Horseback Riding at Amelia Island State Park
By Lauren Tjaden
Close your eyes and imagine.
You’re horseback riding on the beach. The sand stretches out behind you and in front of you, too. The waves tickle the shore in their soothing, quiet rhythm. The air smells clean and a little like salt; the water is the color of emeralds.
You tell your horse he’s a good boy and stroke his mane, and he flicks an ear back to listen. His coat glistens, warm from the sun, and his hooves throw up bits of foam when you wade into the surf.
You don’t have to imagine! You can actually enjoy this incredible adventure in Florida. Here are some Sunshine State beaches where you can get some sand in your boots.
Bring your own horse or go out with a guide
Cape San Blas
Award-winning Cape San Blas, sited in northwest Florida, is the ideal place to enjoy horseback riding on the beach. Just give Two-bit Stables or Broke-a-Toe Horseback Riding a buzz and they’ll have you paired-up with one of their perfect ponies before you can say “giddy-up.”
Amelia Island is a laid-back northeast Florida destination with miles of rolling dunes and pristine seashore, and you can explore it aboard a horse. Amelia Island Horseback Riding, Happy Trail Walking Horses, and Kelly Seahorse Ranch are a few of your options.
Saddle up and explore the sands of Fort Pierce with Beach Tours on Horseback.
In Bradenton, close to Anna Maria Island, you can try horse-surfing. The adventure features a ride on the beach and swimming the horses in addition to the aforementioned surfing, which is really just trying to stand up on your horse’s back in the water. It’s fun and wacky, but be forewarned, the beach is a small section of sand on Palma Sola Bay, not one of Florida's typical, generous beaches by the ocean.
Bring your own horse
If you can bring your own horse you can go horseback riding on the beach in these locations, too.
Canaveral National Seashore
Canaveral National Seashore is pristine, private and stunningly beautiful. Restrictions apply and a permit is required. Learn about it here.
St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra
St. John’s County, St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra beaches provide 30 miles to make waves on horseback. To obtain a permit, visit the St. John’s County website.
Insider’s tip: When riding – even if your horse is very quiet and sweet – it’s advisable to wear a helmet. Always wear close-toed shoes. A shoe or a boot with a small heel is good idea, too, so your foot can’t slip through the stirrup.