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Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park


Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is Florida's southernmost state park, and is known not only for recreation and family fun, but also for its role in U.S. military history. It is home to Fort Zachary Taylor, a mid-1800s fort that played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Tours of the fort are offered daily.

Besides the history to be seen here, the park is also home to Key West's favorite beach, and is a great place for picnicking, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, nature hikes, and bicycling.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Information


Beaches: The beach at Fort Taylor is considered the best beach in Key West. It has excellent water flow, depth, and clarity, and live corals and numerous tropical fish can be observed here. Yoga on the Beach classes are offered here as well.

Swimming: Water quality is excellent and conditions are usually favorable for a swim at Fort Taylor. Occasionally, there are marine creatures present that you need to be aware of.

Scuba Diving & Snorkeling: The waters off Fort Taylor offer one of the best beach dives and snorkeling spots available in the Florida Keys. Moderate depths of up to 20 feet and excellent water quality provide an opportunity to view both hard and soft corals as well as numerous species of tropical fish.

Fishing: Anglers can try their luck along the entrance to the Key West Harbor. The main ship channel is approximately 33-feet deep and provides access to a variety of saltwater fish.

Hiking & Nature Trail: There are two short trails in the park. The Sand Hog Trail is located near the beach and loops through an area of native trees and vegetation typically found along the coast in the Florida Keys. Several interpretive plaques identify various plants and provide interesting information that you may not know. The Fort View Trail takes you through a small section of tropical hammock that overlooks the fort and moat. The native trees provide essential food and habitat needed for many of the migratory bird species that frequent this area. Fort Taylor is the last stop for many of these species that get the rest and re-nourishment needed before continuing their migratory journey. Birds that have never before been seen in the United States have been spotted at Fort Taylor - usually along the Fort View Trail.

Birding: Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is an excellent place for the birding enthusiast. Numerous birds stop to rest and get re-nourished at Fort Taylor during the spring and winter migration. The Loggerhead Kingbird, which had never been sighted in the United States, made a visit to Fort Taylor in 2006 and was documented by the Audubon Society. Numerous birds of prey, shorebirds, frigatebirds and other unusual and rare bird sighting have been made at Fort Taylor. Fort Taylor is the last stop for many bird species on their migration to and from Cuba and other Caribbean islands. The park is the largest green space in Key West and is on the southernmost tip of the continental United States. Migrating birds are most frequently sighted in the tropical hammock area. Many of the plants in the tropical hammock are critical for the migrating birds. The native plants provide the food required for their survival on their long journey. Fort Taylor is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.

Biking: Bring your bike and ride along the bicycle trail around the moat, and along the shipping channel. Note that bicycles are restricted from the picnic areas and the beach.

Food: The beachfront Cayo Hueso Café offers snacks, lunch, and cold beverages. It is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily. daily serving up the finest beach cuisine. Enjoy the great view and pleasant setting of the concession deck as you enjoy your meal.

Rentals:Umbrellas, beach chairs, and snorkel gear are available for rent.

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