Best Beaches in Key West

Discover the 5 Best Beaches in Key West: Exploring the Tropical Paradise!

Key West, located at the southernmost point of the Florida Keys, is a tropical paradise that combines natural beauty with a lively culture. Renowned for its breathtaking beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and wide range of activities both on land and in the sea, Key West caters to all types of travelers.

Whether you’re an avid ocean explorer, a history enthusiast, or simply in need of a relaxing beach vacation, Key West has something to offer. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the top five beaches in Key West, each with its distinct charm and appeal.

1. Smathers Beach

Best Beaches in Key West

Experience the Vibrant Beachfront

Smathers Beach, one of Key West’s most famous beaches, is also the largest. Located on the southern coast of the island, this half-mile stretch of sand is one of the primary beaches in Key West. The beach buzzes with activity, as people engage in pickup volleyball games on the sandy shores. Visitors can also find convenient amenities like restrooms and showers.

Unforgettable Sunset Weddings and Million-Dollar Views

Smathers Beach isn’t just about daytime enjoyment. As the sun starts to descend, it becomes a popular venue for weddings. The awe-inspiring sunset vistas create a picturesque setting for exchanging vows and capturing stunning wedding photos. It’s no wonder that couples and their wedding parties are drawn to the water’s edge.

A Beach for Everyone

Smathers Beach caters to all kinds of beachgoers. Whether you’re seeking an intense volleyball match, a refreshing dip in the shallow waters, or simply a moment to admire the breathtaking scenery, this beach has it all. Its ample size and diverse range of activities make it an essential destination for anyone visiting Key West.

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2. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach

Best Beaches in Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park boasts one of the finest beaches in the Florida Keys, situated on the southwestern tip of the island. This beach stands out as the ultimate destination in Key West for those seeking a rejuvenating swim and snorkeling experience, thanks to its deep waters.

Nature and history blend seamlessly at this remarkable beach. The shoreline is adorned with majestic Norfolk pine trees that provide ample shade for beachgoers.

Picnic tables are conveniently placed, inviting visitors to savor a packed lunch while enjoying a day of leisure. Adding to the allure, the beach is graced by a historic fort, dating back to 1845, which played a crucial role in defending against Confederate ships during the Civil War.

For avid snorkelers, this beach is nothing short of paradise. Its underwater world teems with vibrant reef fish, including parrot fish and sergeant majors, often spotted near the rocky pilings of the park’s jetty.

With such abundant marine life, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park claims the title of the premier shore-based snorkeling destination in Key West. Snorkeling gear, beach chairs, and umbrellas can be conveniently rented from a nearby kiosk, ensuring a hassle-free adventure.

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3. Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach

Best Beaches in Key West

A Beloved Local Spot

Fondly known as Higgs Beach among the residents, this shoreline is located just a few blocks west of Smathers Beach. Despite its popularity, it provides a laid-back and enjoyable beach experience. Alongside sunbathing and swimming, visitors can partake in beach volleyball, tennis, and pickleball, thanks to the available facilities. Additionally, a beachfront playground caters to the entertainment needs of children.

A Fusion of Relaxation and History

Higgs Beach offers more than just recreational activities. It boasts significant historical landmarks, such as a fort dating back to the Civil War era, the largest burial ground for African refugees in the northern hemisphere, and the Key West AIDS Memorial. These sites add depth and historical importance to your beach outing.

Culinary Delights by the Seashore

After a day of fun and exploration, visitors can savor delectable dishes and tropical cocktails at the beachfront café called Salute! On the Beach. With its Caribbean-inspired seafood options, the café provides a culinary treat. Higgs Beach encompasses all the elements required for a remarkable day out, making it an essential destination when visiting Key West.

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4. Simonton Street Beach

Best Beaches in Key West

A Hidden Gem

Simonton Street Beach is a small beach that attracts both locals and tourists who have stumbled upon it while exploring the island. Situated at the end of Simonton Street, on the Gulf of Mexico side of Key West, this beach provides a more relaxed and intimate beach experience.

Gateway to Adventure

The beach serves as a starting point for fishing and day trips to nearby islands. Visitors can be seen maneuvering their boats down ramps and into the turquoise waters, all set for a day filled with excitement. If you’re seeking a quieter beach day or planning an island-hopping adventure, Simonton Street Beach is the perfect destination.

Beachside Comforts

Despite its compact size, the beach offers amenities to ensure a comfortable beach day. A beach concession stand rents out chairs and umbrellas for those who want to lounge on the shore and soak up the sun. Simonton Street Beach exemplifies the notion that sometimes, the most wonderful things come in small packages.

5. South Beach

Best Beaches in Key West

A Serene Getaway

Located on the southern side of Duval Street and close to the Southernmost Point marker, South Beach offers a peaceful beach experience, completely different from the bustling Miami beach with the same name. Its convenient proximity to shopping, restaurants, bars, and local history makes it the perfect destination for a relaxing day by the beach.

Deep Historical Roots

South Beach holds a special significance in Key West’s history. The famous playwright Tennessee Williams, during his time in Key West, would frequently visit South Beach to take a refreshing swim. This historical connection adds a nostalgic charm to the beach experience.

Breathtaking Scenery

For photography enthusiasts, the Emma Carrero Cates Pier at South Beach is a must-see attraction. It provides an ideal setting to capture stunning photos during the magical golden hour and witness enchanting sunrises over the island. With its serene ambiance, rich history, and picturesque vistas, South Beach is a beach that should not be overlooked.


In conclusion, Key West provides a diverse range of beach experiences for every type of traveler. From the vibrant atmosphere of Smathers Beach to the tranquil beauty of Dry Tortugas National Park, each beach has its unique allure. So pack your beach gear, apply sunscreen, and get ready to explore the tropical paradise that is Key West.

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Happy Purwal is a news writer with one year of experience. He is skilled in researching and writing engaging news articles. His expertise includes covering current events, politics, and human interest stories. He is passionate about delivering accurate and unbiased news to his readers.