Looking for the perfect quiet Florida beach to relax without the crowds?
Our Florida locals have put together this comprehensive list of all of the best secluded beaches the state has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a totally deserted beachscape or the unmatched charm of a quaint coastal town, there’s something here for everyone.
Spring breakers, families and couples will all seek out the comfort of the Sunshine State’s white sandy beaches en masse, but we’ve focused on those rare gems where you can find true solace.
P.S. – Almost all of these beaches are awesome year-round, but check out our guide to the best times to visit Florida to find our favorite Florida beaches, places to go, and things to do specifically tailored to each month of the year.
St. George Island
St. George Island is a 28-mile long barrier island located off the coast of Apalachicola and is known as one of the ultimate destinations for relaxation in the state. While visitors will be flocking in droves to other beaches along Florida’s coastline, St. George Island will maintain the beauty of peacefulness over the full course of the year.
The beaches are tranquil, the water is pristine, and the service is friendly. You’ll want to book as far in advance as possible, because the island’s only accommodations include two hotels and dozens of resident home rentals. That being said, the exclusivity of your stay here makes it all the more special.
The Cape St. George Light is a must-see and serves as the island’s largest building. Activities like hiking and biking through the St. George Island State Park, paddleboarding and kayaking on the intercoastal and sunset cruises are great ways to make your stay more fun.
Nearby Apalachicola has friendly hometown hospitality with local events like the Downtown and Farmers Curb Markets held each Saturday. The Apalachicola Chamber has a map you can pick up with sites for the Historical Walking Tour, featuring The Raney House Museum, John Gorrie Museum State Park and the Orman House Museum.
Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island State Parks
Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island State Parks are located just north of Clearwater on the Sun Coast. Both offer lots of natural beauty and exclusivity they’re only accessible by boat. The state parks don’t offer accommodations, so staying on the mainland of either Palm Harbor or Dunedin will be optimal.
Caladesi Island State Park is a barrier island that has pristine white sandy beaches and is one of the truly untouched beaches of Florida’s coastline. Kayakers love paddling through the mangroves on the bay and nature lovers can enjoy the sunshine and wildlife inland. Three miles of nature trails will lead to the Scharrer Homestead that’s surrounded by beautifully old live oaks.
Honeymoon Island State Park is dog-friendly, so ferryboat riders can bring along a few furry friends to play in the surf and sand. It’s got four miles of beach for visitors to enjoy sunbathing, swimming and long walks. Lots of wildlife is present on this island, as well, ranging from raccoons and armadillos to ospreys and owls.
Dunedin is a quirky beach city that serves as the mainland for Caladesi Island State Park and Honeymoon Island State Park. It has lots of things to occupy visitors to the area from nature walks and viewing to smalltown cafes and bars that are also dog-friendly. The quaint downtown area hosts most of the entertainment and activities in town.
Pass-a-Grille Beach is one of the farthest islands from the mainland in the collection of isles off St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s got it’s own little community built on the small island, which offers residents and visitors quiet seclusion with beachy amenities like boat rentals and ice cream shops.
The Gulf Beaches Historical Museum is one of the top places to visit to learn more about the Gulf Coast, while more adventurous types will enjoy the secluded Shell Key Preserve for long walks and fishing on the shore.
A beautiful tradition that’s been kept by residents of Pass-a-Grille for decades is ringing the bell each day at sunset. Visitors are also welcome to participate in this island tradition as a celebration of friends, family and a great vacation. Afterwards, you’re invited to sign the guest book at the Historical Museum where you can see all of those who’ve come before to celebrate special occasions and happy moments.
A short drive away, you can visit St. Petersburg known for it’s award-winning beaches. St. Pete has an extremely relaxed approach to life and fun, which is best witnessed in their many eclectic shops and restaurants in the downtown area. A trip to St. Pete is incomplete without a visit to the Dali Museum or a concert at the Mahaffey Theater.
Santa Rosa Beach
Santa Rosa Beach is an unincorporated piece of land off the Emerald Coast near South Walton. The community is luxurious and elegantly designed, serving as a quiet escape for residents and visitors to enjoy the splendor of the clear turquoise waters and powdery beaches. There’s also an artist colony known as Gulf Place located on the beach.
Maintaining it’s quiet natural splendor, tourists have access to a multitude of different beach activities to make vacation fun. Everything from biking, hiking, paddleboarding, and swimming are available, in addition to the many shops and restaurants for off the beach leisure.
