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Best Beaches in Key West

trolley tours of key west

Imagine yourself in the Keys — drink in your hand, friends by your side and sun on your skin. You already picked the best tropical destination in the south; now you’re wondering where to find the best beaches in Key West.

As island natives, the Old Town Trolley – Key West team has long discovered the best beaches in Key West. Every shore in the Keys is its own experience, but there are a select few that we just can’t picture beach days without.

We’ll explore the best beaches in Key West to swim, the best beaches to take in the sunset, and of course, the island’s gorgeous secluded shores.

best beaches in key westSunset Key

One of the best beaches in Key West is Sunset Key. To access this island just off the coast of the Keys, you’ll board a small shuttle boat that takes you about 500 yards of shore (just a seven-minute ride).

Sunset Key is one of the best beaches in Key West to swim because of its exclusive private beach, only accessible to guests of the resort. After you take a dip, mosey over to Latitudes, the eatery on the island. It has been recognized as one of the most romantic restaurants in America.

The Reach, a Waldorf Astoria Resort

Key West’s Old Town is known for some of the most popular attractions in the area. As the heart of the city, it offers great places to stay if you’re wanting to be in the center of the action and close to local beaches. Take The Reach Key West by Hilton, for example. With a full-service spa within reach, on-site scuba diving and snorkeling and some of the best beaches in Key West just a walk away, you’ll have something to enjoy at every turn.

key west best beachesCasa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Resort

The Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton sits on the south side of the island. As beautiful as the resort may be, you’ll find yourself wandering along its private shores a time or two during your stay. Just a few sandy footprints away from one of the best beaches in Key West to swim, you’ll love the location of the waterfront escape. After your beach day, retire to your suite at one of the most legendary hotels in the Keys.

Marquesas Keys’ Isolated Beaches

About four miles make up Marquesas Keys, a group of uninhabited islands near the coast of Key West. If you set sail to explore the area, you’ll find Entrance Key, Tin Tin Key and more.

Circling a central harbor, the collective tropical oasis is home to five beaches with unique experiences. Still, they share an undisturbed and quiet beauty different from many other beaches. Many say it’s what makes the areas across Marquesas Keys the best beaches in Key West.

best beaches in key west to swimHiggs Beach

Higgs Memorial Beach Park is one of the best beaches in Key West to swim, sit back and soak up the sun. Whether you’re floating in the Gulf, at the dog park with your pup or building an epic sandcastle with your little one, Higgs Beach doesn’t disappoint.

Beachgoers will tell you that the clean, crystal waters make Higgs one of the best beaches in Key West to swim. With plenty of open space, you can even enjoy water activities such as snorkeling or wakeboarding.

best beaches in keysSmathers Beach

If your team goes big or goes home when you’re on vacation, then Smathers Beach is the place for you. As the largest public beach on the island, it’s considered to be one of the best beaches in Key West.

The long stretch of coast here makes Smathers an idyllic location for a walk along the shore’s soft sands. When you’re in the water, the expansive shoreline also makes Smathers one of the best beaches in Key West to swim.

South Beach tourSouth Beach

Miami may reign as South Beach, but Old Town Trolley – Key West knows of a South Beach that you’ll want to experience before the last day of your vacation. It’s one of the Keys’ smallest beaches, and one of its most lively. Conveniently located near bustling Duval Street, there are plenty of things to do once you leave the beach.

As a bonus, Southernmost Beach Cafe serves up local favorites on-site. Enjoy dinner or drinks with a view at their beachside bar.

Fort Zachary Taylor beachFort Zach

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is an amazing spot for beach activities and beyond. Take advantage of it being one of the best beaches in Key West to swim, or spend all day exploring the fort for a glimpse back in time. Learn the park’s history, take photos of the passing iguanas or simply lay out in the sun.

There’s even a concession stand serving food, drinks and cocktails on-site with shaded picnic tables nearby. If you do choose to get in the water, it’s best to bring your water shoes, as the beach is a bit rocky.

Best beaches in key westDry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson is a can’t-miss attraction with powdery white sands and palm trees dotting its coast. From camping to snorkeling and experiencing local marine life, there’s enough to keep you busy all day.

While you visit, tour the fort to hear all about its impressive history and the story of its surroundings. The guided tour lets you relive life at sea in the 1860s.

Bahia Honda State Park tourBahia Honda State Park

Travelers looking for the best beaches in Key West will love Bahia Honda State Park. If you’re visiting the Keys with a few friends, there’s something for any and every beachgoer to enjoy.

While your outdoorsy friend treads the hiking trail, your laid-back friend can relax under their beach umbrella. Then, you and your adventurous friend can snorkel, kayak and grab a snack from concessions just in time for everyone to meet up for sunset. Leave footprints in the sand at the award-winning park and one of the best beaches in Key West to swim during your getaway.

Explore Attractions Near Key West Beaches

Audubon House & Tropical Gardens

You’ll be embraced by nature at the stunning Audubon House & Tropical Gardens. Picture a lush one-acre view of orchids and other florals just outside the window. Enjoy nature’s beauty in Key West’s very own tropical haven.

Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum

The story of one of the greatest American writers lives on at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. From 1931 to 1939, Hemingway called the home his own. And today, long after his passing, it remains one of the most beloved attractions on the island.

Harry S. Truman Little White House

Another historic home in Key West, the Harry S. Truman Little White House in Key West was the winter home of President Truman. The home features a host of tropical wonders, including the garden cathedral, mahogany trees and palms. Hear all about it on your ride over with the Old Town Trolley – Key West team.

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