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Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (Key West, Florida): Swimming and Cannons

We went to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park to enjoy the beach. The park does charge admission ($6 per car of 2-8 people, plus a $0.50 charge for each person, so it was $8 for the 4 of us).

The beach parking lot was an easy walk to the restrooms and beach area. The water was gorgeous with its various shades of blues. The sun was shining and it was a great morning. There was sand towards the water, but a lot of the beach was rockier than we expected. Key West does have a coral reef which protects the island from having bigger waves, which probably also keeps it from getting a lot of fine sand. The water was also a little cold, even though the temperatures had been in the upper 80’s!

The boys enjoyed swimming, but Ben and I mostly waded. I enjoyed sitting at a picnic table in the shade watching the small lizards climbing the trees and the kids playing in the water. We didn’t have a bucket, but the boys made a double walled sand moat for a cone shaped sand “castle”.

After swimming and getting changed, we headed towards the front of the park and explored the Fort area. The fort was pretty cool. It had cannons, a self-guided tour (pamphlet and audio option), and lots of neat information.

On our way out, we had our only iguana sighting! He/she was on the side of the Fort.

The Fort had such a neat shape to it, but it was hard to capture on camera without having a drone. I would definitely check it out if you are at the park, especially if you have any history buffs in your group!

Note: Get there early in the day. We left around lunch time and the beach parking lot was full. There were still some spots in the lot by the Fort, but it looked like the gate was turning cars away.


  • TICKETS: No tickets, but park admission fees. Single occupancy car/motorcycle $4.50, Car with 2-8 passengers $6 plus $0.50/person, pedestrian or bicycles or extra passengers $2.50.
  • HOURS: 8:00 am to sundown, Fort closes at 5:00pm
  • PARKING: Parking near beach and fort
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-3 hours, depending on how long you like to swim. We spent an hour at the Fort.
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.

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