A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Key Largo vs. Panama City for Families, Nightlife, Resorts, and Beaches

Should you visit Key Largo or Panama City?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Key Largo and Panama City can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Key Largo

Key Largo is a peaceful, family-friendly, and beautiful island. It's a quaint destination. And you can't forget about the scuba diving and snorkeling and beaches.

Panama City

Panama City is a cosmopolitan, fun-filled, and active beach town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the nightlife, live music, and food.

Key Largo and Panama City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Key Largo or Panama City?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Panama City. Although Key Largo and Panama City are both popular with visitors, Panama City has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Panama City is more popular for its food, nightlife, music, beaches, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Key Largo is known for its resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and quaint atmosphere. Panama City is more touristy than Key Largo and is popular for its watersports, sandy beaches, and year-round beach weather. It is also home to Pier Park. Key Largo is popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving including that around John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the artificial reef around the USS Spiegel Grove.

How is Key Largo different from Panama City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Panama City and Key Largo. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is the Food Better in Key Largo or Panama City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is a beach town with good options for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Key Largo is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Panama City is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are many waterfront restaurants that serve freshly caught seafood. Head to town for a charming atmosphere or grab a bite at a casual eatery. Fried seafood is popular when eating out but you'll also find plenty of options for land-lovers. Most restaurants also have kid-friendly menus.

Key Largo offers some easy restaurants to choose from. Like the rest of the Florida Keys, Key Largo is known for its Key Lime pie and seafood. You'll find a great selection of restaurants that serve seafood dishes and options for the land-loving crew. There are even a few international restaurants to choose from.


Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Nightlife?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is great for its evening party scene. However, Key Largo is not a good destination for nightlife.

Many people head to Panama City for the nightlife scene. The nightlife is particular crazy during spring break, when the town fills with students. Head to the famous Club La Vela or Spinnaker for music and fun at night.

Most people don't head to Key Largo specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. This area is not known for its nightlife, so you'll need to head further south if partying is your style.

Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Music?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is a beach town with good options for its music scene. However, Key Largo is not a live music destination.

You'll find some good live music in Panama City. A popular way to enjoy music in the area is to find a restaurant with a lounge where local musicians perform.

Key Largo is not a live music destination.

Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Resorts?

Key Largo
Panama City

Key Largo is a great destination for its resorts. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for its luxury resorts.

Key Largo is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Popular resorts in the area include Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, Reefhouse Resort & Marina, and Largo Resort.

Panama City has a few great resort options. Most people stay in condos that are VRBO's or Airbnbs, but there are resorts in the area as well.


Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Key Largo
Panama City

Key Largo is a great destination for its diving and snorkeling. However, Panama City is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Many visitors go to Key Largo to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. Near this island you'll find some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Florida Keys at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. There are private tours that head out to the reef for either snorkeling or diving. There are also shipwrecks and other fascinating spots to explore.

Panama City is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Beaches?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is great for the beach. Also, Key Largo is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its beaches.

The beaches at Panama City attract visitors from all over. With miles of long white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, this area's beaches offer a beautiful escape. Head to the area's state parks for the most natural experience. These include St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park. A day trip to Shell Island is also popular.

Key Largo offers a nice beach destination. Many of the beaches around Key Largo are man-made, but they do offer nice sand and beautiful blue water. The water is turquoise, although not as striking as further south.

Is the Shopping Better in Key Largo or Panama City?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is a beach town with good options for its shopping areas. However, Key Largo is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Panama City has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are a number of malls and shopping centers in the area.

Key Largo is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Families?

Key Largo
Panama City

Both Key Largo and Panama City are first-rate to visit with kids.

Key Largo is an extremely popular island to visit for families. This area has some of the best family-friendly snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. There's also several places where your kids can interact with dolphins or experience wildlife. If you want to get out on the water, there's kayaking, sunset cruises, and glass bottom boats, all of which are great for the whole family.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Panama City is very family-friendly. This area has large sandy beaches, waterparks, amusement parks, and marine parks. Kids will enjoy playing around at WonderWorks, cooling off at Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and learning about marine life at Gulf World Marine Park. There are also many watersports and water activities that are fun for the whole family.

Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Couples?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is great for couples. Also, Key Largo is not as popular, but is still a nice island for romance.

Panama City is a great beach town if you're traveling as a couple. The beautiful beaches and romantic restaurants make for a great romantic getaway. This is the perfect place to take sunset walks along the beach and sample freshly caught local seafood.

Key Largo is a nice destination for couples. Most couples head further down the Florida Keys, but for snorkeling and scuba diving, Key Largo is the better option. You'll also find kayaking and sunset cruises that leave from the area.

Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Students?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Key Largo is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Panama City. It's not the spring break destination that it once was, but you'll still find students hanging out around the spring holidays.

Key Largo is not popular with students.


Is Key Largo or Panama City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Key Largo
Panama City

Panama City is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Key Largo is not a good destination for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Panama City. Most people need a car in Panama City but there is a trolley service that connects major tourist areas.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Key Largo. There's no real public transit around the island and you must have a car to get around.

Is Key Largo or Panama City a more walkable city?

Key Largo
Panama City

Neither Key Largo or Panama City are walkable places.

Key Largo is not a very walkable island. It is a sprawling area that spreads out along a main highway that is not pedestrian friendly.

Panama City is not a walkable island. There's often construction and the streets aren't designed for pedestrians.

For even more information, also check out Is Key Largo Worth Visiting? and Is Panama City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Panama City or Key Largo?

How long in Key Largo or Panama City?

Both Key Largo and Panama City have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Panama City has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Panama City than Key Largo. In general, 5-7 days is a good amount of time for Key Largo, and 3-7 days is enough time in Panama City.

Couples should spend more time in Panama City than Key Largo. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Panama City that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Panama City than Key Largo if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Panama City.


  • How many days in Key Largo or Panama City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Key Largo 5-7 
    Panama City 3-7

One day in Key Largo or Panama City?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the peaceful island of Key Largo. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the beach town of Panama City. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Key Largo or Panama City?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the relaxed destination of Key Largo. It's also a relaxing resort destination. This island offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

You'll find shopping and nightlife around the active destination of Panama City. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This beach town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Key Largo or Panama City?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the beautiful island of Key Largo. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

You'll find nightlife and live music around the cosmopolitan beach town of Panama City. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this beach town makes for a great vacation. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this beach town has to offer.

A week in Key Largo or Panama City?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the destination of Key Largo. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this island.

Panama City is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Panama City, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage.


Which place is cheaper, Panama City or Key Largo?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Key Largo is $212, while the average daily cost in Panama City is $224. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Key Largo and Panama City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Key Largo $117
    Panama City $128
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Key Largo $234
    Panama City $256
Compare Hotels in Key Largo and Panama City

Looking for a hotel in Key Largo or Panama City? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Key Largo


Hotels in Panama City


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Key Largo Hotel Prices and Panama City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Key Largo $56
    Panama City $48

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Key Largo

Also for Key Largo, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Key Largo Private Transfers (up to 14 passengers): $142

Is it cheaper to fly into Key Largo or Panama City?

Prices for flights to both Panama City and Key Largo change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Key Largo $60
    Panama City $66

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Key Largo $27
    Panama City $19

Tours and Activities in Key Largo

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Key Largo.

  • Florida Key West Self-Driving Tour (Overseas Highway, 7 Mile Bridge): $17
  • Ultimate Florida Self Guided Driving Audio Tour Bundle: $30
  • Key Largo Coral Reef Glass Bottom Boat Adventure : $45
  • Sunset Cruise on the Florida Bay: $60
  • 1.5 Hour Bay Side Key Largo Sunset Cruise on a Spacious Catamaran: $60
  • Small Group Florida Keys Eco Tour by Boat: $60
  • Mangroves and Manatees - Guided Kayak Eco Tour: $65
  • Key Largo Boat Charter Day Tour: $65
  • Key Largo Bay Sunset Tour: $66
  • Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Adventure in Key Largo: $68
  • Key Largo Snorkeling Tour - rental mask, fins and vest INCLUDED: $68
  • Key Largo Two Reef Snorkel Tour - All Snorkel Equipment Included!: $78

