6 Florida Beaches So Beautiful You'll Think You're in the Caribbean

6 Florida Beaches So Beautiful You'll Think You're in the Caribbean

For our homesick readers, readers who've never been to the Caribbean, or anyone else who just loves the beach... here are 6 Florida beaches that are so beautiful you might just be able to trick yourself into thinking you're in the Caribbean.

  1. Bahia Honda Perhaps one of the most Caribbean-style beaches in the mainland United States, Bahia Honda State Park has it all: crystal-clear water, white sand beaches, and plenty of breezy palm trees. The island is located about three-fourths of the way down the Florida Keys at Mile Marker 37 on Big Pine Key. The water is so transparent that the snorkeling here is second to none. And be sure to check out what’s left of Henry Flagler’s historic Overseas Railroad—a great spot for sunset photos.
  2.  Captiva Island - Funky, quirky Captiva Island has a distinct artsy vibe —exactly the kind you might expect to find in the Caribbean—and the beaches are pure perfection. Legend has it that renegade pirate Jose Gaspar built a prison on “Isle de los Captivas” in the early 1800’s where he kept prisoners “captive” for ransom.
  3. Dry Tortugas - Located almost 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is the gateway to the western Caribbean. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, the park is a collection of seven remote islands, as well as one of the largest 19th century forts in the country. Early on, Spanish explorers used this high-traffic shipping channel through the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The fort was built between 1846 and 1875 to protect the shipping routes. Today, it’s a marvel with decorative brickwork and 2,000 arches.
  4. Caladesi Island - An unspoiled paradise, Caladesi Island is located in the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, just north of Clearwater. Only accessible by boat, set sail on the daily ferry and leave the hustle and bustle of the mainland behind. Before it was a state park, the island was the childhood home of author Myrtle Scharrer Betz. The only child ever born on the island, the author was the daughter of 1880’s homesteader Henry Scharrer, and she placed a deed restriction on the property in 1946 to ensure that no unnecessary alterations could be made to the 157 acres. Thanks to her, the island is pristine to this day.
  5. Cayo Costa Island - A former fishing ground for the Calusa Indians, Cayo Costa Island offers a rich history and nine miles of undeveloped shoreline and sugar sand beaches. Dating back nearly 4,000 years, several Native American shell mounds are located on archipelago, which means “Key by the Coast.” Now a Florida state park, the island is only accessible by boat, and it’s completely off the electrical grid. Interestingly, there are about two dozen private homes on the island, three of which you can find on VRBO for your perfect getaway.
  6. Keewaydin Island - A barrier island located off the coast of Marco Island and Naples, Keewaydin Island is a hidden gem. It’s a hotspot on the weekends for in-the-know locals, but most beach connoisseurs don’t even know this pristine seven-mile stretch of sand exists. There are no roads, cars, or bridges, so you’re going to need a boat. Wildlife abounds, especially loggerhead sea turtles, wild boars, and bobcats.



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