I’m proud to say Key West’s Higgs Beach has been recognized as one of the world’s 11 best gay beaches in a recent article in “Gay Cities: Your Gay Travel Guide.” Writer Chris Bull praises the beach as “a great spot known for snorkeling, volleyball, and jet skiing.” It’s definitely all that, and more.

Higgs Beach Key West

Key West’s casual, friendly Atlantic-front Higgs Beach was recently listed among the world’s 11 best gay beaches. (Photo by Carol Tedesco, Florida Keys News Bureau)

Higgs Beach overlooks the Atlantic Ocean beside historic West Martello Tower, the home of the Key West Garden Club. And believe me, the lushly planted spot is well worth exploring during a break from sand and sun. The free-admission attraction showcases magnificent orchids, gardenias, a peace garden, a white perfume garden and scores of plants and trees — all set against the weathered bricks of the Civil War-era fort.

And if you should feel hunger pangs during your sun time at Higgs Beach, just pop into Salute!, a beachfront restaurant popular for its Caribbean-influenced take on Italian classics.

Although Key West is small in size (approximately four miles long and two miles wide), we have a fine variety of appealing beaches — some public and some on resort properties that are reserved for guests.

Public beaches include the locals’ favorite at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. FYI, it has been affectionately nicknamed Fort Liz Taylor Beach by our LGBTQ community.

Taylor stayed in Key West frequently during her years with Richard Burton — whose mentor and adoptive father, Shakespearean scholar and playwright Philip Burton, numbered among the island’s famous residents.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park beach Key West

The beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, dubbed Fort Liz Taylor Beach by locals, is a favorite for Key West residents. (Photo by Mike Freas)

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is spread out over 54 acres. Its marvelous beach is a great place to swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear Atlantic waters.

The park provides everything you might need for a perfect day at the beach: picnic tables, grills, nature trails, a massive fort to explore and even some shade for non-sun-worshipping visitors (thanks to the site’s majestic Australian pines). As you walk to the far left-hand side, you may spot an overabundance of Speedo-clad men — and then you’ll know you’ve arrived at the correct spot.

By the way, don’t fret if you prefer lounging at a pool rather than a beach. Many of Key West’s LGBTQ-friendly accommodations have fabulous pools to keep you cool and tiki bars to quench your thirst.

Now that autumn is approaching in the “real world,” it’s a great time to remember that Key West’s temperatures are beach-friendly virtually all year long. And wherever you choose to swim and sun, you’re certain to encounter warm and welcoming smiles from members of our “One Human Family.”

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