Parks in Key West range widely from tiny green spots with a few benches and a kids’ playground in the heart of Key West city to large beaches packed with vacationers. Many parks fall somewhere in between and are pleasant green areas catering to the neighborhoods they are located in, with kids’ playgrounds, ball fields, and open spaces for picnics and family gatherings. Parks like Ford Taylor include historic structures and are of historic significance. Indigenous Park includes a wildlife rehabilitation facility, and Little Hamaca Park is a wildlife preserve.
Bayview Park is a neighborhood park in the center of Key West, in a quiet residential neighborhood. The park has five tennis courts, a Pro Shop, basketball courts, a kids’ playground with plenty of equipment, Pepe Hernandes softball field, a pavilion, and a nice open green space surrounded by shady trees perfect for picnics and family gatherings. The park also has the Boys' and Girls' Youth Club that offers a range of summer and after-school programs. Every day from Monday to Thursday, there are co-ed softball games at the Pepe Hernandes field. The field can also fit up to 250 players for kickball and ultimate Frisbee.
1320 Truman Ave, Key West, FL 33040, Phone: 305-809-3700
2.Bill Butler Park
Bill Butler Park is a small unassuming neighborhood park with plenty of playground equipment, an open picnic area where local kids like to hang out, and not much more. The park has a long and interesting history. For a long time, it was the location of a home for indigent seniors called Monroe County Colored Folks Home. When the country constructed a park on that location in 1986, they named it William Bill Butler to honor the local musician who founded the Key West Junkanoos. Every year on New Year morning, the park is the location of the traditional Junkanoo Parade, which celebrates African roots and preserves African cultural traditions.
744 Poor House Ln, Key West, FL 33040
Cozumel Park is a neighborhood playground for the kids that live in the New Town neighborhood. The park has been recently refurbished and now features a basketball court, a covered pavilion, a splash pad where kids love to cool off in the summer, slides, and other playground equipment. Local kids remember when the park consisted only of one rundown tree they used to climb. The park is also home to a playing field named Jonathan Wells, in honor of the 14-year old son of a Key West firefighter who died in an accident in 2015. The park also has an open green area perfect for picnics and public gatherings.
1208 19th Terrace, Key West, FL 33040
4.Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
© Simon Dannhauer/stock.adobe.com
The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, or Fort Taylor as it is called locally, is a 54-acre National Historic Landmark and park created to protect the Civil War-era fort and the area around it. While many visitors come to take a narrated tour of the fort, see the cannons, and learn about the construction of the fort, many come to the beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful on Key West. The park also has a network of trails through the lush nature full of native wildlife. Swimming and snorkeling are fantastic. The waters are rich with marine life such as lobsters, corals, snapper, parrot fish, and many other species of reef creatures. There is a jetty where fishermen like to try their hand at catching their dinner.
601 Howard England Way, Key West, FL 33040
Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park is a lush green oasis in the city of Key West near the Atlantic Ocean, with a small freshwater pond in its heart that provides a home to rich wildlife, including birds, turtles and iguanas. At one corner of the park is Key West Wildlife Center, a wildlife rehabilitation facility that takes care of injured native birds and other animals. The animals can be seen recuperating in spacious enclosures not far from the main building. Many of them cannot be released into their natural environment because their injuries would make them incapable of survival. Behind the center is an 8-acre fenced park with a dense growth of native trees and pleasant paths lined with benches. The path leads to a pond that has been designated an Audubon sanctuary. There is a nice observation deck for birdwatching.
1801 White St, Key West, FL 33040, Phone: 305-809-3700
6.Little Hamaca Park
© City of Key West, Florida
Little Hamaca Park is a wildlife preserve located on the edge of the Key West Salt Ponds. The park has a boardwalk and path running through the lush mangrove forest and salt flats hidden in the corner of Key West. A small ridge that runs through this area of Key West allows visitors to see a fascinating cross-section of the diverse habitats of the island. There is also a half-mile long round-trip hike to a canal that once brought water to the ponds for salt production. Today, the pond and the park are a haven for wildlife and birds. The salt ponds are very popular with kayakers.
