Smathers Beach is the largest in Key West, and by that we mean longest. None of the beaches in Key West are deep or broad. They really aren’t the main reason most people come to Key West, since they are pretty small, fronted by flats so you have to wade in forever to get to deeper water, and there is a lot of seaweed in their waters, as well. Nevertheless, Smathers Beach is popular and pleasant, and we’re proud of it anyway. It’s located on the south side of the island, along South Roosevelt Boulevard. Just head for the airport, and the beach begins around where the airport entrance onto South Roosevelt is located. There was a restoration of Smathers Beach in the year 2000, just in time for Hurricane Wilma, in 2005, to wipe it all out. Wilma took the sidewalk behind the beach, too, as well as the road. But the beach and road are being rebuilt and the vendors and watersports rentals are once again setting up shop every day for your pleasure. Here, you can rent winsurfers, go parasailing, kayaks and rafts, then step across the dune onto the sidewalk for some Italian Ice or a hot dog. Vendors set up in parking spaces along the road all up and down the beach. All this is set against a wall of condos facing the beach. Behind the condos are Salt Ponds, which were once used, in the 1800s, to harvest salt. The water would evaporate from the shallow ponds and the remaining salt was used to preserve food before they had refridgeration.