Where to Escape in Florida: A Guide to the Best Islands
Florida is a beautiful state that offers a wide variety of activities, from exciting theme parks to tranquil beaches.
For those looking for the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there are many islands off the coast of Florida. Actually, there are 4,500 islands to be more specific. They offer everything from serenity and relaxation to adventure and exploration.
Here’s a look at some of the best islands that Florida has to offer travelers.
Anna Maria Island
This small barrier island is located on the Gulf Coast just south of Tampa Bay. With seven miles of white sandy beaches, Anna Maria Island is well-known for its abundance of outdoor activities. You can spend your time fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, parasailing, and swimming.
Nature lovers will enjoy exploring its lush mangrove forests and wildlife refuges. There are also several restaurants offering fresh seafood dishes and other local favorites.
And since it faces the western coast of Florida, the sunsets are outstanding. It’s the perfect place for a beach photoshoot to help you remember your vacation for years and years to come. Check out local photographers like jaegerhausphotography.com to book a session while you’re on the island.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands
These two barrier islands are known for their pristine white sand beaches and abundance of nature trails for exploration.
The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation offers guided hikes through these trails. Visitors can learn about local plants, animals, and ecosystems along the way. Visitors can also explore nearby JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge—an area rich in birdlife—by kayak or bike tour.
At nightfall, Sanibel & Captiva Islands offer amazing sunsets over Gulf waters. You can enjoy romantic dinners or beachside bars offering live music entertainment at nightfall.
No list of Florida islands would be complete without mentioning Key West. This laid-back island at the southernmost point of Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife.
Whether you want to relax on one of its pristine beaches or explore its iconic attractions like Ernest Hemingway House and Mallory Square, Key West has something for everyone. Plus, with plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from, you won’t run out of things to do here!
Dry Tortugas National Park
Located 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico, this 100-square-mile park features seven small islands surrounded by crystal clear waters. You’ll need to take a ferry (or charter a private plane) to get to this isolated national park.
Visitors can snorkel or scuba dive around these islands to explore its coral reefs and shipwrecks filled with colorful fish and other marine life. There is also Fort Jefferson—a historic 19th-century fort—which provides stunning views of the surrounding area from its walls.
Start Planning Your Island Getaway
No matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for in Florida—whether it’s an adventure-filled getaway or an opportunity to find peace away from it all—there’s an island here with something special just waiting to be explored!
From Anna Maria Island’s outdoor activities to Dry Tortugas National Park’s historic sites and Sanibel & Captiva Islands’ natural wonders, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs on one (or more!) of these incredible islands off the coast of Florida!
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