Florida is a popular tourist destination in the United States. The Sunshine State’s appeal is easy to see, with its magnificent beaches, massive amusement parks, and a number of intriguing cities. While big towns like Orlando and Miami are popular tourist destinations, you’ll be missing out if you don’t also visit some of the best islands in Florida.
These are some of the best islands to visit while in Florida, ranging from off-the-beaten-path coastal isles to bustling locations closer to Cuba than Miami. Surprisingly, all are connected by one or more bridges, which is a unique yet excellent benefit for visitors arriving by car.
20 Best Islands In Florida
Table of Contents
20. Pine Key
Pine Key, also known as Beer Can Island, is a small island in the middle of the Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay area is home to several of the Florida islands described in this article, making it a fantastic destination to stay for your vacation.
Beer Can Island’s 11 acres of upland provide lots of amusement. This is especially true for our adult guests, as Tiki Bay Island, a unique tiki bar, is the highlight of this trip.
What makes it so unique, you might wonder? It’s afloat!
You can stay the night after sipping an adult beverage (or several) on one of the world’s largest floating tiki boats. Beer Can Island members have the flexibility to pitch a tent and stay anywhere on the island’s 11 acres.
This island is privately owned and requires a membership fee to visit. There are numerous selections to choose from, and the costs are affordable.
The cost of admission is determined by how long you want the pass to be valid, what activities you want to do, and how many guests you plan to bring.
Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards can all be leased on a daily basis, albeit there are a limited number available.
It is better to arrive earlier in the day because the island will close to new guests once it reaches capacity. Especially if you’re interested in renting a canoe!
19. Siesta Key
Siesta Key, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, is located just off the coast of Sarasota. Much of Siesta Key is made up of white sand beaches, and the island’s 8-mile-long public beach is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in the country.
Many visitors come to Siesta Key for the beach, and there is no better way to spend a day than soaking up the sun and taking a plunge in the ocean. You may eat at local restaurants, or just browse for souvenirs all along Ocean Boulevard.
18. Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island is only accessible by boat and is located off the coast of Dunedin, Florida.
Taking your own boat is free, or you can pay to ride the ferry (adults $16, children $8). Kayak rentals are another excellent way to see Caladesi.
This is a highly popular fishing place. Because the water is shallow and clean, you can easily view the fish and other sea life that surround you.
Many individuals like fishing from their boats, while others choose to spend their days collecting shells and hermit crabs from the sea grass. There are a lot of hermit crabs in this area!
Caladesi Island is ideal for a picnic because of its soft, lovely white sand. This small island paradise is one of the nicest places in Florida to spend a day with your family!
17. Key Largo
Key Largo is one of the first places you’ll notice as you travel south from Miami and begin visiting the Florida Keys. Many travellers skip Key Largo on their way south because it is the first major stop in the Florida Keys. Key Largo, on the other hand, is worth a lengthier visit.
If you like scuba diving, Key Largo is a must-visit. Scuba diving and snorkelling are available at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, or you can take a guided cruise to go further off the shore.
16. Hutchinson Island
Hutchinson Island, a hidden gem extending from Stuart to Fort Pierce, is surprisingly under-appreciated. Its gorgeous shoreline is bordered with immaculate sandy beaches, providing plenty of opportunities for sunbathing. Shelling, sandcastle construction, sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing, and SUPing are just a few of the oceanside activities that will keep the whole family entertained.
Is there not enough action for your group? Historic communities on the island also have shops, restaurants, museums, and water parks. Take a boat tour to try your hand at deep sea fishing, play a round of golf, or sign up for a surfing instruction. You will never be bored with us.
15. Longboat Key Island
This 12-mile slice of paradise, now populated by retirees who know a good thing when they see it, was once a sleepy fishing village. Its prior tranquilly has now been snatched up by the same seniors who yearned for premium condos, a golf course, and a tennis club. That isn’t always a terrible thing. With the modernisation came luxurious restaurants and gorgeous stores to tempt those who enjoy shopping.
Longboat Key isn’t the place to go if you want to spend a leisurely day walking among mangroves and resting on a quiet, secluded stretch of sand. You’ve come to the correct place if you enjoy hobnobbing with the wealthy and don’t mind jostling for a parking spot near the beach.
Insider tip: Greer Island (located at the northern end of Longboat Key) is a really lovely and peaceful island nearby.
14. Pine Island
Oh, the fishing, swimming, and kayaking! Pine Island, the largest of the islands off Florida’s Golf Coast, is a modest hideaway for people seeking a lovely and intimate natural retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This island is dripping with mangroves and bursting with thick pine trees, showcasing nature at its best. Pine Island is made up of four distinct and eclectic communities: St. James City, Bookeelia, Pineland, and Matlacha. It is a haven for artists from all over the world. Pine Island’s primary town is the latter. It has a multicoloured Bohemian mood that screams “tropical vacation.” Here you’ll discover entertaining stores, restaurants, and a lovely park.
