Best of The Florida Keys

Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, The Lower Keys & Key West

Key West Parks

Bayview Park
Offers pavilions, tennis, playground area and softball field
Jose Marti Drive and Truman Ave.
Key West, Florida Keys 33040

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Located at the end of Southard street in Key West. Named after U.S. President Zachary Taylor, the fort is a perfect example of the wealth of history Florida has to offer. Construction of the fort began in 1845, shortly after Florida became a state. Throughout the 1850's construction was slow. Yellow fever, shortage of materials and men, remoteness and hurricanes had slowed down progress. The fort, located in Key West, was an important outpost during the Civil War. Numerous blockade-running ships were detained at Key West harbor and guarded by Fort Taylor's cannons. Twenty-one years later (1866), construction was complete on the fort offering many impressive features. Items such as sanitary facilities flushed by the tide and a desalination plant which produced drinking water from the sea were available. With the coming of the 20th century, more sophisticated weapons and eventually radar took the place of guns. By 1947 the army turned Fort Taylor over to the Navy to maintain. Beginning in 1968, excavations for old armaments in the gun rooms uncovered guns and ammunition from the Civil War. This represents only a fraction of the buried arsenal, which is the largest collection of Civil War cannons in the U.S.. Fort Taylor was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and in 1973 was designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1976, the Florida Park Service began managing the fort which was officially opened to the public in July of 1985.
(305) 292-6713 
Camping:  No

Higgs Beach
(305) 292-4431 
Offers a playground area, dog beach and recreation site
Atlantic Boulevard, MM 1.5
Key West, Florida Keys 33040 

Riggs Wildlife Refuge & Observation Deck

(305) 293-8367
South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, Florida Keys 33040
Enjoy views of the historic Salt Ponds from the observation deck.

Simonton Street Beach & Boat Ramp
Beachfront location including picnic area, restrooms and boat ramp.
Simonton St.
Key West, Florida Keys 33040

Smather's Beach
(305) 296-2554
Beach, picnic area and bath house.
South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, Florida Keys 33040

Sonny McCoy Indigenous Trees & Birds Park
1801 White Street
Key West, Florida Keys 33040
Offers picnic area and nature trails.  Home to Key West wildlife rescue.

Fort Jefferson is located on Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas, about 68 miles from Key West. The Dry Tortugas are part of the National Park system and can only be accessed by boat or sea plane. Construction of the fort began in 1846, and it was almost complete at the time the Civil War started. It was originally erected to be the largest fort in the coastal defense system with some 450 guns and 1500 men, however, the fort was never attacked and its value to coastal defense was rendered almost useless by the invention of the rifled cannon. After the Civil War, the fort served as a prison with its most famous prisoner being Dr.Samuel A. Mudd. Dr. Mudd was the physician that set the broken leg of James Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. It was abandoned for a period beginning in 1874, but subsequently served as a navy base (Spanish-American War), a seaplane port (WW I) and observation post (W.W.II).
Telephone number: 1-305 242-7700
Camping: yes, with fee.
Concessions: no
Pets: not allowed
Comments: a multitude of packages to this area are available from Key West that include camping and snorkel packages.

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