13 Best Private and Secluded Beaches in Florida: Unspoiled Paradise (2023)

Throughout the state of Florida, there are numerous private and secluded beaches waiting to be discovered. 

While some of these hidden gems can only be accessed by boat or ferry, others are conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from major cities. 

Whether you prefer a remote escape that demands a bit of adventure or a tranquil beach retreat near urban centers, the Sunshine State offers a variety of options that cater to different needs. 

The 13 best private and secluded beaches in Florida are:

1. Caladesi Island State Park 

2. St. George Island State Park 

3. Canaveral National Seashore 

4. Perdido Key Beach 

5. St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park 

6. Dry Tortugas National Park 

7. Barefoot Beach Preserve 

8. Cayo Costa State Park 

9. Amelia Island 

10. Bahia Honda State Park 

11. Pass-a-Grille Beach 

12. Round Island Oceanside Beach Park

13. Santa Rosa Beach.

The following highlights a baker’s dozen of the best private and secluded beaches in Florida, including where they are, what they offer, and what to expect once you’re there.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover 13 of the best private and secluded beaches in Florida
  • Explore diverse ecosystems and unique coastlines
  • Avoid the crowds and enjoy a local experience in some of the most beautiful places in Florida.

The Top 13 Private and Secluded Beaches in Florida

1. Caladesi Island State Park

Palm trees on the beach and two people walking on the seashore.

Caladesi Island State Park is a pristine, undeveloped beach about 24 miles (39 km) from Tampa, Florida.

The park boasts white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, or walking on the shoreline.

Amenities at Caladesi Island include restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and a marina with electric and water hookups. 

Additionally, you’ll find a nature trail, kayak rentals, boat launches, a cafe, and a beach pavilion.

Because it’s an island retreat, Caladesi can only be accessed by boat or the Caladesi Island Ferry

It only takes 20 minutes to get to the island by ferry, but there is a maximum stay limit of four hours. 

The park is open from 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year, and it costs $6 per boat for up to eight people (with an added fee of $2 for each additional person). Kayakers pay $2 each.

2. St. George Island State Park

St. George Island State Park is a beautiful barrier island two hours south of Tallahassee, Florida.

There are miles of unspoiled shoreline, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and water sports.

The park has several amenities, including restrooms, outdoor showers, boat launches, campsites, playgrounds, picnic areas, and pavilions; however, there are no cafes, shops, or concessions, so bring all food, drinks, and supplies with you.

St. George Island State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset daily, and visitors should expect to pay $6 per vehicle and additional fees if camping overnight. 

3. Canaveral National Seashore

A brown beach sand and a cloudy sky.

Canaveral National Seashore is a beautiful, secluded beach about 70 miles (113 km) from Orlando.

Its shoreline provides ample opportunities for wildlife watching, beachcombing, swimming, and more.

Canaveral National boasts various visitor amenities, including ample parking, picnic pavilions, and a bathhouse; however, no restaurants or vendors within the park provide food services. 

Visitors can access the beach through two entrances, one in New Smyrna Beach in the north and another via Titusville and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in the south. 

Keep in mind that the entrance roads do not connect, and both are dead-ends, leaving a six-mile stretch of untouched beach in between.

General hours of operation are from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm daily, with an entrance fee of $20.00 per vehicle, $15.00 per motorcycle, and $10.00 for walk-ins/bicycle-ins (per person). 

As the Canaveral National Seashore is part of the United States National Park system, National Park passes are accepted, and annual passes to Canaveral can be purchased for $40.

There are primitive backcountry campsites available at Canaveral National Seashore, but there are several rules and guidelines to follow when overnighting (see the National Park Service website for more details).

4. Perdido Key Beach

Perdido Key Beach is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Pensacola, featuring powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters, perfect for various water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, fishing, surfing, and kayaking. 

Most of the beach is part of the National Park System, offering eight covered picnic shelters, restroom facilities, a shower station with open cold-water showers, and potable water for drinking.

The state park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset all year round, and admission costs $3 per vehicle (up to eight people) using the correct change in the honor box. 

Pedestrians, cyclists, and additional vehicle passengers cost $2 each.

Despite its secluded barrier island vibe, Perdido Key Beach is in a very convenient location that offers easy access to an array of family-friendly attractions, dining, cultural and entertainment experiences, and exciting outdoor activities.

5. St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park

Sunset at the beach.

St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park is on the northern tip of a barrier island about 45 minutes north of West Palm Beach. 

The park is only accessible by private watercraft, but the journey is worth it.

St Lucie offers miles of beaches, picnic facilities with tables and grills, showers, restrooms, water fountains, beach wheelchairs, and a dock with an accessible ramp.

Visitors to the state park can expect an abundance of wildlife, such as bobcats, otters, and shorebirds – and during the summer, the island is a crucial nesting area for loggerhead, leatherback, and green turtles.

St. Lucie Inlet is also the northernmost extent of Florida’s Coral Reef, offering excellent diving and snorkeling with a wide variety of Caribbean fish, such as angelfish, hogfish, snook, and snapper.  

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sundown. Park fees are $3 per boat and $2 per kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.

6. Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is a series of islands home to some of Florida’s most private and secluded beaches. 

The park is 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West, only accessible by boat, ferry, or seaplane. 

The biggest island in the Dry Tortugas is Loggerhead Key, and its protected, shallow and calm swimming area is great for swimming and snorkeling.

While there are basic amenities/things to do, like restrooms, historical sites, hiking trails, and wildlife excursions, bringing your own food, water, and supplies is important, as there are no shops on the islands. 

