5 Northwest Florida Beaches You Won't Have to Share

    Lauren Tjaden

    Yearning for empty sweeps of sand, where you can hear the sounds of the surf? Where you never-ever have to fight for a place to spread out your beach towel?

    If so, read on to discover these five hidden gems.

    Beaches are listed from west to east. All are located in Northwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico.

    Pensacola’s Fort Pickens, located in Gulf Islands National Seashore, is an area must-see.

    Pensacola’s Fort Pickens, located in Gulf Islands National Seashore, is an area must-see.

    - Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA

    Fort Pickens, Gulf Island National Seashore

    Pensacola’s Fort Pickens, located in Gulf Islands National Seashore, is an area must-see. On the way there, you’ll pass miles of pristine beaches.  Make sure to ditch your sandals and check out the sand: it’s pure white quartz that stays cool and won’t burn your feet even on the hottest day. The Fort boasts a fascinating history as well: In the 1800s, Geronimo and other members of the Chiricahua-Apache tribe were held prisoners there.

    Located in Gulf Islands National Seashore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre, Opal Beach was born in 1995 when Hurricane Opal flattened the dunes to create a smooth, glittering paradise of sugar-sand beach.

    Located in Gulf Islands National Seashore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre, Opal Beach was born in 1995 when Hurricane Opal flattened the dunes to create a smooth, glittering paradise of sugar-sand beach.

    - Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA

    Opal Beach, Gulf Islands National Seashore

    Located in Gulf Islands National Seashore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre, Opal Beach was born in 1995 when Hurricane Opal flattened the dunes to create a smooth, glittering paradise of sugar-sand beach. The area is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island, a 40-mile barrier island that Spanish Conquistadors once explored.

    WindMark Beach has entirely escaped notice, yet its waters are calm and clear, and its sand begs for attention from your toes.

    WindMark Beach has entirely escaped notice, yet its waters are calm and clear, and its sand begs for attention from your toes.

    - Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA

    WindMark Beach

    WindMark Beach has entirely escaped notice, yet its waters are calm and clear, and its sand begs for attention from your toes. This lovely wonder is located between Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach on Florida’s Forgotten Coast. It stretches for nearly four miles along the water's edge of St. Joseph Bay.

    St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, which encompasses the north end of Cape San Blas, is home to this beach, one of the most highly acclaimed in the nation.

    St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, which encompasses the north end of Cape San Blas, is home to this beach, one of the most highly acclaimed in the nation.

    - Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA

    St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

    St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, which encompasses the north end of Cape San Blas, is home to this beach, one of the most highly acclaimed in the nation. But almost anywhere on the peninsula, you’ll have oodles of soft, white sand and emerald-hued waters practically to yourself. The Park also features a wilderness area, camping, trails, and great scalloping. Sunbathing, snorkeling, swimming and fishing are also popular activities.  You’ll find some of the highest dunes in the nation are here, which provide soaring views of the Park

    St. George Island State Park, nestled on the eastern end of St. George Island, features miles of stunning—and empty—beaches like this one.

    St. George Island State Park, nestled on the eastern end of St. George Island, features miles of stunning—and empty—beaches like this one.

    - Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA

    St. George Island State Park

    St. George Island State Park, nestled on the eastern end of St. George Island, features miles of stunning—and empty—beaches like this one. The park is a haven for nature lovers, and is famous for its birding. It’s perfect for sunbathing, fishing, swimming, canoeing, boating, hiking, and camping. Or just kick back by the shore and enjoy the quiet music of the surf. 

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