The Best Beaches in Key West

Beaches in Key West aren’t the best. If you want a great beach trip, you might consider going somewhere else in Florida.

But, there are a few good beaches in Key West. They’re not great, but they’re worth visiting if you have realistic expectations.

Here are all of the beaches in Key West, along with what you should expect, and know before visiting.

Map of Beaches in Key West

Key West is a tiny island, so most of the beaches are very close to each other. Some of the expensive private beach resorts on this list are literally next door to a public beach. 

You may notice that most of the beaches are lined up on the southern coastline, facing the Atlantic Ocean, although some are on the north side of the island.

Descriptions of Key West Beaches

Beach NameBeach Description
Smathers BeachExcellent. The best public beach in Key West. Nice white sand, many amenities. Free, but parking can get expensive.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park BeachExcellent. The second-best beach in Key West. Located inside a nice state park. Rocky sand in many places. Great swimming. Great parking. There’s a fee to enter.
Higgs BeachThird-best beach in Key West. Sand is OK, but it’s often crowded. This is probably the best beach snorkeling in Key West. Free parking, but limited capacity.
Simonton BeachDecent beach, but it’s tiny and often crowded. On the north side of the island instead of the south, like most beaches in Key West. Only public beach near Mallory Square.
Rest BeachNot a good beach. Maybe decent for water access like kiteboarding or launching a kayak, but few people hang out on this beach.
County BeachA large sandy area inside Higgs county park. Good place to lay in the sand away from crowds. No beach water entry because it has rocks and seawall instead, with stairs to the water.
Key West Nature PreserveWild, secluded beach. Not groomed or maintained at all. A cool, unusual beach to visit, off the beaten path. Dogs are allowed but must be on-leash.
South BeachTiny beach. Super crowded. Fun vibe, but it’s a tourist trap. Also known as the Southernmost Beach.
Dog BeachLocal favorite. The only beach in Key West where dogs can run free, off-leash. Very small.
The Pier House (Private)Located inside a private resort. Beautiful beach, but very small. Beautiful, clear water. Only beach in Key West that allows topless sunbathing.
Casa Marina Resort (Private)Located inside a private resort. Very nice beach. Nice imported sand and Right next door to Higgs Beach.
Sunset Key (Private)Located inside a private resort on a beautiful private island. Amazing beach, but very limited and expensive access, for resort guests only.
The Reach Resort (Private)Located inside a private resort. Very nice sand and water. Beautiful beach.
Straw Hat Beach (Private, military)Located inside the Key West. Key West Naval Air Station (NAS Key West). Nice beach but military base access is required.
List of the best beaches on Key West with descriptions

Smathers Beach

Smathers Beach is the best beach in Key West. 

White sand beach and crystal clear water. Smathers beach is the best beach in key west.
The nicest beach in Key West: Smathers Beach

It has excellent ocean views and is especially pretty on a calm day without wind or waves, when the water is a clear, emerald blue/green.

Smathers Beach is the longest, widest beach in Key West. The sandy beach is approximately .6 miles long (1,000 meters), and is about 50 feet wide, depending on the tide line.

Smathers beach is man-made. The sand is actually imported from the Bahamas and other beaches in Florida.

There is a small sandbar offshore of Smathers Beach which is fun to play on. The sandbar is best on calm days at low tide.

There are some palm trees on Smathers beach, but they don’t provide much shade.

Some stretches of beach have more trees than others, but in general there isn’t much natural shade. If shade is important to you it’s a good idea to rent an umbrella or your own beach shade.


Smathers Beach is located on the southern shores of Key West, along S. Roosevelt Blvd. 

Smathers Beach is basically the start (or end) of the awesome Highway A1A road trip, and is a good place to start or end a road trip from Miami to Key West.

Smathers Beach is located relatively far away from other restaurants and hotels. 

There are a few condos and hotels near Smathers Beach, including Margaritaville, but it’s not directly in the action near Duval Street, so keep that in mind while trip planning.


Smathers Beach receives a lot of visitors, but it’s large enough that it usually doesn’t feel crowded. The beach has many access points, which allow crowds to spread out. 

