This strip of sand is one of the best-known beaches in Key West. Named after a former governor, it is just west of the ... More
This strip of sand is one of the best-known beaches in Key West. Named after a former governor, it is just west of the airport and, at two miles long, it is the island's longest strip of silica. This beach is an excellent choice if you have children. With plenty of parking, restrooms, concession stands, chair rentals, picnic tables, watersport rentals and more, everything you need to have a great day in the sun is right at hand. The beach was hit hard by a hurricane in 1998, but it has recovered well and is flourishing once again.
I remember going to Key West around 10 years ago as a teenager, and Smathers beach was awesome. There were people everywhere, swimming, playing volleyball, there was a tiki bar right in the middle of the water with stools, the water was crystal clear, the sand was soft, it was amazing.
So ten years later, I took my fiance and wanted to relive those memories. The Island is still a blast, it was the most fun she ever had, we stayed at the Casa Marina, which has it's own private beach, but it was rocky and had seaweed. So I remembered Smathers beach and we went there.....it was deserted, the sand was concrete hard, the beautiful water was infested with seaweed, you couldn't swim.
I just came on here to ask...what happened to that wonderful beach? And I find out it was nearly destroyed in 1998, around the time before I went. It's very sad to see that what was once a tropical paradise has been ruined. It seems that the parks and rec. department don't really take care of this place, why, I don't know. Has there a law been passed that they cannot clean and comb the water? I'm paying over 250 bucks a night at a resort, and even they didn't have the clean beach I was expecting. WTH is going on?
We went on a Harley Bike Trip down to Key West the first week of March 2008. Visited Smathers Beach that week and what a waste of time and disappointment! The beach did have a few homeless and also some people playing vollyball and having an excellent time. BUT, the smell, the nasty seaweed and water! Wow. I can hardly believe that such a beautiful place could have such a nasty beach.
While visiting relative in MIA, we had the urge to go to the beaches in Key West. Upon driving by and walking toward the beach, the presentation appeared to be inviting with the mixture of pretty green shrubs, coconut palm trees and the like. My children and I had been looking forward to visiting and getting in the nice white sandy beaches in Key West engulfed with crystal clear bluish or greenish tint waters for quite some time.
Once there at Smathers Beach, I immediately headed for the water. Not everyone had the same interest I saw. Although some were in the water, there were a significant amount that was not. A lot were just sitting around. That puzzled me. After in the water, I continued to walk further out because of the shallowness of the water. I at least wanted to submerge myself while standing completely straight up. As I continued to walk further out I noticed the texture of the sand below my feet was not the same as when I set foot in the water. It was not normal. The sand began to feel slimy. The further I walked, it got even slimmier. It felt like some kind of sludge even with the seedweed at the bottom. That was just gross. That just made me want to see what it was that I was walking on. I had just stepped over a rock, so I picked that up first to look at it. There were little worm like creatures attached to the rock, just holding on. Now I know that couldn't be good. I proceded to just stooped down to gather some sand in my hands as I first intended and just how it felt is just how it looked. It maintained a smudgy, slimy, muddy consistency. What made me smell it, I don't know, just curious I guess. Maybe it would smell better than how it felt I thought. I wished I hadn't smelled it, but I did. It was reeking with the scent of raw sewage. I knew then it was time to get out and go. Our visit that took us three and a half hours to get there was abruptly over. My kids were disappointed, but we left immediately. I had planned on my next visit to go to some of the other beaches in Key West but after reading some of the other reviews, I see there is no need.
If it is better now than in 2005, I wonder how it was!! ants, weeds, homeless people, etc... but the smell!! It was just unbearable, you smell the beach before you see it, a real shame! It seems that the waste water is going directly there, not child friendly either, the kids can not play in the sand or swim in the water, a pure waste of time (pun intended) to go there!
After Hurricane Wilma destroyed Smathers Beach, the local and state governments got together and had a multi-million dollar beach replenishment party.
I have worked on Smathers for 20 years, and can honestly say that the beach is the best its been in 20 years, clean and groomed unless right after a storm...
Beautiful imported sand, photogenic coconut palms, and gin clear waters are the attraction.
Remember we have no waves due to North America's only living coral reef, another must see attraction for keys visitors.
Smathers has become a popular wedding location for couples trying to get away from the real world.
Bring plenty of sunscreen, and a few bucks to check out the local vendors. Boat rides and Parasailing are also available.
If its too crowded for you at one spot, a short walk down the beach should find you a quiet spot.
The only way I could go 5 stars is if we had surfing waves.
Note: I agree with all of the previous complaints from past years....it's much better since 2005
I was compelled to write this after viewing a TV show about the 10 best Florida beaches. They listed Smather's Beach among them. I've been to a couple dozen beaches along the Atlantic coast from Maryland to Florida, and I really enjoy the ocean. I was really looking forward to my first trip to Key West last May. We arrived late afternoon, boogie board in hand. (I love to body surf.) We checked in to the motel, and anxiously set out for the beach. We drove around and around the island, following the "beach" signs thinking that we would find one soon. I think we ended up on Smather's Beach, first. (It was parallel to the airport.) Alas, in Key West, the word "beach" apparently has a different meaning than for the rest of the east coast. First of all, even though the island was surrounded by the most gorgeous looking aqua-colored water you would ever want to lay your eyes on, to get to it we would have had to wade through a ten-foot wide swath of rotted black vegetation. We passed on that. And, who needs a boogie board... no one on Key West. There are NO WAVES! The next day, we set out early, thinking that we would surely come upon a nice beach somewhere. WRONG! We could only find one other area that offered any real accessibility to the water. We parked and took our blanket/towels up to the shore line. It was covered with small, hard rocks/shells/pebbles. The only people around were four adolescent males in the water and a half dozen homeless people sleeping along side a building. Again, of course, NO WAVES! We spread out our blanket and sat. The sand was as hard as concrete. After hurting our feet attempting to walk into the water, we stood there in it shin-deep for about 60 seconds before coming to the conclusion that we had had enough. We left. I don't plan to ever go back!
Smathers Beach was horrible. The water was brown, there was seaweed all over and just plain dirty. We had to go into the water to do a parasailing adventure, and it killed me to step foot in the water.
Bahia Honda - not worth the drive either. The water was also just as dirty, seaweed and gross debris was on the VERY limited sand there. 99% of the sand is covered with shells that are all broken to little pieces and seaweed. Everytime you went in the water, seaweed wrapped around your legs.
Definitely go to Key West for fun and relaxation. You just won't be able to relax on a beach. Other than that, it was one of our best vacations, we bought a timeshare!! The dolphin tours are amazing and the water sports are the best.
Seaweed and bird excrement...that's what my sister and I saw at the beaches in Key West...but...Duvall Street is so much fun, and the sunsets are amazing. People are probably the friendliest you'll find any where in the states.
I'd definitely like to return to Key West, but I'll take the pool and Duvall Street over the beaches any time!!!
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