The Best Beaches in Key West

You’re all set with your beach towel and sunscreen, ready to hit up some of the best beaches in Key West.

But, which Key West beach are you going to pick to kick back and relax?

For such a small island, there are several to choose from.

Are you looking for a family-friendly beach for the kids to run free on, do you want a super beachy vibe with nearby bars and restaurants, or are you looking for somewhere more remote and quiet? Lucky for you, there are plenty of options to consider.

So, let’s jump right in with a list of the best Key West beaches to visit this summer.

The Best Beaches in Key West
The Best Beaches in Key West

Related Post: How to Get to Key West

Here’s a list of the best beaches in Key West

Smathers Beach

This two mile stretch of white tropical sand is the largest public beach in Key West. Offering wide views of the Atlantic Ocean, this is a beach you could spend the whole day enjoying and if the sand between your toes feels like it did on your last trip to the Bahamas; you’re right! 

As with all the sand on our beaches in Key West, it was imported, this one from the Bahamas. Smathers offers volleyball, snorkeling, and other water sports right from the beach.  

There are picnic areas to enjoy a snack from the local beach vendors. Public restrooms can also be found nearby. Several moderately priced hotels can be found all along this beach, making it a favorite of the Spring Break crowd. As with parking anywhere in Key West, be prepared to pay a meter.

Higgs Beach

This beach is located ½ mile further south of Smathers on Atlantic Blvd. near White St. This little beach with its shallow water and beach side playground has much to offer families with small children. Along with swimming and water sports, you can find a pier, restaurant, volleyball, tennis, and handball courts nearby. Dogs are welcome at the dog park across the street. There is even a civil war era fort and garden to enjoy with your children. A limited amount of free parking is available for this beach.

Dog Beach

Located on the southern end of Vernon & Waddel Streets this is the only beach in the Keys were dogs, as well as other pets, can go to freely swim and play. 

It is a favorite of families with pets but don’t plan on having the kids build sand castles or laying out on your towel to catch some rays while Fido is frolicking with Fifi; it is a dog’s beach!  It is not cleaned by the city; just by responsible pet owners. 

This parcel of land is squeezed between Louie’s Backyard and The Reach Resort.  To make sure I don’t steer you wrong I called our friends at Louie’s Backyard and confirmed your pooch is still welcome at the bar during lunch hour so you can grab a delicious bite to eat while your dog catches the waves.

As a side note: if you want to go to Louie’s for dinner and bring the dog, to be on the safe side, you should give the manager a call first to see what the crowd is like.

Rest Beach

Located next to Higgs Beach, Rest Beach is wheelchair accessible and where you will find the White Street Pier.  This is a great place to fish, relax, and enjoy the natural vegetation.

Fort Zachary Taylor

This 54 acre state park is where the Atlantic meets the Gulf of Mexico and home to probably the all around best beach Key West has to offer. 

If you prefer to sit in the shade; no problem. If you like to roast under the sun; no problem. If you want to swim or snorkel; no problem. If you’d rather sit on a beach chair but forgot to bring one; no problem. If you like to bike or walk along the wooded park; no problem! 

I think you get the idea. 

In addition to all that there is also the Civil War fort, which you can get a guided tour of, and fishing is allowed on the western end.  It is a wonderful place to see the famous sunset views Key West is known for.  Public restrooms, a food and drink kiosk, chair rentals, picnic tables and BBQ grill pits are there too. The beach can be a bit rocky so I advise bringing your flipflops. There is an admission fee. To get to the beach you enter through the Truman Annex at Southard Street.

South Beach

Despite its name the beach is not related to its Miami namesake. This small and open area is a favorite of locals. The beach is nice and sandy and the water is fairly shallow allowing you to walk out quite a way. There is also a concrete pier.  

There are no restrooms or facilities but there is a snack bar and you can easily walk to nearby restaurants. The beach is located at the south end of Duval Street on the Atlantic Ocean.

Broken Glass Beach

At first glance this probably was not the best choice in names for a public beach area in a tourist town, however; there was method to the madness and it has to do with a bit of Key West history, albeit the less exciting side. 

This strip of the Atlantic shoreline is best accessed at low tide and getting to it does require steeping down off a retaining wall. The terrain is somewhat rocky and thus this not my first recommendation for beaches. 

The name Broken Glass Beach stems from when the local garbage dump used to be situated on the site many years ago and it has been obviously well cleaned up since. Well some of the broken glass remained and after years of being pounded by the surf and being rolled back and forth over the rocks, corral and sand, these glass pieces are now nicely rounded and are much sought after by jewelry makers!

Simonton Beach

We love our town and all its charm to bits and I want you to enjoy every part of what I share with you, however; suffice it to say Simonton Beach is not really a place you need to visit. We added it here to cancel any doubt about not having included it, just in case you wonder why when you see it on a map.

Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas

Articles like this wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the most inaccessible national park in America, 70 miles off the shores of Key West, out on Garden Key. 

This group of seven small islands, first discovered by Ponce de Leon, is home to the largest coastal fort; the majestic Fort Jefferson. The only ways to get there are by high speed ferry or seaplane, both of which depart from Key West and since seating is limited on each trip out you are best advised to book in advance

The trip is worth it though. The palm lined beaches are pristine and snorkeling over the living reef is an experience you’ll never forget!

Apart from some of the best beaches in the US, Key West is also known for watersports, lively nightlife, historic sites, and, of course, their Key Lime Pie.


Where to Find the Best Key Lime Pie in Key West

There are many reasons to visit Key West in Florida.

From the bars that open at the crack of dawn to the chance to explore the third largest barrier reef in the world and enjoy the endless summer weather. Most importantly, however, is for the key lime pie in Key West.

There’s a lot of delicious foods to try while traveling in Key West. You can expect a wide array of seafood dishes, from lobster and crab to snapper, hogfish and grouper. But there are a few dishes that many consider the official foods of Key West. Conch fritters and key lime pie are among these.

We’re here, in partnership with Hotels.com, to talk about key lime pie in Key West. Why you need to try and where you can find the best pie in the city.

Firstly, what is key lime pie?

Key lime pie is a simple sweet American dessert made of Key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk with a pie crust. You’ll find it served either with no topping or topped with meringue topping or whipped cream.

Key lime pie in Key West with whipped cream
Traditional key lime pie with whipped cream

The history of key lime pie in Key West

There are a few stories going around about the origins of key lime pie. Some say it originates from New York while others say it was derived from the ‘Magic Lemon Cream Pie’ published on a promotional brochure by Borden, a producer of condensed milk.

The story told in Key West goes all the way back to the 1800s, when Key West sponge fisherman kept limes on board to prevent sickness. The fisherman, called ‘hookers’ by the locals, would whip up a sweet treat mixing the limes with condensed milk and sometimes adding a wild bird egg. They’d pour it over stale Cuban bread and leave it out to set in the sun.

The fisherman’s wives took it a step further and baked it in a pie crust. It was a modest dessert of the working class, up until Sarah Jane Lowe Curry, the daughter-in-law of Florida’s first millionaire started serving it. Known as Aunt Sally, she served it to the children visiting her home and it wasn’t long until it was served in every restaurant in Key West.

Where to find the best key lime pie in Key West

There are countless key lime pie recipes, with more and more variations popping up all the time. While in Key West, you’re likely to find a few different variations along with the more traditional recipe.

Good thing is, you don’t have to choose which is the best, you can try them all!

Here’s a few places where you’ll find the best key lime pie in Key West:

The Stoned Crab

The Stone Crab is known to have some of the best key lime pie in Key West. They have the traditional key lime pie with classic ingredients, graham crackers and fresh whipped cream. But, also a few versions with chocolate and lime glaze.

It’s a casual vibe here, with both indoor and outdoor seating. The menu also includes a bunch of other Key West favorites including conch fritters, Key West pink shrimp and other seafood dishes.

Address: 3101 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, Florida

Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe

Kermit’s claims to serve the original key lime pie in Key West. It’s been declared the best in the city, even from the Food Network. Their version of the pie also follows the traditional recipe of creamy lemon filling, graham cracker crust and whipped cream on top.

Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe also sells a large variety of other items with a key lime flavor. Including key lime cookies, key lime salsa, key lime chutney, key lime taffy, key lime tea and key lime olive oil.

Not matter what other key lime pies you try while in Key West, make sure to also visit Kermit’s!

Address: 200 Elizabeth St, Key West, Florida

Blue Heaven

If you’re not a purest, then Blue Heaven’s version of key lime pie is just for you. They serve up a piled-high meringue pie which is loved by all meringue lovers! They stick to the buttery graham cracker crust and sweet lime filling.

Blue Heaven is located in the funky, historic district’s Bahama Village. It features a perfect Key West ambiance, with live music and laid-back atmosphere.

Address: 729 Thomas St, Key West, Florida

Traditional key lime pie with meringue
Traditional key lime pie with meringue

Old Town Bakery

From the outside, the Old Town Bakery looks like any old tackle shop that you’d find in Florida. Inside, you’ll find a lovely casual and laid-back vibe, with the traditional glass front pastry display cases featuring an array of delicious desserts. Their most requested is the key lime pie.

They also stick to the traditional recipe with whipped cream, and you can buy it by the slice or just take the whole pie (you’ll probably want the whole pie). They also sell fresh-made baguettes, sandwiches and pastries.

