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Being a Florida native means that I’ve explored a long list of beaches in the Sunshine State, from packed tourist hotspots to hidden gems. White hotspot destinations have their time and place, sometimes you just want to escape the hoards of crowds and throw out your towel on a quiet stretch of sand.
We all know that the Sunshine State sees millions of visitors per year who are all looking for the perfect beach vacation. But if you’re looking for a tranquil beach getaway, head to one of Florida’s more underrated destinations, where you can soak in the idyllic ambiance without bumping into a hundred other vacationers. Perfect for those looking to get away from it all, read on to discover the best places in Florida to visit if you hate crowds.
A beautiful beach in Florida’s Panhandle, Miramar Beach offers classic beach views of coastal enclaves alongside seafood restaurants, scenic beach roads, and beachfront resorts. Soak in the panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, and when you’re looking to kick up your vacation a notch, get on a jet ski rental or go on a parasailing adventure.
Far from the overcrowding of tourist spots, Amelia Island is a quiet slice of paradise with over 13 miles of beaches. Here you’ll find stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and plenty of opportunities to dine on fresh seafood, where you can spend your days fishing or boating. This area is devoid of the hustle and bustle, the perfect destination for some one-on-one time with nature.
Situated on a tiny strip of land on Florida’s far northwest, Perdido Key is where you’ll find a secluded stretch of rolling, white-sand dunes and warm Gulf waters. Noted as one of Florida’s most beautiful white-sand beaches, it’s perfect for when you want to get away from the stressors of daily life, you’ll lose track of time while appreciating the area’s stunning views, while hiking, crabbing, and fishing are also popular activities.
Part of Florida’s stunning Emerald Coast, Santa Rosa Beach offers miles of clear blue waters set against a backdrop of blue skies. Its location between Pensacola and Panama City means you’re never far from the action, while you can still enjoy the tranquil waters and quartz crystal sand without the crowds.
One of Florida’s most beloved beach areas for locals, here you’ll be greeted with fine white powder beaches that will make you feel like you’ve left the country and traveled to the Caribbean. The landscapes here are like a watercolor painting, complete with scenic sand dunes, boardwalks, and gentle waves that are ideal for swimming.
Under an hour’s drive from Tampa, Caladesi Island offers idyllic landscapes of white powdery sand and emerald waters. An off-the-grid destination only reached by ferry or private boat, the unspoiled, natural beauty here is like no other. Soak in the pristine Gulf Coast views and enjoy what feels like a deserted island.
Situated along Florida’s Gulf Coast, Pass-A-Grille Beach is the perfect location for those escaping the tourist crowds. A local favorite with four miles of undeveloped shoreline, here you’ll find laid-back vibes without all the distractions, filled with boutiques, ice cream shops, and outdoor markets.
Just 35 miles east of Key West, Bahia Honda State Park is one of Florida’s best state parks, offering visitors the chance to see the state’s most captivating landscapes. A great place to spend an afternoon snorkeling for colorful underwater marine life or walking along the trail that leads to a view of the entire Pine Key Island, the tropical backdrop here is postcard-worthy, to say the least.
Sitting northwest of Fort Myers, Gasparilla Island is just a small strip of land that juts out into the Gulf of Mexico. Known for its tarpon fishing opportunities, you’ll also be able to spot various kinds of local bird species roaming the area as you relax under the Florida sunshine.
Home to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Cape San Blas has been consistently been ranked one of the best beaches in Florida. A picturesque area without the hoards of people, its miles of uncrowded, pristine, white beaches is the perfect place to take the entire family, where you can easily spend a weekend fishing, kayaking, boating, and climbing the famous Cape San Blas lighthouse.
With a landscape of pastel-colored houses and white picket fences, Seaside is a family-friendly destination with funky vibes. This South Walton location is just a short drive from Panama City, its tranquil beach offers a unique canopy of magnolias, hickories, and oaks. Walk along its streets to discover an array of charming art galleries, farmer’s markets, and local boutiques.
Artsy and full of character, Grayton Beach is where to go if you’re looking for emerald green waters, side streets paved with crushed oyster shells, and Hemingway-style wooden homes. An unofficial motto of “Nice Dogs, Strange People”, here you’ll find 400 acres of unspoiled beach views, where its colorful cottages highlight the area’s local boutiques and art galleries.
Located about as far southwest as you can go in Florida, Marco Island sits right on the edge of the Everglades. Its crescent-shaped sandy beach faces the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. Offering a relaxing vacation experience, explore the canal-lined streets for an afternoon of peace and quiet, while those feeling adventurous can take an airboat ride through the preserve.
An excellent option for a quiet Florida getaway, Pine Island offers picturesque landscapes without the packs of tourists. Only 30 minutes from Fort Myers, this area is seclusion at its finest. The largest island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, you can spend an afternoon kayaking along the waterways or fishing for your next meal.
*Pine Island suffered significant damage from Hurricane Ian. Check official sources for updates before you travel.
Located on Florida’s Nature Coast, Cedar Key is only an hour’s drive southwest of Gainesville. It offers a rustic ambiance with Old Florida vibes, where visitors are immediately engulfed with the area’s natural beauty and slower pace of life. Lovely beaches, nature preserves, and fishing opportunities make it a popular destination for those looking for a laid-back vacation.