When you think of vacationing in Florida, you probably think of long, lazy days lingering at the beach. While Key West is a small island surrounded by water, you might be surprised that much of the shoreline is actually made up of marinas. There are some great beaches in Key West, but this place is more of a boater’s town and some of the best beaches are found miles off shore at various sandbars. Here’s a quick round up of the best beaches in Key West, on and off shore!
The Sandbar 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 Water Adventures is here to make sure you have a good time! The sandbar at Man Key and Woman Key is often a destination during our Island Adventure tour. This ultra-relaxing, do-Key-West-like-a-local trip is a favorite ways to spend the day on the water. The great thing about it is that 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, you’ll head about 10 miles into the Gulf of Mexico and anchor near an outcropping of mangroves for kayaking and paddleboarding. There’s interesting things to learn about the ecosystem, and the Fury guides are very knowledgeable. Next, paddle towards the sandbar to relax in the warm, salty water and play in the sand. It’s the ideal trip for those looking to experience the low-key side of the island.
Snipes Sandbar Beach
This offshore sandbar doubles as a local’s party spot and 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 private charter. Spend the afternoon with friends while soaking in the Key West atmosphere.
Fort Zachary Taylor Beach & State Park
While this state park charges a nominal admission fee, 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. You can even pack for a barbecue! Other activities include touring the Civil War fort and renting snorkel gear. You’ll see various boats cruising in and out of the harbor all afternoon as you gaze due south into the Atlantic Ocean.
Key West locals usually encounter Smathers Beach while out for a sunset run down the beach, especially in winter months when it’s cooler out. 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.
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 even a dog park, there’s plenty to see and do. Above all it’s a beach, so a plot of sand in the sun with your favorite beach read will also do!
Dry Tortugas National Park
For those vacationers who crave unique experiences, the Dry Tortugas National Park is a must-do. Take a trip to this cluster of seven islands, located 70 miles offshore of Key West, aboard the Yankee Freedom III ferry. The Dry Tortugas offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities catered to adventure level. Snorkel the clear and shallow waters, tour the historic Fort Jefferson, explore the local wildlife or flop down on the shoreline for a beach nap. When you’re hungry, enjoy a picnic lunch. A day trip to this seclude island paradise is perfect for families and adults alike.