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kids by the water at Sugarloaf Key

Sugarloaf Key: Great Camping in the Florida Keys

If you want to combine your love of the outdoors with a classic tourist destination, try camping in the Florida Keys. Sugarloaf Key has a KOA and is located near Key West. The KOA has plenty to do, but when you yearn for a bit of civilization just hop over to Key West. It is only half an hour away. Just bring your own tent and a comfy air mattress because they don’t have cabins for rent.

camping tent at Sugarloaf Key
a man holding a nurse shark at Sugarloaf Key
Our pack leader found a small shark in the water
Cub scouts playing by the water at Sugarloaf Key

Sugarloaf Key/ Key West KOA

What is included while camping at Sugarloaf Key KOA?

The KOA includes several amenities in addition to those available at an extra charge. The facility has a private beach and year round pool. If you come by boat you can dock it at the marina at no charge. Also, there is a dog park for Fido. Pavillions are available. You can also go fishing. You won’t be roughing it because cable and wi-fi are included. Don’t want to drive into Key West? Take advantage of the free bus service from the campground.

I chose these sponsored links for those new to camping that want to purchase some equipment:

Extra Activities at Sugarloaf Key

Extra activities are available for a charge. If you didn’t bring your own, propane and firewood are available for purchase. You can rent regular bikes or banana bikes. For water sports you can rent snorkel gear and get scuba tank refills. The campsite also rents paddle boards and kayaks. Or if you prefer boating but don’t have your own, you can rent that too. Then head over to the snack bar to recharge after all your activities. The snack bar serves margaritas in addition to other beverages plus hosts a Hungry Howies which serves food.

If you are looking to buy your own gear, here are some sponsored links I chose to help you shop:

Key West, only 30 minutes from Sugarloaf Key

When you want a break from nature and want to visit some tourist attractions, head to Key West. Most people think of the bars, but there are plenty of family friendly places to visit as well.

Key West Aquarium

At the Key West Aquarium you can participate in several activities. Hold conch, sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers and crabs at the touch tank. Learn about and view local sharks at the shark exhibit. You might even get to feed one! Meet turtles with prosthetic flippers during the Sea Turtle Conservation tour. View and learn about Jellyfish species. Meet some alligators. Finally, you can get close and touch cow nose rays.

Pirate Museum/Shipwreck Museum

In the Key West Shipwreck Museum you will learn the sordid history of the area. See actual artifacts discovered in 1985 from a shipwreck that took place back in 1856. In its heyday as many as 100 ships would pass by Key West per day. Pirates abounded as well as storms causing a good business for those who salvaged the wrecks. Climb the tower for a bird’s eye view.

Key West Lighthouse

Walk up the 88 steps of this iconic landmark and explore the history which started in 1848. In that year when the lighthouse opened the keeper was a woman which was unheard of at that time. The Coastguard decommissioned the light house in 1969. Today it is a museum and tourist attraction.

Butterfly Conservatory

In need of a bit of nature? Head over to the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. Stroll among hoards of butterflies. Learn about their life cycle. We were lucky enough on our visit to witness a butterfly emerging from its cocoon.

Here are some affiliate links to help you start booking your activities. The Trolley is a great way to get off your feet while still seeing the sights.

Southern most Point

Iconic Southern most point of the continental U.S. not far when camping at Sugarloaf Key

While in Key West don’t forget to get your picture taken in front of this landmark. You will have to wait in line as every tourist comes here for this photo op, but the wait isn’t that long.

Hemmingway House

Located at 907 Whitehead Street this home is now a museum paying homage to the writer. Ernest Hemmingway lived and wrote here for ten years. See the rooms he lived in and the many cats rumored to be descendants of his pets.

Mallory Square

Mallory square boasts many shops and evening attractions. Visit the many unique shops and browse for souvenirs. We missed the Sunset Celebration as we had to get back to our camp site before dark. Make sure you catch it if you are staying in Key West. Each evening as the sun goes down numerous performers come out. Jugglers, musiciens, magicians, artists, and other street performers put on a show you won’t soon forget. Food vendors abound as well.

Iconic Restaurants and Bars

Of course if you are camping with the family you won’t be heading out for the night life here. However, many of the famous bars serve food and are open during the day. Last few times we went to Key West we were camping with cub scouts, but we ended up eating lunch at Sloppy Joes. Also the New Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville has since opened and is a marvelous resort area. I haven’t been to this one, but my husband and I went to the one in Vegas. It was definitely worth a visit.

In addition take a free tour of Key West First Rum Distillery on Simonton Street. Free samples are available, and kids and pets are welcome. Another Key West Icon is The Parrot. The bar started as a grocery store in 1890. Then during the depression it became a bar known as the Brown Derby which was a hang out for sailors. Although it has changed names over the years it is still a hang out for the free spirited.


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8 thoughts on “Sugarloaf Key: Great Camping in the Florida Keys

  1. This is such a nice place, have something for everyone. It is worth taking the kids to the aquarium also to the butterfly conservatory and make them more aware of their surroundings, and make them compassionate towards other organisms. I would love to visit the shipwreck museum and peep into the world of the sailors, pirates.

  2. Great to get an idea for comping in the Florida Keys. I love a property like Sugarloaf KOA that offers such a great range of amenities. Even if some are paid options. A good option if you don’t want to stay right in Key West but want easy access.

  3. All this time I stayed in KOA around mountain. So this is really cool that visitors can come in their boat. But I think it’s warm and humid in the summer?

  4. I love camping, so I add Sugarloaf in the Florida Keys to my list for the next road trip. I would love to stay there. Thanks for the recommendations!

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