You’ve heard the stories of crowded Florida beaches with wall-to-wall sunburned tourists and decided that is not for you. You may even wonder if all the beaches in Florida are crowded.
We are here to tell you that there are still plenty of state parks and secluded beaches in Florida that are off the well-worn tourist map.
1) Grayton Beach State Park
Grayton Beach State Park is 2,000 acres that offers Florida’s finest outdoor recreation opportunities. Grayton’s stunning beach is covered in sugar-white sand on the Gulf of Mexico, perfect for sunning and hanging out with family. Grayton Beach is not on the tourist trail, and you will have plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the peace. But there is even more, to love about Grayton.
In addition to the long stretch of state park beach along the Gulf of Mexico, there are also three rare coastal dune lakes at Grayton. Alligator Lake, Little Redfish Lake, and the largest is the Western Lake.
Western Lake, a 100-acre coastal dune lake, is at the heart of this amazing state park. Visitors can enjoy fishing and kayaking on the lake. There are four miles of hiking trails winding through coastal forests with scrub oaks and magnolias in wind-swept patterns. State park camping options include tent and RV sites or 30 modern duplex cabins with two bedrooms and one bathroom.
2) Canaveral National Seashore
The Canaveral National Seashore offers one of the most secluded beaches in Florida, where you can watch the rocket launches at Kennedy Space Center! This pristine island is on the Atlantic Ocean side of Florida, about an hour’s drive from Orlando. For your best chance at seeing a rocket launch, stake your place at Playalinda Beach.
Even without the benefit of an exciting rocket launch, the Canaveral National Seashore has plenty to offer. This is the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coast in Florida. With so much secluded beach, you can spend an entire day on the coast and never see another person.
The natural beauty of the Canaveral Seashore includes the rugged Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve. To the west of the barrier islands, Mosquito Lagoon is a popular spot for fishing and wildlife viewing. Most noteworthy is the resident population of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that call the lagoon home.
3) Vero Beach An Amazing Florida Beach
Vero Beach is one of the best secluded beaches in Florida for treasure hunters. It’s in Indian River County, part of the trinity of counties, along with St. Lucie County and Martin County, that make up Florida’s Treasure Coast.
In 1715, 11 Spanish ships wrecked offshore between the St. Lucie River and Cape Canaveral. The ships were carrying treasure from Florida to Spain. The ships sank during a hurricane and scattered gold, silver, and jewels into the ocean. On rare occasions, some of that treasure washes onto the shore, which has given the region its name.
This area has 26 miles of quiet beaches and public walkways with beach access. Even if you don’t find the hidden treasure, you’ll still find seashells, shorebirds, and scenic views. From August to October, you may share the quiet beach with sea turtle hatchlings as they make their way out to sea. Vero is one of the beaches in Florida where Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles like to lay their eggs.
4) Barefoot Beach Preserve
Barefoot Beach is on Florida’s Gulf Coast, about 15 miles from the crowded beaches at Fort Meyers. It’s an undeveloped island with sandy beaches, a learning center, a butterfly garden, and walking trails. The preserve is 345 acres with 8,200 feet of natural sandy beaches and towering sand dunes.
At Barefoot Beach, visitors can hang out on the quiet beaches, take a hike on the 1-Mile Walking Loop Trail and learn more about Florida beaches at the learning center. The learning center has displays of the local animal and marine life and runs educational programs with trained docents from January – April. Park rangers are on hand at the ranger office to guide visitors and answer any questions you may have.
Barefoot Beach is also a Florida beach where you can launch a kayak or canoe. The launching station is near parking area three on the estuary side.
5) St. George Island
If you are ready to really get away from it all, then St. George Island State Park just might be the perfect secluded beach for you. To get there, you’ll need to park your car at Sugar Hill beach and hike along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to the state park on the island’s east end. Bring your own food and drink, as there are no services, and it’s a five-mile hike each way! This area is truly one of the secluded beaches in a Florida state park that is off the beaten path.
This island sits between the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay. There are actually two islands here, George Island and the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. On the gulf side of the island are turquoise blue water and quiet beaches with sugary white sand. Towards the island’s bay side are marshes with wading birds like the Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, and Sandpipers.
For beachcombers, St. George Island is a favorite among the secluded beaches in Florida. The beach is littered with plenty of shells for collectors. In the summer months, you may even spot sea turtles and shorebirds making their nests.
6) Santa Rosa Beach
Santa Rosa Beach is one of the many secluded beaches in Florida that is great for snorkeling. With its clear turquoise waters and sugary sand beaches, Santa Rosa is one of the most stunning natural beaches in Florida. Travel and Leisure magazine declared Santa Rosa one of the Top 5 Favorite Towns in America.
