The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, better known simply as Fort Taylor (or Fort Zach to locals), is a Florida State Park and National Historic Landmark centered on a Civil War-era fort located near the southern tip of Key West, Florida.
Construction of the fort began in 1845 as part of a mid-19th century plan to defend the southeast coast through a series of forts after the War of 1812. Thompson Island, at the southwest tip of Key West, was selected as the site for the fort in 1822 and plans drawn up by Simon Bernard and Joseph G. Totten were approved in 1836. Two supporting batteries, Martello Towers, provided additional coverage, one of which exists today as the Martello Gallery-Key West Art and Historical Museum. The fort was named for United States President Zachary Taylor in November 1850, a few months after his sudden death in office. The fort's foundation consists of oolitic limestone and New England granite. Its five-foot thick walls rose 50 feet above mean low water and included two tiers of casemates with a terreplein or barbette at the top. Three seaward curtains 495 feet between bastions, each containing 42 guns on three levels, were augmented by a land-facing gorge. Troop barracks were built into this gorge with a capacity for 800 men. At either end of the barracks was a large gunpowder magazine while a sally port was located in the center, connected to land by a 1200-foot causeway. Rainwater was collected in underground cisterns along the perimeter of the fort. Yellow fever epidemics and material shortages slowed construction of the fort, which continued throughout the 1850s. The Pensacola firm of Raiford and Abercrombie provided bricks for Fort Zachary Taylor and Fort Jefferson, which was under construction at the same time.
Gordon Wanless | Mar 8, 2018
Just went last wk end. I was extremely impressed!! It's better than before the hurricane last summer! Many upgrades. Have chairs n umbrellas for just a deposit u get back. Restaurant, Bathrooms, grills n shaded huge pine trees. Very spread out, lots of parking, best beach views we have. Costs a 5-10 bucks to get in. Clean, park rangers. A nice day at a beautiful beach!!!!!! Kw 4ever ✌😎
1212whunter | Mar 27, 2018
Overall nice scenic beach. My wife and I were told about it by a attraction guy in key west , but not told about the amount of rocks on it.Nice light blue water. Great for snorkeling on a calm ocean day. Only downfall is it has a lot of rocks on the beach and in the water ,if you plan on swimming or snorkeling bring some water shoes! The rocks will hurt you feet! Wife and I enjoyed the beach. With the cheap $5.00 admission and map they give to you is a nice relaxing beach and fort attractions!
Andrea Chung | Mar 8, 2018
A lovely and quiet beach, ample parking and all the amenities needed within a short walking distance. Rent umbrellas and lounge chairs, there is a small takeout restaurant if you need a light snack or a cool drink, picnic tables under shade...clean restrooms near by. The beach is a bit rocky but to be expected considering it is Key West and surrounded by a coral reef. The sunset is to die for and well worth sticking around long after your day has ended to take in the views of sailboats going by as the sun sinks down in the west!
Chloe Turner | Mar 30, 2018
A beautiful place to take in the ocean. Sit on a picnic table and admire the ocean and nature. Go for a dip. A Must go to, when in Key West. The fort is worth the self walking tour. Nature areas. Watch the boats coming in out Key West.
Justin Taylor | Apr 4, 2018
Awesome place to stay and walk around, as well as snorkeling, and fishing. Best place to watch a sunset in this area as well. Spent several hours here snorkeling and enjoying the beach, the staff was great and accommodating even though it was a state park, and the prices for renting equipment was fairly affordable as well.
Joe & Melonie Dorsey | May 1, 2018
Bring your beach shoes, but the view is totally worth it. The parking and bike racks are plentiful. The bathrooms and beach house great. Food, beer and chair rentals are available. Plenty of picnic tables and shade trees. Swimming and snorkeling available with no noisy boats on top of you. The park keeps boat and jet skis far away so families and honeymooners can enjoy the water and peace.
Victoria Musselwhite | Apr 23, 2018
This beach although GORGEOUS is way too rocky to enjoy without water shoes. This is understandable being as Key West is an ancient coral bed though. Also the sand that was there was very gravely. It has very nice amenities. The bathrooms are nice. There is a small walk up cafe. You can rent an umbrella and chairs for a decent price. We got 1 umbrella and 2 lounge chairs for $30. Then when you're done you turn in your ticket and get $5 back. The entrance fee since it is a state park for 3 people in a car was only $7. I saw alot of locals park their cars on the street and walk into the park. It started to rain while we were there so we ran out of time to fully explore the fort itself, the fishing side of the beach, and the hiking trails which I was looking forward to. I would go back, but not just for the beach, and I would take water shoes.
