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Can You Swim In The Florida Keys? (Everything You Need To Know)

Can You Swim In The Florida Keys? (Everything You Need To Know)

Yes, you can swim in the Florida Keys.

Florida – the sunshine state of the United States has some gorgeous beaches, but our unwavering attention falls on the coral cay archipelago nestled in the ocean waters – 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida. 

While these tropical islands are known for their Caribbean-like beaches, which are ideal for swimming, scuba diving and more, we are all set to explore the Keys and see which ones are worthy of visiting.

So if you are a beach-lover like us, then join us as we dive right into it!

Bahia Honda State Park Beaches, Big Pine Key (Calusa Beach)

Bahia Honda State Park

Location

(Park opens from 8 a.m. – till dusk, entrance fee: approx.8 USD for a group of 2- 8 people)

Let’s start from the lower Keys, this is where you’ll find some of ‘the’ beaches in the Florida Keys. There are three beaches here, Sandspur Beach, Logger Head Beach and Calusa Beach. We are looking at Calusa Beach – the smallest and the most stunning of the three.

(Ok no, all beaches are beautiful. Sort of)

Anyway, Calusa Beach is set in a scenic cove. The water here is very shallow and pristine. Perfect for chilled dipping and snorkelling. With the iconic Old Seven Mile Bridge set in the vicinity, this place truly offers some scenic views. Worth a visit.

Zachary Taylor State Park Beach

Sunset at Zachary Taylor State Park

Location

(Park opens from 8 a.m. – till dusk, entrance fee: approx.6 USD for a group of 2- 8 people)

Located at the very tip of Key West, this beach is another unreal beauty. The coast stretches over approx. 54 acres. If you love snorkelling, this beach is going to rock your world! Clear waters, breathtaking corals and busy marine life. An adventure awaits you beneath the waves.

The beach bottom can be rocky- so water shoes are recommended. Yes, parking can also be tricky. But there are decent beachfront cafes that offer parking for a meal and an hourly rate. Once the waters exhaust you, take a break to go explore the fort – which closes at 5.00p.m!

Check out our detailed guide for Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Sombrero Beach

Sombrero Beach

Location

(Park opens from 7 a.m. – till dusk, entrance fee: free)

Making our way to the Sombrero Beach – Middle Keys. One of the star beach spots in the Florida Keys for sure. We are talking grassy grounds shaded by palm trees, clean bathrooms and changing rooms, a playground and picnic tables and plenty of parking (amen!). It is in addition to the scenic beach, white sandy shores. See what we mean? It is a star!

Weirdly (or not) it’s a local hotspot more than for visitors, but the waters – which get slightly deeper, are calm and perfect for a cooling dip and snorkelling. A proper spot for a beach trip.

John Pennekamp State Park, Key Largo

John Pennekamp State Park

Location

(Park opens from 8 a.m. – till dusk, entrance fee: approx.8 USD for a vehicle of 2- 8 people)

Planning to explore the diverse marine life in Florida Key?

You are heading to John Pennekamp State Park – home to picture-perfect beaches. Snorkelling is very popular here since the beach waters house some aged shipwreck sites, and the sunken wreckages attract much marine life. It will be fascinating to observe when snorkelling and scuba diving.

The State Park also offers glass-bottom boat rides if you are a little exhausted from swimming, and the shores are stretched out with picnic benches placed anywhere. Just sit and just immerse in the scenic beauty. Park is usually open from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Location

(Day trip cost: approx. 190 USD per person – a ferry ride from Key West included)

This national park homes some spectacular beaches and ancient fort ruins. A real treat for any visitor. Shallow, calm, turquoise-shaded waters, so picturesque. To get to this island haven, you must catch a boat ride from Key West. The excitement will amplify once you set foot on these tranquil other-worldly shores.

Stunning reefs, golden sandy shores and even cooler ruins of former coal docks. Swim, sunbathe or explore. It’s a perfect day out. Immaculate beach vibes all the way. If you are lucky, you might just spot a leatherback turtle visiting the shores. – be respectful. Admire from far.

