A Guide To The Best Beaches In The Florida Keys

By Ketki Hanamshet on Jan 10, 2020
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The Florida Keys is defined by vast spans of shallow waters and a number of man-made beaches. While we have already introduced to you the best beaches in Key West that call you to have the perfect beach-y holiday, the other barrier islands of the Florida Keys archipelago are not far behind from impressing you. From the beaches of Big Pine Key like Calusa Beach and Loggerhead Beach to the sandy shores of Vaca Key like Coco Plum Beach and Sombrero Beach, you will have the opportunity of hopping from one beach to another and have your fill of the sun, sand, and sea. Check out these top beaches in the Florida Keys and get ready for some sunbathing time.      

Beaches in the Upper Keys

1. Far Beach, Key Largo 

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Far Beach is located in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park of Key Largo and is an ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon. It is one of the two human-made beaches in the state park. With a picnic area and a children’s playground nearby, this is one of the most family-friendly beaches in the Florida Keys. While a refreshing swim in the waters sounds a great idea, you may also go kayaking, paddle boarding, or canoeing along the water trails to explore the mangroves. 

2. Cannon Beach, Key Largo 

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Cannon Beach is also located in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park of Key Largo. The beach derives its name from the 17th-century cannons that lie on its shore. A Spanish shipwreck replica lies at the bottom of the crystal clear blue waters, not very far from the Cannon Beach. This and the variety of marine life, along with the awe-inspiring coral reef has made this one of the best snorkeling beaches in the Florida Keys. 

3. Harry Harris Park, Key Largo 

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Located in a residential neighborhood, off the main road in Key Largo, Harry Harris Park is a favorite amongst local families. It has a small beach, considered to be one of the top man-made beaches in the Keys. The sand is shipped to the beach whenever required, granting it a tropical feel. The shallow waters here make it safe for the kids to enjoy a good splash or a refreshing swim. Public restrooms, picnic tables, and a playground are a few of the facilities available near the beach in the park.  

Beaches in the Middle Keys

4. Long Key State Park, Long Key 

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The Long Key State Park was hit by Hurricane Irma, and yet continues to attract guests. Its beach area is very small but usually remains uncrowded, allowing you to have it all to yourself at times. You will find picnic tables and BBQ grills quite close to the shores. While fishing and swimming in the shallow waters are the most enjoyed activities at the Long Key State Park beach, you can also go snorkeling or kayaking to some nearby lagoons. 

5. Curry Hammock State Park, Marathon 

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The long beach at Curry Hammock State Park is considered a hidden gem amongst the Florida Keys beaches. During your visit to the beach, launch your paddleboard or a kayak to go exploring the mangroves and the seagrass beds. Windsurfing and kiteboarding are two other adventurous water sports that you can enjoy here. After the recreational activities, just lie on the soft sandy beach and sunbathe to your heart’s content.  

6. Sombrero Beach, Marathon 

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Catch some warm rays and enjoy a swim by visiting Sombrero Beach - one of the lesser-known beaches in the Florida Keys. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, this beach has soft sand and clear waters, attracting those who love snorkeling. You can also walk your dog along the Sombrero Beach, provided it is kept on leash. Another notable feature of the beach is that it is handicapped-accessible. A picnic under the sheltered pavilion here and a game of beach volleyball ensures that you will have a gala time by the ocean. 

7. Coco Plum Beach, Marathon 

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Coco Plum Beach in Marathon is one of the few natural beaches in the Keys. Its shoreline serves as a nesting site for endangered species of turtles, owing to which you might find it closed to the public at times. Although it is a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike, the beach wouldn’t appear to be crowded as it spans a large area. Restrooms and a sheltered pavilion are the facilities available at Coco Plum Beach. You can also walk along this sandy stretch with your pets.   

