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The Best Key West Beaches You Must Visit

Key West is the southernmost point in the United States. The tropical location has sunny weather 80° on any given day so you can visit any time of the year. History, culture, dining and most importantly the beaches are Key West's main attractions.

Key West, one of Florida’s island cities that is also known as the southernmost city in the United States. You can expect lots of beautiful nature as well as man-made beaches. The Florida Keys are known for having the only coral barrier reef in the United States so that keeps sand from washing along the shore hence the man-made beaches.

There are many private and public beaches where you will feel the natural soft sand under the feet. These hidden gems can be found along the coast and you will definitely love them. If you haven’t been to the Keys and experienced these incredible coastlines with crystal clear waters it’s time to start exploring. 

Lucky enough, we have found the best beaches below to save you the hassle of searching and allowing you to enjoy the sun and sea as much as possible.

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Smathers Beach

One of the most frequented beaches in Key West is Smathers Beach. Stretching for almost two miles, there are many activities available from food vendors to water sports like stand-up paddle-board. The best part is that the parking is free along S. Roosevelt Boulevard.  There is an onsite beach parking lot that charges a fee but it closest to the sand.

With all the activity this is why you can see why people come to Smathers Beach so don’t expect to be alone on the beach. But with its size, you can still find calmer areas with an intimate ambiance.

Smathers Beach
Smathers Beach in Key West, Florida. 
Hotels Near Smathers Beach

Higgs Beach

Another area close to Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach is the place to go. It’s also a great option if there are too many people at Smathers since Higgs Beach brings in a smaller crowd. You can possibly have the beach to yourself if you wake up early enough and catch the beautiful sunrise.

One of the best things about the beach is its free parking lot which is an advantage it has over a few other beaches. There are basic facilities like public bathrooms, showers, and even beach chairs rentals, snorkeling gear or kayaks.

Higgs Beach
Higgs Beach has plenty to offer its beach goers like chairs and snorkeling gear. 
Hotels Near Higgs Beach

Tortuga Beach

Nothing screams seclusion like Dry Tortugas National Park. This beach is not located in the Keys but it is a must-do when visiting Key West. About 70 miles away from Key West, a 2 hour boat ride, the trip to the park is definitely worth it. 

You can explore the seven islands that reside along the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. If you love snorkeling, you cannot miss coming here as its shallows water make it the perfect place to do so.

Crystal clear water is a snorkelers dream. 

The historic Fort Jefferson makes a beautiful backdrop as well along the green-blue water. This in an incredibly popular day or overnight trip from Key West so advance reservations aboard the Yankee Freedom are recommended.  Breakfast, picnic lunch, and snorkeling gear are included in your ticket as well as other extras. 

You can stay overnight at the campsites and watch the stars illuminate the sky. There are only 8 sites, reserving 4 weeks in advance is recommended. Read more on the logistics and rules for camping via their official site.

Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park is another park that is considered of having some of the “Top beaches in the United States” by Travel Channel. The park is about 30 miles north of Key West and with its pristine beaches, you will be mesmerized by its white sands and clear waters. The nature trails, reef, and railroad history make it one of the most uniques parks in the country. Camping here is also an option so reserving one of the coveted spots is necessary. You will fall in love with the park.

Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park

South Beach

Not the South Beach in Miami but this one still brings in many tourists due to its close proximity to Cuba. The beach has a smaller coastline in comparison to other popular beaches like Smathers and Higgs, and even though there are many tourists, it’s still a cool beach to visit for its reputation.

The shallow waters make it a great and popular place for families with children. Regardless of the tourists, the beach still maintains a laid-back atmosphere is allows you to kick back and relax.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any public facilities but a few nearby bars and restaurants allow you to use theirs.

South Beach Key West
South Beach Key West, FL.

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach

Considered as one of the truest beaches in Key West by the locals, Fort Zachary Taylor is a special place. It’s coastline is mainly ground coral, making it a popular place to snorkel and visitors tend to return to do so. Diving is also popular where you can see turtle, dolphins, barracuda, and other types of marine life.

There are two trails in the area: the Sand Hog Trail and Fort View Trail.

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, FL
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, FL

Plan Your Next Beach Vacation to Key West

The diversity of beaches on and near this small Florida island will have you making Key West a vacation spot you come and come again to. Most tourists fly in to Fort Lauderdale or Miami.  Rent a car and drive the famous Overseas Highway all the way to Key West. A popular spot for families, couples and singles alike, Key West and it’s many beaches is breathtaking vacation. 

Car Rental – Key West