19 Best Beaches in Florida Keys (Families, Couples, Etc.)

The Florida Keys is a series of small islands that protrude out of the Southeastern Florida peninsula. Millions head to these islands for their exquisite beaches, crystal clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and stunning vistas. Families, couples, and lone travelers know where the best beaches are in the Florida Keys.

Some beaches are great for families, while some are romantic getaways, ideal for couples. There are also beaches great for snorkeling, swimming, and fishing. Find the beaches with the clearest water, finest sand, bluest water, and more here on this list.

Here are our picks for the 19 best beaches in the Florida Keys:

  1. Bahia Honda State Park Beaches, Big Pine Key
  2. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach, Key West
  3. Sombrero Beach, Marathon
  4. Smathers Beach, Key West
  5. Higgs Beach, Key West
  6. Cannon Beach, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
  7. Curry Hammock State Park Beach, Marathon
  8. Dry Tortugas National Park Beach
  9. Long Key State Park Beach, Long Key
  10. Anne’s Beach, Lower Matecumbe Key
  11. Coco Plum Beach, Marathon, Vaca Key
  12. South Beach, Key West
  13. Harry Harris Park Beach, Key Largo
  14. Founders Park Beach, Islamadora
  15. Simonton Street Beach, Key West
  16. Sunset Park Beach, Key Colony Beach
  17. Far Beach, Key Largo
  18. Rest Beach, Key West
  19. Veterans Memorial Park Beach, Little Duck Key

19 Best Beaches in Florida Keys (Families, Couples, Etc.)

1. Bahia Honda State Park Beaches, Big Pine Key

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Due to someone’s boldness in the 1900s to build a railroad to Key West from this remote island, little did they know that the island would become a world-famous vacation gem. Bahia Honda (which means ‘deep bay’ in Spanish) is the deepest natural strait in the Florida Keys, located in Big Pine Key, the mid-section.

It’s a state park, inviting with its many amenities and an endless list of things to do. It has picnic pavilions, campgrounds (with space for tents and RVs), cabins, shower stations, boat ramps, and canoe/kayak launches.

Snacks are available at the park’s concession, though great restaurants, cafes, and bar grills are nearby. Experiences are hiking and biking, camping, touring, birding, swimming, fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling. Stargazing is also spectacular.

The island boasts of three – Sandspur, the biggest one, Loggerhead, and Calusa, the smallest – each is award-winning and stunning in its own right. All are natural sandy beaches.

Calusa Beach

Calusa Beach is more interior in a location with calmer waters. It’s the most popular because it’s the best for swimming, and the most photographed because of the historic bridge in the background.

Sandspur Beach

Sandspur Beach is famous for its soft baby-powder sand and its warm and clear aqua water. It’s the largest beach; its waters are calm and its currents mild.

Loggerhead Beach

Loggerhead Beach, at the park’s center, has a submerged sandbar that appears at low tide. Sunbathers enjoy this spot because they can wade and swim far out and return to the sandhills where they have their chairs and coolers.

Swimming in the usually clear waters of Bahia Honda is delightful unless it becomes windy and the sand is swished around by the waves. People say its beaches are one of the best for swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and the Florida Bay.

The shallow water and mild currents are perfect for kids, though not for scuba diving that requires deep waters. However, the snorkeling experience here is also what Bahia Honda is famous for.

Snorkeling among the coral reefs is one of the top things to do when in Bahia. Snorkelers are treated to a wide variety of sea life not too far from shore. That’s why Bahia is one of the best beaches in Florida Keys for families.

Crystal-Clear Waters

Bahia Honda just might have the most crystal-clear waters you’ll find anywhere in the Keys. People claim that its waters are as clear as gin. It’s one of those beaches with the clearest water in the Florida Keys. It’s also on the list of the bluest water in the Florida Keys.

The island is rich in flora (almost 150 species) and is home to some of the rarest plants, like the yellow satinwood and the largest remaining stands of the endangered silver palm trees. Wildlife is abundant on Bahia Honda. 


Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are regular sightings, including barracudas and stingrays and the occasional manatee. Find foraging sea turtles in the sands and crawling spiny lobsters and stone crabs. Migratory and shorebirds are plentiful, including the great white heron. Some have even called Bahia Honda one of the best bird habitats in the Keys, and that’s because it’s a mix of mangroves, beaches, and forest. Butterflies, including the very rare Miami Blue, make the island their home, too.

What else is there on Bahia Honda? The Old Bahia Honda Bridge is an impressive landmark. It’s a 100-year-old abandoned railway bridge; the top affords a magnificent view of the whole island.

Additional note: The Bahia Honda State Park suffered devastation when Category 5 Hurricane Irma hit in September 2017. Continuous repairs are being undertaken since, already, much has been restored by the State of Florida.

2. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach, Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach

It’s a National Historic Landmark located on the southern edge of Key West that predates the Civil War. It’s a fort that defended the United States’ southeastern coastline, named after a US president.

This 3-story brick fortress has 5-foot thick walls rising 50 feet above the water houses guns, gun ports, canons, and barracks of that era. It also has a museum and art gallery. Aside from being the home of the largest collection of Civil War armament globally, Fort Zachary Taylor is also a park, where one of the best beaches in the Keys can be found.


The park offers shaded grounds for picnicking, nature trails for biking and hiking, birding for enthusiasts, geocaching for treasure hunters, and touring at the fort. Getting-wet experiences at Key West’s favorite beach include swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, paddling, and fishing. Affectionately called by the locals as Fort Zach, it is a beach destination for history buffs, for couples and families, too. It offers one of the most scenic views in the Florida Keys.

Fort Zachary Taylor is touted as the cleanest beach in Key West. It is a coral beach; the sand is somewhat rocky, so water shoes are recommended and sold at the gift shop. Marine life is rich – find schools of yellowtail snapper, parrotfish, lobsters, and hard and soft corals of many types.

It offers a stellar experience for swimming, snorkeling, and saltwater fishing at the rock jetty near the main shipping channel. Many claim its beach is one of the best for snorkeling in the Keys – best for both beginners and experienced snorkelers due to its shallowness, rich sea life, and large stretches of coral reefs, and its crystal clear water, almost like a glass. It rivals the bluest waters in Bahia Honda.

It is also said to be one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys for couples. Its remoteness, spectacular views of the sunset, and picnics-for-two in the shadow of the fortress are its romantic attractions.

3. Sombrero Beach, Marathon

Sombrero Beach, Florida Keys

Sombrero Beach is a Middle Keys destination on Marathon Key, known for its soft sand and turquoise waters. Marathon Key is 10 miles long, a very family-oriented, human-made island sought-after by young families, Miami girls, and savvy-travelers.

Sombrero Beach is both a park and a beach. The park is shady, with several picnic pavilions, a children’s playground, volleyball courts, restrooms, and showers. The sandy beach faces the Atlantic Ocean; however, the white sand is just a short strip, approached through mangroves and palm trees. One can sun, snorkel, and fish in the shallow waters. It’s also among the best beaches for swimming. Sunrise and sunset views are breathtaking, especially when seen from the rock formations.


Apart from the beach, there are other attractions here that make it one of the best beaches for families in the whole Florida Keys. The Dolphin Research Center is a 90,000-square-foot series of saltwater lagoons perfect for dolphin encounters.

The months from April through October are sea turtle nesting periods; loggerhead turtles can be seen laying their eggs in the sand at night. Most watched out for are the public turtle releases on the beach. They come from rehabilitation at Turtle Hospital, which cares for sick and injured sea turtles.

Another popular annual event is the Seven Mile Bridge Run that attracts runners from everywhere to run over water on one of the world’s longest segmental bridges. Sombrero Beach is also a haven for yoga practitioners.

Because it’s a serene and secluded beach, it’s one of the best beaches in Florida Keys for couples, too. It’s mostly empty during the off-season yet not as crowded during peak times.

