Overseas Highway – 8 BEST MUST-VISIT BEACHES in the Florida Keys

Overseas Highway – 8 BEST MUST-VISIT BEACHES in the Florida Keys

Welcome to the epitome of tropical bliss – the Florida Keys. Stretching like a string of pearls into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, this picturesque archipelago offers an enchanting escape for beach enthusiasts and sun-seekers alike. At the heart of this paradise lies the Overseas Highway, a legendary roadway that winds its way through a mesmerizing landscape of azure waters, swaying palms, and pristine sandy shores.

In this guide, I embark on a journey to uncover the hidden gems nestled along the Overseas Highway – the 8 best must-visit beaches in the Florida Keys. From secluded coves to bustling strips of sand, each of these coastal wonders promises a unique and unforgettable experience. So, pack your sunscreen, grab your shades, and let’s explore the breathtaking beauty that awaits at every turn of this iconic highway.

1. Cannon Beach

GPS: 25.12574, -80.40545
ADDRESS: 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037

Cannon Beach - Best beaches along the Overseas Highway. Florida Keys beaches.

Cannon Beach is a serene oasis nestled within the vibrant tapestry of Florida’s renowned Florida Keys. This picturesque stretch of coastline epitomizes the essence of tropical paradise, offering visitors a perfect blend of natural beauty, relaxation, and adventure.

Named after its resemblance to a cannonball, Cannon Beach boasts powdery white sands that gently slope into the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach’s pristine shoreline stretches for miles, providing ample space for sunbathing, beachcombing, and leisurely strolls along the water’s edge.

One of the defining features of Cannon Beach is its coral reef system, which is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Snorkelers and divers flock to this underwater wonderland to explore its vibrant coral formations, teeming with a kaleidoscope of marine life. From colorful tropical fish to majestic sea turtles, the reef offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the beauty and diversity of the ocean ecosystem.

2. Anne’s Beach

GPS: 24.84854, -80.74096
ADDRESS: 73500 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

Anne's Beach - top 8 beaches in the Florida Keys.

Located amidst the captivating beauty of the Florida Keys, Anne’s Beach stands as a shining jewel along the iconic Overseas Highway. This scenic stretch of coastline has earned its reputation as one of the best beaches in the area, drawing visitors from near and far to bask in its splendor.

The crystalline waters of Anne’s Beach are a mesmerizing shade of blue, inviting visitors to dip their toes or take a refreshing swim in its embrace. Beneath the surface lies a vibrant underwater world teeming with life, with coral reefs adorning the ocean floor in a kaleidoscope of colors. Snorkelers and divers alike will find themselves enthralled by the diversity of marine life that calls these coral gardens home.

The beach itself is a sight to behold, with its sweeping vistas and scenic surroundings captivating the hearts of all who visit. A leisurely stroll along the wooden deck that winds its way around the shoreline offers uninterrupted views of the coastline, providing ample opportunities to soak in the beauty of nature.

3. Sombrero Beach

GPS: 24.69227, -81.08551
ADDRESS: Sombrero Beach Rd, Marathon, FL 33050

Sombrero Beach - Top 8 beaches along the scenic Overseas Highway. Get ready for your trip.

Sombrero Beach, nestled in the heart of the Florida Keys in Marathon, is a picturesque stretch of white sand that epitomizes the quintessential tropical paradise. Named after the iconic shape of the traditional Mexican hat, Sombrero Beach boasts azure waters, swaying palm trees, and a laid-back atmosphere that beckons visitors seeking relaxation and natural beauty.

Stretching for approximately 12.6 acres along the Atlantic Ocean, Sombrero Beach offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Its pristine shoreline is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing, and a variety of water sports, making it a popular destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.

Sombrero Beach stands out as one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys, nestled conveniently along the Overseas Highway.

4. Veterans Memorial Beach

GPS: 24.68129, -81.23061
ADDRESS: 39900 US-1, Big Pine Key, FL 33043

Veterans Memorial Beach - where to take a break and spend time on the sandy beach (Florida Keys).

Veterans Memorial Beach, nestled along the picturesque Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys, stands as a testament to both natural beauty and historical reverence. Renowned as one of the finest beaches in the Florida Keys, it offers visitors a captivating blend of sun, sand, and serenity.

Situated amidst the stunning archipelago of the Florida Keys, Veterans Memorial Beach boasts pristine white sands lapped by the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This idyllic setting provides the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation and recreation. Whether you’re lounging under the shade of swaying palm trees, building sandcastles with the little ones, or snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

What sets Veterans Memorial Beach apart from other coastal destinations is its poignant tribute to the nation’s veterans. The beach is adorned with memorials and monuments honoring the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces, providing visitors with an opportunity for quiet reflection and gratitude. It’s a place where the beauty of nature intertwines with the spirit of patriotism, creating a uniquely meaningful experience for all who visit.

5. Calusa Beach

GPS: 24.65567, -81.27983
ADDRESS: 36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043

Calusa Beach - Florida Keys beaches

Calusa Beach, nestled within the pristine confines of Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys, offers visitors a tranquil retreat into nature’s embrace. As part of one of Florida’s most beloved state parks, Calusa Beach boasts powdery white sands, sparkling azure waters, and a backdrop of lush tropical vegetation, making it a haven for sun-seekers, nature enthusiasts, and outdoor adventurers alike.

