Smathers Beach Florida

Smathers Beach Florida: The Local’s Guide

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  • Do you have to pay to go to Smathers Beach?
    • Smathers Beach is a public beach that is open to the public.

Smathers Beach is an extensive and serene public beach that is situated on Key West’s southern side at 2601 S Roosevelt Road. It is almost a mile long.

The island’s southern shore is where Key West’s longest beach extends for about two miles. Volleyball, tanning, and beach and water sports rentals are all popular beach activities.

According to island lore, the sand was transported in from the Bahamas and left there for your enjoyment.

The city of Key West has to refill the beach about every other year since tropical storms have a tendency to wipe the sand away.

You may leave your surfboard at home because the very small swell barely even creates a ripple. However, snorkelers can enjoy a swim zone just offshore.

Snacks, drinks, chairs, and rafts are available from vending trucks. There are public bathrooms and showers available.

Smathers Beach typically has fewer visitors and has a small selection of food trucks for Italian ice or a fast snack.

1. How to get to Smathers Beach?

Smathers Beach is along South Roosevelt Boulevard from the Key West Airport to Bertha Street. Starting at mile zero on State Road A1A on the south side of Key West Island, it leads you directly by the Atlantic Ocean.

Smathers Beach is accessible via the regular Key West bus. It is not serviced by the free Duval Loop bus.

How to get there?
Photo Credit: Marc Averette

It is passed by the Key West Old Town Trolley, although there is no trolley stop there. Therefore, the cheapest method to go to Smathers Beach without a car is to take the regular Key West bus.

Smathers Beach may be reached from Duval Street in about 10 minutes by car. Driving from Key West’s Historic Seaport harbor side, Duval Street is about a 10-minute drive from Smathers Beach.

Driving from the southernmost part of Key West, Duval Street is about a 10-minute drive from Smathers Beach.

2. Ideas for things to do during your visit to Smathers Beach

Smathers Beach is one of the best beaches in Key West and is a great spot for a day of fun in the sun!

It is a favorite among families due to its primarily sandy shoreline.

You can walk quite a way out into the water since the seas are calm.

In addition to swimming, Smathers Beach is also popular with watersports enthusiasts such as:

  • Snorkeling
  • Kayaking
  • Parasailing
  • Sunbathing
  • and Beach volleyball is an excellent activity there!

Food, beverages, seats, and rafts are all readily available from nearby vendors. Additionally, there are public bathrooms, loungers, and water sports equipment rentals.

Snorkeling is not a reason to visit Smathers Beach because there are better beaches in Key West for that activity.

However, if Smathers Beach is the beach you like to visit otherwise, you might as well bring your snorkeling equipment to try to view some underwater life!

There might be fish swimming about.

Even without entering the water, you might be able to see some adorable fish from above!

Look down to see if you can see anything when you step out onto the rocky area.

3. Can you swim at Smathers Beach?

Can you swim at Smathers Beach

Yes, you can!

The water at Smathers Beach is safe for swimming. The water is shallow and clear. There are plenty of volleyball nets, which are great for competitive games.

A volleyball court is also available.

It is near Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The southeast Key West coastline offers great weather, a laid-back atmosphere, and plenty of water sports.

This beach is great for kids and adults alike. If you are looking for a relaxing place to relax, Smathers is a great choice.

If you have young children, you may want to take them to the south end of the beach. South Beach has crystal-clear water and is popular with families.

This beach also has plenty of facilities, including water fountains and stalls. While the South end is smaller than Smathers and Higgs, it still offers a relaxed atmosphere.

The beach has shallow spots and an enticing turquoise water hue perfect for a swim. It is open from 7 am to 11 pm.

4. Is Smathers Beach Good For Snorkeling?

Smathers Beach is one of the best beaches in Key West. The sand is soft and shallow, and the surrounding mangroves and rock provide an excellent environment for snorkeling.

Is Smathers Beach Good For Snorkeling?

The beach is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and is perfect for families.

There are a number of concession stands selling snacks, beverages, chairs, and rafts.

Smathers Beach also has a wide variety of sea creatures, including stingrays, tarpon, and manatees.

Fort Jefferson National Park is another great destination for snorkeling.

Located about 70 miles west of Key West, this pristine marine park is a great destination for novices and experts.

You can snorkel in shallow waters and swim among thriving coral. You can also enjoy kayaking in the area.

If you’re looking for a quieter beach, try Higgs Beach. It’s smaller than Smathers Beach, but it’s a great place to spend the day. It also has plenty of amenities, including restrooms and a dog park.

Snorkeling in Key West is popular, and you can visit it via boat tours.

It’s a great way to see underwater life, and you’ll have a blast exploring the coral reefs. The Yankee Freedom III ferry offers free snorkeling equipment, and it can even take you there.

While you’re at Smathers Beach, you’ll want to make sure to wear water shoes.

While it’s a beautiful, natural location, you’ll want to keep in mind that it’s rocky and not suited for small children.

The Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is another good snorkeling location.