4. Smathers Beach, Key West

Smathers Beach, Key West Florida

Smathers Beach is on the southern shore of Key West. It is the largest and busiest of the public beaches on the island. Because it’s near the airport, there might be a lot of noise as airplanes land or take off from time to time. Nonetheless, it is very popular, especially during spring breaks; sometimes, it’s dubbed the best spring break beach in the Florida Keys.

Some refer to Smathers Beach as the best white sand beach in the Florida Keys, though its sand is imported regularly. This human-made beach offers many water activities to visitors. The calm waters are perfect for sailing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing.

Parasailing is also popular. Just visit the rental shops, and you’ll know what water activities are in store on Smathers Beach. There are picnic tables, restrooms and shower rooms, volleyball courts, biking paths, and snack bars. Many cafes, seafood, and bar and grill restaurants are available nearby to enjoy in between water sports.

Great for Families and Couples

Because of its family-centered amenities, with shallow and calm currents and free entrance, the beach is also one of the best beaches for families in the Florida Keys.

Smathers Beach is tranquil and pleasant; sometimes, couples take a stroll along the coast or snorkel or kayak together. By midmorning, more visitors will be arriving, and the atmosphere is lively again. It’s a popular wedding spot destination also; several wedding parties are going on simultaneously. That’s why romantic Smathers is one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys for couples.

5. Higgs Beach, Key West

Higgs Beach, Key West

Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park, this relatively small paradise in Old Town Key West, is popular for its clear turquoise waters, beautiful sandy beaches, and tropical vegetation. Only 17 acres of beachfront in an urban setting, its sand is regularly imported from the Caribbean.

It’s also among the best beaches for families because it offers a beachside children’s playground, and among others, swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding in its shallow waters, beach volleyball, tennis, and pickleball. It also has its own large dog park. Additionally, Higgs Beach’s truly unique amenity is the shore-accessible underwater marine park where snorkeling is good.


Higgs Beach also offers other attractions that keep it on the list of the best beaches in the Florida Keys. There’s the White Street Pier that extends far into the Atlantic Ocean for incredible panoramic views. At the end of the pier, a great variety of fish life can be seen below, and kids do enjoy feeding them by tossing bread crumbs or learn the fishing sport. 

People stroll along the pier, take pictures, or watch the sunset. While at the pier area, see also the Key West AIDS Memorial and the African Refugee Cemetery. See also the 1860s West Martello Fort with its museum and gallery and the Key West Garden Club for its ocean view botanical gardens.

6. Cannon Beach, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo

Palm Trees, Florida, Blue Sky

Cannon Beach is one of two beaches found in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Largo Sound. It got its name from the 17th-century canons on its rocky shores. It’s got a bit of history there, and kids would love to explore it. The state park was named after an environmentally conscious Miami newspaper editor.


The beach is known as one of the best for snorkeling in the Florida Keys, more than any other water activity. It rivals that of Fort Zachary Taylor. Snorkelers come for the experience of its undersea park (the first in the US) with its rich sea life – colorful fish, sea turtles, barracudas, nurse sharks, live corrals, and a replica of a Spanish shipwreck sitting at the bottom. This underwater world attracts neophytes and experienced snorkelers alike because of the shallow and warm waters and its incredible calm.

The beach has soft fine sand and no big waves. Find well-maintained toilets and showers, shaded picnic tables, and spacious camping grounds, each with its own table and BBQ grill, and enjoy walking and hiking, kayaking, and boat tours. Bird watching and wildlife watching, which includes snakes and iguanas, are other experiences at the park. There are rental shops, hotels, and lovely restaurants at John Pennekamp, too. No wonder Cannon Beach is among the best beaches for families in the Florida Keys.

Far Beach is the other human-made beach in John Pennekamp Park, also in Key Largo. With Key Largo’s proximity to the Everglades, signs are up at both beaches telling visitors to be conscious of the occasional alligator.

7. Curry Hammock State Park Beach, Marathon

Curry Hammock State Park, Florida

Curry Hammock State Park is in Marathon and is the largest uninhabited sanctuary between Key Largo and Big Pine Key. The 1,000-acre park oversees the mangrove swamps, Rockland hammocks, and seagrass beds.