Address: 930 Eaton St, Key West, Florida

Key West Key Lime Pie Company

‘If we don’t make it, we don’t sell it’ – is the motto for Key West Key Lime Pie Company. They’ve also been voted a favorite from some big names, including Food Network’s Throw Down With Bobby Flay and CNBC’s The Profit with Marcus Lemonis.

Their traditional key lime pies are a favorite, but they also play around with a few other flavors, including mango, blueberry, toasted coconut, and extra tart flavors. They’ll even dip your slice of pie into a rich and decadent chocolate! They also have a gluten free crust, so really something for everyone.

Address: 511 Greene Street, Key West, Florida

Hotels in Key West that serve a great key lime pie

What could be better than staying in the best neighborhoods of Key West and that you know serves a great slice of key lime pie? That means pie for breakfast, pie for tea, pie for dessert…or just because, any time of day!

Here are a few hotels in Key West that serve delicious key lime pie:

We hope that your tastebuds are salivating and you’re ready to head straight to Key West to try out some of the best key lime pie in America!


Malmö West Sweden from the top

Nature Experiences in West Sweden

 

Just a short journey outside the city of Gothenburg is the wildnerss of Dalsland,  the unique Bohuslän archipelago with its beautiful smooth granite shoreline against the open horizon, and the scenic plains, hills and forests of Västergötland.

Here’s our roundup of how to discover West Sweden’s nature at its best:

Canoeing in Dalsland

Experience nature close-up, wild and genuine with a Dalsland canoeing trip. Feel like an adventurer, find serenity and experience privacy even though you are only 180 kilometers from Gothenburg. This is by far one of Europe’s finest lake systems, rich in nature with clean air and fresh water. More than 1000 lakes, Dalsland Canal and water is so clean and clear that you can drink it!

Kayaking in Bohuslän

All the way from the Gothenburg archipelago in the south to the Koster islands in the north, is a paddler’s paradise of marine national park, nature reserves, deserted isles, fishermen’s huts and clear blue waters. This is Sweden’s first marine national park and takes in the Koster Sea and the Koster Islands; above and below the water line some 12,000 species live here. The Bohuslän coast and its islands is one of the top 10 last great wilderness areas in the world, according to CNN. You find more than 8 000 island, no tide water and kayaking rentals or guided tours along the coast.

Hiking

Hiking in Sweden’s western regions is a nature experience like no other. You get the best of the wonderful coastal scenery, magical forests, endless lakes and historic landscapes rich in culture. Combine your walk with charming accommodation and food from the area.

The Gotaleden is a walking trail close to the city of Gothenburg, which has been divided into nine stages covering a total of 71 kilometres. Proximity to train stations on the different stages makes it easy to adapt the walk as you want. Natural landscapes along the trail are varied and beautiful, with lakes you can swim in, fantastic viewpoints and undulating countryside.

Making a pilgrimage is an ancient tradition that occurs throughout the world. Two of Sweden’s most beautiful pilgrim paths run through West Sweden’s primeval forests and historic cultural land. Adventurous walkers sought the peace and tranquillity of the countryside as early as the Middle Ages, until Gustav Vasa banned pilgrimages in the mid-16th century.

The Kuststigen is one of the most scenic hiking trails in West Sweden. It stretches from the island of Tjörn in the south, all the way up the west coast to Oslo. Some of the stages are on islands in the Bohuslän archipelago.

Bohus Path in West Sweden is a classic long-distance footpath that stretches from Strömstadin the north to Lindome in the south.

Seafood safaris and experiences

Fish and shellfish from West Sweden are as good as any in the world. In the cold, fresh, salty waters off the west coast there are prawns, langoustine, lobster, mussels, oysters – and fantastic fish, of course. So if you love seafood, the west coast offers the finest available, as well as a wide range of wild experiences.

72h cabin in Dalsland

Swedish nature helps you become less stressed, according to a new case study from Sweden. By spending 72 hours in glass cabins on an island of their own, five people with stressful jobs got to experience the Swedish ‘close to nature’ lifestyle. “The participants decreased their stress levels with almost 70 percent”, says Walter Osika, Researcher in Stress and also Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Now, Sweden invites the rest of the world to wind down in nature like a Swede, making the glass cabins available for everyone to book for a 72 hour stay.

In Dalsland you find 3 locations for the glass cabins: Dalslands Aktiviteter, Happy Celery Glasscabins and Henriksholm. Each of them is a unique experience.  Dalslands Aktiviteter is great for those who love outdoor activities and adventures.Happy Celery Glass cabins offers vegan food, meditation, yoga and life coaching (NEW for May 2020). Henriksholm is the island where you can find the 5 original glass cabins.