Best Beaches In Key West Florida – Key West is the southernmost city in the United States, located on an island in the Florida Keys. The island city is well-known among tourists for its gorgeous natural and man-made beaches. The island of Key West is four miles long and one mile wide. Duval Street is the city’s most well-known street.
Because of its proximity to Havana, some of Key West’s attractions attract more foreign visitors than locals. Ernest Hemingway used to frequent Sloppy Joe’s, which is now a popular hangout spot in Key West.
Tourists visiting Key West have the opportunity of visiting one of several wonderful beaches, each with its own set of unique features. There are beaches for individuals who enjoy a bustling atmosphere and a range of diversions, beaches for families with shallow, tranquil water, and even a beach where the best sunrise and sunset in the Keys can be found.
Some are ideal for water sports such as jet skiing and parasailing, while others are ideal for leisure and serenity.
The bulk of best beaches in Key West are found on its southern side, with the majority packed in a stretch of water just over a mile long. Smathers Beach, Key West’s largest beach, runs along a section of South Roosevelt Boulevard and is an exception.
The entire area is known as a snorkeler’s paradise due to its large network of coral reefs; however, those willing to venture outside the downtown area may find even more ocean life at the area’s more distant beaches beyond the boundaries of state and national parks. Our selection of the best beaches in Key West will help you plan your sun, sand, and sea trip.
Best Beaches In Key West
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South Beach in Key West is a family favourite due to the calm, shallow seas that are ideal for swimming. It is located on the southern end of Key West, as the name implies, and is noted for its laid-back vibe.
Although there aren’t many rental stores, there are a few coastal refreshment stands and some lounge chair and towel possibilities. A modest café and public water fountains are also available. The only disadvantage, particularly for families with young children, is the lack of public restrooms; nevertheless, local businesses are accommodating in allowing guests to use their facilities.
Because of its proximity to Cuba, the region attracts more foreign tourists than natives.
South Beach is a popular destination for families with children due to the shallow waters. Another notable element of the beach is that it is mostly intended for relaxation. South Beach is also a great place to swim because of its crystal-clear water.
You can spread your towel, lie down, and simply watch the world go by in the relaxed ambiance that surrounds the beach area.
There are a few water fountains, a beach café, and a few impromptu shops selling frozen drinks, smoothies, and even wet towels in the area. Instead of paying for a sunbed, you can get complimentary refreshments.
There are no restrooms or other public amenities here, however you can use the facilities of a local restaurant.
Smathers Beach is the most popular beach in Key West, with good swimming conditions, two miles of sandy coastlines, and a variety of activities.
Despite the crowds, the gradual slope of the beachfront allows swimmers to wade a long way into the ocean, and this, combined with mild currents, makes it a top beach for families in Key West.
Beach goers have access to a wide range of services and amenities, from showers and restrooms to volleyball courts and vendors.
Beach chairs, shade umbrellas, snorkelling equipment, kayaks, Jet Skis, and other water sports equipment are available for rent at various rental shops along the beach.
There is no entrance fee to Smathers Beach, and parking is free provided you don’t mind walking a little distance from the boulevard.
The best public beach in the vicinity is Smathers Beach, which is the largest of its sort in Key West. From Key West International Airport, the two-mile-long shoreline is easily accessible.
Smathers Beach, unlike most other beaches on the island metropolis, which are made of pulverised coral or pebbles and are surrounded by mangroves, has a sandy shoreline as well as a more intimate ambiance.
The beach is open to everybody; however, there may be a parking fee if you utilize the beach parking lot. If you don’t mind walking a few metres ahead of the beach, there is a free parking spot.
Around the coast, there are a variety of vendors selling food, drinks, chairs, and even rafts.
Smathers is ideal for families with children since the currents are never too strong and the wide shoreline allows you to walk a long distance into the sea.
Higgs Beach is one of several beaches within the C.B. Harvey Rest Beach Park, a small but lovely public space with a restaurant and gardens.
The many rental shops here have a wide range of alternatives, from basic beach chairs and volleyball nets to snorkelling equipment and water sports rentals.
The surrounding playground will appeal to families, while the dog park will appeal to individuals with four-legged pals. Free parking is also available, as well as public restrooms and showers.
Higgs Beach is notable for its historical significance, and memorials devoted to the site’s 19th-century slave cemetery may be found here. Higgs Beach also has a pier where visitors can watch stingrays.
The beach’s surroundings are just what a tropical setting should be: palm-fringed shoreline, great stretches of sand, and magnificent waves.
The provision of free parking is one of Higgs’ main advantages over Smathers.
Cross the street to West Martello Tower, a wonderful park teeming with a diversity of flora and wildlife, if the heat gets to you despite the cool ocean air.
Across the shore, there is also a playground and a Dog Park.
Swimming and snorkelling are available at the beach, but only a short distance from the pier. The presence of stingrays is common.
Tropical Watersports Key West, a beach concierge, offers daily rates starting at $30 for two lounge chairs and an umbrella for the entire day.
Beach chairs, kayak rentals, paddleboard rentals, snorkelling gear and equipment, and volleyball nets are among the other amenities available.
