Key Largo, the northernmost of all the Florida Keys, immediately puts visitors on “island time” with its natural beauty on land and underwater — and its friendly, relaxed and welcoming vibe.

Known as the Dive Capital of the World, the area includes many extraordinary sites. Whether you’re a diver or a snorkeler, from Key Largo you can easily access the quiet wonders of the continental United States’ only coral barrier reef.

Christ of the Deep Key Largo

The iconic Christ of the Deep statue is one of Key Largo’s most unforgettable dive sites. (Photo by Michael Oliver)

On land, restaurants serve everything from gourmet delights to “Keys casual” dishes — many featuring the area’s fantastic fresh seafood — with tropical cocktails in laid-back waterfront settings.

It’s easy to embrace fitness in the Upper Keys enclave, with plenty of ways to work off vacation indulgences and boost spirits. Options include paddling kayaks or paddleboards through mangrove tunnels and nearshore waters, nature hikes or classes at area fitness and yoga studios.

Check out the ideas here to enrich your Key Largo escape.

Escape on the Water: Few experiences can equal an underwater pilgrimage to snorkel or dive Key Largo Dry Rocks, the location of the famous Christ of the Deep statue — an enduring symbol of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The reef, lying six miles offshore in 25 feet of water, is only reachable by boat. Both divers and snorkelers can see and swim past the 9-foot-tall statue, with its arms upraised toward the light above. The location can be accessed by booking boat trips at the state park or with area dive operators such as Amoray Dive Center, which schedules Wednesday morning trips to view the inspiring underwater work of art.

Escape to Serenity: Cultivate contentment during the weekly Monday sunset yoga class on the dock over the waters of Florida Bay at Baker’s Cay Resort, mile marker 97 bayside, led by an instructor from Key Largo Yoga. A mind-body connection can also be created during a gentle candlelight yoga class, perfect for finding relaxation and rejuvenation, at the organization’s studio at 99198 Overseas Highway.

Dagny Johnson Botanical State Park Key Largo

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park provides a secluded natural setting to enjoy quiet reflection in nature.

Escape into Renewal: Share an enriching learning experience with Keys locals and other visitors during engaging, ocean-themed presentations by guest speakers at the REEF Fish & Friends free monthly social and seminar hosted by Reef Environmental Education Foundation. Complimentary light refreshments are provided during the events at the REEF Key Largo campus at 98300 Overseas Highway.

Escape into Nature: Enjoy the peaceful, shady world of the native hardwood forest at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park  on a self-guided nature walk or bike ride. The protected enclave of more than 2,000 acres is home to 84 species of plants and animals, including the endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly. The park can be found at mile marker 106 off County Road 905.

Escape to a Hidden Haven: At the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center’s Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary, located at mile marker 93.6 overlooking Florida Bay, you can visit rehabilitated native Florida and migratory birds that are physically unable to be released back into the wild. Cared for by staff and volunteers, the birds live out their lives on the sanctuary’s peaceful grounds — where some even serve as educational ambassadors to raise awareness about ways to help native wildlife. The sanctuary’s scenic waterfront boardwalk is a perfect spot to take in a Key Largo sunset or simply enjoy moments of quiet reflection.

Interested in discovering more land and sea spots to explore during a relaxing escape to Key Largo? Just click here … and start planning your getaway.