Rockland hammocks are delicate tree and plant species found only in South Florida, while seagrass beds are found along coral reefs. All these play a role in maintaining the fragile ecosystem of the Florida Keys. Many fish species depend on these habitats. Curry Hammock is a short distance from Bahia Honda and is largely untouched territory due to its mixed habitats.

Activities and Sightseeing

The park is known as an ideal destination for kayaking and paddleboarding. The beach is peaceful and windswept. You can see many sea life from the coast – sharks, stingrays, dolphins, manatees, horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, plus lots of seashells in the sand. There’s a play area for kids. Shrubs and bushes separate individual campsites; it’s only a short walk from the camp to the water’s edge, so you get to the water much quicker.

Other outdoor experiences at Curry Hammock are hiking the nature trails, kiteboarding on the water, stargazing, and fishing from the shore. There are two exciting kayak paddling adventures – the 1.5-mile path and the 5-mile path.

The shorter one is a sampler trail – one hour trip, around Little Crawl Key, through a mangrove, lagoon, grassy flats, sandbars, and the ocean. The longer one takes four hours, along mangroves and a trip around another island, a bit of kayak fishing can be enjoyed.

8. Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson

Dry Tortugas, Fort Jefferson Entrance

The Dry Tortugas are seven coral reef islands at the Florida Keys tip, located in the Gulf of Mexico. Ponce de Leon called it “La Isla de Tortugas,” the island of turtles. Later, it was also referred to as ‘dry’ because there is not a drop of drinking water there. The park is just 104 acres and about 70 miles from Key West, accessible only by seaplane or boat. It is the home of Fort Jefferson.

Fort Jefferson is a truly huge fortress made out of 16 million bricks; it took 30 years to build from 1846 but was never finished or armored. Nonetheless, it was an essential link in a chain of coastal fortresses from Maine to California.

Never used, it fulfilled the role it was built for – a powerful deterrent to those who want to breach the deep waters of North America. Other than that, it was used as a prison fort. The famous fort receives 63,000 visitors annually and is part of the allure of Dry Tortugas National Park.

The remote and secluded beaches at Dry Tortugas are breathtaking. The turquoise waters here are claimed to be one of the bluest waters in the Florida Keys. Its rich marine life and underwater corals also make Dry Tortugas one of the best beaches for snorkeling in the Florida Keys.


Activities in the park include picnicking, camping and overnight camping, snorkeling, scuba diving, saltwater fishing, and kayaking. Those who take to the water are amazed at the spectacular coral reefs and the many shipwrecks at the sea bottom, visible even from the air.

Since only less than 1% of Dry Tortugas National Park is dry ground, beach access and swimming are plentiful. There are swim areas on Garden Key and Loggerhead Key, among others.

Bird watching is a huge preoccupation in the park. The seven small islands that make it up are nesting and resting sites common to rare migratory and seashore birds. For example, 80,000 Sooty Terns nest yearly in Bush Key and 5,000 Brown Noddies. Other common birds that make these islands home are hummingbirds, peregrine falcons, and yellow-billed cuckoos.

9. Long Key State Park Beach, Long Key

Long Key State Park Beach

Long Key takes the shape of a snake with its mouth opened, found in the Florida Keys’ middle. It used to be the luxury playground of the rich and famous in the early 20th century. The well-to-do used to come here to fish, including some US Presidents, and used to be known as Henry Flagler’s Long Key Fishing Camp.

However, Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 destroyed it all, and it never reopened. Now it’s named Long Key State Park, known for its beaches’ blue aqua waters of the Atlantic, one of the most beautiful in the Middle Keys. The water is shallow though there are deep pockets in some places that are shoulder-height.


The park offers recreational water activities like swimming, kayaking, beachcombing, snorkeling, and fishing. Aside from campsites, there are picnic pavilions, picnic tables with grills, and an outdoor shower. There are also hiking spots in the park; one is the 1.5-mile loop Golden Orb Trail.