The Fort features several offshore rock piles that serve as artificial reefs. The reefs are home to a variety of tropical fish and living coral. You’ll also find showers, restrooms, and picnic areas in this park.

If you’re a beginner, you may want to start at the beach at mile marker 102.5.

The warm, clear water of the Gulf of Mexico is a perfect place for snorkeling, and you’ll find a variety of species in the shallow waters.

5. Parking at Smathers Beach

Parking at Smathers Beach 

Smathers Beach has a small parking lot directly next to the beach. You can park your car there and walk to the beach. It is located on the beach side of Florida A1A and is close to the restrooms and food trucks.

It is also close to the rental and restroom services available on the beach.

The beach is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is free to the public. It offers restrooms, volleyball courts, and Jet Ski rentals.

Parking is available for $4 per hour on S. Roosevelt Boulevard and is free Monday through Saturday and noon to midnight on Sundays. It is not permitted to park overnight at Smathers Beach.

Smathers Beach has parking available for motorhomes and RVs.

However, it is illegal to park your RV on the beach after sunset. The beach is lined with coconut palms and there are several breakwater structures.

It is also home to shorebirds that use the rocks as fishing sites.

Smathers Beach is one of the most popular public beaches in Key West. It is half a mile long and has picnic tables and restrooms.

It is also home to a boat ramp.

The beach is close to the Fort East Martello Museum and Key West International Airport. Parking may be an issue, so plan accordingly.

Smathers Beach will no longer be free. The price has been raised from $4 to $5 an hour and $32 to $40 for a day.

There are 100 spaces. The city has decided to remove free parking near the beach as a way to increase its parking revenue.

Is there seaweed on Smathers Beach?

Seaweed can be found on almost every beach in Key West. In Key West, there’s a decent chance you won’t find a public beach without seaweed.

Seaweed will, therefore, most likely be visible along the shorelines of Key West beaches, including Smathers Beach.

According to reports, seaweed plays a significant role in the coastal ecology, and the City of Key West rarely takes preventative action to get rid of it.

Why does the beach sometimes smell?

Sargassum, islands of floating, brown sea algae, is the source of that odor, and it is accumulating along the beaches of Key West, the Florida peninsula, Mexico, and other Caribbean islands.

The smell occurs every summer with the southern winds and currents.

When the winds change, the smell that used to be the sargassum disappears.

Attractions near Smathers Beach

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, which is a butterfly park with between 50 and 60 different kinds of live butterflies from all over the world housed in a climate-controlled, glass-enclosed habitat, is located at 1316 Duval Street in Key West, Florida.

It is a 2-minute walk from the southernmost Point Buoy and is open daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm. It offers a chance to relax and stroll in nature and watch butterflies.

It is a delightful and educational place perfect for both kids and adults.

Nearby attractions
Photo Credit: Matthew Dillon

The Key West Aquarium is the only aquarium open to the public in Key West, Florida. It is marked by Historical Marker 52 and is situated at 1 Whitehead Street.

It is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Alligators, Atlantic coast fish, jellyfish, sharks, sea turtles, and touch-tan exhibits are all housed in the aquarium.

The Farthest Point South – the southernmost Point Buoy – of the continental United States and the lowest latitude land of the contiguous North American states is marked by a concrete buoy that is anchored near Key West, Florida.

It is 18 feet above sea level and a 2-minute walk from the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

Smathers Beach Elopement

If you’re considering a beach wedding, Smathers Beach is the perfect location.

This public beach on the southeast side of Key West is great for both daytime and evening ceremonies.

Smathers Beach Elopement

The water is calm and the palm trees provide a backdrop for beautiful photos. The beach is also a free location, so there is no need to worry about parking or a fee.

You can also choose to have your ceremony at the West Martello Tower, which was built by the U.S. Armed Forces in 1822 and served as a symbol of defiance during the Civil War.

The gazebo is shaded, and there are many cozy enclaves to have your ceremony.

As of today, the cost of renting the West Martello Tower is $455 for two hours between 9:30 am and 5 pm, and $520 for all other times. Please check out the Tower’s Website for more information.

If you prefer a more intimate setting, you can opt to have your ceremony at the West Martello Tower.

If you’re planning a beach elopement in Key West, you can combine your wedding and honeymoon in one trip.

This romantic destination is famous for its beautiful beaches, water sports, wildlife, and amazing nightlife. In addition to beaches, you’ll find beautiful pastel-colored architecture, which will add to your romantic setting.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, even though Smathers Beach is a public beach, there is still a charge to enter. However, this is not a problem because the price of admission is very reasonable and the beach is definitely worth it.

Smathers Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Key West. It’s open seven days a week and is dog-friendly.

If you’re looking for a sandy beach with no strong currents, you’ll love Smathers Beach in Key West, Florida.

This beach is suitable for families, and there are plenty of sun beds and palm trees for your comfort.

The water is usually warm and clear, although you may notice some seaweed.

There’s also plenty of parking, and it’s free to visit.

So if you’re ever in Key West, be sure to check out Smathers Beach!

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