Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!
, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park that predates the Civil War was on our list of places to visit in Key West. It is well worth the small entrance fee because there’s loads of historic information, and it boasts the largest cache of Civil War armament in the world. In addition, it is the southernmost state park in the continental United States.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Having just finished installing some pretty simple siding that comes together at 90 degree angles, the multiple angles executed in brick astounded us. For example, we counted no less than 12 discrete angles joining in this area.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

The fort played an important role in the Spanish-American and the Civil War, first, as a line of defense to the South of Florida. The completion date was 1866, and it took 21 years to build.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Iguanas Everywhere

We saw iguanas all around the mangroves and moat around the fort; in fact, this one peeked up at us while we explored the Northernmost corridor.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

This one was so curious, but when I leaned out to take a look, it jumped in the water and startled me greatly. I forgot they swim quite well! I peeked over the ledge, it surprised me, I surprised it, and splash! It jumped into the moat and swam away!

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

The sheer bulk of the fort astounded us. First, it rises over 50 feet above the shoreline – that’s a lot for Florida! Second, everywhere you turn, the sheer size of the construction impresses. In addition, those mangroves are full of iguanas!

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Historical Significance

This original blacksmithing area displays some of the original tools and techniques used in preparing to repel Confederacy Ships.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Cannons!

Tours are offered at 11:00 a.m. daily, or you can explore the largest collection of Civil War cannons in the United States on your own.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Yards and yards of archways, cannons, and intricate brickwork.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

The size of the cannons surprises visitors – consequently, we wondered about transportation, location of manufacture, and if they really could fire through that little hole, as well as how much recoil they would experience…

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

That’s about three miles, right? Yikes!

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Worth coming back for the tour and hearing about these cannons.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

This gives you an idea of perspective – the fort, perched on the point of land where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet, is simply enormous.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Sunny Florida Keys skies and blue-green water surround Fort Zachary Taylor, along with plenty of mangroves.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Fort Zachary Taylor served both to deter Confederacy ships during the Civil War, and also as a stronghold against attacks in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. You almost can hear footsteps of soldiers on watch.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Supplies and construction labor came from as far away as Germany in the building of the fort.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Key West’s Favorite Beach

South of the fort, lies a large beach area with picnic tables under shady Australian pines, and plenty of room for children to play and run. The parking lot is very large, in fact, it looked like even on a very busy day, there were plenty of spaces still available.

Part of the grounds past the fort are beaches for snorkling and diving. Yes, you actually can shore dive from Key West! ** Best Kept Secret!!!**

In the photo above, you can see the small island – supposedly, you can head over here for some shore diving and see lots of fish.

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Wedding planners set up this wedding location as we walked the park beach. It looked like a sunset ceremony; this is facing almost due West.

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Difference Between Physical and Chemical Sunscreen

, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park // Key West’s Favorite Beach // Shore Dive!

Sunscreen to Use in Key West – Toxic Varieties are Banned!

Do your part in protecting our oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams! Toxic sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinixate are banned in Key West, so treat yourself to a new tube of Stream2Sea sunscreen this season. Here’s a 10% off discount to reward you for being environmentally conscious; just use “KimW” at the checkout. The tubes are completely biodegradable!

What to Watch Next: Trying & Applying Reef Safe Mineral Sunscreen – Tinted and White // Deep Water Happy

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