While the park is well-known for its pretty beachfront camping sites, Long Key is also regarded as the Fishing Capital of the World. The old railroad bridges were converted to fishing piers. Some have fishing balconies so that people can enjoy bridge fishing. There’s also fly-fishing, drift-fishing, and sport fishing. Species of fish you’ll find here are snapper, bonefish, redfish, permit, tarpon, swordfish, and more.

The park is also known as a haven for bird watching because it is the Great Florida Birding Trail. Herons, ibis, and egrets are residents, as well as shorebirds and wading birds. Migratory birds come seasonally. Horseshoe crabs, snappers, and starfish are everywhere. There are green sea turtles and loggerheads.

Additional notes: Restoration of the 60 beachfront campsites is ongoing in Long Key, which suffered major damage during the 2017 Hurricane Irma disaster. Currently, primitive walk-to tent sites were put up temporarily for guests.

10. Anne’s Beach, Lower Matecumbe Key

Anne's Beach, Florida Keys

Anne’s Beach is an Islamadora beach at Lower Matecumbe Key, located between Miami and Key West. It was named after a famous environmentalist of the area, the wealthy and polio-stricken Anne Eaton. 

It’s frequently cited as one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys, best known for its expansive shallows of warm to very warm turquoise waters throughout the year.

Its waters may be too shallow for swimming; almost no waves here. But it invites wading and frolicking for hours, way out into the ocean where the farthest you can reach is only knee-high. It’s perfect for sunbathers, kids, and pets. It’s one of the best beaches for pooches. Anne’s Beach is not human-made. It’s a natural, sandy beach.

There are picnic tables and bathroom facilities on Anne’s Beach. Visitors come to kiteboard, paddleboard, kayak, snorkel, and sunbathe. The beach is particularly popular with kiteboarders, especially beginners, because of the vast area of shallow water.

There’s sailboarding or kite-surfing, wind-surfing, birding, or just strolling along the elevated wooden boardwalk. You can enjoy scenic ocean views from the boardwalk while walking through mangroves and wetlands on its 1,300-foot length. 

11. Coco Plum Beach, Marathon, Vaca Key

Blue Kayak on Coco Plum Beach

Coco Plum Beach is a natural beach and has a nearby wetlands area. It is just 54 miles east of Key West in Marathon. However, the beach is quite huge; crowds are not a problem. It’s got lots of solitude and can be considered one of the best beaches for couples. Strolls can be long and romantic. It is also dog-friendly.

Facilities here include a covered pavilion and restrooms. This beach is popular with kite surfers, but there are other things to do. There’s kayaking or paddleboarding to explore Deer Key, or you can follow the paddle trails to go to Curry Hammock State.

Coco Plum is also known as a turtle nesting beach. Along its shoreline are nesting sites for endangered turtles. So expect that access to the beach may be reduced to prevent disturbance to the nests during certain times of the year.

Turtles that come here to nest are the endangered Atlantic Green turtles, the threatened Loggerheads, the largest sea turtle, the Leatherbacks, and the most endangered sea turtle, the Kemp’s Ridley.

Coco Plum Beach is somewhat hard to find; only the locals know it. So it may just be one of the quietest beaches in the Florida Keys.

12. South Beach, Key West

South Beach, Key West

South Beach is not the Miami party beach so well-known, but the southernmost beach found at Key West. It can easily be located at the southerly end of Duval Street, Key West, one of the smallest beaches. This is where Duval Street meets the Atlantic Ocean. Just overlooking is the Southernmost Beach Cafe, famous for its seaside dining and happy hour treats.

Here at Key West, beaches are rare, so this little public beach is a magnet to visitors. It is 200 feet long of sand nestled between a beach resort (the Southernmost Resort) and a pier (the South Beach Pier), and at the back is the famous café. South Beach is well maintained, accessible only by bike or by foot, has very little parking, and has no public restrooms. If you are a guest, you get complimentary chairs, though non-guests can rent.

So why do people come to South Beach? It’s a convenient stop for a swim in Old Town Key West. It’s conveniently located. The water is shallow, calm, and clear; the sand, nice and soft. It’s perfect for small children. The famous café is just nearby, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s why it’s one of the best beaches for families in the Florida Keys.


