A holiday in Florida visiting the Orlando attractions is not complete without a visit to one or more of the Sunshine State’s lovely beaches. After the crowds at the theme parks, visitors may prefer a quiet beach where they can swim and enjoy nature. The most quiet and undeveloped beaches are often found in Florida’s parks and national seashore reserves on barrier islands.
Atlantic beaches near Orlando
A visit to the The Canaveral National Seashore is relaxing after a tour of the adjacent Kennedy Space Center. This buffer area was established in 1975 as a 58,000 acre reserve with 24 miles (38.6 km) of shoreline.
The public beaches are undeveloped, pristine and quiet. Surf conditions vary with the seasons but this is a nice location for a stroll along the beach to the Turtle Mound State Archeological Site.
People who want an all-over suntan can visit the clothing optional Playalinda beach just north of the Canaveral seashore.
Rent a kayak and paddle serenely along the Intracoastal Waterway north of Canaveral at Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area near Flagler Beach. This beach park has picnic tables on the ICW side and a long, quiet beach on the ocean side.
Juno Beach Park and Ocean Reef Park in the Jupiter area south of Canaveral are popular with families on holiday but they are not crowded. These beaches have designated swimming areas with lifeguards.
The Gulf Coast
St. George Island and the quiet oyster fishing village of Apalachicola are completely different from the hustle of the busy tourist areas. This is a small town south of Florida’s Panama City on a barrier estuary.
The barrier islands include the 1,962-acre St. George Island State Park with miles of peaceful beaches, dunes, coves, marshes and forests. The park has campsites, picnic tables, hiking trails and observation points to view ospreys, terns, plovers and other seabirds.
The 200 mile long (322 km) Gulf Island National Seashore, including Santa Rosa Island, is the longest stretch of barrier islands in the U.S. The 40 mile (64 km) Santa Rosa Island includes the livelier Pensacola Beach with its Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail and Navarre Beach area. A 15 mile (24 km) stretch of highway between the two towns offers occasional car parks for people to stop and enjoy the pristine beach.
Visitors to Sanibel and Captiva islands rarely leave without some of the beautiful shells for which the islands are well-known. Access to the islands located offshore from Fort Meyers is controlled by a toll road. The beaches of this popular resort area remain clean and quiet. The Gulf tides bring a supply of colourful shells to the islands’ beaches each day and combing for seashells is as popular as swimming.
Fort DeSoto, just south of St. Petersburg, is consider another top beach in Florida for privacy. This county park features the remains of an old fort along with white sand and clear Gulf water.
Visitors to Florida may want to take extra days to visit the Keys, the chain of islands extending from Key Biscayne near Miami to Key West. The Keys offer beautiful beaches with warm water on the Florida Strait. Diving, snorkelling and fishing are popular activities.
Key Biscayne features the quiet Bill Boggs Cape State Park complete with a beach by a lighthouse. Biscayne National Park protects the offshore reefs where visitors can swim among the colourful fish and corals.
When you want something quiet, these are only a few of the many beaches lining both coasts of Florida where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the Sunshine State and its clear waters. Florida theme park tickets are also easily available if you want to enjoy a bit of an adrenaline rush and maybe a shift of pace from the beaches.
Ben Carter makes a point of going travelling at least 4 times a year and has so far covered 46 different countries. Taking his family with him gives him an amusing insight into travel in every situation.