Planning a Florida beach vacation means looking for that perfect beach destination full of sugar sand beaches, sunshine, beautiful sunrises, and spectacular sunsets. Living in Florida, I have the privilege of hearing from parents about small quaint beaches that aren’t on most people’s radars. These off-the-beaten-path beaches show why Florida is known as the Sunshine State. Here are the top five hidden beaches for families in Florida.
Rosemary Beach is a beach-side community that was built 20 years ago on the Gulf Coast and what now is known as the Emerald Coast. It is as close to paradise as one can get with refreshing breezes from the Gulf of Mexico, sugar-sand beaches, and a peaceful and delightfully welcoming community. Rent a cottage or home from the Rosemary Cottage Beach Company or stay at the one inn in town, Pensione Inn. Endless summer nights and sunshine-filled summer days await families as life doesn’t get any better than Rosemary Beach.
One of my favorite beaches to visit during peak season is Pass-A-Grille Beach. Just south of St.Pete Beach, west of Tampa Bay, and a stones throw away from the iconic “pink castle” (The famous Don CeSar Hotel), this beach has little crowds, quaint inns, and sunshine as promised. The Hurricane Restaurant is a three-story charming beach-side pit-stop, facing Pass-A-Grille Beach, and is well-known for its grouper sandwiches and picture perfect sunsets of the Gulf of Mexico. Come early. Stay late.
Fernandina Beach (and Amelia Island)
Amelia Island, a barrier island with 13 miles of shoreline tucked up in the northeast corner of Florida, is home to Fernandina Beach. This vibrant Victorian seaport village offers unique shopping, dining, and rich history. Mother Nature performed magic on this island; it is home to an abundance of wildlife such as manatees, river otters, dolphins, and more. Relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings through river cruises, fishing, kayaking, or nature walks.
Hidden on the Paradise Coast, just north of Naples, the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands is Marco Island. Visitors will love the crystal-clear water and enjoy finding more seashells than was thought to be possible. Take one of the many dolphin boat tours, go para-sailing, check out the water hammocks, and bask in the miles of sand. For more on the island, check out these Marco Island tips.
From Marco Island, you’re not far from the Florida Keys, take a road trip to the Florida Keys.
Holmes Beach (and Anna Maria Island)
A cozy paradise on the Gulf Coast, Anna Maria Island is a top-rated family beach in Florida. Families will enjoy spending the day building sand castles, skim boarding, just plain relaxing, and soaking up the rays of sunshine. Take a break from the beach and visit Brandeton and enjoy this old-Florida town’s vibrant downtown, the river-walk, and the Village of the Arts. This quaint, slow-paced beach town leaves lasting impressions on everyone who visits.
Looking for more activities on the island? Here’s a list of 16 cool things to do on Anna Maria Island.