Point Washington historic community is worth a visit while here, home to the Wesley Mansion and Eden Garden State Park. This area is the home of swamp life and ocean life in a combined ecosystem that supports both. You can appreciate the towering oak trees amid the seagrass, as well as view dolphins and alligators in the same habitat.
Santa Rosa is the largest beach community in South Walton, which has many other beaches along the Emerald Coast that are just as beautiful. As a matter of fact, 40% of South Walton’s lands are preserved, making it one of the ultimate choices for a natural environment.
Canaveral National Seashore
The Space Coast tends to be a busier and definitely more touristy destination in Florida. However, the tranquility of Canaveral National Seashore, Apollo Beach and Playalinda Beach is the perfect retreat for a peaceful vacation. This barrier island off the coast of nearby Titusville and serves as a sanctuary and nature preserve.
Because it’s purpose is to protect the mainland, as well as the wildlife inhabiting the island, Canaveral National Seashore charges a fee to enter. Your $10 – $20 fee lasts for up to seven days. Your fee will allow you full access to not only the beautiful seashore, but you can also discover the natural ecosystem and wildlife.
In addition to this, you can swim, kayak, surf and fish on the full expanse of the seashore or visit one of the historic centers. We suggest making a daily visit to Canaveral National Seashore while staying on the mainland, as there are no real accommodations on the island. You can, however, choose to camp here.
On the mainland, you can explore a wide spectrum of options the Space Coast has to offer. Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, Titusville and surrounding cities have a range of activities to try, like Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Boardwalk and Pier, Kennedy Space Center, and the flagship Ron Jon Surf Shop.
Cayo Costa State Park
Cayo Costa State Park is a barrier island off the coast of Fort Myers, in between Little Gasparilla, Boca Grand and Captiva Islands. The history behind Cayo Costa is interesting, going from Native American rule to Spanish, then to Cuban with the famed “Captain Pappy” establishing and maintaining a fish processing rancho until destroyed by a hurricane in 1910.
The State Park is only accessible by boat, whether charter, ferry or private, so the tranquil sands will not see many visitors from day to day. Cayo Costa has a large variety of wildlife, with sea turtles being the top ocean life viewed from the beach. The island serves as a sea turtle nesting habitat in the summer.
Other creatures you’re likely to spot on land include raccoons, foxes, sand pipers, egrets, Southern Bald Eagles and crabs. There’s also a small nature center amid the nature trails and pathways where you can purchase gifts, along with rental shops for bikes.
Cayo Costa is one of the best state parks to stay on vacation since there are 12 primitive cabins and 30 primitive camping sites for you to stay in without going back to the mainland. The nine miles of undeveloped land gives you one of the most serene backdrops for the best restful vacation on the sand.
Hidden behind one of Florida’s most popular and developed beach areas, Marco Island, sits Tigertail Beach – a natural beauty with wild vegetation and untouched powder white sands. Once a sandbar, this beach is relatively new to the area once hurricane force winds blew sand in to connect with Marco Island.
Because of it’s sandbar nature, it is susceptible to high and low tides changing the dynamic of the beach, lagoons and tide pool areas. But the trek through the water is often worth the hassle to get to gorgeously empty beaches. Shelling and wildlife viewing are some of the top activities recommended by visitors.
Tigertail is one of Florida’s top bird viewing destinations with wintering and nesting birds galore at all times of the year. Nearby Sand Dollar Spit is also home to a bounty of vegetation and ocean wildlife. The beach is also equipped with amenities like bathrooms, beach cafe, playground, rentals, beach cabanas and chairs.
Nearby Marco Island has a completely different atmosphere, more suitable for those who prefer to keep their feet dry and animals at a safe distance. The resort accommodations on Marco Island are exquisite, and the golf courses, marinas and restaurants are equally impressive. We recommend making Tigertail part of your trip to Marco Island.
Bahia Honda State Park
This popular Florida State Park was established in the early 1900’s as a marine sanctuary for visitors and residents to enjoy. Today’s tourists can have fun exploring the beaches and wading in the shallows of this gorgeous tropical vista. The preserved beauty of Bahia Honda has been enjoyed my many over the last century, with lots of things to occupy guests.
Bahia Honda State Park is a popular beach and swimming destination in the Florida Keys, located on Big Pine Key. The area is equipped with several rental centers for kayaking, snorkeling and diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Keys. For those seeking a little more adventure, there are boat trips and snorkeling excursions available, as well. There’s also a Sand and Sea Nature Center with information on the local wildlife and foliage of the island.
