Hello DSR. There are only four ways I know of, to get to Key West. 1st, the drive from Miami to the Keys a good 3 hours out from there. This isn't all that bad, since there is a lot to see and do on the way to Key West. 2nd is of course, a cruise that stops there. 3rd is a flight to the middle Keys (Delta just started one here)...I have heard it is rather pricy. 4th and I'm not sure they still do it, is a ferry ride from the Ft Meyer's area. Key West is definately a destination to think about though....very entertaining to say the least, especially Mallory Square at sunset!
I have been to Smathers Beach and actually Key West is one of my favorite places to travel...such a great laid back atmosphere with so much to see and do! I am not sure if you are planning to visit while on a cruise or just as a destination but Smathers Beach is located at the South side of the "island" or key, near the airport. Smathers Beach is a nice beach, not the best I have seen but nice. They do not clean up the seaweed and the first foot of the shore is quite thick with the stuff. But once past the seaweed the sand is nice and the water is warm! They have alot of sand volleyball games going and places to rent rafts to take into the water. The beach is not close to any restaurants or shops like you will find on Duvall street. I would give Smathers Beach a 6 on a scale of 1-10. Nice to visit but not an incredible beach. Please let me know if you are visiting the Keys aboard a ship or planning to fly direct. (The drive from Miami to Key West is amazing and the way I would recommend to go!) Key West is fun...hope you get the chance to visit!
I would agree with IslandCruz. Key West isn't a destination for a beach at all. I'm suprised it made the list too. Still a great place to visit though for snorkeling, bar and restaurant hopping, and the town itself.