Put that lime in the coconut and grab your SPF 30, Key West beaches are begging to be explored!
With year-round sunshine, sky high palm trees and clean ocean water, it’s no wonder our guests love to enjoy Key West’s beaches. The calm, aqua colored Atlantic Ocean begs you to dive in and tropical beverages help you to relax and unwind. Whether you’re in the mood for a quiet and peaceful retreat or a lively day in the sun, we’ve got you (un)covered. We’re naming the best Key West beaches.
Rent a bicycle and ride 10 minutes to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, where the beach is a mile long and the history is rich. At the entrance near Truman Annex and the Green Parrot, admission costs just $2.50 for bicycles and $7.00 for vehicles. This State Park is home to Fort Zachary, used by the army during the Civil War and Spanish-American Wars. Your dog is welcome to explore the fort and stroll through modest nature paths with you, but Fido is not allowed on the sand or in the water. Charcoal grills are available beach-side, as well as beach chair and umbrella rentals ($30 for 2) and snorkeling equipment by the hour ($10). This is the best beach in Key West for shade, snorkeling and swimming, as the water is deepest offshore.
Built on coral rock, Key West’s beaches are naturally rough and rocky, and this is especially true at Ft. Zach. Thankfully, sand is imported from the Caribbean to create a soft, fluffy ground. The ocean floor stays au naturale, however, so don’t forget to throw your sandals or water shoes in your beach bag.
A short stroll around the corner from Old Town Manor and Rose Lane Villas is Simonton Beach at the north end of Simonton Street. Families love this dog friendly Key West beach on the Gulf of Mexico for its sandy ocean floor and shallow water. Umbrellas and beach chairs can be rented on-site ($10) and beer and snacks are available at Lagerhead’s, the on-site restaurant. This beach is small, and the swimming area is tight to make way for boats passing by.
Key West’s version of South Beach is the liveliest of Key West beaches at the south end of Duval Street. One mile from our properties, you’ll find chair and umbrella rentals ($10) and the fabulous Southernmost Beach Cafe where the cocktails are strong and happy hour from 4pm to 6pm is no joke. This Key West beach screams “have another drink!” and “no shirt, no shoes, no problem!” That’s right ladies… bikini tops are optional.
A 15 minute bike ride from our properties on Atlantic Boulevard is Higgs Beach, known for its diverse shoreline and family-friendly atmosphere. Rent a chair ($10) and catch some sun, or take a stroll along the pier that juts into the ocean and catch a glimpse of the historic Casa Marina hotel. The fabulous dog-friendly Italian restaurant, Salute! on the Beach offers live music and a beach volleyball court next to a kids-only jungle gym. The real star of the show is the Key West Garden Club’s botanical gardens at the West Martello Fort. The gardens are free to explore and offer an enchanting look inside this old Civil War base as crumbling brick walls lend to spectacular views of the ocean.
Next to Higg’s Beach is the dog friendly Rest Beach. This local’s favorite is sandwiched between the historic West Martello Fort and the monumental White Street Pier. Stroll along the pier and watch large tropical birds and fishermen compete for the catch of the day. Think twice before you follow Fido into the water…seaweed gathers here and creates murky water that is best fit for your four-legged companion.
Further down the coast is Smathers Beach on South Roosevelt Boulevard, offering the largest and sandiest space to relax of all the Key West beaches. Avoid this spot during the summer months as seaweed collects in the area and makes for an unpleasant smell and environment. The beach runs about a half mile long next to a pedestrian path – perfect for bike riding, jogging, or walking. On one section of the beach you’ll find chair and umbrella ($10), boat rentals and a volleyball court. Street-side you’ll see food trucks serving key lime flavored shaved ice and other beachy treats.
For the ultimate beachy indulgence, ferry over to Sunset Key beach! On this private island, visitors can pay $40 (each!) to enjoy the pristine beach that was once used for Corona beer commercials. If you do splurge on this treat, get your money’s worth by staying for the sunset. Beach passes do not include use of the pool, and reservations at the high end Latitudes restaurant are a must.
For any kind of beach day, you’ll find a place in the sand in Key West. Check out Higg’s Beach for a family friendly day in the sun, Rest Beach to let your dog burn some steam, and Smathers Beach for seaside boat rentals. For snorkeling and swimming, don’t miss Fort Zachary Beach, and for a margarita fueled day in the surf, try South Beach. For a quick fix, visit Simonton Beach, just around the corner from Old Town Manor & Rose Lane Villas.