Key Largo is a popular tourist destination and calls itself the “Diving Capital of the World” because the living coral reef a few miles offshore attracts thousands of scuba divers and sport-fishing enthusiasts.
In 1870 a Post Office was established at “Caya Largo” (in the current Rock Harbor area). It closed and another was opened called “Largo” in 1881. Additional Post Offices opened in Planter in 1891 and Aiken in 1895.
Key Largo’s proximity to the Everglades also makes it a premier destination for kayakers and ecotourists. Automotive and highway pioneer and Miami Beach developer Carl G. Fisher built the Caribbean Club in 1938 as his last project.
The island gained fame as the setting for the 1948 film Key Largo, but apart from background filming used for establishing shots, the film was shot on a Warner Brothers sound stage in Hollywood.
After the film’s success, pressure from local businesses resulted in a change in the name of the post office serving the northern part of the island, from “Rock Harbor” to “Key Largo”, on June 1, 1952. After that, every resident north of Tavernier had a Key Largo address and the postmark read “Key Largo”.
Three census-designated places are on the island of Key Largo: North Key Largo, near the Card Sound Bridge, Key Largo, eight or nine miles from the southern end of the island, and Tavernier, at the southern end of the island. As of 2010, the three places have a combined population of 13,850. None of Key Largo is an incorporated municipality, so it is governed at the local level by Monroe County.
Key Largo is situated between Everglades National Park to the northwest and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to the east, the first underwater park in the United States, which protects part of the Florida Reef, the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States.