Biking in Key West: Everything You Need to See
Did you know that Key West was once the wealthiest city in the United States?
Even though Key West is only four miles long, it is an island that is full of history. People who travel by bicycle in Key West often make the mistake of thinking that there are only several important things to see.
But the truth is that there are many important sights that you should check out when you are biking in Key West. We’ve written a guide to help you out. Keep reading to find out more.
Best Beaches in Key West
The Gulf of Mexico surrounds Key West. This means that you are never far from incredible views of crystal-clear water and deep blue sky.
There are also lots of quiet sandy beaches in Key West. Here are the top beaches you should visit on your bicycle.
Fort Zachary Taylor
This is one of Key West’s most well-known and popular public beaches. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park spans eighty-seven acres and has a Civil War fort.
You should consider stopping at fort Zachar Taylor to have lunch or a barbecue. Not only does the park have picnic tables. It also has onsite grills.
After enjoying your lunch you can go swimming, snorkeling, or hang a hammock and take a nap.
The beach is beautiful and the waters are deep. It is possible to rent chairs to sit on, and the park has public bathrooms. You can also buy food at a snack bar.
You can enter the park by taking Southart Street. Continue past the Green Parrot and then pass through the Truman Annex.
Make sure that you have a few dollars for paying the park’s entrance fee.
Fort Zachary Taylor is much quieter than popular areas such as Mallory Square.
Smathers is a great beach for bicyclists who are looking for action.
This lengthy stretch of manmade beach is a perfect spot for those who want to stop and play volleyball or participate in adventure sports on the water such as jet skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing.
Smathers has picnic tables, bathrooms, and a snack stand. It is located off South Roosevelt Boulevard.
This is a long stretch of sand that is perfect for families. You dine at a full-service restaurant and walk along the pier.
You can rent rafts, picnic tables, and chairs. It also has a playground for children.
If you want to take a break from your bicycle trip to go fishing, you should make a point of stopping at South Beach. It has a concrete pier that you can walk along while looking for marine animals such as sea turtles and dolphins.
This is a small beach that has lots of natural vegetation. If you visit this beach at the right moment, you might be able to participate in a yoga class on the pier.
People like to visit this beach in order to watch boats enter and leave the harbor. It is also possible to launch small boats near Simonton Beach.
You can grab a drink at the bar and rent snorkeling and fishing gear.
This beach looks over the Atlantic ocean. It has a park with lots of shade and picnic tables. There are also restrooms and showers.
If you visit the beach between the months of April and October, you might see loggerhead turtles that have come to lay their eggs. It is common for park officials to mark off areas where turtles have laid their nests.
Keep in mind that it is illegal to disturb loggerhead turtle nests. Thankfully, there is plenty of space on the beach to spread out and enjoy yourself.
Other Important Sights to Visit on a Bicycle
People often make the mistake of thinking that all there is to do in Key West is visit nearby beaches. But there are many exciting places to visit on your bicycle. Here are some of the top things that you should check out.
Garrison Bight is located at the gateway to Old Town. You’ll see lots of colorful houseboats and fishing charters.
Key West Cemetery
Key West cemetery is easy to get to because it is located in Old Town at the highest point on the island. The cemetery is open from sunrise to sundown. But keep in mind that it closes at 6 pm in the winter.
Go to the cemetery’s main office to grab a self-guided map that highlights the most important gravestones and crypts.
Make sure to visit Mallory Square. If you visit the square early in the morning or later in the afternoon, you might have the plaza mostly to yourself.
If you are there in the afternoon, you’ll probably share it with many other visitors.
There are other important attractions that are close to Mallory Square such as Kew West Aquarium, Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum, and Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
Ernest Hemingway’s Home
Key West’s most famous resident was Ernest Hemingway. He lived on the island in the nineteen thirties when he was writing his most popular books such as “To Have and Have Not,” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
The Key West Lighthouse is located across the street from Ernest Hemingway’s old home.
East Martello Tower
This tower houses a museum that honors the cultural past of Key West. There are various exhibits that display works of art.
Audubon House and Tropical Gardens
The infamous Captain John Huling Geiger used to live in this house with his family. The house is now a museum that is filled with artifacts and works of art made by John James Audubon.
Visit Key West: The Best Biking Trails and Routes
There are several great biking routes to take on Key West. Here are the bicycle loops and trails that you should be aware of.
East Perimeter Trail Loop
You should take this loop if you prefer to travel along a quieter route. East Perimeter Trail Loop is about seven miles long. It mainly consists of dedicated bike and walking trails.
The loop starts at the West Martello Tower, which is one of several different forts that are located on the island. It is now a botanical garden.
Make your way down Atlantic Blvd until you get to Bertha St. From here the trail heads to Smathers Beach. You can bike along this beach’s one-mile-long boardwalk until you get to Cow Key Channel.
You’ll eventually pass by mangroves before you enter a residential neighborhood.
When you get to Highway one, keep traveling along Roosevelt Blvd until you get to the Key West Historic District.
Whitehead Street Bikeway
This bikeway runs along Duval St and is your best option for bicycling across Key West to visit the important sights. This route is only one mile long.
You’ll pass by Ernest Hemingway’s home, and the Key West Lighthouse. The street will end at the southernmost point of the continental United States.
It is a good idea to get to this point early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds.
Higgs Beach Connector
This route will take you from the southernmost point of the United States to Fort West Martello. This route is filled with curves and twists.
If you take a wrong turn, don’t worry because you’ll simply reach the ocean.
Those who prefer not to make so many turns can instead take South to Reynolds before turning right to get to the ocean.
The most important sights to visit on this route include Barefoot Billy’s, Higgs Beach, and the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
The Higgs Beach connector is not Key West’s most beautiful biking route. But it is a great path for those who want to travel between the Historic District Loop and the Perimeter Loop.
Stock Island Loop
If you want to go biking on a path that offers great views, you should take the Stock Island Loop.
This five-mile loop takes you along Cow Key Channel before heading left on College Rd. It also passes the Key West Botanical Gardens.
Go Biking in Key West Today
If you are planning on taking a trip to Key West, it is important to make sure to visit the island’s most important sights. This is why you should consider going biking in Key West.
The island has several great biking routes such as the Stock Island Loop and the Higgs Beach Connector.
If you need to rent a bike, we are here to help you. Don’t hesitate to check out the bicycle rentals that we have available.