The towering sand dunes at Santa Rosa reach up to 25 feet tall, adding to the feeling of escaping to one of Florida’s hidden beaches. Laid-back activities here include swimming, sunning, and hiking on the 2.5-mile Morris Lake Nature Trail. Upscale homes surround the area with private beach access, but don’t let that deter you. There is still plenty of excellent public beach access.
After spending a lazy day at Santa Rosa, when you are ready for a bite to eat or some retail therapy at the shops, head to nearby Destin, only 30 minutes away.
7) Marco Island
While you are in South Florida, be sure to visit Marco Island, the largest Barrier Island within Southwest Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. The western side of the island is the beautiful blue water of the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern side is lined by pristine mangrove estuaries.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Marco Island has plenty to offer. There are miles of powdery white sand beaches on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and a network of inland waterways to explore by kayak or canoe.
Escape to Tigertail Beach to really get off the beaten path. In order to get there, you will need to cross a lagoon with water that can be waste high, holding your beach belongings above your head. You will be rewarded for your efforts with pristine beaches and loads of shells for collectors. A short drive from Marco Island leads you to the popular Everglades National Park.
8) Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park is an island in the Florida Keys. It is one of the best state park beaches for families, with its shallow water and mild currents. Snorkeling near the shore is excellent and a great spot for beginners to see amazing marine life without heading out to deeper water. Chairs, snorkeling equipment, and kayaks are available to rent from the beach concessionaire.
Snorkelers with more experience can take a boat tour to the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary to see one of the most stunning living reefs in the Florida Keys.
During nesting season, from May through September, sea turtles arrive on the beaches at Bahia Honda to lay their eggs. Beachcombers need to be careful not to disturb the nests, as all five species that lay here are considered endangered. During late summer through fall, the hatchings will make an appearance on their march to the sea.
9) Dry Tortugas National Park
If you are a United States National Park fan, then you will love the Dry Tortugas. It’s made of seven islands that are west of Key West, in the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll need to make the 70-mile trip by boat, ferry, or seaplane. Its remote location helps to keep it quiet.
One of the most popular activities here is snorkeling in crystal-clear waters and beautiful coral reefs. Most of the park is open water.
On the island of Garden Key, you’ll find the historic 19th-century, Fort Jefferson. To tour the fort, you’ll need to purchase a $15.00 ticket, which can be purchased in advance online, or with cash at the fort. If you arrive by ferry, then your fort ticket is included in the ferry package.
10) Boca Grande Key
Boca Grande is a Key West National Wildlife Refuge Island about 15 miles west of Key West. You’ll need to allow more time to get there as it’s about an hour by boat. During the one-hour boat trip, dolphins are often sighted playing in the ocean.
Few tourists make the trek out to Boca Grande, but you’ll see plenty of local Floridians there hanging out and having a good time. If you would like to avoid a crowd, then skip the weekends and charter a boat for midweek.
11) Mud Keys & Snipe Keys
Break away from the crowds and the tourists by heading to the Florida Keys backcountry. A trip to Mud Keys is like taking an off-road safari in a foreign land. It’s hard to believe you are still in the Florida Keys, visiting one of the most amazing beaches in Florida.
You’ll need to charter a boat to get there. Mud Keys is a short 30-minute boat ride from the marina in Key West. It’s different from your standard Florida sandbar, with a series of islands intertwined into a mangrove maze.
The clear, shallow water is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying time away from the stress of home. Be sure to bring a camera as there are plenty of postcard picture spots.
Snipe Keys is not just one but a group of small islands about 16 miles from Key West, just east of Mud Keys. It is protected by the Snipe Keys Wildlife Management Area with no wake zones and no motor areas. The area is popular among wildlife including terns, shorebirds, and little blue herons.
If you are not familiar with the area, you’ll definitely need to hire an experienced captain who can easily navigate the waters and knows the best places to go. Snipe is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida, with pristine white sand and clear blue water. The no-wake zone makes this area much quieter than some of the other sandbars.
If you are looking to get away from it all, then avoid Snipe Keys on a busy holiday weekend. The locals are familiar with this pristine wilderness and bring their boats to Snipe.
Sandbar Hopping In Key West
If you are looking for the best secluded beaches in Florida, then we can help. We are your local friend with a boat!
Our sandbar hopping trips will take you to not just one but several of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. All of our Key West boat tours are private, and we can work with you to plan a great day on the water for you and your companions.
We also offer Key West E-Foil rides, lunch cruises, dinner cruises, and a beautiful Key West sunset cruise.
What are you waiting for? Let us take you on a boat tour that will create great memories!