Government Rd, Key West, FL 33040
7.Nelson English Park
Nelson English City Park is a less-known neighborhood park located in the southwest corner of Key West’s Bahama Village. The park is named for a local civic leader and the island’s first African-American postmaster in the late 19th century. A fairly typical park, it has several basketball courts and a nicely equipped kids’ playground. Not even 50 feet from Nelson English Park is Willy Ward Park, a park that provides respite to a different kind of neighborhood resident: Those that want less action and more peace. With no playgrounds and no playfields, Willy Ward Park offers a relaxing atmosphere with park benches and a nice picnic gazebo. Together, the two parks perfectly complement each other and are often described as two parts of the same green area.
300 Catherine St, Key West, FL 33040, Phone: 305-809-3700
Rest Beach, also called C.B Harveys, is a small green spot with a 300-yard long sandy beach near the White Street Pier, east of Higgs Beach. The park has several picnic tables, a small shelter, and a pathway that leads in both directions from the sandy beach. There is a long pier that stretches far into the water. Also part of the Rest Beach Park are the African-American cemetery and the AIDS memorial. Because it faces the Atlantic Ocean, the park is known for spectacular sunsets and it often gets packed when the sun starts inching towards the horizon. There is also a yoga deck on the beach for nightly yoga classes ran by locals.
White Street and Atlantic Blvd, Key West, FL 33040, Phone: 305-809-3700
9.Simonton Street Beach
Located at the north end of Simonton Street, Simonton Street Beach is very close to Duval Street, the hub of activity in Key West. The small sandy beach is popular with locals and is surprisingly left alone by tourists. It has a boat launch good for small boats, overlooks the harbor, and is a pleasant spot to sit, relax, and watch boats come and go. Locals love to fish off the small dock. There are changing rooms and bathrooms on the beach but not much parking. Simonton Street Beach is a popular place to come and watch the 4th of July Fireworks. The beach is dog-friendly.
North end of Simonton Street, Key West, FL
, Michigan beaches
A half-mile long, Smathers Beach is the largest and the most popular public beach in Key West. It is located on the south side of the island, about a mile from the city center, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It marks the beginning of State Road A1A. The beach is lined with stately coconut trees that provide just enough shade. The beach tends to get packed with both tourists and locals, especially during the spring break. It has showers, restrooms, beach volleyball courts, and jet ski rentals. Plenty of food trucks line the beach at mealtimes to satisfy any taste.
2601 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040, Phone: 305-809-3700
11.Willie Ward City Park
Located not far from the Truman Annex Military Base and only a few blocks from the Bahama Village, Willie Ward City Park is a little hidden gem just on the boundaries of the touristy area. Lush, green, and orderly, the park is a clean oasis with large shady trees and plenty of attractive benches to sit on, enjoy the cool shade, and read a book. The park is dog-friendly. The park was named in honor of Willie Ward, a singer, civil rights leader, radio host, and press foreman at the Key West Citizen.
300 Catherine St., Key West, FL 33040
11 Best Key West Parks
- Bayview Park, Photo: tanasan/stock.adobe.com
- Bill Butler Park, Photo: hecos/stock.adobe.com
- Cozumel Park, Photo: EvgeniiAnd/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Photo: Simon Dannhauer/stock.adobe.com
- Indigenous Park, Photo: Chris/stock.adobe.com
- Little Hamaca Park, Photo: City of Key West, Florida
- Nelson English Park, Photo: pressmaster/stock.adobe.com
- Rest Beach, Photo: bennymarty/stock.adobe.com
- Simonton Street Beach, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- Smathers Beach, Photo: lunamarina/stock.adobe.com
- Willie Ward City Park, Photo: bryanjhall/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: asnidamarwani/stock.adobe.com