Planning a summer vacation in Florida doesn’t mean the family is relegated to Orlando or Daytona. Many tourists fail to consider that Florida is an entire state ringed with amazing beaches and fabulous cities. If you are looking for a more subdued summer vacation filled with fun and nature rather than throngs of tourists, consider one of these five secluded beaches. You’ll be amazed that you’ve only just discovered them:
1. Dog Island
Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a quiet family vacation that allows for an abundance of bonding time, you’ll find exactly what you need on Dog Island. You’ll find a single hotel on the island, Pelican Inn, and that hotel will welcome you with open arms! Book one of the hotel’s private oceanfront studios and you’ll feel like you’re the only family on the island.
Spend your days combing the beaches on this island owned by The Nature Conservatory. You’ll find more shells than you can carry and see straight to the bottom of the ocean’s floor as you walk through the cool, pristine waters.
2. St. George Island State Park
If camping is your thing, you’ll adore St. George Island. The park covers over 2,000 square acres of land that is mostly undeveloped. The beaches are incredibly secluded and quiet, ensuring that your vacation will be both relaxing and relatively private. You can spend your days fly-fishing, bird watching or collecting shells by the bucketful.
If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, take a hike through the wilderness or rent a boat and paddle the day away. If you’d rather spend your nights in a real bed, book a room in one of the area’s historic inns.
You’ll find Blue Mountain Beach situated between the more popular communities of Seaside and Destin. Instead of staying in a hotel, rent one of the private beach homes by the week and save money by shopping for groceries and cooking your own meals.
Timpoochee Trail is a 19-mile stretch of paved lane that is popular for cyclists. Rent a bike or strap on your tennis shoes and head off down the trail for a day of exhilarating exercise. When you tire of traipsing through the woods, head to the local beach and delight in the turquoise waters and powdery sands.
4. Bald Point State Park
Located near Apalachee Bay, Bald Point State Park covers 4,000 acres of land. You’ll find beaches that are lined by pine flatwoods and coastal marshes. Butterflies and bald eagles call this area home and are quite easy to spot. Popular activities in the park include windsurfing, swimming and fishing.
You’ll have your choice of accommodations in the park: private campgrounds and quaint hotels abound. No matter how you choose to rest your head, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the seclusion of this state park.
If you’re looking for a bit of hippie dippy on your summer vacation, you’ll find it in the artsy craftsy town of Grayton Beach. Quaint homes are tucked into side streets and bars feature local talent, eager to play to the enjoyment of all who stop for a pint. The crushed oyster shells paving the streets will remind you of the beach towns of decades passed.
If you want a quiet summer vacation, don’t think that you have to bypass Florida. The state’s panhandle is full of amazing destinations that will keep you far from the throngs of tourists popular in the southern areas of the state. Contact the Florida chamber of commerce for a list of even more destinations that will meet your desires!
Teresa Brown is a freelance travel writer and blogs for Chamber of Commerce Florida.