If you are looking for water sports and beach games, South Beach is not the place. You can go to Higgs Beach or Smathers Beach for those activities. South Beach is more laid-back. It’s for relaxing and just watching the world go by. It’s for families playing and swimming in the water, and enjoying the treats of some makeshift food stalls nearby, apart from the café.

Also, watching the breathtaking sunrises from the beach or the pier is one of Key West’s most beautiful experiences. Besides, after enjoying the beach after the sunset, you can hit the town for its clubs and bars. If you have enjoyed South Beach, you can say that you’ve been to the most southerly beach in the whole USA.

13. Harry Harris Park Beach, Key Largo

Florida Palm Trees, Bright Sunny Day

Harry Harris Park Beach is a Key Largo beach in the town of Tavernier, Monroe County. It’s named after an influential Monroe County Commissioner.

This human-made beach sits on the Atlantic Ocean, protected from waves and large fish by a coral rock barrier. The beach is small and sandy; the waters are shallow and clear. The white sand is quite expansive. Kids can play games in the water or do underwater exploration, wearing snorkeling masks. Harry Harris Beach is more a kid’s beach than a beach for adults.

Pets are allowed, too. On weekdays, admission is free. It’s one of the best beaches for families in the Florida Keys.

All around the park are family-friendly features and amenities. There are a couple of children’s playgrounds, a tidal pool for small kids, covered pavilions, shaded picnic tables, and barbeques. For the sporty ones, there’s one basketball court and two baseball fields. There are boat ramps and an extended jetty for fishing. Kids and adults don’t have to worry about sharks because the swimming area is protected. There’s also a warm lagoon for swimming.

For nature lovers, explore the park via its hiking and biking trails. Find some local wildlife, like the African Rainbow Lizard, iguanas, bobcats, manatees, and more.

14. Founders Park Beach: Islamorada

Islamorada Florida Beach

Founders Park is one of Islamorada’s treasures, with an extensive 40-acre facility that offers many recreational experiences. The park is the life of community events taking place in the seven islands of Islamorada. First and foremost is the Olympic-sized swimming pool, the only one in the far southern United States.

And then, there’s the beach. It’s lined with tall palm trees, perfect for relaxation and quiet time. Its swimming area is in the shallow waters of the pristine Florida Bay. You can go snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Find also the 88 Slip Marina, where you can launch your boat from; it also has a fuel dock and a deep channel that leads out to the open waters. Eco-tours are available from the marina, as well as fishing and diving.

Great for Families

It’s complete with Tiki huts, picnic tables, barbeque grills, shower rooms, and restrooms, and also a volleyball court and a large fantasy pirate ship playground on the beach. A fenced dog park is a fun addition for pets and pet lovers, provided with benches and a doggy wash and watering station. It’s no wonder that Founders Park Beach is one of the best beaches for families in the Florida Keys. And there are more!

For fitness buffs, there’s a tennis complex on Founders Park with five lighted hard courts. A fitness station course goes around the park, an outdoor fitness park area with cardio and other exercise machines, and walking trails for strolling, with benches and water fountains. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the park’s lighted basketball court, maintained soccer fields with soccer goals, baseball and softball fields. There’s a fishing jetty with its coral stone path and walkway to cast lines into the bay waters.

For staged entertainment, Founders Park has a huge amphitheater in a wide sprawling lawn, available for concerts and festivals year-round.

15. Simonton Street Beach, Key West

Simonton Beach, Key West Florida

Simonton Street Beach is an almost forgotten beach in Key West. After decades, it is now coming to life, thanks to a beach concession that decided to improve its amenities.

The beach is small and sandy and at the end of Simonton Street on Key West’s Gulf side. It runs parallel to Front Street, and it’s the only beach on the west side of downtown. It’s quite humble, nothing as special as Fort Zachary, but it’s conveniently located and accessible by foot. That’s why it’s a popular spot.