13. St. George Island
St. George Island is a tropical paradise worth seeing, with what many consider to be one of the best beaches in the world. The Island’s inclusion on this list was aided by its crystal-clear sea, silky sand, and miles of beach populated solely by shells. St. George Island is a popular vacation place for families and pet owners since it is both calm and beautiful.
Visitors can concentrate on the isle’s main draw – its magnificent natural beauty – because it is peppered with modest houses and lacks the booming nightlife found on neighbouring Florida Islands. Salt marshes, pristine beaches, and sand dunes beckon the tired and heal them with their beauty.
12. Cedar Key
Cedar Key will not disappoint if you’re seeking for Old Florida charm. This lonely isle, part of a cluster of islands approximately an hour southwest of Gainesville, is crammed with antique buildings and gleams with a rainbow of slightly run-down shops. Many of the buildings are perched on stilts over the Gulf of Mexico, adding to the town’s allure.
Cedar Key was a crucial contributor in the construction of the trans-Florida railroad in the late 1800s, as well as the Eagle Pencil Factory. As a result, the land was deforested, and hurricanes devastated what little remained. The existing trees are over a century old and home to a diverse range of animals, much of which may be seen from the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
Islamorada is called as “The Village of Islands” since it is really a grouping of six islands. This charming achipelago combines natural splendour with metropolitan amenities such as trendy eateries, colourful galleries, and historic sites. Islamorada is a really unusual destination to spend a vacation, stretching for 20 miles across Tea Table, Shell, Plantation, Lignumvitae, and Lower and Upper Matecumbe Keys.
If you’d prefer observe the fish than catch them, Bahia Honda State Park, just off the Overseas Highway, is a favourite snorkelling site. Swim with dolphins and even sea lions at Theater of the Sea, which is close by.
Some have dubbed it the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World” because of its popularity with fisherman. If it doesn’t appeal to you, there are lots of sandy beaches to visit, warm azure waters to snorkel in, and a Theater of the Sea to see.
10. Little Palm Island
Little Palm Island, as you might expect, isn’t very big. This sliver of paradise is an opulent and exclusive hangout for celebrities, presidents, and anyone who live the high life.
The US’s equivalent to the Seychelles, Little Palm is a private island retreat dripping with the beautiful thatched-roof bungalows of its single inhabitant, the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. Stunning ocean views and gleaming crushed seashell walkways greet you at every turn (sandals are recommended). The lush flora abounds, and the waves softly crash into the coast, lulling guests into a state of tranquilly that they need need.
Another advantage to visit Little Palm Island is that you’ll never have to fight a crowd for a great beach position. What a perfect location for a romantic beach vacation.
9. Key Biscayne
Head to adjacent Key Biscayne when the bustle and drama of Miami becomes too much. Key Biscayne is a barrier island with a very tranquil vibe and spectacular beaches, making it an ideal place to unwind. Crandon Park has three miles of silky, sugar-white sand where you may relax or compete in a sandcastle building contest with the youngsters.
Are you looking for a little thrill? Visit the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area on the island. On land and at water, you can accomplish everything you’ve ever wanted to do (well, almost everything). There’s much to do at Key Biscayne, from kayaking to snorkelling to biking and rollerblading.
8. Crab Island, Destin
Crab Island, just south of the Marler Bridge in Destin, is more of a sandbar than an actual island. Because the only way to get here is via sea, you’ll need to embark on an adventure in a seaworthy vessel (such as a boat or kayak) to discover this unique natural treasure.
Crab Island is most famous for (you got it) crabs! Thousands of tiny sea animals live on this crab-shaped sandbar on the ocean floor. It’s an ideal spot for a day of wandering, splashing, or frolicking in the warm, turquoise sea.
Although it is a bit of a party hotspot, this intriguing location is a fun and safe destination for families travelling with children. Insider tip: If you’re travelling with your family, spend the morning here and then leave before the grownups transform it into a party hotspot.
Because there are no structures on this sandbar – it is, after all, a sandbar – travel into Destin to enjoy its various attractions, shopping, and restaurants. However, due to Crab Island’s popularity, vendors have started flocking to the island in recent months, so you’ll be able to get everything from sunscreen to a burger to an inflatable trampoline on-site.
7. Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island, located about 50 miles south of Tampa in the mouth of Tampa Bay, welcomes guests with seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches.
Anna Maria Island is a barrier island in Florida located south of Tampa and St. Petersburg. The gorgeous beaches are once again a major appeal to Anna Maria. Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach are two excellent choices for those looking to go swimming or create sand castles.
Anna Maria Island has likewise attempted to maintain much of its history and architecture, resulting in a “Old Florida” atmosphere. A visit to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society is a terrific way to learn about the Timucuan Indians who lived in the area as well as the Spanish settlers who came after them.
There are lots of places to stay, buy, and eat in the three small cities of Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria, and Holmes Beach. All of them have a “Old Florida” vibe to them, with colourful houses, cute shops, and a refreshing lack of high-rises.
The most popular reason for visitors to come here is to see the most spectacular sunsets. When watching the sunset on the Gulf Coast beaches of this Florida island, you’ll never be alone.
Insider tip: The island has a complimentary trolley service that transports guests from one beach to the next.
