A National Historic Landmark since 1973, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is the southernmost state park in Florida and is both beautiful and historic. The fort itself was built in the mid-1800s as a defense against incoming attacks and it played an important role in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Beyond the fort, you can explore Key West’s favorite beach and bring the family along for picnicking, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, cycling, hiking, and more.
The beach leads right up to breathtaking Caribbean waters, where you can snorkel and see all the marine life — parrot fish, lobster, coral, and more. You can fish off the west rock jetty for your dinner (if you happen to be camping nearby), or you can head to the beach cafe, for classic Key West cuisine. Stick around after dinner for a glimpse of the beautiful sunset off the Gulf of Mexico.
Domestic pets are allowed in day-use areas at the park, including the trails and picnic areas off the beach, but must be well-behaved (a standard determined by park staff) and on a leash of six feet or less at all times. You must pick up after your pet and dispose of the waste properly. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed at the fort, at the cafe or in the water at the main beach. However, there are small areas off the main beach where dogs can get in the shallow water, though it’s not deep enough to swim. These are relatively new rules.
Since this particular area of the country is susceptible to very high temperatures, it’s advised you bring plenty of water to keep your pet cool and never leave your pet in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked and you’re parked in the shade. Watch out for signs of heatstroke, including restlessness, heavy panty, dark tongue, and a rapid pulse.