Hotel at a Glance: Amara Cay Resort
Sandwiched between Key West and Key Largo in Islamorada, Amara Cay Resort surrounds guests with the beauty of the Keys—only with fewer crowds. Tropical sun lights up the rooms, which are decked out in soothing, light colors and rattan and wood accents. When the sun sets, you can head to Sparrows Rum Bar, a poolside hangout that serves tropical drinks and American cuisine.
- Feel the ocean breeze on your guest room’s private, furnished balcony.
- Dine with class: Dine at the onsite Oltremare, an Italian-influenced eatery specializing in freshly caught seafood.
- Explore the area via the complimentary shuttle (within a 4-mile radius).
- Recent accolade: The International Interior Design Association chose the hotel for the 2015 Sandi Design award in Design Excellence Hospitality.
- Lounge by the pool on the provided beach chairs or a complimentary pool towel.
Key Largo, Florida: White-Sand Beaches and Shipwreck Scuba Dives
The largest and northernmost key in the Florida Keys archipelago, Key Largo is known for its excellent diving. There are spectacular underwater shipwrecks and coral formations here, and numerous diving charter boats in the area will take you to the best sites. At Elbow Reef, off the coast of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, you may come face-to-face with moray eel and hawksbill turtles.
Herons, roseate spoonbills, and other local waterfowl live at Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, located in Tavernier, the southwestern part of Key Largo. It serves as a sanctuary for birds that have been injured or displaced. Nearby is Harry Harris Park Beach—one of the best beaches in the area, particularly for families. A large coral rock blocks big waves from coming in, so it’s calm enough for kids to play in the surf. There are also a number of grills and picnic tables here.
It’s also worth the drive up Key Largo to see Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. It’s lined with tropical hardwood forests, and you can take a self-guided walk through its butterfly garden.