6. Little Gasparilla Island
Little Gasparilla Island is a short boat journey north of Gasparilla Island and is its smaller and underdeveloped relative. Little Gasparilla is located near the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, roughly midway between Sarasota and Fort Myers, and offers the lovely, relaxing beach vacation you’ve been dreaming of. There are no high-rise buildings to be seen!
You’ll have to rely on your own two feet to move around because there are no roads or cars on the island. That won’t be a problem, thanks to the sugar-white sand’s luxurious feel and cleanliness. In the summer, though, be careful where you tread because this is where sea turtles lay their eggs.
5. Gasparilla Island
Gasparilla Island is a small barrier island off the coast of Florida. Despite its proximity to cities such as Port Charlotte and Cape Coral, Gasparilla Island has a much more laid-back vibe. Gasparilla, named for a Spanish pirate who once resided on the island, is one of the few remaining examples of old Florida.
Take a morning stroll on Boca Grande Beach and immerse your toes in the cold ocean water. The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, which was originally illuminated in 1890, is located on the island’s southernmost southern tip. A ride along the Boca Grande Bike Trail will undoubtedly be memorable if you enjoy birdwatching.
Gasparilla Island State Park is a wonderful place for families to visit. Its incredibly smooth sand, crystal-clear ocean, and charming lighthouse are all worth seeing. Keep a watch out for the sometimes elusive manatees swimming offshore, as well as dolphins playing nearby.
The primary attraction on this Florida island is Boca Grande. The town is small and attractive, a fishing village with pastel-colored buildings, amusing shops, and delicious eateries. Golf carts and bicycles are the preferred modes of transportation in this laid-back neighbourhood.
4. Key West
Visitors are not unfamiliar with Key West. In fact, millions of visitors visit this southernmost tip of the United States for their vacations. This includes presidents like Harry S. Truman, who conducted business in a “Winter White House,” as well as famous writers like Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway, who both found inspiration (and houses) in this bright location.
Yes, Key West offers a bustling arts scene and a lively nightlife. There’s a lot to see, do, and spend your money on in this city. However, one of the nicest things to do in Key West is to visit the beach, which is less touristy. The Great Florida Reef, the world’s third biggest coral reef, is just seven miles off the coast and filled with active aquatic life. It runs hundreds of miles along the United States’ east coast.
Another popular activity is watching the sun set. Every night, head to Mallory Square for a beautiful view of the horizon, as well as live music, food booths, and street entertainment.
3. Amelia Island
Amelia Island is frequently ignored by visitors en route to Florida’s southern coast. This raw northern beauty, on the other hand, should not be overlooked.
Amelia Island, part of the Sea Islands Chain, is a quiet haven for the wealthy, with the Ritz-Carlton among the island’s most opulent beach resorts. Fernandina Beach, the major town, amps up the charm factor significantly. Its streets, flanked by Victorian architecture and unique stores and restaurants located in fishing cottages, are steeped in history.
There are plenty of beautiful fairways, and the 13 miles of sand-dune-lined beaches are immaculate, especially considering the clientele. Amelia Island is one of Florida’s most beautiful and overlooked jewels, whether you want to shop, dine, paddle, swim, or rest beachfront.
2. Sanibel Island
For ages, families have travelled to this west coast hotspot, and with good cause. Sanibel Island, in the Gulf of Mexico, is a far more tranquil beach destination than its east coast sisters, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach.
Sanibel’s beaches, unlike Marco Island’s soft sand, are a little harsh on the feet. This is a great area for families to go shelling or play “I spy” because it has a lot of shells (including sand dollars) washed up on its shores.
Sanibel collects hundreds of shell species brought to its coast from the Gulf of Mexico due to its east-west orientation and lack of urban development. Sanibel (together with the beaches of Fort Myers) contributed to the creation of National Seashell Day to commemorate the first day of summer (on June 21st). The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is also located there.
1. Marco Island
Are you on the lookout for some stunning shells? What about smooth, white sand and mouthwatering cuisine? All of these can be found on Marco Island. This magnificently developed isle is the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands Chain, an archipelago extending into the Everglades, and is only a short drive over the bridge from the lovely city of Naples.
Two lovely beaches – South Marco Beach (visit here for a sunset) and Tigertail Beach (visit here for a sunrise) – are among Marco’s highlights (its powdery sand serves up amazing shells). These are some of Naples’ most beautiful beaches. Marco’s several golf courses and broad assortment of stores and restaurants are additional benefits.
Take a cruise to see Marco Island from the water and test your deep sea fishing skills. If you’re lucky, you might come face to face with a frolicking dolphin.
Deep-sea fishing charters, romantic sailing cruises, and dolphin-spotting trips are all popular activities on the island. Of course, Marco Island is known for its beautiful beaches. Tigertail Beach is famed for its shells, while South Marco Beach is known for its magnificent sunsets. Always gaze down at Tiger Tail Sand since the beach is covered with amazing shells that you’ll want to add to your collection.
So this was our list of the best islands in Florida, hope you enjoyed reading.