The beach is usually most crowded near the public restroom buildings. 

If you want to avoid crowds the beach is least crowded on the eastern edge of the beach, towards the airport.

Sand Quality

The sand at Smathers Beach is some of the nicest sand in Key West. It’s soft, white quartz sand, imported from the Bahamas and other beaches in Florida. 

The sand is renewed every two years or so because it erodes and washes away during storms and rough weather.

The sand at Smathers Beach is much smoother and softer than the beach at Fort Taylor, which is shelly, rocky and rough in spots which hurts bare feet.

Water Quality

Smathers Beach is probably the best beach for swimming in Key West, although the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is also good.

Like all beaches in the Keys, sargassum can be a major problem. It accumulates in large quantities and can make the beach disgusting and unusable for many people.

Access and Parking

There is on-street parking all along Smathers Beach. 

There is a large amount of paid parking directly in front of the beach, along S Roosevelt Blvd. Most areas have blue and white signs that say “Pay to park this block”.

Some locations may have parking on the other side of the street as well, across from the beach. Be on the lookout for no-parking signs, though and be sure to follow parking regulations. 

It’s not totally clear but there may be a large amount of free on-street parking on the east side of Smathers Beach, towards the airport. 

Be on the lookout for parking signs and be sure not to break the rules, or you’ll get a ticket or towed.

Except for parking, Smathers Beach is free to visit because it’s a free public beach.

Residential permits allow parking for up to 4 hours once per day. 

Overnight parking is prohibited after 11 pm, according to signs. 

Many people ask this – you’re not allowed to sleep in your vehicle in Key West, and beach camping is not allowed.

Smathers Beach is accessible via city bus. It’s located along the bus route, with designated bus stops.

Activities and Amenities

There are public restroom buildings at two locations on Smathers Beach. 

One public restroom is at the west end of the beach, and one is around at the halfway point of the beach, across from Margaritaville.

There are outdoor beach showers to rinse off salt water after ocean swimming.

There are beach chair and umbrella rentals at several points along the beach. 

One restroom building is at the west end of the beach, and the other’s at the midpoint of the beach, in front of Margaritaville. 

These spots also have watercraft rentals, including jet ski rentals, beach catamaran sailboat rentals, SUP paddleboards and kayaks.

There’s a volleyball court at the western edge of the beach, just east of the public restrooms and beach showers.

There are usually food trucks parked along the beach with shaved ice, drinks and snacks.

Smathers Beach is a popular place for beach weddings in Key West. 

It’s one of the most beautiful, photogenic beaches in Key West, especially when the water is calm, blue and beautiful.

Downsides of Smathers Beach

One downside of Smathers Beach is that it’s located relatively far from hotel areas. It’s not an easy beach to walk to, although there are some condos and hotels nearby.

Like all beaches in Key West, Smathers Beach may be unusable at times due to the bad smell from sargassum, when it accumulates. 

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Some people complain that street traffic can be loud, but it’s separated by a large grassy barrier in most places so the sound doesn’t carry as much. 

At times there can be loud, obnoxious noise from planes because the beach is next to the airport. 

More Information

Read more from the City of Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor

The beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is a great spot. In my opinion it’s the second-best beach in Key West, after Smathers Beach. 

The beaches at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, some of the best beaches in Key West. Clear water and white sand beaches.

Depending on your priorities and preferences it could easily be the best beach, and even better than Smathers Beach.

The beach at “Fort Taylor” offers beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also interesting to see cruise ships sail into the Key West cruise terminal.

Fort Taylor State Park is one of the best beaches for snorkeling in Key West, especially when the water is calm and clear. It’s often possible to see a variety of tropical fish, especially among the rocks.

Dolphins are often seen. Sea turtles sometimes nest on the sandy beaches, although they prefer finer sand which is easier to dig in.

There is another small patch of ungroomed “beach” water access at the edge of the park, along the boundary and fence line of the cruise pier. This is probably not where most people would go to swim or use the beach, but there is some additional water access besides the main beach area.


Fort Zachary Taylor beach is located on the south western edge of the island, nearest the cruise ship channel.

