Fort De Soto State Park, NW Florida
Fort De Soto Park, near St Petersburg
The park comprises five islands covering 1, 000+ acres, with shallow waters and three miles of soft white sandy beaches, attracting more than 2. 7 million visitors annually. It offers two main swimming centres at North Beach and East Beach, with modern facilities, as well as a dog beach. Dogs can roam freely along a prime stretch of beach near the park’s pier.
There’s also an adjacent fenced field complete with dog facilities – fire hydrants and garden hoses with spray nozzles.
The park is well supplied with outdoor activities as it embraces a 6. 8 mile walking trail, a 2. 5 mile canoe trail, several nature trails, a boat launching facility and a large camping area.
Get there via I-275 south to exit 17 (Pinellas Bayway) and west at the second stop light. 3500 Pinellas Bayway South.
Caladesi Island State Park, near Dunedin
This 3 mile length of wide, flat and undeveloped white sandy beaches is a no-vehicle area, just grassy dunes, birds and calm Gulf waters, excellent for swimming, kayaking, snorkelling and shallow-frying yourself.
Get there via a ferry from Honeymoon Island SRA, 30 miles west of Tampa.
Clearwater Beach, north of Dunedin is another splendid beach on the Gulf Coast. Clear water (of course! ), wide and white sands, safe for little kids, great for walks or jogs, commercial and consequently well-manicured.
Gasparilla Island State Park. Photo by Ebyabe
Gasparilla Island State Park, Southwest
This uncrowded beach on Gasparilla Island is one of few Florida’s best kept secrets.
Gasparilla Island is located an hour and half west of Ft. Myers and encompasses the tranquil historic town of Boca Grande. The island boasts plenty of natural assets including dolphins and manatees as well as 7 miles of superb sandy beaches.
Keewaydin Island beach, Southwest
Only accessible by boat, this hidden gem is located just off the luxurious resort of Marco Island, 2 hour west of Miami. The spectacular white sandy beach is a shell paradise and offers peaceful walks with great view of Marco Island. Marco is also home to some lovely public beaches such as Tigertail and South Marco, in case you have no boat.
Keewaydin Beach has warm water but strong currents.
Also see America’s best beaches, California and Hawaii