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Beaches in Key West, Key West, Florida

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Concierge.com's insider take:

Better known for its offshore reefs and onshore bars than its beaches, Key West is not the place to go with visions of endless sandy strands strewn with conch shells (despite what advertising brochures might lead you to believe). The island's shoreline is mostly coral, so the few sandy beaches that do exist here have had some assistance in coming to fruition. That said, there are a handful of sandy spots to unfurl your beach towel for the day. The state park at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Site (called Fort Zach by locals) offers the prettiest and most appealing beach on the island, fringed by pine trees and with some decent snorkeling just offshore (there are also lots of shaded picnic benches and freshwater showers). Smathers Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island, is the largest public beach and the place to rent a surf ski or catamaran to ply the shallow waters. And don't miss South Beach, a small patch of sugary sand located near the Southernmost Resorts development. It appears private at first glance but is, in fact, open to the public.—Updated by Terry Ward

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