Like many destinations in Florida, there are many ways to enjoy the coastal city that is Key West. At first glance it might look like Key West beaches are full of rocky shoreline, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have its fair share of sandy shores. Most of the top Key West beaches are on its southern shore, with the majority along a stretch of water a little over a mile in length. The exception is Smathers Beach, which extends along South Roosevelt Boulevard. If you’re willing to venture out of downtown, there are also beautiful remote beaches within state and national parks. Here are the best beaches in Key West for a vacation filled with sun, sand and sea!
1. Smathers Beach
The most popular beach in Key West is Smathers Beach. It’s clean, beautiful, and has everything you need for a full day out: food trucks, chairs and umbrellas, paddleboards and jet skis for rent and of course, bathrooms. It’s completely free to visit, but depending on your reason for a Key West vacation, you may want to avoid it during Spring Break!
2. Higgs Beach
For a laid back day at the beach, Higgs Beach is a good option to get away from the more popular Smathers. The landscape is exactly what you’ll expect a tropical getaway to be – lined with palm trees on the shoreline, soft sand and calming waters. You can also rent beach chairs, snorkeling equipment and water sports activities. Families will appreciate the playground nearby, while dog moms and dads can bring their four-legged kids to the dog park.
3. South Beach
Not the famous party beach in Miami, this South Beach in Key West is much quieter with a relaxing atmosphere. The waters are equally calm and perfect for families with kids and for swimming in. However, there are no facilities apart from a few beach stands and a beach café. Since it is at the end of Duval Street, you might also take time to check out the area’s restaurants, shops and popular attractions.
4. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach
This beach which is part of a state park offers some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities in Key West. It is widely considered to be one of the best Key West beaches thanks to how untouched and pristine it is. Nature lovers adore this spot for its abundance of marine wildlife, and you can see everything from reef critters to huge groupers on your underwater adventure.
5. Dry Tortugas Beach
Dry Tortugas Beach is within a national park right in the middle of the ocean. The park is an archipelago of seven reef islands – great for outdoor adventuring, learning and soaking in the crystal clear waters. The best part? It is also one of the least-visited national parks in America, meaning no crowds! Other fun ocean activities include snorkelling, and the Windjammer wreck site if you’re an experienced diver.
6. Dog Beach
Dogs are generally not allowed on Key West beaches, but the exception to that is Dog Beach. Here, the doggos can frolic freely on the beach and play in the water without the hoomans worrying if they’re being a nuisance to other beachgoers. When your dog has had enough fun for a day, head over to the equally dog-friendly Louie’s Backyard for some grub for both you and the pop.