A true one-of-a-kind experience, visiting Fort Taylor not only provides a magnificent natural setting to birdwatch or swim, but also to immerse yourself in U.S. history.
On the southern edge of Key West, Fort Taylor predates the Civil War and is a National Historic Monument housing the largest cache of Civil War armament in the world. Beyond its historical importance, the park is the southernmost state park in the continental United States.
Walk the red-brick corridors of Fort Zachary Taylor, past cannon and gun ports, and history becomes more real than books and photos can depict. One better grasps how soldiers lived as they defended the nation’s southeastern coastline. Tour guides and interpretive panels explain how the fort played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War.
History is front and center the third weekend of each month as local re-enactors conduct historic demonstrations. The park also boasts Key West’s favorite beach, located at the southern end of the park, providing opportunities for picnicking, swimming, snorkeling, paddling and fishing.
Biking is known as the best form of transportation in Key West. Here at Fort Zachary Taylor we accommodate bicyclists by providing plenty of bike racks, trails and even a dedicated entry lane for cyclists and walkers. Grab your picnic items, put them in your bike basket, and come enjoy a relaxing day under our shady hammock by the beach. When you are feeling energetic, just hop on your bike and try out one of our bike trails.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is proud to be a part of The Great Florida Birding Trail. Come see the Fall and Spring bird migrations. Bird lists are available at the ranger station.
Bring your own canoe or kayak or paddleboard and use our launch on the east end of the beach. All hard bottom floatation devices must remain outside swim buoys.
Fishing is very popular in the Florida Keys and Fort Zachary Taylor is no exception. Try your skill, and luck, fishing off our rock jetty adjacent to the main shipping channel. Grouper, snapper, jacks, tarpon and other local favorites can be challenged by anglers of all ages. Don't forget to bring your fishing license and a camera.
Explore the park in a new and challenging way. Experienced Geocachers have requested permission to hide caches containing trinkets, treasures, or information in various places around the park. Please check the Geocaching website for the most current and up-to-date information and clues to locate these caches.
Operation Recreation GeoTour
Get back in touch with nature and come explore the Tropical Hammock Trail to learn about our native plants. When you've finished, walk along the Fort View nature trail and take in the view of our 19th century fortification from the outside.
Bring your fresh catch and cook it right here in our lovely shaded picnic area. Picnic tables and charcoal grills are provided for your convenience, or you can bring your own. This park is pack in pack out, so please bring your trash with you when you go.
Come see the new coral reef being built right here in Key West. Please bring a dive flag if you plan on using scuba equipment, and always bring a partner.
Bring your snorkel gear or rent some here. Fort Zachary Taylor provides some of the best snorkeling from the beach in the Florida Keys. Good for beginners and novices alike.
Come and take advantage of the best swimming location in Key West. The water is shallow, yet deep enough to swim and snorkel. Water shoes are recommended.
Spend your day swimming or snorkeling at Florida's southernmost state park. A sprawling beach of sand and pebbles, and nearby breakwaters teeming with tropical fish, ensure great fun in the sun for both beachcombers and snorkelers. Known by the locals as 'Fort Zach,' or 'rocky beach,' our park boasts the best swimming on the island. Situated next to the main shipping channel, the currents here keep the water clean and clear. Snorkeling equipment can be rented or purchased at the concession located in the picnic area. Showers are available to rinse off after a relaxing day in the sun. Water shoes are recommended because of the rocky sea bottom.
No lifeguards are on duty, swim at your own risk
Grab a clean water rinse before you leave the park at two different locations. Please use water only - no soap products allowed.
Take a stroll through the 1800's in our Civil War era fort. Built to guard the harbor of Key West, Fort Taylor was used in the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Come see the largest collection of seacoast guns and take the daily tour at 11 a.m. You can also explore on your own following the self guided tour.
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