Florida is a highly popular vacation spot in the United States, providing a wide variety of experiences from the sunny, sandy beaches of Daytona to the bustling cities of Miami and Orlando. Being a coastal state, there are numerous offshore islands in Florida that may not be as well-known but offer enriching experiences for visitors. Interestingly, some of these islands are closer to Cuba than Miami and are a treat to visit throughout the year, offering breathtaking natural sights and exciting adventure activities.
The Finest Of Florida Islands
Continue reading to learn more about the finest touristy islands that you can explore in Florida with your friends and family, and all the things that you can do there:
1. Key Biscayne
One of the nearest islands in Florida to Miami, this exquisite barrier island is the ideal weekend escape if you are visiting Miami. The ambiance here is slightly warmer than the rest of the state, which might actually be a positive aspect, especially during the winter months. If you desire beaches, head to Crandon Park where a three-mile-long stretch of beautiful white sand awaits you. Although most of the island is a peaceful residential community, tourists can visit the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area for enjoyable Florida activities such as kayaking in the backwaters or a tour of the historic lighthouse. The road that runs along the beach transforms into a lively carnival during the evenings and is the perfect way to soak in the Florida vibes.
Location: Miami Dade County, FloridaHow to arrive: Drive from Miami via the Rickenbacker Causeway
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2. Gasparilla Island
If you look at the Florida islands map, you would discover this stunning location on the western coast of the Sunshine State. Near Port Charlotte and Cape Coral, the island is one of those idyllic places where you can experience the old Florida without the glitz and glamour of nightclubs, casinos, and amusement rides in Orlando or Miami. The Boca Grande Beach here is a captivating beach for sunrise views and also leads to an intriguing birdwatching route known as the Boca Grande Bike Trail. At the southernmost tip of the island, you will find the 1890 lighthouse that still stands magnificently. Overall, the island named after a Spanish pirate is a paradise for nature enthusiasts.
Place: Gulf of MexicoWays to arrive: Accessible via ferry
3. Siesta Key
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Another barrier island, Siesta Key is the concealed treasure of the Gulf of Mexico and is positioned just off the shore of Sarasota. If you are seeking some pleasant beach moments on the islands of Florida, Siesta Key will not disappoint – the 8 miles of ivory sand of its only communal beach has frequently been mentioned as one of the finest beaches in the nation. The island is highly sought-after among tourists who visit solely for the beach, and it is an amazing experience reclining on the beach, absorbing the sunshine, or taking a dip in the lucid azure waters. Additionally, Ocean Boulevard is the preferred spot if you wish to relax in the evenings with delectable cuisine and beverages. You can also come across some intriguing souvenir shops retailing local curios.
Place: Gulf of MexicoWays to arrive: 3.5 hours drive from Miami
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4. Key Largo
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The Florida Keys have long been the well-kept secret of tropical Florida, and for individuals heading south of Miami into the Keys, Key Largo is the foremost island encountered. Numerous tourists entirely bypass the island or only spend a night, but the place possesses a charisma that justifies an extended sojourn. If you are a licensed deep-sea diver, or have always yearned to learn, visit the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park where you can locate the finest dive sites or even engage in snorkeling. This is also the place where you will come across guided expeditions that can facilitate your exploration of the Keys further south during your visit to the Florida islands.
Place: Upper Florida KeysWays to arrive: Overseas Highway
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5. Anna Maria Island
Just when you believed Florida could not throw superior seashores at you, you get to the Anna Maria Island, positioned south of the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg. The Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach are two of the most remarkable ones that you will see in Florida and perhaps the country. The barrier island attracts a considerable crowd trying to escape from the chilly weather up north, but a visit to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society will give you a better understanding of life on the island, particularly when it was inhabited by Timucuan Indians and later by Spanish settlers.
Location: Manatee CountyHow to arrive: Cortez Bridge, Manatee Avenue Bridge
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6. Marco Island
The ultimate place to go to if you are ever in the Everglades, the Marco Island in Florida can be reached by taking the bridge that is off the main highway around Naples. The Marco Island differs from others in its completely urban setting. The towering buildings and the resorts along the coast are quite the sight to behold. Here you can get chartered boat tours of the western part of South Florida, as well as cruises meant for couples and expeditions to sight the famous dolphins off the coast. As far as seashores go, the South Marco beach is a picturesque place to be at sunset, while the Tigertail beach is quite renowned for the beautiful shells that can be found here. Quite the mementos you can take home from here!
Location: Collier County, FloridaHow to arrive: Drive from Naples, Florida
Actually distributed over four different Florida islands – Tea Table Key, Plantation Key and the upper and lower Matecumbe Keys, the city of Islamorada is often referred to as the Sports Fishing capital of the world. Quite a substantial number of visitors here are novice or professional anglers who come here to acquire knowledge about new techniques and socialize with other enthusiasts. At the Bahia Honda State Park, you can also engage in snorkeling at a highly popular diving spot near the Overseas Highway. If you are with your family, the Theater of the Sea offers an opportunity to observe dolphins and even sea lions, making it perfect for islands of adventure in Florida, United States.
Location: Monroe County, FloridaHow to arrive: 1.5 hours drive from Miami
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8. Sanibel Island
The Sanibel island is one of the most popular and finest islands in Florida for travelers seeking the treasures of nature. The beaches here at the Sanibel island are rockier than the white sand beaches elsewhere, comprising a lot of sand dollars and shells that provide for breathtaking views by the setting sun. Visitors also adore the historical island that towers over the island, and there are quite a few trails that are popular among birdwatchers. One of the top Florida west coast islands, this is a marvelous place if you are searching for a comparably peaceful and relaxed family vacation spot.
Location: Lee County, FloridaHow to arrive: Drive through Sanibel Causeway
9. Amelia Island
Another stunning entry on this list of Florida islands, Amelia is a part of the Sea Islands Chain. While there are plenty of enjoyable activities to do here, the most prominent tourist attractions are Fort Clinch, the sea fortification that has stood since the 1800s, the museum that is now located in parts of the fort, and the beautiful beach that lines the ocean facing Fort Clinch. Further inland, you will find an abundance of hiking trails, as well as golfing greens as well as a boating club. A true tropical paradise!
Place: South Sea Islands, FloridaHow to arrive: East Coast Greenway
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10. Key West Isle
If you observe the chart of isles off the shore of Florida, you will discover Key West as the southernmost town of contiguous USA. It also intriguingly lies on the conclusion of Route 1, which is the lengthiest road running from north to south of the nation. The well-known Ernest Hemingway Museum and Home is one of the biggest attractions in the nation. Shopping roads like Duval Street and Mallory Square make for a fantastic time with your family and companions.
Place: Florida Keys ArchipelagoHow to arrive: Route 1, over 3 hours from Miami
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There are also other isles in Florida which make for a tremendous vacation. If, in case, you tour the US with your family, go an additional mile, and investigate the isles around to delight in a pleasant seaside holiday. You can also reserve your trip with us to appreciate the finest value-for-money deals!