Florida Keys best beaches
A Key West resort hotel beach, Florida Keys, USA
Life in the Florida Keys is all about boating, fishing and diving but not so wonderful for beach holidays, due to the small size of the beaches and amount of flotsam and jetsam (marine garbage) littering the shore. Tourists who want fine, manicured sand may prefer to stay in a resort with a man-made beach.
Public sand, such as Cannon beach, can be be trash-strewn and uninviting, though there are some pretty good beaches with calm, shallow and clear waters.
Bahia Honda public beach, on the Caribbean side
The best beaches in this region are found in Bahia Honda Key (30 miles north of Key West), Bahia Honda State Recreation Area.
On the Atlantic Ocean side there is the park's longest beach, Sandspur, family-friendly with generally calm waters and a gentle gradient as well as shallow Loggerhead Beach with a large sand bar offshore. On the Caribbean side, the smallest beach is Calusa (near the Bahia Honda Bridge) offering traditional Caribbean qualities of clear water, white coral sand and a palm backdrop.
Depending on the season or how unlucky you are, seaweed and sand flies may be in evidence.
The Park offers facilities such as boat and equipment rentals, camping, restrooms, showers, shops and cafés.
Key West, Smathers Beach activities
Smathers Beach is Key West’s largest beach, a busy 2 mile length of sand located just south of Roosevelt Boulevard with plenty of parking and many activities on offer - water sports rentals, parasailing, windsurfing, volleyball, bike paths, snack vendors, restrooms, eating and drinking spots and more.
Sombrero Beach in the city of Marathon, is one of the Keys' prettiest with narrow but white sand backed by palm trees. Easy to get to, full facilities available, it is an ideal city beach.
Higgs Beach and its fine white sands lies at the end of Raynold's Street and is a brilliant place for children, with playgrounds, water sports rentals and all the facilities a mother needs for free! Good snorkeling too.
A fun day out for children is to head for Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park with its imposing old fort. It has a calm lovely beach with loads of shade and is known for marvellous sunset views, though the sands contain coral chips so beach shoes are useful. It's recommended that you take your own food and drink supplies as those on sale are well overpriced.
For pooches, Dog Beach is barking good, located at the end of Alberta Street, though it's hardly a large strand.
The Florida Keys are excellent for fishing, kayaking, snorkelling and diving and are home to the North America's best living coral reefs, where colourful fish large and small are a great attraction, as are the wreck dives onto accidental as well as deliberately sunk shipping.
The Florida Keys Shipwreck Heritage Trail is a line of nine wreck sites (20-130 ft deep) that stretches from Key Largo to Key West.
Key West condos on a less-than-perfect beach.
Florida Keys Weather:
The official hurricane season begins June 1 and ends on November 30 but storms/rain are most likely mid-August to mid-October so the best time to go to Florida Keys for a full-on beach experience is April-June. In summertime the average high air temperature is
32C (89F), water temperature 30C (85F), in winter air lows reach 18C (65F).
Get to the Keys from the mainland via U.S. 1, the Overseas Highway which is a wild drive and one of the most unusual aspects of the Keys!
Visitors to the Upper Keys can fly into Miami International Airport or Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. From there get a shuttle bus or rental car and arrive in the Upper Keys in about an hour from Miami or 100 minutes from Ft. Lauderdale. Travelling to Key West from the mainland will take about 3.5 hours.
Tourists can fly to Marathon, the small city at the mid-point of the island chain, aboard small airlines such as Florida Coastal Airlines and SeaCoast Airlines. Shuttle buses and rental cars are available in Marathon.
Visitors can also fly to Key West International Airport from many Florida cities. Shuttle buses and rental cars are available.
A turtle off Key Largo
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