At the beach, there are public restrooms and outside showers.
Coming to this little but gorgeous spot, which is not your typical Key West beach, only makes sense if you have a four-legged best friend who wants to have a private beach day.
Dog Beach is the only beach in Key West that lets your dog run free and splash around happily. It’s only 20 feet long and has a lot of wet rocks and seaweed strewn about, making the terrain rocky and slippery.
Higgs Beach has another Dog Beach and Dog Park, but you’ll have to ask for Louie’s Backyard because there’s no signage pointing to the beach.
The adjoining café, Louie’s Backyard, is a terrific place to end your beach day with your dog because they don’t mind if you bring him along.
Even though it is the only public beach in downtown Key West, only feet from Mallory Square, Simonton Beach is ideal for travellers wishing to get away from the throng. This pet-friendly beach is a popular hangout for residents, so get there early to get a good place on the sand. The shoreline, despite the smooth sand beach, can be rocky, therefore swimmers should wear water shoes.
Regardless of its little size, the ocean side has a decent choice of conveniences, including a boat slope and on location hardware rentals for seats and umbrellas. It additionally offers some outdoor tables and bathrooms, and there is a little food seller around the ocean too.
The beachfront restaurant provides a comprehensive selection of water sports rentals, including Jet Skis and boats, as well as sunset cruises and charter tours for snorkelling, fishing, dolphin viewing, and island tours.
Rest Beach, also known as C.B Harveys, may not appear to be the most luxurious beach on Key West, but don’t be fooled by its appearance when compared to other popular spots like Smathers and Higgs Beach.
Rest Beach is only about 300 yards long, yet it more than makes up for it in immensity and magnificence during sunrises and sunsets. Rest Beach has the best sunrise on the island, and it is the only sand where you can enjoy a refreshing morning while resting on the beach, thanks to its view of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you miss the dawn or are too lazy to get up that early, join the crowd at Mallory Square Home of the Sunset Celebration to witness what may be the best sunrise of your life!
If you prefer to attend night yoga classes led by locals, there is a yoga deck on the beach.
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Fort Zachary Taylor Beach
Although it isn’t known for its sunbathers or summer volleyball games, Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is frequently regarded as the most authentic of Key West beaches due to its natural shoreline, which is made out of ground coral rather than imported sand.
Visitors will view everything from schools of small reef-dwellers to goliath grouper, as well as cherished sea critters like dolphins and turtles, at one of Key West’s premier snorkelling destinations.
Visitors can also take ranger-guided tours of historic Fort Zachary, which study the Civil War era defences, which will appeal to nature enthusiasts.
Locals regard Fort Zachary Taylor Beach to be the most authentic of all Key West beaches. The shoreline is largely made up of ground coral and is one of the only natural beaches in the Florida Keys.
The Beach has a large number of repeat visitors who come to enjoy the snorkelling opportunities.
Aside from snorkelling, the water is also excellent for diving. Here, you can see turtles, dolphins, barracuda, goliath grouper, and tarpon.
Fort Zach, as it is called locally, was originally a real-life fort fully surrounded by sea. The fort is open for tours every day at 12:00 p.m.
Because it is a state national park, a ranger will accompany you on the trip and will explain the history and background of the place.
The Sand Hog Trail and the Fort View Trail are two natural paths in the region.
Dry Tortugas Beach
Around 90 miles from Key West, Dry Tortugas Beach is situated inside the Fort Jefferson National Park. Going through your day at the ocean side here is probably the best thing to do in Key West.
The Dry Tortugas Ferry takes you to the ocean side and is an extraordinary roadtrip that incorporates breakfast and lunch, swimming stuff and gear, and a directed visit through the encompassing fortification.
You can swim, sunbathe, or simply stroll along this palm-bordered ocean side.
Just 1% of the public park is dry ground. The Florida Keys reef framework is the third biggest of its sort on the planet.
Despite being over 90 miles away in Fort Jefferson National Park, Dry Tortugas Beach is included in Key West’s seaside attractions courtesy to the Dry Tortugas Ferry.
Plan a full day for your visit and be prepared to be awestruck by the park’s natural splendour. The beach is a palm-lined haven where you may unwind, play, and swim, but the park’s main attraction is its vast coral reef system. Tours of the 19th-century Fort Jefferson are also available.
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park, about 45 minutes away by car, is the best beach for camping near Key West. It is also accessible by boat. Fresh water and power are available at the campground, and a concessions shop is open during the day. The fine white beach, safe and shallow water, and natural beauty of the park attract both day and overnight tourists.
Nurse sharks, rays, barracuda, and other species can be found among the abundant marine life in the surrounding reefs, making this a popular snorkelling spot. The park is also home to the critically endangered Miami Blue butterfly, which was considered to be extinct until recently.
Bahia Honda is about 30-miles from Key West and boasts some of the most captivating beach vistas in the world, having been named one of the “best beaches in the United States” by the Travel Channel.
A large expanse of sugary white sand, shallow waves, and gorgeous campsites with water and power where you may pitch your tent and camp for the night.
A boat ramp is also available for a cost, where you can park your boat.
