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The Benefits of Owning a Vacation Rental Property in Key Largo

Key Largo Aerial View

Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay, Key Largo is the largest and northernmost island on the Florida Keys.

Known as the “Dive Capital of the World,” Key Largo is now home to the sunken USS Spiegel Grove, the world’s largest artificial coral reef, as well as other fascinating dive sites including shipwrecks and ancient statues. From its top-tier snorkeling and scuba diving destinations, Key Largo offers a myriad of fun recreational activities for all ages, including kayaking, fishing, sunset cruises, glass-bottom boat tours, and much more.

With its pleasant tropical climate, stunning beaches, abundance of marine life, first-rate amenities, and easy access to Miami, Key Largo is a superb choice for those planning to invest in a vacation rental.

Here, we list the many benefits of investing in a vacation rental in Key Largo, offer tips on finding the right property, and take a closer look at why Key Largo attracts countless vacationers every year.


key largo waterfront homes for sale

Prime Location

Vacation rental properties in Key Largo are ideally situated within the upper Florida Keys, making them an excellent choice for vacationers who want convenient access to the mainland. Major airports, high-end shopping centers, exquisite fine dining restaurants, and all of the best attractions in Miami and Fort Lauderdale are all just a quick drive away.

Despite its proximity to Miami, Key Largo has a laidback atmosphere even during peak season. This makes it the ideal choice for anyone looking for that perfect blend of relaxation and accessibility to amenities and attractions.

Steady Cash Flow

One of the biggest benefits of purchasing a vacation rental in Key Largo is the income it will generate. A short-term vacation rental in Key Largo can yield significantly high streams of revenue per month, and can even reach the five-digit range with the right property.

Diversified Assets

Adding a vacation rental in Key Largo is a great way to diversify your investment portfolio without incurring too much risk since you’re investing in a market that appreciates over time. You’ll be able to build a solid investment portfolio when you combine your vacation rental with other investments, especially if you choose to buy additional properties in other areas.

Investing in a vacation rental in Key Largo can even provide some level of security during an economic downturn. For example, if you have other types of investments that are performing poorly, the investment properties in your portfolio are still likely to increase in value, given enough time.

Tax Advantages

One of the main drivers behind the high demand for real estate in Key Largo is the fact that Florida has very strong tax incentives.

Florida is one of nine states without personal income taxes. For those who buy real estate to use as a vacation rental, the lack of personal income tax makes Key Largo a very attractive option.

Also, as an owner of a vacation rental in Key Largo, there are several ways for you to save on your income tax return. Renting out a vacation home is a business, which means you can write off expenses related to rental, management, and maintenance. Some examples of tax deductions you can claim include:

  • Operating expenses
  • Housekeeping
  • Utilities
  • Property taxes
  • Mortgage interest
  • Insurance premiums
  • Repairs
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Advertising costs
  • Property management fees
  • Fees for hosting platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, and Vrbo

Terrific Real Estate Options

Those looking for vacation rentals in Key Largo are spoiled for choice when it comes to property types. There’s a diverse selection of investment options ranging from amenity-rich condos and townhomes to well-appointed single-family homes, and ultra-luxurious estates offering breathtaking views.

If you’re interested in investing in a waterfront vacation home, you’ll be able to find impressive waterfront residences along the canals and both ocean and bay sides of the key, making them very popular for vacationers looking forward to that picturesque getaway and activities on the water.


In addition to increasing your equity and net worth, a vacation rental in Key Largo can also serve as your personal retreat! You’ll have the flexibility of using your property for your own vacations as well as renting it out whenever you’re away.

Strong Market Appreciation

If you’re looking to hold and sell – where investors buy a property and wait for the price to rise significantly before selling – home prices in Key Largo continue to trend upwards and from May 2023 were up 29.8% year-over-year. Under the right circumstances, you can hold on to your property for the long term while its value continues to appreciate, giving you the opportunity to make a substantial profit down the line.

Robust Rental Economy

A common fear for many vacation rental owners is having their property sit empty. After all, you’ll still need to pay the mortgage even if your property has been vacant.

The good news is that Key Largo’s rental market has been experiencing rapid growth in the past decade. The median rent in Key Largo is higher than the national average, and it’s a perpetually hot market for short-term and vacation rentals thanks to the fantastic climate and abundance of recreational activities. Tourists flock to Key Largo throughout the year, meaning it’s more than feasible that you’ll be generating income on a sustained basis with low levels of vacancy.


snorkeling in Key Largo

With its idyllic tropical setting, first-rate amenities, and diverse mix of recreational opportunities, it’s easy to see why Key Largo attracts countless visitors year-round. Here’s a closer look at some of the many attractions that make Key Largo one of the top vacation destinations in the Florida Keys.

Guided Snorkeling Tours

One of the strongest attractions of Key Largo is the ability to go on some truly world-class snorkeling tours! With its calm waters, beautiful coral reefs, and diverse marine life, Key Largo is the perfect snorkeling destination.

A snorkeling tour is a great option for inexperienced snorkelers and those who enjoy snorkeling with a group. One of the most popular beginner-level guided snorkeling tours you can join is the Key Largo Snorkeling Tour, which comes complete with high-quality equipment including masks, flippers, and safety vests.


Crystal-clear turquoise waters, refreshing breezes, and an abundance of fish make Key Largo one of the top fishing destinations in South Florida. Nutrient-rich waters from the Caribbean Basin flow directly into the straits of Florida creating a healthy food chain. This attracts a wide variety of fish species such as trout, redfish, bonefish, permit, snook, and yellowtail snapper.

