Key West Beaches are worth the long drive all the way to the last of the Keys. Key West is located at the end of the chain of islets called the Florida Keys, the southernmost point of the Continental USA. By the way it is only 90 miles away from Cuba, my place of birth.
Map of Key West and its beaches
Called Cayo Hueso in Spanish
The beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Most of the beaches don’t have a lifeguard, so swimming is at your own risk. And one more thing to mention is that Topless and Nude bathing are illegal in Key West. Fishing is permitted from most piers, but I suggest you check locally if you need any license for that.
The island is about 4 miles or 6.4 km
long and 2 miles or 3.2 km wide. The island measures 3,370 acres or 13.6 km2 in
area. It is also known as Cayo Hueso in Spanish, since it was under Spanish
hands for a while and also because of the proximity to the Island of Cuba. I
remember when I was a child in Cuba there was a daily ferry leaving Havana at
6PM and arriving Cayo Hueso next morning. It was also easy to fly from Havana
to Key West on a small plane is just 30 minutes. The company was called
What a memory!!!
Seven Mile Bridge on the way from Miami to Key West
How to get to Key West
If you want to get there fast, you can fly from Miami International Airport on any of the flights departing from there. Once in Key West you may rent a car to get around. If you ask me, after spending fourteen years in Miami, you should drive to Key West and then experience the Florida Keys beaches and their amazing beauty.
Just follow the signs on the Florida Turnpike of drive your way through US1 and you will go through one key after another enjoying a feast of colors that go from the deep blue to the light turquoise of the seas of the Florida Straits that separate Cuba from the United States.
You’ll find many places to stop for refueling for eating and even take a quick swim on your way to the last key. Driving over the Seven Mile Bridge, south of Marathon, is an experience by itself; the views are awe inspiring.
Smathers Beach the largest one of Key West Beaches
Here are a few of the Key West Beaches
It is located on the southern shore of Key West and it stretches for almost 2 miles, a little more than 3 km. Rumors say that the white sands are brought from nearby Bahamas and deposited there for your pleasure. This rumor is probably true, since the hurricanes that sometimes get to this area tend to blow away the sands, so the city has to find ways to replenish it.
Key West’s largest beach offers all kind of activities that range from the most simple sun tanning to volley ball playing, swimming. There are stands for renting water sports equipment for snorkeling, jet skiing, para-sailing and windsurfing. They feature restrooms, ample parking and concession stands. In other words this is full service beach.
This US National Park is Florida’s southernmost. It is popular for recreation. It is Key West’s favorite beach which is located at the southern end of the park. It is a beach full of amenities like opportunities for picnics, swimming, snorkeling and fishing. The Cayo Hueso Café offers snacks, cold drinks and beach souvernirs.
But, beside a great beach the park offers an open door into US military history. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark back in 1973. The fort was built in the mid 1800s to defend the nation’s southern coast. Finished in 1866 it played an important role in the Civil War and years later in the Spanish American War.
If you love your dogs like we do, this is the beach to come with your pet. Just make sure you keep an eye on your doggies, since it is a rocky beach.
There is a pet friendly place called Louie’s Backyard, next to Dog Beach offering refreshments. It will be much needed after some running and exercising with your dog.
South Beach one of Key West Beaches
The name says it all. It is located next to the southernmost hotel in Key West and it is the southernmost beach in the Continental United States. It is a small beach with calm waters and very popular with locals and visitors alike. Its location at the end of Duval Street, the main street in town makes it very convenient to reach without too much walking.
Bathers can wade far out into and still only be in thigh-high water. For those seeking a relaxed day of sunbathing, they have chairs for rent or you may just spread your towel on the sugary white sand. There is a restaurant that offers drinks and even full meals.
Higgs Beach one of the best Key West Beaches
Key West's Higgs Beach, properly known as Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach, is next to Rest beach. They are both up the street from Smathers Beach
This nice beach is surrounded by coconut trees for the appropriate shade, they feature a volley ball net, beach vendors, a sidewalk and a restaurant at the end of it. Parking is free and if you can’t find exactly next to this beach, there is plenty more parking on Rest Beach or the adjacent streets.
It is also near the Key West Garden Club with a beautiful garden on the beach. This beach has many amenities like restroom facilities, sun beds rentals, picnic tables, full service restaurant, playground for children and water sports stands for renting equipment.
Rest Beach relaxed and laid back of Key West Beaches
This is a narrow beach also attracting people with dogs. So, if dogs are not your cup of tea, you may want to go some of the others. This beach is next to Higgs beach and it is not so crowded during the week.
This beach features the White Pier, than some call it “The unfinished Road to Cuba”. It is low and large and walking through it with the view of Southern Key West is quite an experience. Some people use the pier for fishing.
images for key west beaches
courtesy of wikimedia commons