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Snipes Key – The Story of the Famous Snipes Sandbar Key West

Snipes Point Key West is the location of the famous Snipes Key sandbar. But as popular as this spot is, it’s still a hidden gem.

You see, Snipes Point is only accessible by boat and is far away from any land access. So not only do you need a watercraft to get there, but you need good navigation skills and some local knowledge to get you there. The backcountry of the Florida Keys is no place to wander into unprepared.

Here’s a look at the beauty of Snipes Point, the best times to visit, and, of course, how to get yourself out there.

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What is the Snipes Key Sandbar?

To understand the allure of the Snipes Point sandbar, you need to know a few things about beaches and the Florida Keys.

If you’ve ever come to the Keys by car and driven down the Overseas Highway, you probably noticed an incredibly obvious lack of beaches.

Florida Keys Beaches

The Keys are made of mangrove islands, and sandy beaches aren’t a thing we do like other parts of Florida do.

Mangroves are those trees you see everywhere along the shoreline. They stand on lanky mangrove roots that catch sediments in the water, forming the islands and holding them together, protected from erosion.

Sometimes you’ll find a sandy spot among the mangroves. But when you compare these patches to the miles of sugar sand found elsewhere in the Sunshine State… Well, the Florida Keys probably aren’t very high on anyone’s list of beach vacation sites.

That is unless they know the local’s secret–the fabulous Florida Keys sandbar. A sandbar is a shallow area of sand that is right under the surface of the water. The sandbar is exposed as the tide goes out each day, and some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see appear.

So finding the best beaches in Key West isn’t like driving to the seaside and parking your car. Instead, you need seamanship skills, a nautical chart, and a trusty offshore vessel to find them.

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The Sandbars Around Key West

You can find sandbars all around the Keys, but some of the most beautiful are off of Key West. The backcountry here includes a few of the Keys that aren’t connected to Highway US 1. They lie north, forming a border where the shallow waters of the Keys meet the Gulf of Mexico.

You will hear about a few groups of islands out here. For example, the Snipes Keys are one group where you’ll find Snipes Point and the Snipes Key sandbar.

Other small islands in the area that also have great sandbars include Marvin Key, Mud Keys, and Content Keys. These spots are 45 minutes to an hour northeast of Key West by fast boat.

There are closer popular sandbars, but you still need a boat to get to them. Sand Key is a popular spot off the Atlantic side of the island. Heading west, Woman Key and Boca Grande Key lie in a group of islands called the Marquesas Keys.

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What’s So Great About Snipes Point?

Snipes Key sandbar is one of the most popular spots for beachgoing and boating in the Lower Keys. It’s home to the Instagram-worthy Snipes Key Swing, a driftwood creation that looks like it came right off a postcard. Framed by the crystal clear water and the huge low tide beach, it’s nothing short of paradise.

Boats anchor off of the sandbar in about two feet of water. As the tide goes out, watching the first-timers’ boats get left high and dry is always fun. If you need a little exercise, they’re always looking for help pushing their boats back into deeper water.

The sandbar itself is huge and snuggled up against a pristine mangrove island. At high tide, it’s a really pretty beach. As the tide goes out, the water over the bar gets shallow enough to wade and relax on. That’s when it comes alive and the beach gets huge.

The Snipes Point sandbar is also big enough to explore a little. You can swim in the deeper water and watch for sharks, rays, conchs, and other species of fish. You can walk through the shallow water and get your steps in for the day. Check out the Key West sandbar swing, or inspect the wreck of the boat More Fun that Hurricane Ian washed up here.

How Busy Is It at Snipes Key West?

You might think that coming to such a popular sandbar means you won’t have the place to yourself. That’s certainly true on weekends and holidays when literally hundreds of boats can be found anchored along this stretch of paradise.

But there are quieter times to visit. Early mornings and most weekdays are very chill. So if you get there around 9 am on a weekday, you’ll likely be the only boat out there and have an entire tropical island to call your own.

It’s a different scene on a busy holiday. Imagine tons of boats anchored off the beach, many partying with friends and grilling feasts. Large yachts will anchor farther offshore and bring their tenders to explore the shallows. It’s a fun mix of families, locals, and tourists on charter boats. Everyone is friendly and out to have a good time.

Is it Snipe Key Sandbar or Snipes Point Sandbar?

Good question! The truth is, it’s all the same place. The sandbar lies off a group of islands called the Snipes Keys, but it is at the tip where the charts have labeled it Snipes Point. So technically, both labels are correct.

Sandbar Lookout
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How To Get To Snipes Key From Key West

Ok, Snipes Point is amazing. So, how the heck do I get there!? Every method of how to get to Snipes Key involves a boat.

If you’re visiting Key West and don’t have your own boat, there are still plenty of ways to have a fun day at the sandbar. Sandbar charters are a thing in Key West, and Snipes Point is on the list as a favorite stop.

We should note here that you can’t always get to Snipes Key. The island is unprotected and right on the edge of the Gulf. If the wind is howling out of the north or northeast, there’s no way to get out there. Luckily, that doesn’t happen very often.

You can pick the size of the boat that you’d like to go with. Tours range from small six-pack boats to bigger catamarans that can hold a crowd.

Everyone comes to the sandbar expecting something a little different. A private Key West boat charter gives you options. Do you hang at one spot all day or tell the captain you’d like to explore the area a little more?

Sandbar charters are also a good way to combine your trip with dolphin watching or even a little snorkeling.

Call Captain Zak today if you’d like to make your own sandbar tour and visit Snipes Key sandbar on your own terms. He’ll have the Casual Monday fueled up and ready to go before you can pop open that White Claw.

Snipes Key Sandbar FAQs


Where is Snipe Key? Where is Snipe Point?

Snipe Key, also known as Snipe Point, is a popular sandbar located about ten miles northeast of Key West. It’s on the border between the shallow waters of the Keys and the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s not connected to the highway. As a result, the only way in or out of the Snipe Keys is by boat.

How do I get to the sandbar in Key West?

Getting to the Key West sandbars requires a boat. Some of them, like the Snipes Point sandbar, are deep in the backcountry and require excellent boat handling and navigational skills to access. The best way to get to the best sandbars is to charter a private boat with a local captain.

How far are sandbars from Key West?

There are quite a few great sandbars near Key West, but they all require a boat trip. While most are within ten miles of the island, getting there is often a winding route through shallow backcountry navigation channels. Expect the boat ride to the sandbar to last at least 45 minutes.

Where is Snipes Point Key West?

Snipes Point is a popular sandbar beach located at the tip of a group of remote islands called the Snipe Keys. The Snipe Keys are about ten miles northeast of Key West, isolated in the shallow waters, mangrove islands, and twisting channels of what locals call the Florida Keys backcountry.

Can you get to the Keys by boat?

The Keys are very connected by water, so there are several ways to arrive by boat. One good option is the fast ferry that connects Key West with Fort Myers Beach and Marco Island–the Key West Express. https://www.keywestexpress.net

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