key Largo to consider. Lots of white, blue and natural wood create a coastal vibe throughout, and there is a private stretch of golden sand by the dock for guests to enjoy. 

WHICH KEY LARGO BEACHES WILL YOU VISIT?

Whether you wanted to discover where you can access a public beach or which Key Largo bay beach resort includes guest access to a private beach, we hope this guide has been helpful. 

From shore snorkeling to lazing on the sands or picnicking in the shade, you can pick between the public options of Cannon, Far and Harris beach on Key Largo. Alternatively, book into Key Largo accommodations on the beach for use of a private stretch of golden sand and clean, clear water.

For more on the Florida Keys beaches, check out our guides to Islamorada, Marathon, and Key West beaches.

Looking for more Florida Keys info to plan your trip? Check out all of our Florida Keys Guides HERE.

About the author
Kristin Young