The isolated location of the state park makes it a relatively long walk during hot and humid weather.


The state park is relatively large (54 acres) but the beaches can feel crowded because it’s such a popular spot.

Sand Quality

The sand at Fort Zachary Taylor is mixed. Some are relatively soft, but much of it is very rough and coarse. 

The beach sand is painful to walk on while barefoot because it’s filled with crushed limestone rock, seashells and crushed coral. Many people wear sandals or water shoes on the beach and in the water.

Water Quality

The water at Fort Zachary Taylor beach is excellent. It’s one of the best shore swimming and snorkeling spots in Key West. 

The water clarity varies a lot. Visibility is best when water conditions are calm, but it can be cloudy and murky when there is a lot of wave action, or when large cruise ships cause damage to the sea floor.

The water is partially protected by a series of offshore rock barriers which protect against waves and beach erosion. 

The rocks give shelter to fish and marine life so it is a relatively interesting place to snorkel. But, be warned, there really is not going to be any super interesting coral or anything to see. 

Access and Parking

There is a state park entrance fee of approximately $6 per vehicle. The price varies slightly depending on how many people are in the car. The fee is $2.50 for pedestrians. 

Parking at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is excellent. It’s one of the best places to park in Key West, in my opinion. It’s one of very few options which offers easy, affordable all-day parking.

There are on-site Bike rentals so it’s a good place to park, rent bikes and go explore the rest of the island by bike. One of the only downsides is that the state park closes relatively early, and some people may think the bike ride or walk might be too long, depending on where you’re going.

The park is open from 8 am until sunset, 365 days a year. The historic fort closes at 5pm.

Activities and Amenities

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park has great amenities. 

There are barbecue grills and picnic tables scattered around the park.

There is an on-site restaurant called the Cayo Hueso Cafe. The cafe serves sandwiches, wraps, snacks, drinks, beer, wine and cocktails. There is an on-site ATM.

There are on-site restrooms, showers and gear rentals, including:

  • Beach chairs and umbrellas
  • Snorkeling masks, fins, rafts 
  • Bicycle and misc. beach gear

The state park concessionaire site has more information.

There is a great amount of natural shade from Australian Pines and other natural shade trees. Visitors may still want to bring their own shade to use on the beach, though.

The state park is one of the best wedding venues in Key West.


  • Rough beach sand can hurt bare feet
  • The beach can feel crowded due to its limited size and large crowds
  • The beach can be disgusting and unusable when seaweed and sargassum accumulate
  • The water is often murky during windy conditions or when the water is rough

More Information

Read more from Florida State Parks

Key West Nature Center

The Key West Nature Center is a small patch of undeveloped mangrove forest and wetland. It was formerly known as the Berg Nature Preserve.

There is a short trail through mangrove forest, leading to a nice, quiet, undeveloped beach. The path is filled with lizards and iguanas, giving it an adventurous, tropical feel.

This is a fun place to explore and get off the beaten path. These are also some of the only remaining mangroves in Key West.


The Key West Nature Preserve is located east of Higgs Beach and west of Smathers Beach. This is some of the only remaining undeveloped beaches in Key West.

The preserve is sandwiched between two fancy condominiums, the Casa Caselles and the Coconut Palms of Key West.

The location stretches along a city block on Atlantic Blvd. The location of one entrance is approximately 1798 Atlantic Blvd. There is another at approximately 1616 Atlantic Blvd.


The Key West Nature Center is the site of the least-known beaches in Key West, so it is usually not crowded. It isn’t exactly a “secret beach”, but most people don’t know it’s there.

Sand Quality

The sand is rough and is usually very covered in sargassum and debris. Be on the lookout for debris.

Water Quality

The water quality should be average and equal to other beaches in Key West. Be on the lookout for debris in the water while swimming.

Access and Parking

There is a long, narrow public beach which is accessed via two wooden boardwalks. The whole place is easy to miss, but there is a sign. There is not any on-site parking.

Activities and Amenities

There are short nature walks through some of the only remaining natural mangroves in Key West, and protected wetlands. 

Dogs are allowed at the nature center beach but must be on-leash.


