Smathers Beach in Key West
Smathers Beach is the longest, and one of the best-known beaches in Key West
, it is located just west of the airport. Smathers Beach is named for George A. Smathers a former senator who served Florida for eighteen years in Congress. Everything you need to have a great day of family fun in the sun is right at hand; it has plenty of parking, restrooms, concession stands, chair rentals and picnic tables, vending trucks parked along the perimeter offer snacks and beverages.
Things to Do
Smathers Beach activities include tanning, volleyball and looking for shells, water sport/beach sport rentals include rafts and jet skies and you can go parasailing or windsurfing right off the beach, however leave your surfboard home - there's not even a ripple of a swell, but bring your fins because snorkelers have a swim zone to enjoy just offshore and with the clear water around Key West it's great for spotting fish and other sea life. The current isn't that strong here so there isn't an undertow which makes this a great place for new and beginner snorkelers to learn and enjoy.
The great thing about being on an island is that there are several different ways to get to wherever you are going and if you happen to be headed to the beach and get lost you can just go to the perimeter of the island an head in the direction of the beach you want and eventually you'll find it. Smathers Beach is easy to get to no matter where you are on the island. If you're coming from the Key West airport head to Bertha Street then to South Roosevelt Blvd, it's about two minutes away, literally. If you're on Duval Street head through Key West to Bertha, go to Flagler and then head to Roosevelt it takes about seven minutes to get to Smathers Beach from the hub of Duval.
The weather in the Florida Keys is very moderate due to the ocean breezes that are always blowing. It's around 80 degrees during the day and 73 at night. The Keys have 2 seasons, the dry season which is their winter and the rainy season which happens in the summer which means on any given day in the summer you can expect short, daily summer showers so plan your day at the beach accordingly.
Smathers Beach is an excellent choice for a get away for two, a beach wedding, or an ecotourism vacation, it's a great spring break destination. It even boasts newly acquired gay appeal. Alcohol is permitted on the beach which makes it great place to party and in the Keys the party can continue until dawn. So no matter who you are or what kind of Keys vacation you have in mind Smathers Beach is a great place to visit, day or night.
In 1998 the South Florida beach was hit hard by a Hurricane Georges. It struck the Florida Keys on September 25th as a Category 2 Hurricane with winds of 105 mph. T he eye of the storm passed near Key West about midday and brought a storm surge of up to 12 feet causing erosion on several beaches in Key West including Smathers Beach. In 1999, Hurricane Irene damaged the seawall again and caused additional erosion, nourishment was conducted at Smathers Beach in 2000 with sand rumored to have been brought in from the Bahamas. Then in 2005, Hurricanes Rita and Wilma caused more minor beach erosion to Smathers Beach, which was also subsequently restored. Tropical storms and hurricanes have a habit of sweeping sand away, and almost every other year the city of Key West has to replenish the beach but they always recover and are as beautiful as ever.