Tours and Activities in Panama City

Here are a few actual costs in Panama City for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Dolphin Sightseeing Tour with Capt. Zach's Adventures: $73
  • 2 Hour Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Panama City Beach, Fl: $72
  • 2 Hour Dolphin and Snorkeling Experience at Panama City: $90
  • 2 Hour Private Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Shell Island: $65
  • 3 Hour Cruise, Snorkel, Swim/float Sandbar - tandem tiki option: $80
  • 90 min Cruise at Lower Grand Lagoon : $54
  • Beach Sunset and Lagoon Skyline Tour: $70
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour PCB Free Videos: $129
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour with Videos-PCB: $129
  • Catamaran Snorkel and Dolphin Watch Tour in Panama City Beach: $60
  • Cypress Springs Eco Adventure: $110
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Tour on The Footloose Catamaran from Panama City Beach: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Key Largo $24
    Panama City $56


When comparing the travel costs between Key Largo and Panama City, we can see that Panama City is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Key Largo Expensive? and Is Panama City Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Key Largo or Panama City?

Panama City has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Key Largo. When comparing the sizes of Key Largo and Panama City, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Key Largo or Panama City?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Key Largo or Panama City in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Key Largo as well as Panama City. Most visitors come to Key Largo for the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Panama City because of the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Key Largo is generally around the same temperature as Panama City. Daily temperatures in Key Largo average around 82°F (28°C), and Panama City fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Panama City. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Key Largo this time of the year. In the summer, Key Largo often gets more sunshine than Panama City. Key Largo gets 316 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Panama City receives 283 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Panama City. Key Largo receives a lot of rain in the summer. Key Largo usually gets less rain in July than Panama City. Key Largo gets 5.9 inches (149 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 7.3 inches (184 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Key Largo 82°F (28°C) 
    Panama City 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Key Largo or Panama City in the Autumn?

Both Panama City and Key Largo are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Also, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Panama City this time of year.

Key Largo is a little warmer than Panama City in the autumn. The daily temperature in Key Largo averages around 78°F (26°C) in October, and Panama City fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

It's quite sunny in Panama City. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Key Largo. Key Largo usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Panama City during autumn. Key Largo gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while Panama City receives 256 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It's quite rainy in Key Largo. In October, Key Largo usually receives more rain than Panama City. Key Largo gets 5.6 inches (143 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Key Largo 78°F (26°C) 
    Panama City 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Key Largo or Panama City in the Winter?

Both Panama City and Key Largo during the winter are popular places to visit. The cuisine are the main draw to Key Largo this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Panama City for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

In the winter, Key Largo is much warmer than Panama City. Typically, the winter temperatures in Key Largo in January average around 67°F (19°C), and Panama City averages at about 52°F (11°C).

It's quite sunny in Key Largo. In the winter, Key Largo often gets more sunshine than Panama City. Key Largo gets 243 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Panama City receives 185 hours of full sun.

Key Largo usually gets less rain in January than Panama City. Key Largo gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Key Largo 67°F (19°C) 
    Panama City 52°F (11°C)

Should I visit Key Largo or Panama City in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Key Largo and Panama City. Many travelers come to Key Largo for the beaches. Furthermore, many visitors come to Panama City in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Key Largo is generally a little warmer than Panama City. Daily temperatures in Key Largo average around 74°F (24°C), and Panama City fluctuates around 68°F (20°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Panama City this time of the year. In Key Largo, it's very sunny this time of the year. Key Largo usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Panama City during spring. Key Largo gets 300 hours of sunny skies, while Panama City receives 295 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Key Largo usually receives more rain than Panama City. Key Largo gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Key Largo 74°F (24°C) 
    Panama City 68°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Panama City and Key Largo

Key Largo Panama City
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 67°F (19°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Feb 68°F (20°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Mar 71°F (22°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 61°F (16°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm)
Apr 74°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 68°F (20°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 78°F (26°C) 6.4 inches (162 mm) 74°F (24°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 9.4 inches (238 mm) 80°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 5.9 inches (149 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.3 inches (184 mm)
Aug 83°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm)
Sep 82°F (28°C) 7.6 inches (194 mm) 79°F (26°C) 7.5 inches (192 mm)
Oct 78°F (26°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Nov 73°F (23°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
Dec 69°F (21°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 56°F (13°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm)