Everyone knows the popular Florida beaches, like Miami Beach, Siesta Key, and Cocoa Beach. Those beaches are all great, but if you want something a little quieter and more private, you need to hit up one of the hidden beaches in Florida that only the locals know.
If you want peace and quiet and miles of sugar-white sand with few souls in sight, read on for our suggestions of the best secret Florida beaches.
Most people who head to beaches in the Tampa area end up at Clearwater Beach or St. Pete Beach. However, these are where tourists flock to and you can expect the beaches to be packed with people, especially during spring break months. If you head a bit south of St. Pete Beach, you’ll find Pass-a-Grille Beach.
You can see St. Pete Beach and the iconic pink Don CeSar Beach Resort in the distance, but it will feel like you’re in a different world.
Pass-a-Grille Beach has white sand and clear turquoise water. Most tourists stay north of Pass-a-Grille and those that do come here return year after year and adopt it as their own. You’ll have plenty of space to spread out, play games, and take a leisurely walk along the water without coming into contact with many other people.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Head to the other side of the peninsula for our next secluded beach. Sebastian Inlet is located on the east coast of Florida and is a favorite for surfers and anglers.
However, it’s not just for surfing and fishing! If you’re looking for an undeveloped beach that is backed with dunes, check out Sebastian Inlet. There is a 3-mile stretch of beach along the coast where the water changes over from the dark blue of the northern Atlantic to the turquoise blue of the southern Atlantic and Caribbean.
If you want a side of nature with your beach day, Sebastian Inlet delivers. There are sea turtles that regularly nest on the beaches and tons of birdlife frequent the area. Dolphins and manatees are regulars in the park’s waters as well.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, check out Disney Vero Beach Resort, located less than 10 miles south of Sebastian Inlet.
We’re heading back to the Gulf Coast for our next hidden gem. Longboat Key is just south of Anna Maria Island, between Bradenton and Sarasota. The foliage thickens and crowds start to die down after you pass Coquina Beach and you enter Longboat Key. There are only a few public access points to the beach, which means that you often have them to yourself.
There aren’t a lot of amenities on the public beaches, so pack a picnic lunch and your own chairs and enjoy having the beach to yourself to sunbathe, build sandcasteles, or laze in the warm and calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Keewaydin Island is such a well-kept secret, you won’t even see it advertised anywhere in the area. Keewaydin Island is a barrier island off the coast of Naples and is only accessible by boat. There are seven miles of sugar-soft white sand and the island is only inhabited by wildlife.
If you’re looking for a place to dock your boat so you can lounge on the beach, look for shells and sea glass, and get away from the tourists crowding the local beaches, Keewaydin is it. It doesn’t have any restaurants or other amenities, so there are food and drink boats that pull up during the busier times of the year. Keep this in mind if you head there during the off-season and plan accordingly.
Head north along the Gulf Coast to get to our next spot, Caladesi Island. Caladesi Island got split from its neighboring island, Honeymoon Island, in 1921 by a hurricane. In the 1980s, another hurricane filled the pass in with sand, so you can actually walk to Caladesi from Clearwater Beach.
Otherwise, you’ll need to park and take a ferry to get there. It has pristine white sand, a nature path, and a kayak trail. It’s family-friendly and has a playground and shaded pavilions for picnics while the kids play. There are restrooms and a snack bar, but that’s about it. No hotels, no resorts, no cars.
You’ll appreciate the effort to get to Caladesi as you’ll be rewarded handsomely when you arrive!
Continue north along the Gulf Coast, past the Big Bend, and west along the Florida Panhandle, almost to the Alabama-Florida border to get to our next spot, Navarre Beach. Navarre is in the Pandhandle, between Pensacola Beach and Destin. The beaches are full of white sand but not tourists.
Navarre has miles of undeveloped beaches where the Gulf of Mexico is emerald-green, warm, and calm. Enjoy a day or two or more in the community of Navarre and walk along the pier or enjoy beach sports like volleyball. You’re also likely to spot a turtle or
Which of These Hidden Beaches in Florida Will You Visit?
Nearly 117 million people visited Florida in 2019 and chances are, many of them flocked to the tourist destinations of St. Pete Beach, Clearwater, South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and the Orlando area. However, whether you’re a local or a tourist, save yourself the headache of crowded beaches and beach towns and hit up the hidden beaches in Florida we’ve profiled here.
Wow your friends and family with your insider knowledge and take them to one of these secluded beaches where you can enjoy peace and quiet and the beautiful landscapes of the Florida coasts.
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