Jump to content

Beach in Key West Advice?


Recommended Posts

I'm doing 2 cruises in December and both itineraries have Key West on them.  For the first stop we will be doing the usual  trolley tour and perhaps Hemmingway House -- it's only a short 5 hour stop.

 

The second time we stop in Key West it will be from 8 - 5 and I'd really like to make it a beach day.  Does Key West have any decent beaches within walking distance of the port or via the drop on drop off trolley?  Taxi is not an option for us as our toddler will not have a car seat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I have spent time in Key West going back years now.  While I would agree that there are not great beaches in Key West, we have enjoyed our time at Higgs Beach.  The beach has a decent restaurant, Salute and during our trips we were able to rent chairs.  We have seen people enjoy the water but the water is nothing like the water in the Caribbean.

 

BaltimoreCruise

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, BaltimoreCruise said:

My husband and I have spent time in Key West going back years now.  While I would agree that there are not great beaches in Key West, we have enjoyed our time at Higgs Beach.  The beach has a decent restaurant, Salute and during our trips we were able to rent chairs.  We have seen people enjoy the water but the water is nothing like the water in the Caribbean.

 

BaltimoreCruise

 

Thanks for the heads up.  Yeah I knew Key West wasn't really a beach place but was hoping maybe there was still someplace to go for a swim.  

 

It's not a big deal, Key West has lots of other fun things to do, was just wondering.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, bamelin said:

How about this one -- http://www.fortzacharytaylor.com/beach.html

 

Any good? 

 

 

This is is a great beach. You will have to pay to get in.

 

And you most likely want to rent chairs and umbrellas. They have lockers you can rent, and decent food & drinks. It is walkable from Mallory Square, but not enjoyable on a hot/humid day.

 

The water is great, but you need water shoes or sandals - very rocky entrance into the water. 

Edited by cat shepard
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, cat shepard said:

 

 

This is is a great beach. You will have to pay to get in.

 

And you most likely want to rent chairs and umbrellas. They have lockers you can rent, and decent food & drinks. It is walkable from Mallory Square, but not enjoyable on a hot/humid day.

 

The water is great, but you need water shoes or sandals - very rocky entrance into the water. 

 

We actually do prefer sandy beaches although I gather Key West doesn't really have many of those.  My research has indicated our choice are basically Higgs Beach, Smathers Beach (starting to get a little far) or Fort Zachary.

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, bamelin said:

 

We actually do prefer sandy beaches although I gather Key West doesn't really have many of those.  My research has indicated our choice are basically Higgs Beach, Smathers Beach (starting to get a little far) or Fort Zachary.

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

 

 

The beach itself is beautiful and sandy. It is where it meets the water that is tough on the feet.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, cat shepard said:

 

The beach itself is beautiful and sandy. It is where it meets the water that is tough on the feet.

 

 

 

Comparing to Higgs or Smathers beach which of the 3 has the sandiest for getting into the water?   My wife and toddler can't really swim so they always sit on the shoreline.

 

I know that Key West really isn't a beach destination.  As it will be my second time in the port in two weeks and I rarely get down to the Caribbean we were looking at it as an extra beach day even if the beach isn't the best lol

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, bamelin said:

 

Comparing to Higgs or Smathers beach which of the 3 has the sandiest for getting into the water?   My wife and toddler can't really swim so they always sit on the shoreline.

 

I know that Key West really isn't a beach destination.  As it will be my second time in the port in two weeks and I rarely get down to the Caribbean we were looking at it as an extra beach day even if the beach isn't the best lol

I really can not help you. I took one look at the other two beaches, and said “No way!”, so I never made it to the water line.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, cat shepard said:

I really can not help you. I took one look at the other two beaches, and said “No way!”, so I never made it to the water line.

