The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, situated at the Truman Annex on Southard Street, is considered the prime beach location in Key West, Florida. This 87-acre park is a blend of profound history and captivating natural beauty, featuring the best-preserved Civil War fort in the country. The fort, named after President Zachary Taylor, bears witness to Florida's early development, with construction beginning in 1845. Despite various challenges, including yellow fever, material shortages, and hurricanes, the fort became a significant symbol of Florida's history.
The park provides a comprehensive range of activities for visitors:
- The beach offers prime spots for swimming, snorkeling, and paddling, with a rich underwater ecosystem comprising parrot fish, yellowtail snapper, lobsters, and a variety of hard and soft corals.
- Fishing is permitted along the Key West Shipping Channel on the west side of the park, providing a great opportunity to catch a fresh dinner.
- Nature trails nestled in the park invite visitors to explore native plant life and bird watch in a warm, tranquil setting.
- A café, picnic tables, and grills make the park an ideal place for a beach cookout.
- Guided tours of the fort offer an insight into its history, construction, and the large collection of Civil War-era cannons.
- The park features various beach rentals, including lounge chairs, umbrellas, masks, snorkels, and rafts, enhancing visitors' beach experience.
- Open every day from 8 a.m. until sundown with the fort closing at 5 p.m.
- Located about two miles from downtown Key West at 601 Howard England Way.
- The park fee is $6 per vehicle.
- The contact number for further information is 305-292-6713.
A visit to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park delivers a balanced fusion of leisure and learning, making it an essential stop on any trip to Key West. Visitors are advised to stay until sunset to witness a breathtaking view as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.