Unless you’re a boater, you may not have heard of this hidden gem in the Gulf of Mexico. Anclote Key Preserve State Park includes four islands that lie near the mouth of the Anclote River, offshore from Tarpon Springs: Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar and Three Rooker Island.
Location: Tarpon Springs
Camping: Free tent camping. Call 727-638-4447 or reserve online.
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
As you draw within sight of the 1887 lighthouse, prepare for a Robinson Crusoe experience: bring water, food, and a tent, and you’re welcome to camp on these secretive shores, reservations required, of course. It’s a mecca for birders, and an important destination for beach nesting birds such as the piping plover.
Don’t own a boat? Grab a ferry from the Tarpon Springs sponge docks for a day trip to explore the island.