 

Np Cat,  Yeah I keep reading that Smathers and Higgs has big seaweed problems and bad smell as a result of rotting seaweed.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

DW and I are beach people and also Key West fans (will be there, again, for a few days in Dec).  But when in Key West we do not even waste our time with any of the local beaches since none are memorable other then as lousy beaches.   If you really want better beaches you either need to fly to the Dry Tortugas or perhaps rent a car and drive North to Bahia Honda (some would say this beach is overrated).  What I do recommend is considering a nice boat tour such as the snorkel/kayak tour offered by Danger Charters (not sure if their schedule fits you ship schedule).  We have gone out with Danger a few times and enjoy the smaller size of their boats.  Because of your ship schedule you would not be able to do their relaxing full day trip, but you could certainly consider their half day morning snorkel/kayak tour.

 

Hank

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

DW and I are beach people and also Key West fans (will be there, again, for a few days in Dec).  But when in Key West we do not even waste our time with any of the local beaches since none are memorable other then as lousy beaches.   If you really want better beaches you either need to fly to the Dry Tortugas or perhaps rent a car and drive North to Bahia Honda (some would say this beach is overrated).  What I do recommend is considering a nice boat tour such as the snorkel/kayak tour offered by Danger Charters (not sure if their schedule fits you ship schedule).  We have gone out with Danger a few times and enjoy the smaller size of their boats.  Because of your ship schedule you would not be able to do their relaxing full day trip, but you could certainly consider their half day morning snorkel/kayak tour.

 

Hank

 

I was really interested in a catamaran/snorkel ride but my wife and 18 month old can't swim.  So we are sort of limited where we can go.

 

We are from up north so any opportunity to be in the Caribbean water we jump on -- our cruise will be hitting awesome beach/pool areas (Half Moon Cay, Turks & Caicos, Amber Cove, Cozumel) so I mean it's not a disaster if the beaches just aren't worth doing in Key West.  We may just walk around the town -- we've got a long day in port though it's from 8 AM to 5 PM so I was really hoping there might at least an "ok" beach.   

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, bamelin said:

 

I was really interested in a catamaran/snorkel ride but my wife and 18 month old can't swim.  So we are sort of limited where we can go.

 

We are from up north so any opportunity to be in the Caribbean water we jump on -- our cruise will be hitting awesome beach/pool areas (Half Moon Cay, Turks & Caicos, Amber Cove, Cozumel) so I mean it's not a disaster if the beaches just aren't worth doing in Key West.  We may just walk around the town -- we've got a long day in port though it's from 8 AM to 5 PM so I was really hoping there might at least an "ok" beach.   

You might want to consider Bahia Honda State Park.  It is about a 1 hour drive from Key West which would work with your longer port day.  It can be done with a rental car or perhaps your cruise will offer an excursion.   With an 18 month old I would probably opt for a rental car.  I have never rented a car in Key West, but there may not be any locations away from the small airport which might be a bit of a hassle.

 

Hank

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bahia Honda is great, but they had not reopened much of the ocean side when I was there this past May. It took a beating from Irma, so you might want to Google it and see what has and has not reopened. Of course the Gulf side is beautiful and calm. And you can sit at water’s edge. It can also be super windy, so watch your stuff.

 

if you end up just walking around, be sure to visit the Butterfly Conservatory. One of the beautiful inhabitants just might land on one of your shoulders or fingers.  It is at the Southern end of Duval St (the opposite end of Mallory Square). And along the way there is a great ice cream place on the opposite side of the street from the Butterfly Conservatory. Flamingo Crossing - perhaps a bit more than 1/2 way down.

 

And your toddler just might love the chickens & roosters. Especially if there are any baby chicks around. They are everywhere. Some even march down the middle of the street.

 

Enjoy.

Edited by cat shepard
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Old Town Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour with 13 stops takes about 2 hours if you ride the full tour.  We got off at several stops: Kermit's Key Lime Pie Shop and the Hemingway House.  With only those stops, the ride turned into a 6 hour tour because of the crowd at the Hemingway House.  We waited in line about 45 minutes, took the tour (requires extra ticket that you can purchase at the site) and waited for the trolley.  The first trolley was full, so we had to wait for a second trolley.  When the second trolley was also full, my friend and I walked up the street and waited at another stop.  This time we got on the trolley.  Barely.  You have to take into account how busy the trolley may be on the day you're visiting Key West.  If there are multiple ships calling in Key West, downtown can become quite congested.  You must also figure in the time it takes to return to the ship.  In April 2018, my most recent trip to Key West, the Rotterdam docked at the navy yard and provided a bus back and forth to downtown.  We were on the last bus back to the ship.  The other two times we stopped at Key West on HAL cruises, the ships docked downtown, and we had a short walk to the more popular sites.

