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There are places in the United States that have a certain magical atmosphere setting them apart from the common rest of the country. These places attract visitors with their romanticism, mysticism, stunning landscapes, and adventures. Many times the places succeed in convincing people to stay, as Key West did with one of its most famous residents, Ernest Hemingway. Escape from the chaos and noise of Miami to a different world filled with relaxation, beauty, fun, and a great party scene if that’s what you’re into. Key West is a world apart from the rest of the United States while at the same time being close and accessible enough to visit and take advantage of the breathtaking beaches. Here are 6 of the best Key West beaches you have to visit:
South Beach is located in the southernmost tip of Key West and offers a different vibe to that of Smathers Beach and Higgs Beach. South Beach is smaller and a lot closer to Cuba, so the crowds tend to be abundant in foreign tourists. The sandy beach and the shallow crystal-clear waters in South Beach are perfect for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, and other fun water sports. The area near South Beach offers amenities to top off your beach experience, including a beach cafe, and a few makeshift stalls selling frozen drinks, smoothies, and even wet towels. Book a sunbed and enjoy the refreshments for free.
Rest Beach may be small but this tiny jewel stands out against its surrounding competitors by making the most of its privileged view of the Atlantic Ocean — boasting the most exquisite sunrise on the island. Lay on the beach and witness the grandiosity of nature in a first-row seat. Alternatively, exercise your body and spirit while the sun bathes you with the first rays of the day during a Yoga class run by a local. Or, meet up with the rest of the crowd at Mallory Square Home of the Sunset Celebration to watch what may easily be the best sunrise of your life!
Higss Beach is the best alternative to a crowded Smathers Beach. Higgs is located near Smathers but offers a much more chilled atmosphere combined with tropical landscapes filled with palm trees, long stretches of sand, and fabulous waters for swimming and snorkeling. The beach also has free parking, a dog park, a playground, beach chairs, kayak rentals, paddle-boards, snorkeling gear and equipment, and volleyball nets, as well as outside showers and public restrooms. After a long day in the sun, cool down by visiting West Martello Tower’s lovely garden.
Dog-lovers rejoice! This tiny piece of beach is the only one in the area that allows dogs to run free and splash around in the water. The rocky terrain, seaweed laying around, and sand make the perfect place for dogs to explore and have a blast. Although there are dog parks and dog beaches in beaches like Higgs and Smathers, this one is a bit more exclusive and hard to find since you´ll have to ask around for Louie’s Backyard. Be sure to check out Louie´s Eatery too, a great spot to chow down on some local gastronomy after a long day of fun with your four-legged pal, and to find a pet-friendly vacation rental in Key West in advance.
Bahia Honda State Park
If you head to Key West to escape the chaotic world of the United States and find you still need to be further away, drive the 30 miles that separate Key West from Bahia Honda State Park and gaze on at some of the most mesmerizing beach views in the world. Bahia Honda State Park was named as one of the top beaches in the United States by the Travel Channel for good reason. The area is a stunning collage of sugary white sands, shallow waters, and fabulous campsites that offer the stars of the universe as your roof. In this almost uninhabited beach, you´ll definitely get the rest and serenity you’ve been looking for and at the same time get to explore nature via the various trails around the park. If you’re keen to explore underwater as well as on land, don´t hesitate to snorkel and discover a world of magnificent marine life.
This is the largest and most popular beach in Key West. The public beach offers many amenities that make it perfect for an entire day (or days) of beach fun. Not far from Key West International Airport, Smathers Beach offers a two-mile-long shoreline with an intimate vibe perfect for the whole family. Here you´ll have access to activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, sunbathing, and beach volleyball. There are also plenty of stalls that sell food, drinks, chairs, and even rafts, as well as the chance to rent lounge chairs, picnic tables, and water sports gear and equipment.