What to Expect

The sand is soft, but the shore is quite rocky. Sometimes there are seaweeds, so water shoes are handy. A nice sand bar is out there in the water, nice to wade out into. Swimming is good since the water can get fairly deep. With usually clear waters, you can appreciate colorful fish and other sea inhabitants swimming with you, like friendly manatees. 

The beach has restrooms. It also provides:

  • Picnic tables
  • Chairs and umbrella rentals
  • A boat ramp

For convenient snacks and drinks, there’s a fast-food vendor nearby, or you can head to Lagerheads Beach Bar for great seafood, beer, and live music.

Because most of the visitors are from the area, you can ask how to get around the best places. There are watersport vendors at the site if you like more active pursuits. If you want to go swimming with your dog, a great spot is at the boat ramp area. There’s a pier to hang out and enjoy drinks. Sunset watching is also a popular activity.

The beach can be crowded, especially on weekends, and because the beach is small. So it’s advisable to come early for the best spots for your beach chair. Parking can be tight; biking would be better, especially if you arrive later in the morning.

16. Sunset Park Beach, Key Colony Beach

Sunset Park Beach, Key Colony Beach, Florida

Sunset Park Beach is in the southwestern corner of Key Colony Beach. The latest population count of Key Colony puts it at less than 900. So this is quite a tight community. Locals and visitors alike come together to the beach during sunsets and sing songs about the Florida Keys. There’s a local songwriter and many singers who come to give live renditions, and people sing along. The sandy beach is alive with lots of live music. The feeling of community is vibrant. The views are stunning; that’s why it’s popular for weddings and other social activities.

Swimming at Sunset Park Beach is not permitted because crocodiles have been occasionally sighted. However, the park is alive all day. People come to walk on the sand or go through the meadow next to the beach. There’s a dock that reaches out over the water, with people watching the changing colors in the water below or dipping their feet.

Relax and Enjoy

Along the rear of the beach, people walk along the stretch where there are palm trees, where kids can play and build sandcastles also. There are benches along the beach where people take breaks or come under the shade of thatched tiki umbrellas.

As its name suggests, Sunset Beach Park is The place for watching sunsets. Sunset watching here is a major preoccupation for both locals and visitors. People come to see the sun slowly set on the horizon as the skies change from yellow to dark red.

Are there other attractions near Sunset Beach Park? There’s the Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve, a rich mix of underwater habitats in the lower Florida Keys. Then there’s the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, with species from the Florida Keys and the Caribbean Sea. There’s also Curry Hammock State Park.

17. Far Beach, Key Largo

Woman Snorkeling Under Water

Far Beach is one of two popular beaches in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. Some sites say it is the better of the two, the other being Cannon Beach, which is the more popular. While both are tranquil beaches, both are also human-made.

Far Beach is more serene and soothing with its soft breeze and many palm trees. It is the smaller one, with soft, warm sand underfoot. The water is warm and shallow, great for kids who enjoy paddling or swimming.

Water shoes should be worn, though, because the bottom can be rocky. As part of the Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, underwater exploration via snorkeling and diving is popular.

Other recreations apart from swimming, paddling, and snorkeling, visitors also come to sunbathe, walk along the trails, and watch wildlife. The park abounds in its own animal species. There’s plenty of colorful fish, crabs, turtles, lizards, and birds, and also sightings of dolphins and manatees.

The park has gazebos and bathrooms with showers, a snack bar on-site, and even a wheelchair ramp.

18. Rest Beach, Key West

Rest Beach, Key West

Otherwise known as C. B. Harvey Rest Beach Park, located on Atlantic Boulevard in Key West, Rest Beach is just a bit of a beach, narrow with a limited sandy area. It’s just east of Higgs Beach. It has a small shelter, picnic areas, and a walking pathway stretching from east to west. However, the views are outstanding, both of the Atlantic Ocean and the southern Key West coast, perfect for pictures.

The beachfront park does not have much to offer by way of water activities, as it doesn’t stretch that far, unlike other beaches on the Key West shore. But the sand is soft, enjoyable for hunting shells and wading.


