Best Islands to Visit in Florida
With the pent-up demand for travel after the stay-at-home guidelines during the pandemic, Florida has become a major target for travelers. People are looking for more than just a trip to Disney.
Florida’s islands offer an experience that land-based attractions can’t match.
Florida Travel Blog has documented our 8 best islands to visit in Florida. Now it’s time to pick your island visit in Florida for a weekend or that special Florida island vacation.
Disney World and the surrounding attractions collect over 60 million travelers per year! There are hundreds of sites that detail the Orlando area but few realize that Florida has some of the most visited islands in the world.
In a recent survey done by Travel and Leisure Magazine, 5 of the top ten islands visitors chose as their favorites to visit were Florida islands. That makes sense since we have over 4510 islands of ten acres or more. of course, not all are inhabited.
So, get ready to explore the best islands to visit in Florida based on their popularity, charm and availability to schedule that island getaway in Florida!
Best Islands to Visit in Florida in 2023
KEY WEST – there is no place in the country that has a bigger 24-hour party than Key West. Perhaps not the ultimate destination for young children, but certainly a place for grown-ups and couples who want to act like children again! Key West is at the top of the list of the best islands to visit in Florida. You also can venture off the island for nearby islands that are part of the Florida Keys. Read more here….
CLEARWATER BEACH – ranked among everyone’s top ten beach communities in Florida, Clearwater Beach has the most beautiful white powdery sand of any place in the state. The kids have plenty to do and adults love the island atmosphere. From great tiki bars, world class dining to 5-star hotels, Clearwater Beach has it all. Lots of things to do including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Read more here….
AMELIA ISLAND – this much fought-over island in the northeast corner of the state offers fun, unique shopping, beaches, and history to make a fun vacation getaway. Fernandina Beach is the center of activity on this resort-laden island. The Atlantic Ocean Beaches line the east side of the island. One of our favorite places to visit. Amelia Island is also one of the largest islands in Florida, so there are plenty of things to do. Read more here….
MARCO ISLAND – if you want something a little more upscale and laid back, Marco Island will be perfect for a reclusive island place to visit Florida. Wide beaches, good restaurants, and water activities throughout the island. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and a wide beach for the sun-worshipers. This is one of our suggested places for a romantic getaway. Read more here….
ST. GEORGE ISLAND – nestled in a remote panhandle paradise, St. George Island is the ultimate way to get away from the doldrums of daily life. Beautiful remote Gulf beaches are perfect for a chair and umbrella. Fishing, biking, hiking, and relaxing are part of your menu of things to do along with shore birds that share your vacation The best island to visit in Florida for pure relaxation. Read more here….
SIESTA KEY – Just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida, this island has the 11th-ranked beach in the world. The beach is wide, long, and loved by families who come here. Nearby is a quaint little village that can serve up some great cuisine. Book early and often, since this is one of the most popular beaches in Florida. Plenty of parking and concessions. Read more here….
ANNA MARIA ISLAND– This island listed on our best islands to visit in Florida is a real gem. Located a few miles north of Sarasota and 35 miles south of Tampa, Anna Maria Island has a white sand beach on Florida’s west coast that dazzles all who visit. There are no big high rises, no shopping centers, and fewer people clamoring for a spot on the beach. Just colorful cottages, charming shops, and some good seafood restaurants. Read more here….
BOCA GRANDE ON GASPARILLA ISLAND – This is a little more upscale island with a big fishing problem! Boca Grande Pass on the south side of the island is known for world-class tarpon fishing. The island is full of lovely homes and comfortable cottages. Golf carts are the mode of transportation, but cars are tolerated. Another relaxing spot on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Read more here….
Bonus Coverage of The Most Visited Islands in the Florida Keys
We have already discussed the most visited island in the Florida Keys, Key West.
The Florida Keys are a renowned archipelago stretching off the southern coast of Florida, offering a tropical paradise with coral reefs, clear blue waters, and a vibrant marine ecosystem. The Keys are a string of islands connected by bridges by the Overseas Highway (US Route 1).
