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Beaches In Key West Are Perfect
Florida Keys Vacation Destinations

The beaches in Key West are next! This is where you can have your cake and eat it too!

These 5 Key West beaches are all close to each other, and they're also the 5 most popular destination spots.

Here you can enjoy all the great Key West activities plus sun, water, and sand.

What could be better than a day Key West beach hopping before doing the famous Duval Street Crawl?

On the southeast side of the island, along Hawk Channel, you'll have 5 different Key West public beaches to choose from.

The beaches in Key West that stretch along this line are Smathers Beach, Rest Beach, Higgs Beach, South Beach, and finally Fort Zachary Taylor. If you start from the farthest southeast point as you enter Key West FL from the Upper Keys, you'll come to Smathers Beach first.

Sea grapes frame a colorful shot of hobie cats on Smathers Beach Key West

Palm Fronds And Sea Grapes Frame a Colorful View of
Hobie Cats on Smathers Beach Key West

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection

On your Key West vacation, whether you go to one or all of the beaches, you'll should make sure you have your beach accessory must haves with you.

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Long stretches of sand beckon, but without certain necessities you can quickly find yourself wishing you'd brought a few handy items with you.

Large, soft beach towel help keep the hot sand off you, especially if you're wearing sunscreen.

Since there can be a lot of glare on beaches, having a good pair of sunglasses, and even a wide brimmed hat with you, can make things more comfortable for you.

When you enter Key West Florida on US Highway 1, you'll turn left or south on South Roosevelt Blvd. This road follows along the water's edge, taking you past the Key West International Airport and the East Martello Tower. You'll come to Smathers Beach on your left, the Atlantic Ocean side.

Beaches in Key West are bigger then elsewhere. Smathers Beach is Key West's longest beach, running a good length of South Roosevelt Blvd.

Smathers Beach also isn't plagued with the rough, coral sand that you'll find on most of the Florida Keys beaches. The sand is soft and luxurious - just the way you expect it to be. The velvety sand makes enjoying Key West's beautiful sunrises and sunsets even more enjoyable.

Smathers Beach is Key West's Longest Beach

People and Hobie Cats Fill Smathers Beach
One of Key West's Longest Beaches

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection

This Florida beach also has a lot of Key West things to do. This means it's not just a lay around and sunbathe beach - unless you want it to be.

They have a sidewalk running along Roosevelt, sort of a like a boardwalk where you can bike, walk or run. You can play volleyball, or do some Key West snorkeling. They rent out beach essentials like chairs and umbrellas, plus kayaks, windsurfers and paddleboats.

You'll quickly find that there are a lot of beach activities to enjoy, it just comes down to personal preference.

It also doesn't matter whether you choose to stay on shore to tan and play, or you spend most of your time in the water, there's one thing that's certain: you're going to need a good looking bathing suit.

Everyone else will be wearing something sexy and attractive, and if you haven't updated your beach look lately, you'll want to consider doing getting a new bathing suit. After all, you are going to be on a beach in Key West!

When you're at Smather's Beach you'll quickly discover that this is a typical Florida Keys beach for wave action, or rather lack of.

The offshore coral reefs protect the shore line, so wave action is basically non-existent. This means surfing is not a big past time in the Florida Keys, like it is everywhere else in Florida.

Another typical Florida Keys beach issue are the seaweeds, and the occasional resulting odor. Seaweed is more prominent in the later summer months. As beautiful as Smathers Beach and other beaches are the rest of the year, if you come in the summer, you'll have your share of seaweed to contend with.

Smathers Beach in Key West has all the major conveniences you expect, including restrooms, showers, pavilions, picnic tables, beverage vendors and plenty of beautiful palms for shade. However, there are no life guards on duty.

Smathers Beach parking is on either side of the street. Smathers Beach hour of operations are 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. There is no fee for using the beach.

Rest Beach (C.B. Harvey Rest Beach Park)

You'll find that the beaches in Key West are close to each other. Rest Beach is just down the street from Smathers Beach. It's also adjacent to Higgs Beach which is on the west side of White Street Pier.

To get to Rest Beach you continue southwest on South Roosevelt and then turn left or west on Atlantic Blvd.

Roosters Or Conch Eagles Enjoy The Beach And Pier Area Too!

Rest Beach is a fun beach to go to even though it's rather narrow. It's the White Street Pier that adds character to this otherwise small Key West beach, plus you can bring Fido and Fidette along, providing their on leash.

Aerial of Rest Beach Which Is Adjacent to White Street Pier

Aerial of Rest Beach Which Is Adjacent to White Street Pier
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection

White Street Pier is an incredibly long pier, often jokingly referred to as the unfinished road to Cuba, and you can see why when you start walking it's length. You also can fish from the pier, just check your Florida Fishing Regulations to make sure you're compliant.

Long Pier Separating Higgs Beach and Rest Beach

Long Pier Separates Higgs Beach And Rest Beach
With Key West Cruise Ship In Background

At Rest Beach you'll find that the narrow stretch of sand is of better grade and fairly clean. There's also shade, so you can get out of the hot Florida sun when you need to. They also have picnic tables, and even though the restrooms are not at the beach, they're within easy walking distance.

