Smathers Beach#9 in Best Things To Do in Key West
Key West isn't known for its beaches. However, the most bustling one on this island is Smathers Beach, which is particularly popular during spring break. Recent travelers say the beach is clean and peaceful, with plenty of shade and amenities, including bathrooms, food trucks, and chair and umbrella rentals. Visitors also say the views are great.
You'll find Smathers Beach on the southern shore of the island, about a mile from central Key West. It's close to the airport, which can be a pro if you enjoy watching the planes take off and land, or a con if you're not a fan of the noise.
In addition to spectacular sunsets, the beach also offers picnic areas, restroom facilities, volleyball courts, Jet Ski rentals and free parking. The beach is free to visit every day between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. For more information, check out the city's Smathers Beach page.
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#1 Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
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, making it an ideal snorkeling spot), 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.
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