8. Founders Park Beach, Islamorada 

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The Founders Park Beach in Islamorada features a pirate ship-themed playground, making it one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys to visit with kids. Besides, the beach also has grills and a picnic area, attracting families to have a fun day out by the sea. Enjoy a game at the volleyball court or swim in the shallow bay of the Founders Park Beach, you can choose to indulge in a number of typical beach activities here. Apart from the lovely beach, Founders Park has a dog park, a marina, and a pool with a splash pad to entertain you.  

9. Anne’s Beach, Islamorada 

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Anne’s Beach is one of those beaches in the Florida Keys that has been restored to its previous glory after being destructed by Hurricane Irma. A favorite amongst the locals, this beach has shallow waters, mangroves along the shore, and boardwalk to take a leisurely stroll. As the beach has no waves but strong wind, it is an ideal spot to take up kitesurfing. Enjoy splashing in the water or build sandcastles with kids, at Anne’s Beach you will find joy in the simplest of beach activities. 

Beaches in the Lower Keys

10. Calusa Beach, Big Pine Key 

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The Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key has a total of three beaches with the Calusa Beach being the smallest of them all. Although a small sandy stretch, it is equipped with a number of amenities including freshwater showers, picnic pavilions, refreshment bars, and a souvenir shop. The beach is also home to a nature center and a marina. During your visit to Calusa Beach, you can either take a refreshing swim or go snorkeling to make the most of your time. 

11. Loggerhead Beach, Big Pine Key 

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Visitors of the Bahia Honda State Park make their way to Loggerhead Beach if they wish to spend some leisurely time. It is the large sandbar, several feet offshore, that attracts most of the visitors during low tide to put down their loungers on the visible sandhills and simply relax. Shallow waters separate the coast from this sandbar which otherwise stays submerged, except for low tide. Loggerhead Beach is also popular as one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys for stargazing after sunset.  

12. Sandspur Beach, Big Pine Key 

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The Sandspur Beach in Bahia Honda State Park is a 2.5 miles long sandy stretch, blessed with tranquility. Not many visitors head towards this beach, especially after it was hit by Hurricane Irma. The park authorities say that the beach continues to be under renovation and will be opened for the public in early 2020. Before being closed due to the hurricane destruction, Sandspur beach was described as ‘a piece of the Caribbean’ by Dr. Beach who has been evaluating and rating beaches for over 25 years. 

13. Veterans Memorial Park, Little Duck Key 

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Veterans Memorial Park offers a nice little beach that comes along with grills, picnic tables, and bathrooms. The shallow waters attract visitors to enjoy a warm dip. You can also access the waters by launching a kayak. If lazing by the waters is all you wish to do, then make your way towards the tall palm trees that lean just right to offer you some natural shade. Veterans Memorial Park also features a large parking area and a small boat ramp.     

Key West Beaches

14. Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West 

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The Dry Tortugas National park is home to as many as four beautiful beaches along with the historic Fort Jefferson. Covered in a blanket of white sand, these beaches have tall palm trees that offer natural shade if you wish to escape the sun during your visit. Thanks to the lovely coral reef and the variety of tropical fish, the Dry Tortugas National Park is an ideal spot for snorkeling and skin diving. After spending quality time at the beaches, do not forget to explore the unfinished Fort Jefferson. 

15. C. B. Harvey Rest Beach Park, Key West 

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Like many other beaches in Key West, the Rest Beach in C. B. Harvey Park is popular for its sunsets. But, it is far lesser-crowded as compared to others, making it the best beach to enjoy solitude. This narrow sandy stretch is also one of the dog-friendly beaches in the Keys. Enjoying a laid-back vibe, the Rest Beach is just right to lie down on the sand and catch some tan. Take a refreshing swim in the warm waters or collect seashells as you stroll along the shore to enjoy your time at the beach. 

Other beaches in Key West that are worth visiting include Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach, South Beach, and Fort Zachary Taylor Beach.

From beaches offering a variety of water activities to beaches where you can experience peace and tranquility, you will find them all in the Florida Keys. Just put on your slippers and set out to visit these best beaches in the Keys.