Rock Reef Resort
97850 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, Florida 33037
The 1970s are alive and well at Rock Reef Resort--and that’s just the way guests want to keep it. It’s quiet, the bay views are stellar, the grounds are well taken care of, and the rooms are a throwback to another era.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Only guests are allowed on the premises, so if you have friends in the area, make arrangements to meet them elsewhere.
Vintage tropical décor, wicker and wood furnishings… it’s like grandma’s house--if your grandma happened to live on the water in Key Largo. But hey, either way, it’s clean and you get a flat screen TV, Wi-Fi, and some units even have a full kitchen (and all have at least a microwave, mini fridge, and coffee maker).
Cottage #9 and #10 are closest to the water. Step out your door and you’re on the sand.
Most have updated tile and OK water pressure, but the vanities and lighting are dated. They’re small, clean, and you do get soap and other bath amenities.
Pull into the circular drive, and you’ll see it the signage for the office right away. It’s just a small office with a greeting desk, nothing memorable, except for Bogey the parrot. He’s not so nice, so keep your fingers to yourself. This is also where you check out pool towels, kayaks, and the peddle boat.
Their sparkling, heated, freshwater pool is only a few years old and it’s surrounded by a decorative white fence. You’ll find several aluminum-style chaise loungers (the kind with plastic straps that leave an indentation on your backside). There's a shower for pre-pool rinsing, which they request you use.
Get your pool towels at the front desk.
No onsite spa.
No onsite gym.
No onsite dining but there are bbq grills around the property for guests’ use.
No onsite bar but you can bring your own.
Beautiful in every way, you’ll love discovering what’s around each corner. The Bonsai Garden is unique as is the Serenity Garden. Keep an eye open for big iguanas, birds, and even manatees off the dock. There are chickee huts that provide shade by the water, lots of picnic tables, several kayaks and a peddle boat.
Need to wash your sweaty, salty clothes? Laundry facilities are available onsite in the afternoon, for a fee.
You can walk across busy US1 to Ballyhoo’s (they have a bar and indoor/outdoor seating for their restaurant), but having a vehicle is your ticket to exploring Key Largo and beyond. Key West is two hours away, the Everglades is about one hour, and in between are lots of shops, restaurants, museums, parks, and historic sites.
For a super casual, good meal, head to Keys Bite (2-minute drive). Their menu is huge with everything from Mexican to Thai dishes, but believe it or not, they do them all well. Bayside Grille (3-minute drive) is known for its sunset views (just like your resort!) and their fish dishes are fresh and tasty. For an upscale dining experience, Sundowners (8-minute drive) will not disappoint.
Skipper’s Dockside (4-minute drive) has an entertainment wall perfect for watching several games at once and they have a full liquor bar. Bayside Grille (3-minute drive) has a bar on the ground level that overlooks the bay and has live entertainment. The most happening place is JJ’s Big Chill (8-minute drive). You’ll find an indoor sports bar on one side and a big Tiki on the water on the other.
WHY WE LIKE IT
These days, it’s difficult to find older resorts that haven’t been knocked down, rebuilt, or majorly updated. Rock Reef Resort has no desire to go mainstream, so we’ll all get to enjoy the Keys of yesteryear for many years to come.
We say embrace the time warp, and the gently used furniture--it’s homey and comfortable and you won’t have to worry about scratching or breaking something. Besides, the grounds are gorgeous, you can fish and swim right off their beach and dock, and the sunsets are magnificent.
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