A place to play Robinson Crusoe for a day or overnight, Anclote Key Preserve State Park is an offshore gem in the Gulf of Mexico made up of four islands within sight of Tarpon Springs.
Islands in Florida
The original Cedar Key isn’t where you think it is. It’s offshore, within sight of the current historic waterfront, an island called Atsena Otie Key, part of Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
A windswept sentinel off the coast of Dunedin at the edge of Clearwater Harbor, Caladesi Island enthralls visitors with its remoteness, its quiet beaches, its extensive forests and mangrove swamps.
Offshore from Boca Grande and Pine Island, Cayo Costa State Park is tough to get to but the 6.5 miles of trails and many more miles of beaches will be yours to roam
Imagine your own private island: a sweep of bright white sand along the shallows of the Gulf of Mexico. While a public park, open to all, Don Pedro Island State Park is a rare retreat for bathers, swimmers, and sun worshipers.
In Tampa Bay, Egmont Key, an island that was once a Civil War refugee camp, is now a bird rookery and historic site, with trails accessible only by boat.
The original seat of Dade County, settled in 1836, lies in limestone ruins swaddled in a tropical forest within sight of US 1, but offshore. Indian Key takes a little planning to visit, but is well worth the journey.
On Hontoon Island, the Indian Mound Nature Trail leads you through a ancient forest to an ancient midden on the edge of a vast swamp floodplain.
Along a network of trails that follow old mosquito impoundments, explore the mangrove forest that covers Jack Island Preserve, an island in the Indian River Lagoon.
Wrapped in a dense blanket of mosquitoes, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is one of the United States’ most significant botanical treasures, a virgin tropical forest home to more than a thousand lignum vitae trees.
If you’re looking for remote along Florida’s coast, Little St. George Island in Apalachicola Bay has over 9 miles of undeveloped beach and several miles of trails, and is only accessible by boat.
Mt. Dora’s best site for birding is Palm Island Park, accessed by a long boardwalk out to a peninsula along Lake Dora canopied by ancient live oaks and tall palms.