Key West is a name that has become a byword for great beaches. To choose a beach here is like a whole range of variety in front of you, as each of them has its own set of characteristics that distinguish it from the others. There are beaches for those who love the lively atmosphere and noisy entertainment, as well as beaches for families with shallow and calm water. There is even a proposal for romantic couples – a beach with the most captivating sunrise and sunset in this destination. Some of the beaches here are perfect for active water sports, including jet skiing and parasailing, while others are ideal for relaxation, peace, and quiet.
Most of the best beaches in Key West are located on its south coast, and most are located along a body of water approximately one mile long. Key West’s largest beach is Smathers Beach, which, unlike the others, stretches along part of South Roosevelt Boulevard. Key West is a beach paradise full of beautiful views and an impressive, large network of coral reefs that also attract snorkel divers. Your vacation here will be full of sun, sand and sea, and everything else you are looking for in a beach to your liking. In this line of thinking, check out our list of the best beaches in Key West:
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1. Smathers Beach
We start with the aforementioned as the most famous beach in Key West – Smathers Beach, which wins its top spot in this ranking, thanks to the excellent swimming conditions it offers, long sandy beaches, and many things to do. It is considered a top beach for families, as it has soft currents and a gradual slope of the shoreline, which allows swimmers to enter the water at a great distance. In general, the services and amenities available to beachgoers are innumerable. Plus the fact that there are several shops on the beach where you will find beach chairs, umbrellas in the shade, snorkeling equipment, kayaks, jet skis, and more equipment for various water sports. There is no entrance fee to Smathers Beach, nor for the parking lot.
Why does Smathers Beach stink?
This pervasive smell is due to the decomposition of sargassum, which consists of islands of brown sea algae that float in the water and are piling up along the beaches of Key West, the Florida peninsula, Mexico, and other Caribbean islands. Occurs annually during the summer months when winds and currents from the south are present.
Is Smathers Beach good for swimming?
It is a favorite among families due to its primarily sandy shoreline. You can walk quite a ways out into the water because the seas are calm. Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, sunbathing, and beach volleyball are all excellent activities there.
South Beach is also a favorite among Key West beaches. It is perfect for families because of its calm shallow waters, which are excellent for inexperienced swimmers. It is located at the southern end of the area and is above all known for its calm atmosphere, attracting those wishing for solitude and relaxation, away from the crowds. On this beach, you can find several stalls for refreshing drinks, options for sunbeds and even towels, public fountains, and a small cafe.
Is there parking at South Beach in Key West?
Although there is metered parking available along the beach, it is best to walk, take a taxi, or ride a bike there if you can because it is in such a busy area.
If you want something authentic and unadulterated, Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is for you. Among the beaches of Key West, it offers a natural coastline consisting of coral instead of imported sand. An ideal place for nature lovers, Fort Zack beach is very popular because of its rich flora and fauna on land and in water. Logically, it is perfect for snorkeling because you will be able to see everything from small reef dwellers to a Goliath grouper, favorite sea creatures, including dolphins and turtles, and other ocean diving creatures. Land-lovers will enjoy the scenic nature trails, taking guided ranger tours of historic Fort Zachary to explore the fortifications of the Civil War era.
Is Fort Zachary Taylor beach free?
The park offers plenty of free parking. To enter the park, however, you must pay. It costs about $10 to $15 per vehicle. The best beach on the island is found at Fort Zachary Taylor Park.
Can you watch the sunset at Fort Zachary Taylor?
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is a great place to watch the sun go down if you’re looking for a peaceful and romantic atmosphere. Making the most of a day at the beach means relaxing and watching the ships go by and the sun sets.
Simonton Beach is a favorite place for those fleeing the hustle and bustle of the city. Also, this beach in Key West is suitable for pets, although it is quite small. The sand is soft, but the shoreline is a bit rocky in places, so it is advisable for swimmers to wear water shoes. Simonton Beach offers a good selection of amenities. There is a ramp for boats, equipment rental on-site for chairs and umbrellas, picnic tables and toilets, food in the restaurant located next to the beach. The beach offers a full range of water sports to rent, including jets and boats, and you can choose from a beautiful sunset cruise or snorkeling tours. Despite its small size, Simonton also provides you with opportunities for fishing, dolphin watching.
Higgs Beach is a real beach jewel among the beaches of Key West. It is one of several beaches located within the C.B. Harvey Rest Beach Park and is a small but wonderful place with a great restaurant, gardens, and a pier with stingrays. Here you will find a wide variety of options in the various rental shops, and you can rent beach chairs as well as volleyball nets, water sports, and snorkeling equipment. There are also offers for families, as there is a playground, as well as something for pets – a dog park. Parking is free, as are public baths and showers. A remarkable feature of Higgs Beach is its historical significance. You will combine your beaching in Key West with a visit to the monuments dedicated to the 19th-century slave cemetery.
Is parking free at Higgs Beach?
If you have a lot of gear to lug, there is plenty of free parking near the beach.
Does Higgs Beach have restrooms?
Is Higgs Beach Rocky?
If you intend to go on the rocky portions of the beach, it’s a good idea to have water-shoes. If you don’t mind snorkeling in choppy water, this is a terrific location.
Here is what is considered the best beach in Key West for camping. This is the beach in Bahia Honda State Park, which can be reached by car or boat. The campsite offers fresh water and electricity, and a concession shop is open during the day. Whether you come during the day or at night, in both cases you will be greeted by soft white sand, safe and shallow water, natural beauty, rich marine life, including house sharks, rays, barracuda, and other fish growing in the surrounding reefs, which makes the destination ideal for snorkeling. The park is also home to the highly endangered Miami Blue Butterfly.
How much does it cost to get into Bahia Honda State Park?
All visitors must pay an entry fee of $8.00* per vehicle. Per vehicle, there is a limit of 2-8 people. Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, and passengers in vehicles with an Annual Individual Entrance Pass are charged $2.00*.
This small Key West beach is located in the same park as Higgs Beach. Its most famous feature is its location, which provides visitors with the best views of unique sunrises and sunsets. A place set for romantics or those who want solitude. The relaxed atmosphere also offers a special yoga deck where you can take part in morning and evening yoga lessons. As you can guess from its name, Rest Beach and a place for total relaxation of mind and body.
Dry Tortugas Beach is within Fort Jefferson National Park. It is considered part of Key West’s maritime offerings thanks to the Dry Tortugas ferry. Take at least a day to visit here, because you will find the delightful natural beauty of the park. The beach itself is a real paradise lined with palm trees, where you can do whatever you want – relax, play and swim, or enjoy the impressive system of coral reefs. Another entertainment option here is a tour of the 19th-century Fort Jefferson. And if you are more adventurous, there is an offer for you – instead of a ferry, a seaplane ride to the beach and back.
How long is the trip to Dry Tortugas?
In general, a trip on the Yankee Freedom will take around 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Proof of the beach diversity of Key West is Dog Beach, much preferred by pet owners living and visiting the area. In fact, it is the only beach that allows dogs to run freely, play in the water and sniff among the rocks, while their owners can relax on the beach.
Key West, Florida, is synonymous with the perfect beach, created for each of you. Visiting any of the beaches here will leave you with the impression of a full-time pleasure, clear waters, soft sands, and many activities with which you will have a great vacation.