The Key West Nature Center has been “adopted” by the Key West Garden Club, but it’s all totally natural and is not groomed, it doesn’t really seem to be maintained very closely.

If you walk on the beach it’s good to be on the lookout for dangerous debris in the sand and sargassum. There are many warning signs to enjoy the beach and trails at your own risk. 

Higgs Beach

The official name of Higgs Beach is “Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park”, but most people call it Higgs Beach for short.

I personally rate Higgs Beach as the third-best public beach in Key West, after Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor Beach. 

Higgs Beach has a nice, wide-open stretch of sand, although it’s usually hard-packed and somewhat rocky. 

There is a decent amount of sandy beach, while other sections have rocky shoreline or cement breakwater.

There are some sparse palm trees for shade, but visitors should bring their own shade or umbrellas for good shade. Or, rent umbrellas on-site from a beach rental vendor.

Interestingly, Higgs Beach is located right next door to the Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina Resort, one of the best private beaches in Key West.

The beach at Casa Marina Resort has much nicer sand and is much better groomed. But, the actual water and swimming experience is pretty similar since the two beaches are right next door.

Most public beaches in Key West are owned and operated by the City of Key West, but Higgs Beach is maintained and operated by Monroe County.


Higgs Beach is located near several other attractions, including: 

  • The Edward B. Knight Pier (White Street Pier)
  • West Martello Tower and Key West Garden Club
  • Onsite restaurant and others nearby
  • The Key West African Cemetery
  • The Key West Aids Memorial
  • County Beach
  • C.B. Harvey Rest Beach
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The actual beach at Higgs Beach is a relatively small space. It often feels crowded, especially during nice weather. To get more space for laying out or sun bathing it’s possible to go to nearby County Beach, although that beach area is not as nice.

Sand Quality

The sand at Higgs Beach isn’t great. It can be rocky and hard-packed. Quite a bit of the beach is actually seawall or rock, rather than sandy beach entry.

Water Quality

The water quality at Higgs Beach is generally good and is on par with other beaches in Key West.

Access and Parking

Higgs Beach has a moderate amount of free on-site parking, although RV parking is not allowed.

Higgs Beach is easily accessed via a bike path, which is part of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.

Activities and Amenities

Higgs Beach gives the best shore snorkeling access to the Key West Marine Park via the beach and Reynolds Street Pier, which extends far out into the water.

The Marine Park has some of the only beach snorkeling in Key West, although the visibility varies, and experienced snorkelers should come with low expectations.

If you want good snorkeling in Key West you’ll need to go offshore.

Still, there are some things to see.

Sponge and some types of coral grow in and around the pier, which acts as an artificial reef. There are usually fish and marine life inside the seagrass, including starfish, conchs, tropical fish, sea urchins. 

Water clarity varies dramatically depending on the weather. Visibility can be excellent, or poor, depending on tide, wind and wave conditions

Higgs Beach has quite a few amenities, including:

  • On-site public restrooms
  • Outdoor showers
  • Covered pavilions
  • Volleyball court
  • Nearby tennis and pickleball courts
  • Children’s playground
  • Chair and umbrella rentals
  • Bicycle rentals
  • Marine park and beach snorkeling
  • Nearby dog park

There is an on-site restaurant, “Salute! On the Beach”, which has limited hours and serves lunch and dinner.

Higgs Beach is a popular venue for beach weddings in Key West.


Like all beaches in Key West, Higgs Beach has downsides. The biggest downsides are poor sand quality, small space and crowds.

Higgs Beach can have large amounts of sargassum seaweed accumulate on the beach. This can be very smelly at times and may cause unpleasant beach conditions.

More Information

Address: 1000 Atlantic Blvd, Key West, Florida

Read more about Higgs Beach

County Beach

County Beach is a small stretch of waterfront and quasi-beach.

People refer to “County Beach” as if it’s a separate beach, but it’s really included inside the larger Monroe County-owned property of Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park.


County Beach is located between Higgs Beach and Rest Beach, behind the West Martello Tower.

Address: 1100 Atlantic Blvd, Key West, Florida


County Beach is larger, and is usually less crowded than Higgs Beach because there is not a traditional beach water entry.

