I’ve been a little serious in the last couple of posts, so…

Tomorrow we are going to the beach. It’ll be Wednesday and we have no other plans. Our friend and bass player Bob has his birthday on Friday and two of our friends are celebrating 5 years of marriage so we will be heading to Fort Zachary Taylor once again for beach time and barbecue.

It’s funny that I’ve been here almost three years and have spent so little time at the beach. I have spent a deal of time out on the water on boats, which is also tons of fun, too. When you live on an island it seems to me being in and on water is a huge plus.

In reality, Key West has no natural beaches. Everything is manmade. The coral reef prevents actual beaches from being created by tides. The surf doesn’t pound. It laps.

Ft. Zach is a state park. There is a nominal fee for entry and you can hang out there all day and then watch the sunset, after which you have to leave. Once you pay your entry and pass through the gate and up the winding road past Navy property you can stop to visit Fort Zachary Taylor, a Civil War masonry structure that was never completed. Climb up to the top and get a great view of the water and surrounding mangroves filled with huge iguanas sunning themselves.

A little further down the road is a large parking lot and bike racks. The beach is not surrounded by only palm trees but is also home to many tall Australian pines whose wispy fronds provide excellent shade. Since we will be barbecuing we’ll stay under the pines toward the Navy property where the grills and tables are. In the opposite direction, off to the right, if you’re facing the water, you can wander down to a small hut to rent chairs and umbrellas.

Since it is a state park, alcohol is prohibited. There is a snack bar where you can buy beer and so on but you have to imbibe it at the stand. They have some nice tables plus the bathrooms and showers are right there.

The ocean temperature is wonderful this time of year, though not as much like bath water as it is during the height of summer. It’s a great place to just hang out in the salty water which deepens immediately upon entering. Ft. Zach is also great for snorkeling and swimming if you’re feeling more active.

Other beaches can be found on Key West but I recommend Ft. Zach as the nicest for all the reasons above. Cheers! See you on the beach.

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