Editor's note: Beaches and parks are listed geographically from west to east.
Beaches with this symbol have beach wheelchairs available, either provided as a courtesy, or available for (prearranged) rent and delivery from private companies.
Beaches here, where the land juts into the Gulf of Mexico, boast some of Florida's purest, white-sugar sands and glittering waterways. Silent and serene, this area between Mexico Beach and Apalachicola features some of the most secluded beaches in the state.
Mexico Beach features four miles of unspoiled beaches and high dunes. Fish off the recently extended City Pier; find rare sea shells; snorkel and swim; marvel at the variety of wildlife that this natural area attracts; or just let the seashore lull you to sleep. The charming town of 1,300 residents features quaint shops, restaurants and historic architecture.
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
In 2002, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, more endearingly called "Dr. Beach," voted the beach here at the tip of Cape San Blas the nation's best. Bordered by the waters of St. Joe Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, this 2,516-acre state park includes a heavily forested interior and 10 miles of sea oat dappled dunes. Sun and sand lovers can enjoy swimming, camping, fishing, snorkeling and long walks soft sands in this secluded oasis.
Cape San Blas
The entire peninsula, better known as "the Cape," is comprised of more than 17 miles of pristine beach accessible though a number of beach parks. Cape Palms Park includes a picnic pavilion, playground, grills and an observation deck. Salinas Park located at the entrance of Cape San Blas is nestled among scrub oak trees. Winding boardwalks allow you to meander and quietly observe wildlife while you stroll toward miles of unspoiled beach.
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill is a dune ridge located on the mainland across from Cape San Blas. The 40-acre park once housed the St. Joseph Lighthouse. There is a boardwalk that leads you to more beautiful beaches. The park also includes trails, picnic areas and plenty of activities for your entire family.
Indian Pass is a natural channel between Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Its broad beach provides a nice spot for fishing and relaxing away from the crowds. There is an oyster lagoon here that is known worldwide. If you are a boater, take advantage of the Indian Pass public boat ramp and take a cruise to St. Vincent Island.
St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
This natural barrier island set off the Apalachicola coast features more than 12,000 pristine acres only accessible by boat or ferry. This wildlife refuge includes 14 miles of beach and 80 miles of sandy roads that are a haven for a turtles, bald eagles and many other animal species.
St. George Island State Park
Situated at the western tip of Florida's Big Bend, St. George features secluded beaches that are perfect for sunning, shelling and surf fishing. St. George State Park sits on more than 1,900 acres at the eastern tip of the island and has nine miles of unspoiled coastline. Enjoy meandering on the boardwalks and nature trails, sitting on the observation deck and swimming in the beautiful Gulf water.
The smallest in the chain of Apalachicola barrier islands, this island is only accessible by boat or ferry. The island is free of modern development, with the exception of a few private homes. Spend an afternoon here walking the dune-swept beaches or just relaxing.
Considered by locals to be the gateway to the world's most beautiful beaches, Carrabelle Beach is a beauty in its own right. One-and-a-half miles west of town, this quiet and un-crowded beach features picnic areas and facilities. It's perfect for a day of sunbathing, swimming or surf fishing.