 

Buy your trolley tour online.  You'll save a couple of $$, plus you'll be assured of having tickets.  Make certain you sample Kermit's Frozen Key Lime Pie on-a-Stick.  They dip a slice of Key Lime Pie in chocolate, then freeze it.  It's lusciously delicious.  You won't regret this stop.  Plus, Kermit's has a nice tropical garden and pond with chairs and small tables in the shade, where you can enjoy this treat.  

 

On your limited day, why not walk down Duvall Street?  The sights and shops are entertaining, and the best part of this self-guided tour is it's free.  Some of the restaurants serve freshly caught seafood if you enjoy fish/shrimp.  You might also want to stroll through some of the near-by neighborhoods, which have interesting historical architecture.  Since you're going in December, most of the houses should be decorated for Christmas.  

 

Key West is like no other town in the United States and has its share of "characters."  Enjoy your two stops in this unique port.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

I am a 6th generation native Key Wester although I live in Charleston Sc. now. As others have said, the beaches in Key West are actually lousy. I would never recommend anyone go to a beach in Key West. If you MUST then go to Ft.Taylor beach.

If time allows you would be better off taking a snorkeling trip, otherwise I always recommend the Conch Train Tour. There is a stop rich by the docking area. Have fun!

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, sevenseasnomad said:

The Old Town Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour with 13 stops takes about 2 hours if you ride the full tour.  We got off at several stops: Kermit's Key Lime Pie Shop and the Hemingway House.  With only those stops, the ride turned into a 6 hour tour because of the crowd at the Hemingway House.  We waited in line about 45 minutes, took the tour (requires extra ticket that you can purchase at the site) and waited for the trolley.  The first trolley was full, so we had to wait for a second trolley.  When the second trolley was also full, my friend and I walked up the street and waited at another stop.  This time we got on the trolley.  Barely.  You have to take into account how busy the trolley may be on the day you're visiting Key West.  If there are multiple ships calling in Key West, downtown can become quite congested.  You must also figure in the time it takes to return to the ship.  In April 2018, my most recent trip to Key West, the Rotterdam docked at the navy yard and provided a bus back and forth to downtown.  We were on the last bus back to the ship.  The other two times we stopped at Key West on HAL cruises, the ships docked downtown, and we had a short walk to the more popular sites.

 

Buy your trolley tour online.  You'll save a couple of $$, plus you'll be assured of having tickets.  Make certain you sample Kermit's Frozen Key Lime Pie on-a-Stick.  They dip a slice of Key Lime Pie in chocolate, then freeze it.  It's lusciously delicious.  You won't regret this stop.  Plus, Kermit's has a nice tropical garden and pond with chairs and small tables in the shade, where you can enjoy this treat.  

 

Good points on the trolley.

I discovered Kermits Key Lime Pie on a Stick about 5 years ago and it now is a must stop for us.  If you do not want to walk to the original location, they now have a small shop right off of the main pier.

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, bamelin said:

How about this one -- http://www.fortzacharytaylor.com/beach.html

 

Any good? 

Yes, it is great lounging area but bring water shoes the shoreline is very rocky.  We rented loungers and an umbrella.

I don't think of it as a sandy beach just a great place to relax and chill.  I was with a group of Golden girls in Key West a week last Nov. for my birthday.  We LOVED Key West!  We also loved the Truman's annex.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, bamelin said:

I'm doing 2 cruises in December and both itineraries have Key West on them.  For the first stop we will be doing the usual  trolley tour and perhaps Hemmingway House -- it's only a short 5 hour stop.

