All along the Atlantic side of the island, is a narrow, mostly man-made beach. This is the closest to a big beach in Key West. I don't do beaches much. The better beaches are down by Fort Taylor SP. I've been swimming down there on the part of the beach that is still owned by the USNavy.
Even so, the beach gets a lot of use. People come to walk or run on the beach. Mornings are good for bird watching (Photo 5). And wedding photographers (photo 4) seem to think the beach is perfectly fine.
Key West is a region you are not going to find anywhere else! I found it very hippiesque! Relaxing and a perfect place for a vacation! If you are going to spend some more time in Southern Florida I would recommend to visit the Everglades https://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm and Miami too!
Southern Florida has a very special vibe and lifestyle! You can get some inspiration for your next vacation from http://sabbiabeachcondos.com/lifestyle/ ! I really enjoy going there to spend some time in the eternal sunshine state :)
Smathers Beach is the largest public beach in Key West. Powdery soft sand, turquoise water, lined with palm trees - it is what a south Florida beach should look like! On the windy day we were there for a beach wedding, there were kite-surfers out on the water who were fascinating to watch!
The beach is located on the south side of the island, along the Atlantic Ocean
The quickly became our favorite place to hang out - South Beach is FANTASTIC for people watching. Small, but nice and clean. We liked this beach because there were more people like us there - NOT the thin, tanned, teeny-boppers like at Smathers Beach - but it was not overly crowded. Better for the morale, if you know what I am saying... We really like Fletcher, who brought us our beach chairs ($5), and treats throughout our stay - a frozen towel to cool the back of our necks, and popcycles.
The Southernmost Beach Cafe was great - good food, and fun drinks. The Barbados Punch was my favorite fruity drink, but the Drunken Sailor was pretty good too. Our companions said the Bloody Mary's here were the best. Prices are reasonable (~$10 for burger and fries). We loved it and will definitely hang out here again.
Seems like there's nothing easier than spending a day at the beach in Key West! The entire southern side of the island is dotted with public beaches, some of which are fully equipped with restroom facilities, picnic tables, chair rentals, bars and restaurants. Since we didn't have that much time to spend in Key West I had to content myself with a quick visit to South Beach, where playwright Tennessee Williams is said to have come for a swim nearly every day during the years he spent in Key West. Even though I'm not the kind of person who's interested in spending much time sunbathing (being a redhead, and all!), South Beach struck me as the kind of place where I could very well spend a few hours with a book in one hand and a refreshing drink in the other!
If you're coming to Key West for some beach action, I'm sorry to say you may be disappointed. Although there are are a few small manufactured beaches at some of the resorts, most of the beachfront looks like this picture of Smather's beach on the East side of the island. It is very shallow - I mean at low tide you could probably wade out a quarter mile! - Seaweed washes in and often covers the beach. One possible exception is Higgs beach Park. It isn't really a beach, but built up shell covered with sand and held in place by a seawall. You can lay out in the sun however, get wet if you're so inclined, and rent watersports toys nearby ( Jet skis, kayaks parasail charters etc. ), There is also a playground, a dog park and a historic burial site of African slaves rescued from a slave ship.
I am not a fan of Higgs beach; it is dirty and there are no palm trees for shade. Alot of homeless people are in this area too, and they will ask you for money.
In conjunction with the beach is the AIDS memorial and the White Street Pier. That side of the beach is nicer, but still not nice enough for me to ever go there.
There are always contamination notices being sent out about the water here. I really suggest you don't swim here, only walk around.
I like to walk around this beach in the evening; that is when it is peaceful and all the "craziness" has left to go pamper up for Duval street. If you go during a spring/summer break, during mid day, it will be crowded.
I think it is nice to lay out in the sun here, or to play games, but I'd be warying of swimming here. Old seaweed lines the coast and is never taken care of, and there have been lots of notices put out not to swim here, do to a large amount of fecial contamination. Yes, I said fecial.
This beach was very pretty! and i guess it is special to me since my brother got married right there on the ocean! They said 'I do" and we all jumped in the water!! the funny thing is the wedding wasn't private, so my sister-in-law was walking down the "aisle" which was paved with confused sunbathers:)
The Chapel by the Sea is the place in Key West to tie the knot (so to speak).
They promote their "Stress-free weddings"
Take your pick of wedding location--barefoot on the beach or sipping champagne at sunset or even in a historic mansion or museum.
They offer personal wedding planners, a Key West Photo Crew and an in-house Florist all contained within a historic harborwalk chapel.
A canine favorite though rocky and slippery, this tiny stretch of beach (about 30 feet wide) is the only beach in Key West that allows dogs. No restrooms or facilities. Has a strong undercurrent.
Beach Etiquette for Dogs
- Always keep your dog leashed when there is a leash law
- Always clean up after your dog by using a poop bag or pooper scooper
- Do not let your dog visit with other beach-goers or dogs, unless welcomed
- If using an official off-leash area, your dog needs to be well-behaved and must listen to your verbal commands.
I am going to go off on a limb and say this is the southernmost pier in the continental US. The plaque reads:
"Emma Carrero Cates Pier at South Beach. Named in honor of A. Emma Carrero Cates. Key West City Commissioner 1969-1987. Members of the Monroe County Beach Advisory Board 1988-2001. For her tireless dedication and efforts in renourishment and preservation of Monroe County and City of Key West beaches. She was instrumental in the preservation and development of South Beach and as Chairman of the Beach Advisory Board helped bring about the renourishment of Smathers Beach."