Higgs Beach


  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

A Piece of Key West History

Though it’s a looker, Higgs Beach in Key West is more than meets the eye. Yes, it has white sand, palm trees and shallow water ideal for swimming. But it’s also steeped in history, and still bears the signs of its fascinating past.

In addition to a Civil War-era fort turned garden club, the beachfront is home to a plaque commemorating the site as the burial grounds for hundred of Africans who were rescued from an illegal slave ship in 1860. Those buried near the beach died from illnesses they contracted on the harrowing journey from Africa – survivors were sent to live in Liberia, a West African country founded for formerly enslaved Americans.


Spacious Higgs Beach is Key West’s premier spot for beach activities. A beach concession stand offers chair and umbrella rentals, plus water sports equipment. The Higgs Beach pier is perfect for fishing, and the Astro City Playground (across Atlantic Boulevard) keeps little ones occupied for hours.

Bring picnic supplies and enjoy your snacks in the shade of a pavilion. Or explore the lush flora at the Key West Garden Club, located in the ruins of the fort. And don’t be alarmed by the roosters roaming the grounds at the beach — they’re ubiquitous in Key West.

As host of the only underwater marine park in the United States that’s accessible from shore, Higgs Beach is also one of the best spots for snorkeling in the Florida Keys. Expect to see hard and soft corals, plus crabs, starfish and other marine species within this four-acre aquatic park.

Beachfront Dining

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the beach’s onsite restaurant, Salute! On the Beach, a full-service spot for Italian and Mediterranean fare that hosts great happy hour drink specials.

Higgs Beach at a Glance

City:Key West

Country or State:Florida

Length of Beach:.5 miles

Access:By car or on foot

Best time to visit:Winter months - best weather

High Season:Dec. to April

Low Season:May to November

Beach Hours:6 a.m. to 11 p.m.


  • Kayaks, paddleboards, beach chairs and umbrellas for rent
  • Beachfront restaurant

Beach Type:

  • White sand
  • Saltwater
  • Popular