August 14th, 2012 by Shayne Benowitz
When you think of vacationing in Florida, you probably think of long, lazy days lingering at the beach. While we’re a small island surrounded by water, you might be surprised that a lot of our shoreline is actually made up of marinas. We’ve got some great beaches in Key West, but this place is more of a boater’s town and some of the best beaches are actually found miles off shore at various sandbars. Here’s a quick round up of the best beaches in Key West on shore, and off!
    1. The Sandbar Beach at Man Key and Woman Key- When it comes to enjoying a sandbar beach offshore, you either need a boat or you need to know someone with a boat. Coming up short? Never fear because Fury is here! The sandbar at Man Key and Woman Key is often our destination during our new Island Adventure tour. This ultra-relaxing, do-Key-West-like-a-local trip is my new favorite way to spend a day on the water. The great thing about it, it’s a little different every time. It’s all about the conditions and the captain’s knowledge. Sometimes we go to the usual spots on the reef, but sometimes we go to secret, hidden places that aren’t even on nautical maps. After snorkeling, we head about 10 miles into the Gulf of Mexico and anchor near an outcropping of mangroves for some leisurely kayaking. There’s a lot of interesting things to learn about the ecosystem out there, and our guides are super knowledgable. The next part is perhaps the best, at least it seals the deal on why this
      Kayaking at on of the best beaches in Key West

      Discoveries at the sandbar beach on the Island Adventure.

      trip is so great. We paddle towards the sandbar with a cooler full of Coronas and just chill in the warm, salty water and play in the sand. It’s an intimate trip, so by this time you know where everyone’s from, what their kids do, where they went on their last vacation, etc. It’s fun to just hang out and shoot the breeze. When the captain calls you back to the boat, I guarantee you’re not going to want to leave! Visit our Island Adventure page and learn how you can experience the best beaches in Key West.


    1. Snipes Sandbar Beach- It’s rare that we visit this one during the Island Adventure, but this offshore sandbar is a local’s party spot or escape depending on the day of the week or the time of year. Sometimes you’re the only boat there and sometimes it’s jammed with people. To get here, work on making friends with someone who has a boat or opt for a charter. Spend the afternoon in shallow water with your friends and meet others doing the same thing!


    1. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach & State Park- Whenever a guest on the parasail boat asks me where the best beach in Key West is, I tell them to head to Fort Zach, and I’m pretty sure any local will tell you the same. While the state park charges a nominal admission, it’s your entry into a little piece of Key West paradise. Find a spot in the shade under the Australian pines or catch some sun on the rocky beach. Pack for a barbecue or tour the Civil War fort. There’s a snack bar, and they rent chairs and snorkel gear. You’ll see our boats cruising in and out of the harbor all afternoon as you gaze due south into the Atlantic. 


    1. Smathers Beach- I usually encounter Smathers when I take my sunset runs down the beach, especially in winter months when it’s cooler out and I feel like Forest Gump with how far I can go. This is also ground zero for Spring Breakers partying it up in March. It’s a long strip of sand running along the south edge of the island.


  1. Higgs Beach- Higgs Beach is a fun place to get away from it all. Between the West Martello Tower and Garden Club, the White Street Pier, Salute Ristorante, a beach volleyball court, and a dog park, there’s plenty to see and do. Of course, it’s the beach, so a plot of sand in the sun with your favorite beach read will also do!

Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crew member and freelance writer. Email her at, and follow the fun on Twitter @FuryKeyWest and @ShayneBenowitz.

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