There's a reasonably sized parking lot at Rest Beach and there's no admittance fee. Rest Beach hours of operation are every day from dawn to 11 p.m.

Higgs Beach Key West Officially
The Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach

Formerly Monroe County Beach, this is located at the end of Reynolds Street and Atlantic Blvd.

Higgs Beach is on the west side of the White Street Pier - adjacent to Rest Beach. As far as beaches in Key West go, Higgs Beach is the second most popular, at least for tourists.

Cabanas at Higgs Beach in Key West

Cabanas at Higgs Beach in Key West
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection

As with the other beaches in Key West, this popular beach has good sand, due largely to the beach improvement project done by Monroe County in 2004. Plus a favorite past time at Higgs Beach, is Key West snorkeling around the pylons at the ocean end of the pier.

If you're going snorkeling, the stairs leading into the water can be slippery. Please use caution when entering the water.

As it is everywhere else, the water is quite shallow, so if you're a novice snorkeler, you can have a lot of fun, and you'll be able to see some pretty amazing marine life.

You will need to bring your own snorkeling gear, and you may even want to bring an underwater camera so you can capture the amazing and beautiful marine life you'll be encountering on your snorkeling adventure.

There's a lot of other Key West things to do top side as well. You can go out on the White Street Pier to fish or just enjoy the famous Key West sunrises and sunsets. If you find the sun getting to intense while you're enjoying yourself on the pier, you can pop under a gazebo, or move over by the Australian Pine trees or coconut palms.

There are also tennis and racquetball courts, picnic areas, a fast food restaurant right on the beach, restrooms, outdoor shower, and gazebos for shade. Rentals are available for chairs, umbrellas, and snorkel equipment, plus there's a nearby playground for the children across the street.

African Cemetery at Higgs Beach

African Cemetery at Higgs Beach

Higgs Beach is near the Joe Allen Garden Center and the West Martello Tower. During construction of the Tower, the graves of 295 newly liberated African slaves were discovered here. The Army relocated the bodies further down on Higgs Beach.

Free parking is at the beach, and there is no admittance fee. Higgs Beach hours of operation are every day from sunrise - 11 p.m.

Dog Beach or Higgs Beach Dog Park

Beaches in Key West are not typically dog friendly, but they do have a beach just for the pups. This dog beach is between Higgs Beach and South Beach, basically at Vernon and Waddell beside Louie's Backyard.

It's small and rocky, but the pooches get to run and play, and that's all they care about. There are also no facilities or restrooms at Dog Beach.

Don't forget to bring a water toy with you for your pet, that way both of you can enjoy your Key West beach outing to the fullest.

South Beach

Located at the south end of Duval Street this is one of the tiniest and busiest beaches in Key West.

It's located behind the Southernmost Hotel which makes it a favorite for locals and tourists. The reason it's so popular is that it's central to so many fun Key West things to do. That and it has quite a good restaurant just a few feet away.

Fun Directional Arrows At South Beach In Key West

Popular South Beach In Key West

Typically as a tourist, you've walked the length of Duval St taking in all the sights. Perhaps you've even stopped off at a local watering hole or two on your way down to the Southernmost Point Marker. After your long leisurely stroll along Duval Street, it's relaxing to wade out into the clear Atlantic water, and cool off a bit before heading back up Duval St.

Unlike other beaches in Key West, South Beach has no restrooms or other facilities but they do rent beach chairs. The very popular Southernmost Restaurant happens to be right next door, and this is a great place to hangout, before heading out to the tiny beach for one last wade.

There is no admittance fee for this Key West beach. South Beach hours of operations are from 8:00 am until the restaurant closes.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Historical Site

Entrance to Fort Zachary Taylor is through Truman Annex on Southard Street.

This Key West fort sits on 67 acres at the southwestern most tip of the island.

Over and above the obvious interest of seeing Fort Zachary Taylor, the Park, according to the local "Conchs" has one of the better beaches in Key West.

Fort Zachary Taylor is a Favorite with Locals

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach Is A Favorite With Residents

Remember your aqua shoes however. This wide Key West beach tends to be somewhat rocky and covered with sharp crushed coral, but you can still swim, fish or picnic here.

With so much land around you, biking and walking are also favorite Key West activities at the Park. Grills and shaded picnic facilities are available, and there's a snack bar plus beach rental equipment.

Fort Zachary Taylor Park hours of operation are 365 days a year from 8:00 a.m. to sunset, and the Fort is open until 5:00. There is also a nominal State Park fee charged for admission.

Simonton Beach

This beach is at the northwest end of Key West FL between Pier House and the Hyatt. It's extremely small and at least for the time being it's also been closed due to loitering and other problem related activities.

Before arriving in Key West FL you were able to explore the Upper Keys, Middle Keys and Lower Keys beaches.

Of course now that you've had a chance to explore some of these great beaches in Key West, you're sure to agree that they don't disappoint.

Sunrise Over South Beach, Busiest of the Beaches in Key West

Sunrise Over South Beach
Busiest of the Beaches in Key West After Daybreak

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Cory McDonald Collection

How could anyone be disappointed by swaying palm trees set against tropical backdrops, that line soft sandy beaches and embrace warm, crystal clear aquamarine water. It's the reason people come to this island, and go home eagerly looking forward to their next Key West vacation in paradise.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040