Swimming With the Fishes at Fort Zach, Key West, Florida
Sure, there are other beaches in Key West. But only "Fort Zach" has clear, deep, cool water without the slimy dead seagrass (and constant closures due to contamination) that seems to plague other Key West beaches. Swim or snorkel out to the rock jetties and see some real Florida Keys natives—porkfish, grunts, yellowtail snappers, and parrotfish diving, darting, and foraging among the rocks. The water here is usually calm enough that you can float peacefully on your back without worrying about winding up in Cuba. Or you can jump a wave or two when a cruise ship passes by, looking for all the world like a giant floating skyscraper. When you're finished, plunk down on the white sand (imported from the Bahamas) or at a picnic table under the Australian pines, and admire the scantily-clad Eastern European tourists or chat up some friendly visiting Southerners.