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Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is the best beach in Key West. (If you are looking for pristine, white sand, you don’t want Key West…) The beach is rocky, but beautiful. Bring flip flops! You can snorkel right off shore on several rock reefs, watch cruise ships enter and exit the harbor, snooze on the beach under the trees, or watch fisherman try their luck on the seawall… The beach has a reasonably priced snack bar, showers, and bathroom facilities. It’s worth the trip.

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One of the reasons this beach is not often used by visitors is that it is somewhat difficult to find. To reach it, drive south on Southard Street and into Truman Annex. The road ends at a guard shack, where a small entrance fee is collected. The beach is half a mile further on well paved roads, with ample parking available right at the ocean.

The first thing you notice is that the land behind the beach is covered with Australian Pines, which provide welcome shade in the blistering summer heat. Beneath the trees, picnic tables and grills share space with sculpture by artists from around the world, making for an interesting stroll through this wispy forest.

The beach is a combination of sand and coral rock. Most families and swimmers choose to stay on the sand strip, since it fronts a sheltered cove that slopes gently and usually has calm waters. Snorkelers generally prefer the rocky areas, which attract small tropical fish. There is also a short nature trail within the park and bicycling is strongly encouraged, although bikes are restricted from the beach and picnic areas for safety. The excellent facilities include a well-stocked food concession, gift store, equipment rentals, and well-maintained restrooms.

In the event that you need more of a break from the sun that the trees can provide, opt for a guided tour of the historic fort, where you can learn how Fort Taylor shortened the Civil war and why it was reduced from three stories to one. Tours are offered daily at 12:00 Noon and 2:00 p.m.

While this is not necessarily a secret, locals are not particularly forthcoming about it when asked about local beaches; more often than not, they will send folks to the tourist beaches so that Fort Zach is reserved for those in the know. But now you now. If you are Key West bound, Fort Zachary Taylor is undoubtedly the best beach on the island.

Read more: http://beaches.uptake.com/blog/fort-zachary-taylor-beach-key-west-florida.html#ixzz0w1bjcnw0[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]