The beach derives its name from the Calusa tribe, a Native American people who once inhabited the region and left behind a rich cultural legacy. Their presence infuses the area with a sense of history and reverence, adding depth to the natural beauty that surrounds it.

One of the most iconic features of Calusa Beach is the Old Bahia Honda Bridge, a historic railroad bridge that stands as a testament to the area’s rich past. Originally built in the early 20th century, the bridge played a pivotal role in connecting the Florida Keys via the Overseas Railroad, which later evolved into the Overseas Highway. While the bridge no longer serves its original purpose, it now stands as a picturesque landmark, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding seascape and serving as a popular spot for photography, fishing, and leisurely strolls.

6. Horseshoe Beach

GPS: 24.65452, -81.30153
ADDRESS: 1969 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043

Horseshoe Beach - Big Pine Key beach. Check my list of best beaches on the Florida Keys.

Horseshoe Beach, nestled off Mile Marker 35 in Big Pine Key, is a hidden gem awaiting discovery by those seeking a unique aquatic experience in the Florida Keys. This picturesque haven owes its existence to a quarry carved out during the construction of the Overseas Railroad, lending it a historical charm that adds to its allure.

With depths plunging to approximately 30 feet at its center, Horseshoe Beach offers an inviting sanctuary for swimmers and snorkelers alike. The natural curvature of its horseshoe-shaped shoreline provides a protective embrace, fostering ideal conditions for aquatic exploration and relaxation. Visitors can revel in the crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, captivating the senses with an underwater symphony of colors and creatures.

While the beach may boast more seagrass than sand, its distinct charm lies in its rugged natural beauty. Pack a beach chair and embrace the laid-back atmosphere as you soak in the serenity of this coastal retreat. Whether you’re seeking adventure beneath the waves or simply yearning for a front-row seat to nature’s breathtaking spectacle, Horseshoe Beach promises an unforgettable escapade.

This is a great snorkeling spot. If you would like to discover more spots for snorkeling, please check out my blog post: Snorkeling and Diving BEST Hotspots in Florida Keys & Overseas Highway

7. Smathers Beach

GPS: 24.55198, -81.76873
ADDRESS: 2601 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040

Florida Keys  beaches - Smathers Beach

Smathers Beach, nestled in the heart of Key West, Florida, stands out as one of the most beloved and iconic beaches in the Florida Keys. With its soft, sandy shores and crystal-clear turquoise waters, Smathers Beach offers visitors a slice of paradise and a perfect retreat for sun-seekers and water enthusiasts alike.

Stretching for about half a mile along the Atlantic Ocean, Smathers Beach provides ample space for relaxation and recreation. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, or engage in water sports, this beach has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of Smathers Beach is its calm and shallow waters, making it ideal for families with young children. The gradual slope of the shoreline allows for safe and enjoyable swimming experiences. Additionally, the gentle waves provide perfect conditions for activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling, allowing visitors to explore the vibrant underwater world of the Florida Keys.

8. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach

GPS: 24.54543, -81.81014
ADDRESS: Unnamed Road, 601 Howard England Way, Key West, FL 33040, United States

The best Overseas Highway beach -  Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is a hidden gem nestled amidst the pristine beauty of the Florida Keys, serving as a captivating destination along the renowned Overseas Highway journey. Situated within Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West, this beach stands as a testament to both natural splendor and historical significance.

One of the standout features of Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is its stunning shoreline, adorned with powdery white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters. This picturesque setting offers visitors the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation, water activities, and exploration. Whether you’re lounging under the shade of swaying palm trees, taking a leisurely stroll along the shore, or basking in the warm Florida sun, the beach’s tranquil ambiance invites you to unwind and soak in the beauty of your surroundings.

Moreover, its location along the Overseas Highway adds to its allure. As travelers embark on the iconic road trip along the Florida Keys, Fort Zachary Taylor Beach serves as a memorable stop along the journey. Whether you’re driving from Key Largo to Key West or vice versa, taking a break at this beach allows you to rejuvenate and recharge before continuing your adventure along this scenic coastal route.

In conclusion, Fort Zachary Taylor Beach stands out as one of the best beaches on the Florida Keys and a must-visit destination along the Overseas Highway journey. With its breathtaking beauty, rich history, and tranquil ambiance, this hidden gem offers visitors an unforgettable coastal experience that captures the essence of the Florida Keys’ allure.

I hope you enjoy my top 10 list of the best beaches along the scenic Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys. Have a great trip!

πŸ‘ Find out more:

Overseas Highway Florida Keys Travel Guide - 101 best stops by Mark Watson

Explore the finest attractions along the Overseas Highway and Florida Keys with my travel guide, ‘Florida Keys Overseas Highway Travel Guide – 101 Best Stops,’ now available on Amazon. This comprehensive guide is your ultimate companion for those seeking adventure and wonder along THE OVERSEAS HIGHWAY & FLORIDA KEYS! Discover 101 amazing places with convenient ‘Scan QR and go’ functionality for easy navigation.


Pacific Coast - Mark Watson

Mark Watson is a California-based member of a Los Angeles motorcycle club and an avid traveler. He has completed seven full journeys along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway on his Harley-Davidson and is passionate about promoting this historic drive to others. Mark has also explored the Alaska Highway and Route 66, and has authored four bestselling travel guides on Amazon: “Route 66 Travel Guide – 202 Amazing Places,” “Alaska Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops,”, “Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops”, and “Florida Keys Overseas Highway Travel Guide – 101 Best Stops.”

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