Located on the southern edge of Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a place where natural beauty intersects with a profound history. You can swim, sunbathe, fish, snorkel, hike, bike, picnic, and watch wildlife on one hand, and see the fort premises and learn some facts about U.S. history on the other.
Location and Access
The park is located at 601 Howard England Way in Key West. It is open from 8 a.m. till sunset daily all year round. However, the fort closes earlier – at 5 p.m. Parking is sufficient and quite close to the beach. The parking fee is $6.50 per vehicle. Pedestrians and bicyclists can enter for $2.50.
In these red-brick corridors with gun ports and cannons, you will easily imagine the life of soldiers and discover the important role of the fort in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Moreover, this place is considered a National Historic Monument with the largest cache of Civil War armament in the world.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park offers beautiful gardens and nature trails for strollers, joggers, and birdwatchers. Beachgoers will be glad to discover well-maintained restroom and shower facilities. There are picnic tables available. If you get hungry, you can either have a picnic with your own food or go to the on-site restaurant.
The park also has beach access, which is one of Key West’s favorite beaches. It’s very clean. The sand is not very soft but there is a concession where you can rent chairs and umbrellas for more comfort.
The water is so clear that you can see numerous fish swimming around your legs. There isn’t much seaweed. Snorkeling is a good option and you can rent snorkeling equipment on site. Please exercise caution in the water – there are no lifeguards on duty.
The beach is also good for various watersports. There is a launch on the east end of the beach so you can bring your own paddleboard, kayak, or canoe. If you have a fishing license, you can try your skill and luck for a big catch of snapper, grouper, tarpon, and jacks.
In the park, you can hike or bike on a nature trail with plenty of bike racks. Moreover, this place is a part of the Great Florida Birding Trail – so it’s good for watching bird migrations in spring and fall. You can find bird lists at the ranger station.
- 1 hour 15 minutes from Marathon, FL
- 2 hours 5 minutes from Key Largo, FL
- 3 hours 15 minutes from Miami, FL
Additionally, there's a number of beaches near Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach which you can visit: