Your guide to beaches near Tallahassee, FL

Editor's note: Beaches and parks are listed geographically from west to east.

This is the beautiful and wild coast of Florida's "Big Bend." Only a one-hour drive south from Tallahassee, these small islands with tiny private beaches near Tallahassee, FL are waiting to be explored. The quaint towns dotting these Tallahassee area beaches welcome you with old-fashioned Southern hospitality. While swimming, sunbathing and other traditional beach activities are available here, you might try your hand at kayaking, scalloping or bird watching as well.

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

The 68,000-acre St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge protects most of the coastline south of Tallahassee. Boating, fishing and camping are popular activities across the miles of coastal marches, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven rivers. On site is St. Marks Lighthouse, built in 1832 and still in use today.

Big Bend Wildlife Management Area

There are five areas that make up a 200-mile stretch of the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area - Hickory Mound, Spring Creek, Tide Swamp, Jena, and Snipe Island. Depending on the which of the beaches near Tallahassee, FL you go to, you can drive, bike, horseback ride up and down ancient sand dunes, scallop, fish, bird watch and more. A true treasure exists for paddlers who decide to explore the 105-mile Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail.

Dekle Beach

This quiet community is popular for boating, fishing and scalloping. Swimming in these Florida beaches is limited.

Keaton Beach

Located halfway between Perry to the north and Steinhatchee to the south, Keaton Beach is an outpost town with a laidback, relaxing atmosphere. The wild, natural public beach has a shaded picnic area, restrooms, boat ramp and a 700-foot fishing pier. These are prime scalloping waters from mid to late summer, and the area is famous for year 'round fishing.

Hagan's Cove

Five miles south of Keaton Beach, you'll find Hagan's Cove. This park features picnic pavilions, hiking trails and an observation tower for bird watching. In shallow waters and grass flats you will find several species of birds, horseshoe crabs and perhaps a pair of bald eagles. Enjoy the panoramic views of pine islands, natural Tallahassee area beaches and the shallow bays of the Gulf of Mexico.