On land and out of the water, the island is great for hiking, walking and running the trails. Biking is also allowed, and there campground and picnic pavilion for those staying a few days. To take the trip up a notch, Bahia Honda also has cabins to rent which can accommodate six people, have wheelchair access and central heating.
Lovers Key State Park
Lovers Key State Park is another beautifully secluded barrier island only accessible to the public by boat and vehicle on one pass, offering a two mile stretch of untouched land. Kayaking through the canals and lagoons of the mangroves is highly recommended, in addition to sunning and swimming.
As the name suggests, it’s also a popular spot for couples to get married, especially at sunset. So you may encounter a beautiful wedding while visiting. Tours of the island are available through the Lovers Key Adventures & Events company, which can take you on walks, biking or boating tours of the state park.
Access to the island comes with up to an $8 charge per vehicle and guests are only allowed to stay through sunset. We suggest finding shelter at the nearby beach town Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island to the north.
At Fort Myers Beach you’ll find ancient Calusa Indian Shell Mound historic site, The Ostego Bay Marine Science Center and Times Square Shopping Center. This more developed piece of land will give you a nice place to stay the night and get a great meal, all a short distance from Lovers Key.
Longboat Key is a luxurious town and barrier island on Sarasota Bay. Most of this island only allows private access to it’s beaches, limiting the number of people on the shore at any point in the year. Visitors have a wide range of upscale accommodations moderately priced condominiums and houses to rent while staying on Longboat.
The town operates on a strict association policy which also limits the number of large trucks on the island, weeds out corporate brands and adheres to specific building codes. This is a very ideal destination for those seeking reprieve from the hustle and bustle without giving up style and elegance.
A large championship golf course and tennis club are a few of the amenities available on the island, along with a Publix grocery store and several island shops on the main thoroughfare. There are many locations for fine dining on the island, such as Euphemia Haye, Mar Vista, or Chart House which features an expansive view of the Sarasota Bay and Gulf of Mexico.
Nearby Sarasota is a gorgeous, partially coastal city that sits less than 20 minutes from Longboat Key. Some of Sarasota’s top attractions include the Mote Marine Laboratory, the historical Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the Ringling Museum and the Ca d’Zan Home of the Ringling family. We also love shopping and dining at St. Armand’s Circle.
American Beach, Amelia Island
American Beach was a community on Amelia Island established by Abraham Lincoln Lewis in 1935 as a quiet reprieve for his employees to enjoy vacationing by the sea. After destruction from a hurricane and restoration through the efforts of A.L. Lewis’ granddaughter, the beach was placed in the National Register of historic places and is one of nine sites on the African-American Heritage Trail.
Some of the original beachfront homes are still standing amid the newer high rises and beach resorts that have been built more recently. It makes for a truly historic oceanfront atmosphere, along with a serene, quiet seashore.
Popular sites to visit while vacationing include American Beach Museum and the tallest dune in Florida, “Nana”, where you can hike on the sand. Other beach activities that are fun for all ages involve hunting for shark’s teeth, collecting seashells and spotting both tortoises and turtles in the sand.
Amelia Island is known for it’s luxurious accommodations, well-kept golf courses and beautiful white sand beaches. Most travelers will be looking for a relaxing beach trip, but there is plenty to do out of the ocean, as well. The beautiful downtown area, full of rich history with combined Spanish, French and British influence, has streets lined with boutique shops and exquisite restaurants.
Perdido Key Beach
Perdido Key Beach is a less traveled part of the Pensacola Beach area near the FloriBama border. The key is a quiet reprieve from the typically busy shores of the Panhandle, filled with fresh vegetation, wildlife and sugar white sands.
Visitors are welcome to relax in the serene atmosphere of the salty air and sunshine, but the key has lots of natural splendor to take in. Perdido Key is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and state parks, including Gulf Islands National Seashore, Perdido Key State Park and Big Lagoon State Park.
Gulf Islands National Seashore, for example, is one of the top places for seeing some of Florida’s historical sites on the beach like Fort Barrancas (a Civil War era Spanish water battery) and Fort Pickens (Pensacola’s 1816 waterfront defense). Both are architectural marvels that have withstood the test of time. Rangers lead groups of visitors through these forts, as well as other outdoor areas on the island.
Big Lagoon State Park has campsites and trails, with rentals available for biking, paddling, boating and fishing. The park serves as the starting point for the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail with over 23 species of wood warblers, duck varieties, and pipers. Picnic tables and concrete trails for rollerblading are part of the amenities at the park.