Little Torch Key Is the Hidden-Away Island You Need to Visit Now

Located just 28 miles from Key West, Florida, this lower Keys isle offers the ultimate beach escape.

Little Torch Key, Florida
Photo: Courtesy of Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Summer isn't summer without a trip to the beach. And while we love a tried-and-true vacation destination, there's certainly something to be said for visiting somewhere entirely new. The sand seems a little softer, the ocean slightly more turquoise blue, and the sun shines just the smallest bit brighter. Maybe you stumble upon an unassuming seafood shack with the best fried shrimp you've ever tasted, or you discover a deserted stretch of coast with shockingly good shelling.

If it's hidden gems you seek, head to the Florida Keys. One of the Keys' best-kept secrets is Little Torch Key, a tiny island that you'll cross at the 28th mile marker of U.S. Route 1, also known as the Overseas Highway. Little Torch Key, and its sister islands Middle and Big Torch Key, were named after the torchwood, a native tree found on all three islands that's effective as kindling even when wet.

With pristine white sand beaches leading to stunning turquoise seas, Little Torch key may as well be the Caribbean. And with plenty of recreation options plus a world-class resort, Little Torch Key has everything you need—and more—for an unforgettable getaway. Here are our top reasons to go.

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Little Palm Island Resort

This adults-only resort is pure magic, and probably the top reason people travel from all over the country—and the world—to visit Little Torch Key. As the only private island resort in the entire U.S., Little Palm Island Resort offers an experience unlike any other. After the devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the longstanding luxury resort (with a reputation of housing presidents and celebrities), was completely reimagined and reopened in 2020. Today, the 4-acre property features 15 thatched-roof bungalows, each housing two separate suites with every amenity imaginable. We're talking copper soaking tubs, outdoor showers, furnished decks, fire pits, private gardens, and sweeping views of the ocean. The resort is all about helping visitors unwind and unplug, which is why there are no TVs in bedrooms, but there are complimentary snorkel, kayak, paddle board and boat rentals, as well as a world-class spa. The out-of-office mentality begins upon arrival, where you're greeted with a Gumby Slumber, the resort's signature Tiki-style cocktail flavored with coconut and rum.

Fantastic Fishing

One of Little Torch Key's biggest claims to fame is that it was the favorite fishing destination of President Harry S. Truman. Decades later, it's still known for excellent deep-sea fishing and fly fishing. Expect to reel in everything from giant Goliath grouper to barracudas, snapper, and mangrove. You can even book a lobster fishing excursion, if you're looking for a different kind of catch. Little Torch Key is home to many experienced anglers who host daily fishing charters. Boneafide Fishing Charters, Sight Fish Charters, Torch Key Charters, and FUNYET Charters are just a few of the many charters to consider.

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa


You've likely never had a spa experience like the one you'll get at Little Palm Island's award-winning SpaTerre. The signature experience at SpaTerre is the Ocean Wave Four Hands Massage, a treatment that utilizes two massage therapists who synchronize the motion of four hands to provide a truly transcendent 50 or 80 minutes. If the sound of lapping ways is enough to send you into a trance of utter relaxation, you'll swoon over the Madrugada or Sunrise Water Massage. Wade through clear blue waters to a table set up in middle of the shallow sea. Surrounded by water, a massage therapist will use classic techniques and seashells in an unforgettable treatment. Feel the warm sun on your back as you listen to a natural soundtrack of tropical birds chirping and waves lapping just below.

Kiki's Sandbar Bar & Grille

There's no better way to enjoy fresh seafood than with your toes in the sand and a direct view of the water. At Kiki's Sandbar Bar & Grille, you can get all that—plus live music nightly and great happy hour drinks—in one beach-front location. Come by boat, car, or kayak at any time of day and you're guaranteed to find a good time. Bring your fresh catch and have a chef prepare something special, or choose something equally delicious off the menu. Seafood baskets are the way to go at Kiki's. If you can't decide what catch to try, the Kiki's Combo has it all: fried snapper, grouper, and Mahi, plus conch fritters, calamari, peel-and-eat shrimp, and coconut shrimp. Don't forget a slice of their famous key lime pie for dessert. You're in the Florida Keys after all!

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