Untouched Beauty: Caladesi Island

By Lauren Tjaden

If you want to truly escape, you need the right kind of Florida beach.

The kind of beach where it’s just you, Mother Nature, and perhaps some family or special friends. A beach where you can dangle your toes in the surf and let the rhythm of the waves work its magic while you kick back and turn the pages of a mesmerizing book.

If you’re in the mood, you can search for seashells, or watch the pelicans dive-bomb the water in search of a meal. Or you can do nothing at all—which sometimes, equals more than doing everything.

If this sounds like your kind of paradise, here are some hidden Florida gems where you'll find it...

 St George Island
-Lauren Tjaden

 

St. George Island State Park

Located in Northwest Florida on the Forgotten Coast, one word perfectly sums up St. George Island State Park: Pristine. Nine miles of white sand beaches, towering sand dunes and untouched, natural beauty make it one the best secluded beaches in the Sunshine State. Mere minutes away from great seafood, park activities include camping, fishing, kayaking, hiking and biking.

 Canaveral National Seashore

-Lauren Tjaden

 

Canaveral National Seashore

This barrier island promises a sanctuary for both people and wildlife.  Hugged next to the Atlantic Ocean between Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach, Canaveral National Seashore encompasses a 140,000-acre wildlife refuge and long expanses of natural beaches, stretching as far as you can see along sandy dunes. The park offers opportunities for back-country camping, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, surfing, swimming, boating and bird watching.

Caladesi Island Beach

-VISIT FLORIDA

 

Caladesi Island State Park

The real Florida awaits you at Caladesi, situated north of Clearwater and south of Tarpon Springs. Accessible via the Caladesi Island Ferry, a boat shuttle service that runs daily from Honeymoon Island State Park, Caladesi delivers miles of glistening white sandy beaches surrounded by bluish-green water. You can often spot dolphins off shore, and wooden benches provide a place to relax and enjoy the Gulf beach view. For the perfect end to the day, visit a local seafood favorite, Olde Bay Café. It overlooks St. Joseph Sound with a view of Caladesi Island on Main Street in Dunedin.

 Navarre Beach

-VISIT FLORIDA

 

Navarre Beach

Navarre Beach is a little off of the beaten path- and that’s one of the best things about it. Sited east of Pensacola, this quiet destination boasts a generous white-sand beach snuggled against the emerald-hued Gulf of Mexico. It’s a serene retreat, renowned for fishing and its pier, 1,545 feet long and 30 feet tall. Stroll out onto it for sweeping views of the beach and the dunes, rolling both directions as far as the eye can see.
From atop the pier you’ll almost always spot schools of fish. But you might see a stingray too, looking for all the world as if it’s flying underwater, or even dolphins, out on a fishing expedition of their own.

Dry Tortugas National Park
-Peter W. Cross 

 

Dry Tortugas National Park

Accessible only by ferry or seaplane, and sited 70 miles west of Key West across open water, this most-remote national park is a true escape. But you won’t miss civilization.
Dominated by Fort Jefferson, the largest brick building in the western hemisphere, the Dry Tortugas are something you’d conjure up in a dream. Surrounded by impossibly crystalline, emerald-tinted waters, its beaches are lush with powdery-white sand.
You can kick back on the beach, curl up with a book, snorkel the living reef or explore. You can even camp there, with the music of the surf to lull you to sleep.

 Santa Rosa Beach

-VISIT FLORIDA

 

Santa Rosa Beach

Famed for its pristine beauty, turquoise waters and glorious, white-sand shores, Santa Rosa Beach invites you to discover local boutiques, browse art galleries and indulge in award-winning cuisine. Located on Northwest Florida’s famed Emerald Coast, this laid-back getaway is short on crowds and long on relaxation. You can’t beat it for an idyllic combination of upscale amenities and stretches of sand where you’ll never struggle to find a place to spread out your beach towel.

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Caladesi Island State Park

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Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park are both known for their beautiful beaches. With a pristine coastline, Caladesi is truly...