Best islands in Florida
A thing of beauty is joy forever and probably this is why living in Florida has its own perks. For starters, weekend getaways in Florida are routine, with so many beaches and vacation spots to choose from. But what makes it even better for locals is knowing all about the amazing islands that out-of-state travelers might not be aware of. Take a look at these unexpected coastlines, private-island resorts and secret beaches in Florida and see if you can find a spot for yourself.
1. Amelia Island
Take the River Cruise for a scenic tour of the barrier island — beachgoers will love the surf, sea oats and sand dunes. The island beckons with 13 miles of beaches and well-preserved historic district of Victorian architecture steeped in Old Southern charm. Till August, it is a peak beach season with warm temperatures and a temperate ocean. Also, the ‘secret’ season of late fall and early winter is a favorite for those seeking fewer crowds and better bargains.
2. Grove Isle
Past the towers of downtown Miami and the café-lined streets of Coconut Grove sits a tiny bridge leading to the lush 20-acre private island resort of Grove Isle Hotel & Spa. Oversize palms, canopied beds, adults-only beaches and the Bali-inspired spa make this one of the greatest getaways. You can certainly marvel at the urban views of twinkling lights over Biscayne Bay.
3. Jupiter Island
Ginormous private homes with names like “T. Woods” and “C. Dion” on their mailboxes occupy the lion’s share of this private barrier island’s 3.6 miles. However, there’s plenty here to entice mere mortals beyond the gilded gates: miles of secluded white-sand beaches and the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, a breeding site for the Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle.
4. Gasparilla Island
Cross an unassuming toll bridge onto this charming Gulf coast barrier island — home to the classic 1913 Gasparilla Inn & Club. This Boca Grande hideaway screams Old Florida, and the Inn’s adorable cottages are ideal for families seeking an unforgettable time on Florida islands. Don’t miss a visit to Banyan Street for its namesake trees, and stop by funky Temptation for lunch.
5. Palm Island
A three-minute ferryboat ride across the Intracoastal Waterway drops you and your car on Palm Island. It’s the only access to this very narrow, seven-mile-long isle nestled in the Charlotte Harbor area of Southwest Florida. The Palm Island Resort’s villas are just steps from the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll find plenty of seashells and birds of all sorts — like terns, pelicans, egrets and more — to watch here.
6. Merritt Island
People come here to feel the ground rumble during any shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center, its being on the north end of the barrier island. On the other end of the spectrum is the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to some of the most impressive wildlife in Florida. It features the state’s best birding sights and appearances by elusive Florida panthers.
Perhaps you’ve already heard of these islands off the coast of Florida, but unless you’ve actually visited them, you don’t fully understand how amazing they can be and the quality of experiences they provide. The Sunshine State is famous for its beautiful beaches, but the best beach vacations in Florida takes place on these under-the-radar islands, as they make visitors feel good for leaving their home states behind. They are unique hidden gems and deliver a true tropical experience. Undoubtedly, they make for the perfect easy family getaway. In addition to all of the above, be sure to traverse few of the islands via golf cart — it’s how the locals do it.