Bahia Honda State Park is an almost uninhabited island in the southern Florida Keys.
There is a lot of aquatic life in the State Park. Snorkelers can readily see rays, small reef fish, barracuda, and even a small nurse shark from the shore. In 1999, the park became home to the only known surviving Miami Blue butterfly, which had previously been thought to be extinct.
Casa Marina Resort
Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, is a massive mansion-style resort famed for its 1,100 feet of private beach and excellent service. The beach is lined with swaying coconut palms and various hammocks where you may relax and read a book in the afternoon.
Residents of the hotel, which is on the National Register for Historic Places, may enjoy opulent services like as a beach concierge who will set up your beach chair, umbrella, and towel, as well as deliciously tasty cocktails and cold cucumber slices to calm your eyes.
Spa al Mare, the hotel’s in-house spa, offers both residents and non-residents soothing spa and massage services. Aromatherapy and deep-tissue massage are two of the services available. One of their most popular services is the Ocean Breeze Massage, which takes place right on the beach.
Casa Marina’s coastline is noted for having some of the best sunrise views in the area.
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The Reach Resort
The Reach, another magnificent Waldorf Astoria resort, with one of the region’s largest private natural beaches. A beautiful pier with a pavilion that spans over the Atlantic Ocean is part of the elegant boutique hotel.
If you are an early riser and a guest at our charming boutique hotel, you will nearly always be treated to beautiful sunrises.
The hotel’s professional and friendly personnel will reward you with their warm hospitality. Tell the concierge you want to spend some time at the beach, and they’ll set up your beach chairs, damp towels to keep you cool, thirst-quenching and revitalising drinks, and even popsicles.
Barefoot Billy’s at the resort has been providing world-class watersport activities like jet skiing, kayaking, and paddle boarding for over 20 years.
Sunset Key, a 27-acre beach resort 500 yards from Key West Harbor, is known for its characteristic crystal white beach sand, swaying hammocks, and thatched tiki huts.
Sunset Key is a private island with lovely cottages strewn around the shoreline reserved exclusively for resort guests. The perfect tropical environment and Gulf Views provide a relaxing romance lunch or a spectacular sunset meal.
Chef Todd Holender at Latitude Café delivers some of the best Caribbean dishes from a seasonal menu to non-residents of the property. Non-guests are welcome to visit the in-house Spa, which offers a wide choice of exotic tropical treatments and massages as well as fully equipped treatment rooms.
The Sunset Romance Package at the resort is quite popular with couples.
Places to Stay in Key West
• The Ocean Key Resort & Spa is located near Mallory Square at the upper end of Duval Street. The opulent resort offers a variety of rooms and suites, all of which have ocean views. For a romantic break, book one of the suites.
In the big bathrooms, there are Jacuzzi baths. From their private balconies, they may enjoy spectacular sunset views. A heated swimming pool with views of the sea, a fine-dining restaurant, a fitness centre, and a spa are among the amenities. On-site activities and events for children are also available.
• The Marker Key West Harbor Resort is another excellent luxury hotel. It provides huge, nicely appointed rooms with spectacular views from private patios or balconies near the north end of Duval Street. They also have plush beds and spacious bathrooms.
Aside from the rooms, there are three heated outdoor swimming pools (one of which is exclusively for adults), a café, and a fitness centre.
• Pier House Resort & Spa, which has been open since 1968, offers a great beachside site and a rich history. Jimmy Buffett, as well as a number of other well-known musicians and writers, used to stay here.
There are 142 tastefully constructed rooms and suites. The suites have large balconies and separate living areas. Guests may enjoy sun loungers on the sand, as well as a heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub with views of the sea at this family-friendly luxury hotel. There’s also a spa and a restaurant.
Mid-Range Hotels :
• Orchid Key Inn is a fantastic mid-range option. The modest hotel lies in the middle of downtown, on the crossroads of Duval and Truman Streets. The 3-star hotel exudes luxury, with beach-themed rooms that feature tropical paradise-style artwork and amusing throw pillows.
A heated swimming pool with sun loungers, a complimentary breakfast, an electric vehicle charging station, and the ability to arrange activities such as snorkelling tours are just a few of the amenities available.
• Another excellent option is Almond Tree Inn. The rooms and suites include “Made in the USA” items such as bespoke furnishings and local art.
It offers a swimming pool with a waterfall surrounded by sun loungers and beautiful flora, just a few steps from Duval Street but with a secluded vibe. Breakfast is provided.
• Barbary Beach House Key West is a mid-range hotel that welcomes pets. The rooms and suites include modern coastal style with Key West accents, as well as balconies overlooking the garden or the sea.
There are interconnecting rooms available if you are travelling with children. A swimming pool, bike rentals, a restaurant, and a fitness centre are among the amenities available.
Low Budget Hotels :
• In Key West, there aren’t many inexpensive options, but Angelina Guest House is a good one. The family-owned and run hotel is just two blocks from Duval Street and boasts clean rooms and good amenities. A heated lagoon-style pool with waterfalls, hammocks draped around the pool, and a complimentary daily breakfast are all available.