Most visitors go to Higgs Beach, so County Beach remains a bit quieter and less crowded.

Sand Quality

The beach is actually quite large and wide, but there is a large seawall and rock breakwater instead of a beach entry. The sand at County Beach is hard-packed.

Water Quality

The water quality at County Beach is similar to other beaches in Key West, but one downside is that it’s only accessible via stairs over the seawall.

County Beach is not a great place for swimming, but it is a good place for accessing the waterfront.

Access and Parking

Limited free parking is available inside Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park. RV parking is not allowed.

Activities and Amenities

County Beach is located near the base of Edward B. Knight Pier, also known as the White Street Pier. 

The beach is also near the site of the Key West Aids Memorial and the African Cemetery memorial.


County Beach doesn’t have a traditional beach water entry. Instead it has a seawall with stair access.

Rest Beach

Rest Beach is a public beach, owned and maintained by the City of Key West. Its official name is the C.B. Harvey Rest Beach Park.

Rest Beach is more of a waterfront park than a beach. It is not a popular swimming beach, and is not widely visited. 

Most people visit and spend time at Higgs Beach instead. 

Some people, including kite surfers, paddle boarders, kayakers, and others do use Rest Beach for launching, but otherwise it’s not a popular beach for swimming or sunbathing.

Rest Beach is located just to the east of the Edward B. Knight Pier (White Street Pier).

Rest Beach is basically next door to County Beach, Higgs Beach, and the larger Higgs county park area.

Sunset Key

Sunset Key is a small, exclusive private island near Key West. 


The exclusive private island of Sunet Key is located just offshore from Key West.


These beaches are only accessible to island guests, so they are not crowded like every other public beach in Key West.

Sand Quality

Sunset Key has beautiful private beaches with white sand.

There are beaches around the island. The best beaches are located on the north and west sides of the island. The north side is protected from southerly wind and swells, while the west side of the island is protected by rock breakwaters.

Water Quality

The water quality is good. Visibility is often good but it depends on wind and wave conditions.

Access and Parking

The island is only accessible via private boat or public ferry from Key West. Public visitors are allowed to visit some areas, like the restaurant, but most of the island is off-limits to the public, and is for the private use of resort guests, owners and authorized guests.

Activities and Amenities

The island is home to a restaurant, luxury resort and private residences.

Sunset Key has two restaurants, a spa and other amenities. Some areas of the island are open for day-use visitors, while most of the island is reserved for resort guests and private residence owners.

Sunset Key is a popular wedding venue and honeymoon destination.


The island and beaches are beautiful, but the beach areas are small. The biggest downside is that the beaches are not publicly accessible, and are only available to people who stay at the resort or have island access.

More Information

Read more about the beaches on Sunset Key

Dog Beach

The “Dog Beach” in Key West is tiny, but it is extremely popular!

This is the only public beach in Key West that allows dogs to be off-leash.

Dog Beach is very small, and is only about 40 feet wide. It’s sandwiched between a Louie’s Backyard restaurant and a large wooden fence, shared with a neighboring resort.


Dog Beach is located at 1500 Vernon Ave, Key West, FL 33040. It’s right next door to Louie’s Backyard restaurant.


The Key West Dog Beach is extremely popular, and much-loved. 

Sometimes it’s empty, and sometimes it’s filled with playing dogs. Many locals bring their dogs here so it can be more crowded on weekends and after work hours.

Sand Quality

The sand is actually rather soft, deep and white. Its quality is not the greatest, but dogs rarely complain.

Water Quality

Water quality varies a lot depending on wind and wave conditions, and the presence of sargassum.

Access and Parking

There is some on-street parking nearby. A long walk may be required depending on parking availability.

Activities and Amenities

There is a nice amount of shade thanks to lush green palm trees.


The biggest downside is that the beach is tiny and other pet owners can be inconsiderate. 

There is often a mix of large and small dogs, and things can sometimes get out of hand. Visitors should pay attention to their surroundings.

Sargassum can also be a major downside when it accumulates.

More Information

Address: 1500 Vernon Avenue, Key West, Florida. At the intersection of Waddell and Vernon.

