We all know Florida is one of the best and most beautiful states in the country. One of the many advantages of living in our state are the countless islands dotting our coastlines. Sure, everyone knows and loves Key West, but we wanted to spotlight a few of our other incredible islands. These are perfect for anyone looking for a getaway that’s not too far away.
1. St. George Island
This small island is located off the Panhandle, on the Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The homes on St. George Island are too expensive for most folks, but the public beaches and the boundary of St. George Island State Park are open to everyone. The unspoiled beaches on St. George Island are often ranked among the best in the country.
2 & 3. Captiva Island and Sanibel Island
Located near Fort Myers, Captiva and Sanibel are popular yet well-protected pieces of Florida's natural beauty. When you're finished strolling the shell-strewn beaches, check out the wildlife at J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and grab a bite at the iconic Bubble Room.
4. Gasparilla Island
This island in Southwest Florida is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling and wildlife study. The beautifully restored 1890 lighthouse is also a major draw for visitors. It's open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays, from noon to 4:00 p.m., from November through May. Hours change for the rest of the year, and it will be closed for major holidays and the month of August.
5. Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne offers an island escape, just outside the hustle and bustle of Miami. Key Biscayne has some lovely scenery, with Crandon Park to the north and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park to the south. If you prefer underwater adventure, check out the nearby reef or the explore several wrecks on the Maritime Heritage Trail.
6 & 7. Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island
These islands near Jacksonville preserve some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida.
8. Peanut Island
Peanut Island (near Palm Beach) may be man-made, but it still provides a unique and historic spot for camping, swimming, fishing and boating. For a slice of history, be sure to check out a bunker built for President John F. Kennedy at the Palm Beach Maritime Museum.
9. Cedar Key
Located in Levy County, Cedar Key is a small island with a population of about 700 people. The town is famous for its charming historic district, as well as its clams.
10. Amelia Island
Amelia Island in Northeast Florida has so much to offer. From stunning beaches, a historic fort and the adorable small town of Fernandina Beach, there is truly something for everyone here.
11. Caladesi Island
The unspoiled beaches on this island near Clearwater have been called some of the best in the country. Take a path through the dunes or kayak through mangrove trees. Caladesi Island is only accessible by ferry from Honeymoon Island, so it really feels like an island escape.
12. Key Largo
Because Key Largo is the northernmost of the Keys, it's just a short drive for those in South Florida, yet it feels like a tropical paradise thousands of miles away. This key is a popular destination for diving and sport fishing.
13. Anna Maria Island
Folks flock to this island only 20 minutes from Bradenton to relax on the white sand beaches and splash in the sparkling turquoise water.
14. Anastasia Island
This barrier island east of St. Augustine has so much to offer. Campers at the beautiful Anastasia State Park are surrounded by incredible coastal wildlife, yet very near to the attractions of the oldest city in the country.
Have you visited any of these islands? Did we miss any of your favorites? Please share them with us in the comments!