You might find this interesting: Is it possible to view Cuba from Key West?

Smathers Beach

Location

(Entrance fee: free, Parking: approx. 5 USD)

If crowded beaches get you excited, then this is where you visit. This gorgeous beach is in the Key West, and it’s one of the biggest beach spots here. Do you want some serious beach fun action? We are talking kite-surfing, jet-skiing and even parasailing – you are heading to the beautiful Smathers Beach, my friend.

The beach has a party vibe day and night. The party spirit of mainland Florida beaches prevails here. And it’s enthralling! The beach streets are just as action-packed, and if you need an energy boost from all the beach fun, then there are plenty of food trucks to try out.

Harry Harris Park, Key Largo

Harry Harris Park

Location

(Entrance fee: approx.15 USD per person on weekends)

Looking to hit the ideal beach spot in the Florida Keys with your lovely family? Then travel to the Harry Harris Beach Park – located between Islamorada and Key Largo. The beach is beautiful(obviously) – but also rock-free, with soft sandy stretches and calm and clear waters – ideal for children.

You got everything here for a perfect beach day trip. Sheltered pavilions (about eleven), picnic tables, barbeques, clean restrooms, showers and toilets. If you want some added fun- it is worth mentioning there is a basketball court and a baseball diamond. It’s just the perfect beach spot for families.

Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach, Key West

Coconut Trees at Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach

Location

(Park opens from 6 a.m. – till 11 p.m., entrance fee: free)

If you are looking for some quiet beach therapy or some water sports-kind of fun? Higgs Beach awaits. Although this beach is in the same hood as Smathers Beach, it’s more serene.

Just listen to the gentle waves and sink into the lulling tranquillity this stunning beach offers. Take a deep relaxing dip in its clear and calm waters. If you’re not ready to relax – no worries, you can go kayaking, paddle boating, or snorkelling – whatever suits your fancy! Or you could play some volleyball next to this lovely beach – or play tennis. Higgs Beach is the place to be.

Curry Hammock State Park, Marathon

Location

(Park opens at 8 – till dusk, entrance fee: approx.5 USD for a vehicle of 2- 8 people)

The beaches here look very much untouched. If you enjoy kayaking, this is the best place to head when in the Florida Keys. The waters are calm and clear, but the slopes are steep – so you’ll be in deep before swimming far.

You can rent a kayak (approx. 17 USD) for 2 hours, paddle the waters and explore the scenic mangroves over the shallow ends. Witness its marine life and more. Or maybe rent a tandem with your partner to explore the peaceful nature trail. It’s more than just a day at the beach – you can even camp here (Camping approx. 36 USD per night).

Anne’s Beach

Location

(Park opens: 24/7, entrance fee: free)

This beach is in Islamorada, very quaint, and the waters are shallow to a considerable stretch and very calm. Some claim that nudity is allowed on this beach – but that cannot be confirmed. So if you are planning to bring kids, you might need to double-check this.

There is free parking and amenities like clean bathrooms. A pretty beach – that remedies the visitor with scenic beauty and peacefulness but the waters may not be that great for swimming due to the seaweed and mud. But you may find sailboarding and kite-surfing here (surprise surprise).

Map of Beaches in the Florida Keys

Frequently Asked Questions About the Florida Keys

What is the best time to visit the Florida Keys?

The best time to visit the Keys in all their glory is from June to August.

Are there Alligators in the Florida Keys?

Yes, there are alligators in the Florida Keys, but mostly in swamps, ponds, rivers and lakes. 

Are there Sharks in the Florida Keys?

There are Sharks to be found in the Florida Keys, mostly in the Atlantic Ocean waters and the Gulf of Mexico – a natural habitat for Sharks. 

Is the Florida Keys a Safe Destination?

Yes, crime rates in the Florida Keys are reassuringly low. However, it’s essential to always be sensible and take the usual precautions you take when in a foreign land.

What’s the Average Temperature in the Florida Keys?

The temperatures in the Florida Keys typically range between 65°F to 89°F.