How To Access The Best Beaches In Key West

Your Guide To Finding The Best Key West Beaches.


Close your eyes and picture Key West, Florida. Even if you’ve never been there before, what do you imagine the island city to look like? If you’re dreaming about teal blue water, swaying green palm trees, bright orange sunsets, and soft white sand beaches then, you’re almost right!


The natural beaches in Key West are mostly coral rock so it's different from what most folks picture when they think of a traditional beach. But as locals, we know how to access the other best beaches in Key West. The ones from your daydream with the soft white sand and the teal blue water. Let us explain.


What's the difference between a coral rock beach versus a traditional sandy beach?

key west beach
A Key West beach

The lack of soft, white sand shoreline in Key West is the result of a beautiful live coral reef that extends from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas National Park. The coral reef prevents natural beach formation because the waves don’t crash onshore as you might see in Miami beach. The coral reef also affects the quality of the sand — which is a bit abrasive and somewhat sharp due to coral particles.


Does Key West have swimmable beaches?

Best Beaches Key West
Higgs Beach

Yes, you can swim at Key West beaches! Keep in mind, it won’t be the same experience as other parts of Florida (big waves and soft sand). The best public swimming beaches on mainland Key West are Fort Zachary Taylor, Higgs Beach and Smathers Beach; resorts such as the Casa Marina Resort or Southernmost Beach Resort also offer private access to swimming beaches.


But when you’re on the beach in Key West and looking out into the water, you may notice an ample amount of boats. Sailboats, center consoles, catamarans, and yachts cruise the teal blue waters from sunrise to sunset. Whether it’s a private boat or a yacht charter, they may be visiting fishing grounds, coral reefs, or the other Key West beaches. The ones from your daydreams.


Where is the best beach in Key West?

Fort Jefferson beach Key West
Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park

The Florida Keys are a prime boating destination, so the best beaches in Key West are accessed by boat. If you’re visiting from out of state, a yacht charter can take you to beautiful sandbars and coral reefs just off the coast.


The best day sail destinations from Key West include Boca Chica sandbar, Boca Grande Key, Woman Key, and Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park. Each destination has a beach with soft white sand. Plus, these beaches are less crowded because not many people know that the best beaches in Key West are accessed by boat!


How can I plan a trip to the best beaches in Key West?

Bluesail Catamaran Charter Key West
Bluesail Catamaran Charter

A catamaran charter, such as those offered through Bluesail, offers full-day or half-day excursions to experience Key West sandbars or coral reefs! This private and fully customized boat charter experience departs daily from The Perry Hotel & Marina Key West. You can choose among a sailboat, sailing catamaran, or power catamaran to discover more of the beautiful Florida Keys.


Each boat can accommodate 12 guests comfortably, so invite your friends and family! Onboard amenities include air conditioning, a kitchen with all the cookware and kitchenwares you'll need, private cabins, and showers so that you can cook lunch or cool off from the Florida sun. Plus, two stand-up paddle boards and snorkel gear come standard with your charter or boat rental! A private catamaran charter is the best way to experience the best beaches in Key West.



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