However, Rest Beach offers guests from nearby hotels and condos access to some attractions just walking distance from the park. There’s the White Street Pier, which extends out into the Atlantic waters. It was built low and large, a bit disproportionate to the small beach, but the views are fantastic. Some say it’s the ‘unfinished bridge to Cuba.’ On some days, when the weather is calm, the water is clear; on windy days, it can get cloudy.

As it is just at the pier entrance, one can’t miss The Key West AIDS Memorial. Made of Zimbabwe granite, there more than 1,000 inscribed names of those who have died of AIDS in the region. Every year, a candlelight march is held in their honor. Every year, too, about ten names are added to the roster. There’s also the African Refugee Cemetery, an American past and National Heritage place of African refugees who died being rescued from slave ships from Cuba in the year 1860. The West Martello Tower is also a historic landmark, built for target practice during the Civil War; it is now home to a beautiful garden club.

19. Veterans Memorial Park Beach, Little Duck Key

Seven Mile Bridge, Key West

At Little Duck Key, a small island in the Lower Florida Keys is a small ocean-side park called the Veterans Memorial Park just south of the Seven Mile Bridge. It has a lovely, small beach. Its water is clean and clear and invites swimming and wading.

The park is also clean. It has seven picnic tables; some are shaded under chickee huts, five pavilions, and five barbecues. Restrooms and shower rooms are also available. There’s also a small boat ramp, bayside, and ample parking.

They have picture-perfect palm trees, but they don’t offer much shade because they are quite lean. There are huge trees at the back end of the park that gives shade. They are quite beautiful trees with exposed roots that make great pictures. 

Conclusion: Best Beaches in Florida Keys 

To summarize, here again, are the best beaches in the Florida Keys:

  1. Bahia Honda State Park Beaches, Big Pine Key
  2. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach, Key West
  3. Sombrero Beach, Marathon
  4. Smathers Beach, Key West
  5. Higgs Beach, Key West
  6. Cannon Beach, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
  7. Curry Hammock State Park Beach, Marathon
  8. Dry Tortugas National Park Beach
  9. Long Key State Park Beach, Long Key
  10. Anne’s Beach, Lower Matecumbe Key
  11. Coco Plum Beach, Marathon, Vaca Key
  12. South Beach, Key West
  13. Harry Harris Park Beach, Key Largo
  14. Founders Park Beach, Islamadora
  15. Simonton Street Beach, Key West
  16. Sunset Park Beach, Key Colony Beach
  17. Far Beach, Key Largo
  18. Rest Beach, Key West
  19. Veterans Memorial Park Beach, Little Duck Key

The best beaches in the Florida Keys were frequently cited, not just for their natural, scenic beauty but also for various reasons that make them stand out. Some are exceedingly popular because they are the most visited, while others are hidden gems in the Florida Keys.

Best Beaches for Families

Firstly, there are beaches with many family-friendly amenities, an array of water activities shared by family members, and are primarily safe for children. Bahia Honda State Park Beach, Sombrero Beach, Smathers Beach, and Higgs Beach are among the best beaches for families.

Best Beaches for Couples

For couples, the best beaches are Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach and Coco Plum Beach. That’s because of the quiet ambiance, hidden nature, and romantic views.

Best Beaches for History Bluffs

Some are beaches for history buffs, like Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, Cannon Beach, and Dry Tortugas National Park Beach.

Best Beaches for Snorkeling

The best beaches for snorkeling are Cannon Beach in John Pennekamp Park and Dry Tortugas because of the rich coral reef life.

Best Beaches for Swimming

The best for swimming is Bahia Honda Beach, Sombrero Beach, and one of the best beaches for swimming in Key West – Fort Zachary Taylor Beach.

Other best of the best in the Florida Keys are cited in this list. The best coral reefs would be Cannon Beach, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo. For bird watching, the best beach is Dry Tortugas National Park Beach, Key West. The best for pet dogs is Anne’s Beach. Bahia Honda is the beach with the clearest water in the Florida Keys. Dry Tortugas National Park Beach also shares that bluest distinction.

These are the most cited and most popular beaches in The Florida Keys worth a visit. And we think they are all distinctively beautiful beaches.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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