Read more about the Key West Dog Beach

South Beach

South Beach is one of the most popular public beaches in Key West. Not because it’s best – but mostly because it’s convenient to visit, and is very close to Duval Street.

South Beach in Key West, Florida. The southernmost beach in Florida Keys.

South Beach has a very small sandy beach that’s about 200 feet long. It’s squeezed between the Southernmost Resort on one side and a pier on the other side. 

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There is a larger section of sand further back away from the waterfront, beneath palm trees.


South Beach is located at the south end of Simonton Street, at the intersection of South Street. If you follow Simton all the way to the other end you’ll hit Simonton Beach.

South Beach is just a few blocks and around the corner from the Southernmost Point Buoy


South Beach is usually packed with tourists. It feels very crowded because it often has large crowds packed into a very small beach area.

Sand Quality

The sand quality is decent, but is hard-packed around the water area. Visitors should have low expectations.

Water Quality

The water quality is good, but it’s best during calm weather, without wind or waves. 

During calm conditions the water is very pretty, but when it’s windy or wavy it is not nearly as beautiful.

Sargassum seaweed can accumulate in large quantities, which can be smelly and unpleasant. 

Waves can also be surprisingly large and rough, and can even crash against the pier, when wind and waves are out of the south.

Access and Parking

Parking is scarce. There is some paid on-street parking, but it is difficult to find an open spot. There is an electronic pay station.

Activities and Amenities

The Southernmost Beach Cafe sits right behind South Beach. 

There are usually beach chairs and umbrellas on the beach which are free for Southernmost Resort guests, but are available for rent by non-guests. There are not any public restrooms at South Beach.

There are restaurants nearby, including those on Duval Street and the on-site Southernmost Beach Cafe, which is located right behind the beach.

There is a small concrete pier on-site named the Ponce de Leon Fishing Pier, also known as the Emma Carrero Cates Pier.


The biggest downside to South Beach is that it’s tiny, crowded, and doesn’t have amenities.

More Information

Read more about South Beach

Simonton Beach

Simonton Beach is a very small beach in downtown Key West. It has a strong urban beach feel because it’s narrowly sandwiched between buildings on either side.

Simton Beach is a popular place for tourists to visit because it’s the only public beach near Mallory Square or the cruise pier.

Simonton Beach has good waterfront views. The beach points towards the northwest, making it one of the best places to watch the sunset in Key West. 

Simonton Beach also has good water views of Sunset Key and Wisteria Island in the distance.


Simonton Beach is located just off Simonton Street, which is where it gets its name.

The beach is sandwiched between the Pier House resort and a beach bar called Lagerheads.. 

Simonton Beach is located directly next door to the nice private beach at The Pier House resort.


Simonton Beach is a very small beach, and is very popular, so it is usually crowded.

Sand Quality

The sand is decent, and is white and loose, but also rocky in places. The beach area is very small, and usually stays crowded.

Water Quality

The water at Simonton Beach is usually calm and protected. The water can be extremely clear when the water is calm.

Simonton Beach is located on the north west side of the island, as opposed to the southern shores where almost all of the other beaches are located. 

Simonton Beach is located in a rather industrial location next to the cruise pier and Key West Bight, which may be off putting to some people and discourage them from swimming.

The beach is also sandwiched between buildings, which doesn’t give the water a very fresh or clean feel.

A small, roped off swimming area is present to protect against boat traffic. 

Access and Parking

Parking near Simonton Beach is scarce. There is a small amount of paid parking on-site but the lot is very small. There is also some paid on-street parking with an electric pay station.

Activities and Amenities

There are chairs with umbrellas available for rent, or visitors can bring their own.

There are watersports rentals on-site, including kayaks, water bikes and others. 

There is a restaurant and bar on-site, called Lagerheads bar and restaurant. Lagerheads serves Cuban coffee, snacks, and a full menu.

The Simonton Street beach features a small sand beach, a small concrete pier, beach games, a bar, and more.


The biggest downside to Simonton Beach is that it’s tiny and crowded. It’s not a traditional beach as most people would expect, so be sure to know what to expect before visiting.

