7 Top Beaches in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a boater’s paradise. There’s so much to see from crystal clear waters to vibrant coral reefs, historic cities, and endless stretches of sand and islands.
Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to anchor and relax or want to explore the abundant marine life, we will help you make the most of your Florida Keys boating adventure. Check out our guide on the seven top beaches in the Florida Keys:
- Calusa Beach
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
- Islamorada Founders Park
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
- Smathers Beach
- Sombrero Beach
Read all the way through for destination insider Pro Tips.
1. Calusa Beach at Bahia Honda State Park
On the southern tip of the beautiful Bahia Honda State Park, you’ll find the famous Calusa Beach. The state park is home to a series of amenities, including campgrounds, a picnic area, restrooms, and a concession stand. Calusa Beach also features the picturesque view of the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge, often featured as the cover photo of Bahia Honda State Park.
Pro Tip: Go snorkeling in the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. Check the boat rental listing Add-on items like snorkeling gear!
2. Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is only accessible by boat and lies approximately 70 miles west of Key West. The island is known as Fort Jefferson’s home and the westernmost point of the Florida Keys Reef Tract. Explore cultural artifacts on land and below water.
The east-flowing current just south of the park brings a variety of marine life, usually larger than what snorkelers see farther north!
3. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
The southernmost tip of the continental United States is Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. Come on land and immerse yourself in Florida’s history when you tour Fort Zachary Taylor. The beach offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities, with lively parrotfish, yellowtail, lobster, and coral populations.
Pro Tip: Since Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a coral beach, consider wearing water shoes to protect your feet.
4. Islamorada Founders Park
Founders Park in Islamorada offers much more than a beach. The signature Florida Keys clear waters are great for snorkeling and finding reef sharks and horseshoe crabs. The park also hosts recreational fields, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a festival space!
Visitors specifically appreciate how calm the water is, making it safe for small children. Plus, this is a pet-friendly beach with its own designated dog park!
5. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Whether you’re kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, or scuba diving, a trip to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is best done by boat!
Dubbed the country’s first underwater park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers excellent access to the Florida Keys coral reef system. The park also has its own boat ramp, which makes it easy for boaters to get in and out of the water.
Pro Tip: John Pennekamp State Park is a great spot to fish. Anglers typically catch parrotfish, wrasses, damselfish, snappers, grunts, and barracudas.
6. Smathers Beach
Smathers Beach is the largest public beach in Key West and is best known as a spring break hot spot. The beach faces south, with an Atlantic coastline and excellent sunrise and sunset views.
Like most Key West beaches, Smathers Beach sand is imported from the Caribbean to make up for the natural deposits of limestone and coral. This gives the beach its picturesque appearance, and as the largest free/public Key West beach, it’s what makes it a prime location for tourists.
7. Sombrero Beach
TURTLE ALERT: Sombrero Beach in Marathon, Florida is a famed turtle-nesting beach. Come here and you just may catch a hatchling. Be mindful and maintain a close distance if you see one.
Enjoy sparkling white sands and crystal blue waters. With picnic pavilions, barbeque pits, showers, and restrooms, Sombrero Beach is a great spot to come ashore and stretch your legs. Plus, a large play area for kids makes this a family-friendly location.
Pro Tip: Visitors say snorkeling close to shore is great, but the water turns an emerald similar to Siesta Key the farther out you go. Plan your snorkeling trip here.
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