Bill Tosney | May 4, 2018
A meandering route through the Truman Annex but it is well worth it. The expansive beaches and well-maintained supporting facilities are top-notch. There are trees, grills, picnic tables and super clean restrooms are more than adequate for the busiest of weekends. I like to go here for daytime picnics.
Arjun | May 19, 2018
Nice place to spend time and understand the history of the location . Scenic views from the top of the fort of the beach and shore . Must say the beach here has the best white sand shore in key West and a perfect t spot for the picnics and families as well. It has some outdoor grills as well if you interested to cook some... Loved the clear water and white sand shore. Can try paddle boarding as well. Saw a lot of people snorkelling but doesn't make sense not much of corals near the shore.... unless u are just trying to get a hang of snorkelling .!cheers!
Cody Crouch | Jun 2, 2018
Beautiful state park. Clean and well kept. Nice bit of history and beautiful views and a rocky but beautiful beach. Outdoor showers to wash off, a snack bar with food and drinks, and plenty of beach to sit and enjoy the weather. Best beach on Key West.
Brit Stiles | Jun 5, 2018
This was a very relaxing visit. It wasn't very expensive to get in to. The water was really great. I recommend wearing some kind of water shoes though because it's not a sandy beach it's a rocky beach even when you get into the water. It is very rough on your feet if you don't have some kind of shoe on!
Christopher Blair | May 23, 2018
This is a nice Beach to go it's very relaxing it's a big area host many people has a huge parking unfortunately if it's very windy is not the best beach to go to the cause this beach turns into something of a tidal wave storm when it's very windy and that is not something good you're basically can't go in the water if it's windy you have to just enjoy the scenery other than that it's a very nice place to have a picnic. There's a lot of trees which brings a lot of shade very relaxing place 4 family especially if you're great in numbers. The employees are purchased over helpful and whatever question you have they are quick to answer or Point into a direction where you can get an answer.
JoDonn Griffin | Jul 8, 2018
We were cruise passengers that walked from Mallory Square. Easy 15 minute walk. There is a cost to get into the park. The beach was had lots of shells... We had read other reviews so we brought water socks... Worked out great. We rented snorkel equipment at their concessions. Our kids snorkeled and saw some fish, they thought it was cool. The park did have a snack bar, but lines were very long do we did not get anything. There are Lots of shaded picnic tables. The park has outside showers to rinse off and a bathroom... But no showers inside the bathrooms. It was a great inexpensive day for cruise passengers.
Alberto Loyola | Jun 24, 2018
Beautiful place. Either underwater or on land. If you're decent swimmer you can get to the big boulders out about 100ft. There's several piles. You'll be able to see all kinds marine life. Schools of snook, tarpon, snappers, Sargent Majors, and many more. Mask and snorkel highly advised. So you can enjoy it more thoroughly. You can also do some fishing out there. Best bet is to bring live bait as shrimp, pin fish, and if your handy with a cast net catch you some pilchards. As for the land part do your research on the tour guide it's a bit lengthy but great and informative. Beautiful part of history. And its inexpensive.
Deano Deano | Jun 26, 2018
This is a really cool little beach. I prefer it to Bahia Honda. It has a reasonable food court and a rental station too. You can rent an umbrella and chairs, also snorkeling equipment. It has beautiful waters and a lot of parking. It was the last stop on our two day Key West trip l, so we saved the best for last. It also has the historic fort that you can tour.
Brittany Adee | Jun 24, 2018
Beautiful beach, loved seeing all kinds of fish by the rocks which are about 100 ft away from the shore. Be sure to bring snorkeling gear so you can see the fish and other sea creatures. Bathrooms and showers on site, as well as ample parking, picnic tables and grills. They also have a cafe that made a great Cuban sandwich 😋. Def worth the ~$1.70 admission fee per person for a less crowded, clean and quiet beach.
Daniel Wagner | Jun 26, 2018
A historic fort and beach access to some rocks with good snorkeling. The fort is well preserved and can be toured in 30 to 45 minutes- there are good views from the top floor. The beach is rocky so I recommend water shoes but there are schools of fish and squid in the water easily visible with goggles or snorkeling gear. Be warned that the water gets rough past the rocks.
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