More Information

The beach is open from 7am to 11pm and does not have lifeguards. 

Read more about Simonton Beach

Casa Marina Resort

The beach at Casa Marina Resort is one of the nicest beaches in Key West. 

The beach itself is relatively small, but it’s very pretty and has nice imported sand. The beach is one block wide, about 1,000 feet long, and has palm trees for shade. 

The Casa Marina Resort itself is also really pretty. It’s one of the more historic properties in Key West, which dates back to the early 1900s.


The Casa Marina Beach is located inside the Casa Marina Hotel complex. It’s also right next door to Higgs Beach, although the beaches have different experiences.


The beach at Casa Marina is relatively small and can sometimes feel crowded. But, much less crowded than public beaches, and it’s larger than most other private beaches in Key West 

Sand Quality

The sand at Casa Marina Resort is excellent. It’s imported and the resort has even hosted international sand sculpting contests in the past.

Water Quality

The water quality is good. Sargassum and seaweed are present at times, which happens at all beaches in the Keys. The hotel does a better job of cleaning the beach than public beaches.

Access and Parking

The beach at Casa Marina is private and is exclusively used by hotel guests.

Activities and Amenities

The Casa Marina beach is located inside the private resort complex. The beach has access to kayak rentals, swimming, snorkeling and other water activities for hotel guests.


The biggest downside of the Casa Marina beach is that it’s only for use by hotel guests. The beach is also relatively small, but is big compared to most beaches on the small island.

More Information

Read more about the beach at Casa Marina

The Pier House

The Pier House has one of the most beautiful private beaches in Key West.


The Pier House Hotel beach is located on the north side of Key West, right next door to Simonton Street Beach.


The Pier House beach is small, so it can feel crowded when many guests are present.

Sand Quality

The sand at the Pier House beach is nice, white and soft.

Water Quality

The Pier House is located on the north side of the island, just around the corner from the cruise ship pier and Key West Harbor. The north side of the island is much more protected from southern wind and waves, so the water is more calm and is usually more clear than beaches on the south side of the island.

Access and Parking

The Pier House beach is private and is only accessible via the Pier House Hotel for use by guests.

Activities and Amenities

The Pier House Hotel is one of the only beaches in Key West which allows topless sunbathing.


The biggest downside is that the beach is very small. Some people may not like the “feel” of the water because it is sandwiched between buildings and feels more confined than beaches which face the southern Atlantic side.

More Information

Read more about the Pier House Beach

The Reach Resort Beach

The Reach Resort in Key West has one of the nicest private beaches in Key West. 

The beach, and the surrounding grounds, are well maintained and beautiful. The beach itself has nice sand and nice clear water, especially when wind and waves are minimal.


The beach for The Reach Resort is located on the southern shores of Key West, roughly between South Beach and Dog Beach.


The beach at The Reach is not huge, but it’s big enough that it doesn’t feel too crowded. The beach is a bit over 300 feet long and it’s about 60 feet wide, from the water’s edge up to the building boundary. 

Sand Quality

The sand at The Reach beach is quite nice. It’s fine and a bright white. Sargassum and seaweed sometimes accumulate, as with all beaches in the Keys.

Water Quality

The water quality at The Reach beach is good, and is equal to that of other beaches on the south shores of Key West. Seagrass and sargassum do accumulate at times, which is normal and should be expected.

The water is most beautiful, clear and calm when wind and wave action is minimal.

Access and Parking

The beach at The Reach resort is private and is only for the use of hotel guests.

Activities and Amenities

There are many on-site amenities for hotel guests. There are also water craft activities on-site, including jet skis, paddleboards and others.

There is a large covered over-the-water cabana on the beach, extending out over the water. The gazebo divides the beach roughly in two and is a beautiful spot for weddings or spending time on the water.

The beach at The Reach is very photogenic and is a popular beach wedding venue.


The biggest downside is that seagrass and sargassum can accumulate at times, but that is true for all beaches in the Keys. 

The beach is also somewhat small. But, it is large compared to other private beaches in Key West, and is about the same size as some public beaches on the island, and even larger than some public beaches.

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