best beaches Florida Keys

7 of the Best Beaches in Key West

Located off the southern coast of Florida, the Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago which forms the southernmost part of the continental United States. Key West is part of this archipelago and is Florida’s southernmost point, lying roughly 90 miles north of Cuba. Key West is famous for its pastel-hued, conch-style houses and wonderful opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling amongst its coral reefs. Another thing Key West is famous for is its sun, sea and sand. Ready to dive right in? Here are 7 of the best beaches in Key West.

7 of the Best Beaches in Key West

1. Smathers Beach

Smathers Beach, at roughly half a mile long, is the largest public beach in Key West. Located along the Atlantic Ocean, the sandy shoreline is perfect for sunbathing or a game of volleyball, and the water is calm, making it a great place for swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking. It is also a popular spot for families.

smathers beach

2. South Beach

Located at the end of Duval Street on the Atlantic Ocean, South Beach is one of the smallest public beaches in Key West. This chilled-out beach is perfect for relaxing and playing in the clear waters. It is great for families with young children as the water is really shallow. This beach is right in the heart of town, so there are plenty of things to do in the vicinity.

Palm trees and restaurant at night at South Beach, in Key West, Florida.

3. Fort Zachary Taylor

The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is home to a Civil War-era fort and a stunning soft sand beach fringed by palm trees. This is the southernmost beach in the United States and just a stone’s throw from Barbados and Cuba. So, you’re practically on a Caribbean holiday. The beach is at the southern end of the park and is a great place for picnicking, swimming, snorkelling, paddling and fishing.

Best Places for Snorkelling in Key West

4. Higgs Beach – Key West

Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park is located on the Atlantic Ocean in Key West. It is ideal if you like to keep active whilst on holiday as there are loads of things to do, for example, volleyball, tennis, swimming, snorkelling and cycling. Located in the Old Town, this is a very laid-back beach that doesn’t often get crowded. It also has a long wooden pier which is perfect for strolling and gazing out at the ocean. Higgs Beach also has some of the best off-the-beach snorkelling in Key West. No boat? No problem! Just walk from the sand to the shore and go explore. The beach is situated inside the Key West Marine Park, so it is popular because it is where you’ll find the only shore-accessible underwater marine park in the US.

Wooden pier in Higgs Beach, a popular Key West beach in Florida known for snorkeling, tropical turquoise waters and white sand. Summer vacation in the tropics. Relaxing and summertime concept.

5. Dry Tortugas National Park

The remote Dry Tortugas National Park is almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is mostly open water and comprises seven small islands. It is famous for the handsome Fort Jefferson, its vibrant blue waters, kaleidoscopic coral reefs, and abundance of marine and bird life in the area. As you can imagine, this place is one of the best places to go snorkelling in the Florida Keys. As for the beach? Its remoteness means that you’ll have it all to yourself, and you can enjoy strolling the sandy shoreline, sunbathing, swimming, and paradise island bliss.

best national park florida

6. Rest Beach

Located on Atlantic Boulevard is the small but perfectly formed Rest Beach. The soft sand here is ideal for strolling or sunbathing, and because it is so bijou, not many people visit it, so you could find you have it all to yourself. Though small, there are picnic tables for enjoying an al fresco meal.

best beaches Florida Keys

7. Dog Beach

Another teeny tiny beach is Dog Beach, located at 1500 Vernon Avenue. This beach is the only beach in Key West where dogs can run freely off-leash. So, as you can imagine, it is super popular with dog owners and walkers and is one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys to visit with your furry friends.

best beaches Florida Keys

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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