There is a park entrance fee of $15 per person; however, most ferry tickets include that in the price. 

Children aged 15 and under are free.

Because it’s a remote location, it’s best to plan your visit to Dry Tortuga using the National Park Service website or other local guides.

7. Barefoot Beach Preserve

A blue sea and a white sand.

Barefoot Beach Preserve, located in Bonita Springs, is less than an hour’s drive south of Fort Myers, Florida.

The Preserve features white sand, clear warm water, and various amenities, including restrooms, picnic areas, drink vending machines, a 1-mile (1.6 km) walking loop trail, foot showers, beach wheelchairs, bike racks, and a life jacket loaner program.

To access the 345-acre (138 hectares) beach preserve, visitors can walk, bicycle, or drive. 

Barefoot Beach operates from 8 am to sunset, and while there are no entrance fees for pedestrians and bicyclists, parking fees apply for vehicles.

8. Cayo Costa State Park

Cayo Costa State Park is an island park approximately 30 mi (48 km) from Fort Myers, only accessible by ferry or private boat. 

Cayo Costa is known for its wild, unspoiled beaches ideal for swimming, sunbathing, shelling, and birdwatching.

The park offers several amenities, including picnic tables, grills, restrooms, showers, potable water, and a gift shop selling souvenirs, ice, snacks, cold drinks, and basic camp items.

Many outdoor activities are available at Cayo Costa, such as fishing and hiking trails as well as cabin and tent camping accommodations for overnight guests.

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sundown all year round, with a ranger station operating until 4 p.m. 

Visitors are required to pay a $2 fee per person using the honor box system, so remember to bring exact change.

9. Amelia Island

Waves crashing at the beach during sunrise.

Amelia Island is located just over 30 miles (48 km) from Jacksonville and offers a serene and private beach experience. 

With more than 40 public beach access points along the 13 miles (21 km) of coastline, it’s easy to find a secluded spot to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf.

Main Beach Park, for example, is perfect for families and includes amenities like playgrounds, picnic shelters, and restroom facilities. 

The surrounding area is well-maintained, providing guests with a comfortable and relaxing beach experience. 

In contrast, other beach access points might offer fewer amenities but provide a more private and secluded atmosphere.

Hours of operation for the beaches on Amelia Island can vary, as some are open dawn-to-dusk while others are open 24 hours a day. 

Fees for parking your vehicle at some beach access points on Amelia Island may apply, depending on the specific location and time of year.

10. Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park is a gem in the Florida Keys, approximately 127 miles (204 km) from Miami.

Bahia Honda State Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, from bicycling to birding, boating to fishing, snorkeling to scuba, and hiking to paddling. 

The park features three soft sandy natural beaches: Loggerhead Beach, Sandspur Beach, and Calusa Beach.

The park provides ample facilities, including campsites, cabins, restrooms, showers, picnic pavilions with tables, and a beach wheelchair, free of charge, which can be used on a first-come, first-served basis.

The concession sells sandwiches, snacks, ice, t-shirts, souvenirs, and limited marine supplies while also renting out snorkeling equipment, kayaks, umbrellas, and beach chairs.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to sunset year-round.

There is an $8 charge per vehicle (two to eight people), with a 50-cent Monroe County surcharge per person.

The fee for single-occupant vehicles and motorcycles is $4.50 and $2.50 for pedestrians, bicyclists, and extra passengers (Monroe County surcharge is included).

11. Pass-a-Grille Beach

A woman holding a yoga mat while walking at the beach.

Pass-a-Grille Beach is a laid-back beach town known for its soft, sandy shores approximately 10 miles (16 km) from St. Petersburg, Florida.

Visitors to Pass-a-Grille can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and water sports while enjoying the numerous amenities and activities in the area.

There are restrooms, outdoor showers, and picnic areas near the beach, and the town of Pass-a-Grille has restaurants, shops, and other things to do.

The beach is accessible to the public and does not have specific operating hours; however, if you want to rent lounge chairs, umbrellas, or cabanas, they’re only available from 9 am to 6 pm. 

Though there is no official fee to access the beach, parking costs may apply.

12. Round Island Oceanside Beach Park

Round Island Oceanside Beach Park, situated in Vero Beach, Florida, is conveniently located 115 miles (185 km) south of Orlando. 

The white sand beaches and clear Atlantic water allow for normal beach activities, including fishing, surfing, scuba diving, swimming, and sunbathing.

This park also offers a range of amenities for visitors, including five grills and five pavilions, each equipped with two picnic tables, a playground, ​​water fountains, restrooms, outdoor showers, and walking trails. 

Additionally, the park provides easy beach access, restrooms, water fountains, and outdoor showers.

There are numerous parking spaces, including six designated for disabled access. 

Operating daily from 7 am to sunset, Round Island Oceanside Park features a guarded area and an ADA crossover to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

13. Santa Rosa Beach

A sailboat and people swimming on a crystal-clear beach.

Santa Rosa Beach offers a 26-mile stretch of picturesque shoreline in Walton County on the Florida Panhandle. 

Located approximately 65 miles (104 km) east of Pensacola, this coastal gem offers pristine white sugary sand and clear aqua waters. 

Due to its seclusion, it is typically less crowded compared to other popular Florida beaches, providing visitors with ample space to relax, sunbathe, and swim.

Guests can also partake in recreational activities such as fishing and boating. 

Santa Rosa Beach provides several amenities, including parking facilities, restrooms, and picnic areas. 

The nearby town also has restaurants, shops, art galleries, and historical sites.

The beach is accessible year-round via public access points, and entry is free of charge.