If you're looking to soak up some sun on undiscovered shores, here's a list you need to see. We'll let you in on some of the Sunshine State's best-kept sandy secrets, from secluded spots where you might spot dolphins to easygoing spots for relaxation.
Forget all those crowded tourist traps — these nine beaches offer golden sands, beachcombing, tasty seafood, and chill vibes without the headaches. Keep reading for tips and testimonials straight from the Florida locals themselves.
1. Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is not just about the relaxed vibe, it's also incredibly visitor-friendly. You'll find various accommodations, from cozy beachfront cottages to luxury resorts. The free tram service makes getting around a breeze, and there are plenty of spots for fishing, kayaking, and even paddle boarding.
Testimonial: "I definitely recommend Anna Maria - one of my favorite places in the whole state. There’s a free tram that runs up and down the island so you won’t have to drive at all, some really great restaurants, the beach is amazing, and it’s got a super chill feel that sounds like exactly what you’re looking for."
2. Casey Key
Casey Key, while tranquil, is conveniently close to Nokomis Beach, known for its drum circles and shark tooth hunting. The area offers quaint bed-and-breakfasts and rentals, ideal for a quiet getaway. Plus, there are a few delicious seafood restaurants within walking distance.
Testimonial: "Another possibility would be Casey Key - a little further south just past Siesta Key. Less walkable to get to food and things (with a few exceptions), but still a great low-key and laid-back place."
3. Boca Grande
Boca Grande is not just a beach — it's a small, upscale community with historic charm. You can explore the town on a rented bike, visit the iconic lighthouse, or try your hand at tarpon fishing, which the area is famous for.
Testimonial: "I owned a house in Rotonda west Florida and my local beach was boca grande . It’s the best beach ever , 14 years and never saw more than 2-3 people on the same beach . Golden sand beautiful views , long walks and parking was perfection as you drive down a small road between houses and always park overlooking the beach … you cannot be disappointed … perfection"
4. Apollo Beach
For those visiting Apollo Beach in the Canaveral National Seashore, keep in mind there are limited facilities. It’s a great spot for wildlife watching and has a more natural, undeveloped feel. Remember to bring essentials like water and sunscreen.
5. Playalinda Beach
At Playalinda, the appeal lies in its untouched beauty. Be aware that amenities are minimal, so come prepared. It's also worth noting that the beach can be accessed through the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge for some wildlife spotting.
Testimonial: "Apollo and Playalinda beaches on the Canaveral National Seashore on the central Atlantic coast have miles and miles of wild untouched beaches. And both have clothing optional sections at both ends (legal but unofficial on the far end of Apollo Beach, technically illegal but unenforced on the far end of Playlinda Beach)."
6. Blind Creek Beach
Blind Creek Beach is recognized for its natural, untouched environment. The beach lacks significant amenities, so plan accordingly. It's a great place for fishing and simply enjoying the natural coastline.
Testimonial: "Then there’s Blind Creek Beach near Fort Pierce. It’s another untouched expanse... hopefully someday soon, with facilities."
7. Haulover Beach
Haulover Beach is unique with its well-maintained facilities, including BBQ grills, picnic tables, and lifeguards. The beach park also offers kite-making, flying areas, tennis courts, and a golf course.
Testimonial: "Finally, if you’re in the Miami area, go a little north of South Beach to Haulover Beach. It not only has an accepted clothing optional section, but is officially designated and supported as such with lifeguards, good facilities, food vendors, police patrols, easy parking and hotels within walking distance. It is as every beach should be."
Speaking of great facilities, you deserve amenities that cater to your accessibility needs. Check out our list of the best accessible beaches for all: 5 Beaches In Florida That Are Accessible To All Visitors
8. Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach offers more than just dolphin sightings. It's also known for its soft, white sands and is less commercialized than nearby beaches. There are public access points, but amenities like restrooms and restaurants are a bit of a walk away.
Testimonial: "Crescent Beach (just south of St. Augustine) is beautiful and chill. There’s a marina there where you can swim with dolphins and that is an awesome experience!"
9. Little Talbot Island State Park
Got $5 and a car? That's all you need to enter Little Talbot Island, a stunning national park known for its untouched beauty. With its open-from-dawn-to-dusk access, you get miles of serene, unspoiled beaches and a nature lover's paradise, all for a super affordable entry fee. Perfect for a day trip without the crowds!
Testimonial: "I highly recommend Little Talbot Island! It’s a National Park and you have to pay to get in (last time I was there, we paid $5/car, not per person). It’s one of the most pristine beaches I’ve experienced!"
As you're here, you're probably eager to avoid the less-than-ideal Florida beaches. We've also covered them, along with first-hand stories from visitors. Read about them here: 6 Florida Beach Nightmares Shared by Travelers
Seal the Deal on Your Dream Florida Beach Getaway
You don't need to win the lottery to afford a slice of tropical paradise in Florida. With a little research and insider tips, you can unlock the Sunshine State's best-kept sandy secrets.
As you plan your ideal beach vacation, save these handy tips:
- Come prepared with essentials if visiting more rugged, natural beaches lacking facilities
- Consider rental homes or B&Bs for cozy, budget-friendly stays on tucked-away shores
- Travel in shoulder season for deals on accommodations and fewer tourists all-around
- Get the local scoop from these testimonials to match the vibe you're after
Follow this local-approved advice, and you’ll be on your way to an idyllic beach. The sun, sand, and sea await your footsteps!