Several islands in the Florida Keys stand out as popular tourist destinations:
Renowned for its spectacular coral reefs, Key Largo is a top choice for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located off the coast of Key Largo, is the first underwater park in the United States, attracting visitors with its diverse marine life and captivating coral formations.
The little Key Deer on Big Pine Key is a sight you will never forget.
Positioned between Key Largo and Marathon, Islamorada is often referred to as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World.” With its numerous offshore and backcountry fishing opportunities, the island attracts anglers seeking to catch a variety of game fish. Additionally, Islamorada offers a relaxing atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and excellent seafood dining options.
Situated in the middle of the Florida Keys, Marathon is known for its family-friendly attractions, including the Turtle Hospital and the Dolphin Research Center. Visitors can enjoy the tranquility of Sombrero Beach, explore the scenic Seven Mile Bridge, and engage in various water sports such as kayaking and kiteboarding.
For nature enthusiasts, Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys provide a unique experience with the presence of the endangered Key deer. Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key offers pristine beaches and excellent snorkeling opportunities, making it a popular stop for those exploring the Keys.
These islands collectively showcase the diverse offerings of the Florida Keys, attracting visitors with a combination of natural beauty, water-based activities, and cultural attractions.
Traveling to the Best Islands to Visit in Florida
Visiting the Florida islands, especially the Florida Keys, offers a unique and enchanting experience. Here are some tips to make the most of your trip:
Plan Ahead: Research and plan your itinerary in advance, considering the specific islands you want to visit and the activities you want to engage in. This ensures you make the most of your time and don’t miss out on any must-see attractions.
Weather Awareness: Florida has a tropical climate, so be aware of the weather conditions during your visit. Hurricane season runs from June to November, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Also, be prepared for sudden rain showers, especially in the summer. We ecmmend buying plastic ponchos for under $2 each to carry with you.
Snorkeling and Diving: The Florida Keys are renowned for their coral reefs. If you enjoy snorkeling or diving, bring your gear or consider renting it locally. You can most likely but the gear for less than renting daily. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Looe Key Marine Sanctuary are popular spots for underwater exploration.
Wildlife Encounters: Florida’s islands are home to diverse wildlife, including Key deer, manatees, and various bird species. Respect the local fauna by keeping a safe distance and following any guidelines provided by park rangers or local authorities.
Water Activities: Take advantage of the abundant water activities. Whether it’s kayaking, paddleboarding, boating, or fishing, the crystal-clear waters of the Florida Keys provide ample opportunities for aquatic adventures.
Culinary Delights: Florida, especially the Keys, is known for its delicious seafood. Try local specialties like conch fritters, Key lime pie, and fresh fish. Explore the local eateries and seafood shacks for an authentic culinary experience.
Sun Protection: The Florida sun can be intense. Pack and consistently apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and stay hydrated to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. This is crucial, especially if you’re spending extended periods outdoors.
Island Hopping: Consider exploring multiple islands to get a well-rounded experience of the Florida Keys. Each island has its unique charm, so take the time to venture beyond the more popular ones.
Local Events and Festivals: Check for local events and festivals happening during your visit. The Florida Keys host various events throughout the year, celebrating everything from seafood to music and cultural heritage.
Respect the Environment: Practice responsible tourism by respecting the natural environment. Avoid littering, follow designated trails, and adhere to any conservation guidelines in place to help preserve the beauty of the islands for future generations.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can enhance your visit to the Florida islands and create lasting memories of this tropical paradise.
Our Thoughts on The Best Islands to Visit in Florida
These are some of the most popular islands to visit in Florida. Yes, we know there are places like the Miami area, Naples, Cocoa Beach, and dozens more. These are not islands. A patch of land surrounded by water seems to be more enchanting than land-locked locations.
Planning is part of the fun and Florida Travel Blog will always have some offbeat ideas that can add a unique adventure or two. A Florida Island Vacation should be on everyone’s bucket list.