Key West Sandbar Charters: The Better Beaches

When people think of a tropical island, beaches instantly enter the mind. Well, Key West does have beaches, but the island is made of limestone, so the beaches are rocky and man made. For years, the locals have been enjoying more private beaches, aka, sandbars. We are a boating city after all! So, hopping on a boat and heading a few miles away from it all to lounge in shallow, gin clear waters is pretty close to heaven.

Sandbars are super shallow areas in the water. Depending on the tide, they can be completely exposed or a few feet of water can cover the area. What may be a gorgeous spot one day may not even be accessible the next. So, knowing the tides, weather conditions, and the local waters is pretty important when heading to these areas. Having a knowledgable guide is also important to take you to the right spot for you. Are you looking for a quiet area or more of a party zone?

I am not going to give away any secret spots here, of which we have quite a few, but here are five of the more popular sandbars off of Key West.

One of the gorgeous sandbars off of Key West. Photo courtesy of Capt. Steven Lamp of Toon Time Charters, LLC.


Boca Chica Sandbar – very close to the island of Key West, this is a popular spot for sandbar charters and other excursions due to its convenient location. However, it is located on the flight path of the naval air station, so there are often jets flying overhead. That makes this an ideal spot if you like airshows, but not so much if you are looking for peace and quiet.

Boca Grande – this island located about 15 miles west of Key West was a locals favorite because of its beautiful beach. But, so many visitors with their own boats have nearly destroyed it by beaching their boats, getting stuck, blowing out the sand and eroding the island. So, the island is now closed to everyone, although I do see people out there on occasion still.

Marvin – about 15 miles to the north of Key West, this is a locals spot very popular on weekends and holidays. However, it has been found out, and these once wonderful bonefish grounds are now subjected to a lot of pressure from inexperienced boaters that have damaged the fishery.

Snipe – a very popular sandbar for Key West locals and now many charters as well. This is the sandbar that I call the party zone for the many boats that congregate here almost daily and play music while hanging out in the sunshine.

Woman Key – about 10 miles away from Key West lies this tiny island. At low tide, the sandbar here is a favorite for many. Be sure to avoid the areas prohibited by NOAA for conservation sake.

Who to Go With

My goto company for sandbar charters is Toon Time Charters, a branch of Dream Catcher Charters. They have been in the charter industry here in Key West for over 30 years. Owner, Capt. Steven, a veteran of the US Coast Guard, loves to share his vast local knowledge with his clients and imparts that to his crew so that you will be on the best charter possible.

And, the boats are amazing! You will not find a nicer boat on the island than those run by this team. Another thing that I love about this team is that I can bring my small dog with me. Indiana Bones III, Maltese swimmer and boater loves heading out on the boat and playing in the shallows.

Who: Toon Time Charters, LLC
Where: Sunset Marina, 5555 College Road, Key West, FL 33040
Contact: 305-292-7212 /

Indiana Bones III hanging out with Island Genn and friend Kay on a sandbar charter with Toon Time Charters, LLC.

More About Key West

For more Key West information about things to do and see, visit our Key West Web Site. And, remember to check out our restaurant reviews as you surely must eat while down here! 

Would you like to reserve some activities while you are visiting? I can help you pick the right options for you! FishingSnorkelingSunset sailsDry Tortugas tripsSandbar excursions, and more! 

Island Genn – Key West Concierge

About the author: Island Genn

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