I don't care what brochure guides say. Fort Zach is the best. I've lived here all my life so I should know. Granted beaches in Key West are not the best the Caribbean has to offer (they might not even be the best in Florida) but Fort Zach at least offers a fairly good snorkeling experience. It's the one beach that always has some surf and waves, so that's nice to listen to. It's got natural shade from pine trees and also has some indigenous plants and shrubs. I think also they have rentals for Kayaks and boards, but I never use that stuff since I've got my own. The bathroom facilities are typically cleaner than the public beaches like Higgs. And it never smells putrid like Smathers or Higgs often does. Outside showers. The downside is the sand is not real sand. It's more like crushed rock and pebbles. Sensitive feet will get hurt walking on it. Also there are many rocks when you first walk into the water but it gets sandy a little ways out and deep enough to swim. A pair of beach shoes will be a must for some soft feet. The rocks won't cut you but they dig in. The stacks of sea rock they have piled up in the water you can climb. Often there are schools of fish swimming around them. I've even seen a school of pompano one time. This is really the reason you want to come to Fort Zach. And of course there's the fort. That's pretty cool the first time you see it. They turn it into a haunting house every Halloween. Ideal location to put one. The props and actors have been really scary in the past (put my wife to tears) but they seemed to tone it down for some reason the last time I went. Local tip: stick around for sunset on the Westernmost part of the beach in the summer months (that's opposite the big navy radar) for a show of sailboats that really look awesome like black triangular shadows against the sun. Really nice). Also, you see cruise ships from that end, but like a lot of locals, we want to put an end to that industry. The ships helped in destroying our reef. Fly or drive here, please.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.