Where’s the Beach? A Mini Guide to Beaches in Key West and Florida Keys!
Want to know the locals guide to the best beaches in the Keys? Well, you’re in the right place! While the Florida Keys are not known for pristine white beaches due to the abundance of coral rock and beautiful offshore reefs, there are still plenty of places you can go to enjoy a day in the sand (you just must know the right places!)
Beginning in Key West there are several options for beaches, but none are more beautiful than Fort Zachary State Park. Where the Gulf meets the Atlantic, spend your day collecting gorgeous seashells on the shore or stride into the crystal-clear water and enjoy some snorkeling, observing the tropical fish and live coral that live just offshore. DON’T FORGET YOUR WATER SHOES, the beach is rocky. If you’re looking for a more traditional beach experience, then head on over to Smathers Beach. Lined with palm trees, this is the longest stretch of beach in Key West. At Smathers you can enjoy a day sunbathing on the imported white sand, or for the more adventurous – book an on-site water sport such as parasailing, windsurfing or paddle boarding!
Boca Chica Beach, or Geiger Key Abandoned Beach, is a remote, quiet, and beautiful stretch of seashore on Boca Chica Key. This uncrowded and non-commercialized beach area is a place of choice for those who want to get back to nature and enjoy some nude swimming and sunbathing. The majority of regular visitors are locals who come to enjoy the sea, sunshine, and tranquility – and often to do it……..SHHH – naked. Even if you prefer to have your swimsuit on, it’s still a good spot for a day trip to relax at the seaside and get away from the crowds.
Moving up the Keys at MM36.8 you have arguably one of the best beaches in all the Florida Keys – Bahia Honda State Park. Once named the best beach in America, here you can swim, snorkel, relax, picnic and shop all in one location.
Finally, if what’s under the water is more important to you than what’s on top of it, then head to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park at MM102.8 – but be sure to bring your reef safe sunscreen! Just 100ft offshore you can explore the remnants of a Spanish shipwreck viewing a variety of sea life including tarpon and barracudas!