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Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

601 Howard England Way | Key West, FL 33040 | Official website
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Photo info
Jason Titzer/Getty Images
  • Type: Beaches, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
  • Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
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Overall Rating: 4.5 (4.4)
Value: 4.5 (4.5)
Facilities: 4.0 (4.0)
Atmosphere: 4.0 (4.0)
About these ratings

For the cleanest beach and best waters in Key West, you should head for the westernmost point of the island to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. There, you can sunbathe, hike, bike, fish and get a dose of history all in one place. Recent visitors favor this shoreline over Smathers Beach (the water is clearer), but travelers also warn that the sand is not soft and that beach shoes are needed to traverse the rocky terrain safely. While the beach might not be as powdery soft as some other Florida beaches, it does offer some great snorkeling opportunities, according to recent visitors. Along with your snorkel gear, pack some grilling food and charcoal: This beach has plenty of barbecue grills and rental equipment.

If you get tired of hanging out beachside, stop by the historic fort located within the park. The fort was built in mid-1800s and was used during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Guided tours are offered twice a day.

You'll find Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park a little more than 2 miles from downtown Key West. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. until sundown; the fort closes at 5 p.m. Admission for vehicles with two to eight passengers is $6.50; pedestrians and bicyclists pay $2.50 each; single-occupant vehicles or motorcycles pay $4.50. For more information at the area, visit the Florida State Parks website.

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