 

The second time we stop in Key West it will be from 8 - 5 and I'd really like to make it a beach day.  Does Key West have any decent beaches within walking distance of the port or via the drop on drop off trolley?  Taxi is not an option for us as our toddler will not have a car seat.

 

I am from Key West.  I agree with those who recommend Ft Zach.  No, it's not the greatest because it is a little rocky, but it's pretty much the best of your choices.  

 

Hank recommended Bahia Honda which in my opinion, is one of the best public beaches in the entire Keys.  The problem is, it's 37 miles up a 2-lane road.  One crash on US1 and you could get stuck up there.  

 

Truthfully, the best beaches require a boat ride and locals tend to keep those as much a secret as possible.  

Edited by Aquahound
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, sevenseasnomad said:

The Old Town Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour with 13 stops takes about 2 hours if you ride the full tour.  We got off at several stops: Kermit's Key Lime Pie Shop and the Hemingway House.  With only those stops, the ride turned into a 6 hour tour because of the crowd at the Hemingway House.  We waited in line about 45 minutes, took the tour (requires extra ticket that you can purchase at the site) and waited for the trolley.  The first trolley was full, so we had to wait for a second trolley.  When the second trolley was also full, my friend and I walked up the street and waited at another stop.  This time we got on the trolley.  Barely.  You have to take into account how busy the trolley may be on the day you're visiting Key West.  If there are multiple ships calling in Key West, downtown can become quite congested.  You must also figure in the time it takes to return to the ship.  In April 2018, my most recent trip to Key West, the Rotterdam docked at the navy yard and provided a bus back and forth to downtown.  We were on the last bus back to the ship.  The other two times we stopped at Key West on HAL cruises, the ships docked downtown, and we had a short walk to the more popular sites.

 

Buy your trolley tour online.  You'll save a couple of $$, plus you'll be assured of having tickets.  Make certain you sample Kermit's Frozen Key Lime Pie on-a-Stick.  They dip a slice of Key Lime Pie in chocolate, then freeze it.  It's lusciously delicious.  You won't regret this stop.  Plus, Kermit's has a nice tropical garden and pond with chairs and small tables in the shade, where you can enjoy this treat.  

 

On your limited day, why not walk down Duvall Street?  The sights and shops are entertaining, and the best part of this self-guided tour is it's free.  Some of the restaurants serve freshly caught seafood if you enjoy fish/shrimp.  You might also want to stroll through some of the near-by neighborhoods, which have interesting historical architecture.  Since you're going in December, most of the houses should be decorated for Christmas.  

 

Key West is like no other town in the United States and has its share of "characters."  Enjoy your two stops in this unique port.

 

Thank you for your advice. 

 

The plan right now is with the first limited stop we will do the trolley -- I have a huge amount of on board credit on that cruise as it was booked on a casino rate (Carnival) -- we are going to use the OBC towards excursions.  The time in port is rough though it's 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM.  So we figured we will do the trolley and maybe stop at Hemmingway House for that tour.  I'm thinking the trolley won't be as busy given how early we get into the port. 

 

On the second longer day (8AM - 5PM) with HAL at Key West I think you all have convinced me to forget about going to the beach.  I researched it a bit more and my understanding is that the seaweed is really bad this year as well. 

 

We might just do the trolley again and explore more areas like Sloppy Joes and the Kermits.  Or perhaps forgo the trolley altogether and just walk around and enjoy the sites on Duvall like you said.  If memory serves the Little White House is pretty close to the dock so we could do that too. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, bamelin said:

We might just do the trolley again and explore more areas like Sloppy Joes and the Kermits.  Or perhaps forgo the trolley altogether and just walk around and enjoy the sites on Duvall like you said.  If memory serves the Little White House is pretty close to the dock so we could do that too. 

 

If you're willing to make the walk, I recommend walking south on Whitehead St to the Southernmost point, turn left and then walk back north on Duval St.  There's many neat attractions along the way like the Little White House, the lighthouse, Hemingway House, and numerous unique shops, restaurants and watering holes.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with RiverCruising, the River Cruise Experts
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...