The sheer number of great fishing spots in the area means that residents and returning visitors will always be able to find new favorites. You can catch fish in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf, the Everglades, and even inshore waters like the flats, the backcountry, and a variety of freshwater streams.

Scuba Diving

Surrounded on all sides by vibrant coral reefs, Key Largo is a prime spot for scuba divers looking for an unforgettable experience. Beneath its waters are enchanting worlds teeming with colorful fish, ancient statues, historic shipwrecks, and thrilling wall dives.

There are 13 main scuba diving locations scattered throughout Key Largo’s Atlantic side, with varying depths. One of the most-visited diving spots is Molasses Reef, an outer reef with sandy channels, spur and groove coral formations, and drift dives. There are more than 30 dive sites to explore, all marked by mooring buoys for divers to use. Depths here range from only 10 to 90 feet, which makes it ideal for all levels of certified divers.

Notable Destinations

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Among Key Largo’s top tourist draws is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the country’s first undersea park. Encompassing over 70 nautical square miles, the park teems with shallow-water coral reefs home to a variety of marine life, which visitors can experience by snorkeling, scuba diving, or embarking on a glass-bottom boat tour.

The tropical hammocks and mangrove swamps covering the park’s upland areas are the perfect settings for activities like hiking, picnicking, and navigating the waters on a canoe or kayak. The Visitor Center, features a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, interactive exhibits, and a theater showcasing videos on the park’s fascinating marine environment.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

Dagny Johnson Key Largo State Park is home to one of the largest remaining tracts of West Indian hardwood hammocks in the country. Covering over 2,500 acres, the park features six miles of picturesque trails that offer a rare view of unique plant species and wildlife such as white-crowned pigeons, mangrove cuckoos, and black-whiskered vireo.

You can go on a self-guided tour by following signs along the nature trail, or join a ranger-led tour offered at the park office.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of the few protected areas that form part of the National Marine Sanctuary System. Encompassing more than 3,800 square miles of protected waters surrounding the Florida Keys, the sanctuary is home to one of the largest barrier reefs on the planet.

Those looking forward to an unforgettable underwater adventure can explore the Shipwreck Trail, which features nine historic shipwrecks buried in the shallows and scattered throughout the coral reefs just a few miles from the shore.

Harry Harris Beach and Park

Harry Harris Park is an incredible destination for families looking to spend a relaxing day at the beach. Located just ten minutes south of Key Largo, the park features a sheltered beach protected from waves by a coral rock barrier. This barrier creates safe and calm water conditions for visitors of all ages.

The park is the perfect spot for picnics! Many visitors head to the restaurants and cafes in the nearby town of Tavernier and grab to-go meals to enjoy on the beach.

African Queen Canal Cruise

The African Canal Cruise treats visitors on a scenic cruise aboard the iconic African Queen (yes, the one from the movie) as it makes its way through the Port Largo Canals, to the Atlantic Ocean, and back to Marina Del Mar.

The one-and-a-half-hour cruise is perfect for travelers looking to learn more about Key Largo’s history from a local. The vessel will seat six people comfortably, creating an intimate tour that feels more like a private charter. With only a few people onboard, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to talk to the captain and become fully immersed in the experience. Two-hour dinner cruises offering spectacular views of the sunset are also available.


customer signing a contract with his key largo realtor

Establish Long-term Financial Goals

Before you start browsing available vacation rentals in Key Largo, set firm goals for your investment property. Is generating the maximum level of income the aim of this property, or will it only be rented out when you are not using it? Another consideration is whether you are looking to transition the property into a primary residence upon retirement.

If you establish clear objectives early before starting your search, it’s relatively easy to find a property that will match exactly what you need. It also gives you a clear idea of how to pivot should plans (as they often do) change.

Create a Breakdown of Expenses

Make sure the expenses accommodate the market you’re targeting. Some expenses you should take into consideration include:

  • Appliances and amenities – Will you need to buy a washer/dryer, a refrigerator, or a new A/C system for the property? Of course, the more luxurious your property, the likelier it’ll be that you’ll want higher-end systems. However, you may not need to splash out on the most expensive top-of-the-range equipment, just enough to make your guest feel satisfied when they rent your place.

    If you’re looking to soon retire in the property, then it might be worth investing in the equipment that you will personally want from the beginning.

  • Services – Your rental property might require professional services like gardening, swimming pool cleaning, or hot tub service, depending on its features. Search for services in Key Largo and take note of the costs per hour so you can plan your budget accordingly.

Choose the Right Property Manager

Managing a vacation rental in Key Largo can be difficult, especially if you live out of state. An experienced and trustworthy rental property manager will handle most of the challenges of running your vacation rental like marketing your property, collecting rent on your behalf, overseeing day-to-day maintenance, and addressing renters’ needs.

Most of us turn first to the internet when looking for a service, and why not? It’s an invaluable resource. However, there’s still a lot to be said about word of mouth. A great way to find a quality property manager is through referrals. Ask your real estate agent or friends with investments in Key Largo if they know any dependable property managers.

Keep Ahead on Future Development

The Monroe County Planning and Environmental Resources Department will have information on upcoming developments and plans that are already zoned for Key Largo. Many different projects could enhance or diminish the value of the property, so it pays to keep on top of what is happening locally, even if you live out of state. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for new housing developments that might compete with your property.


Ready to start your search for the best vacation rental in Key Largo? Top Florida Keys Luxury Realtor and longtime Key Largo resident Angel DiGiorgio is ready to assist you in your search!

With her deep local knowledge, keen attention to detail, and innovative marketing strategies, Angel delivers outstanding results and can help you realize your real estate goals in this exciting market.

Get in touch with Angel DiGiorgio today by calling 305.509.9071 or sending an email here.