These Florida Hideaways are far away from the typical beach crowds. As we yearn to break free from the grips of winter, is there any wonder that some of the most popular destinations center around beaches and sunshine?
I like the sun and feel increasingly depressed when it does not shine for days at a time. I don’t even mind the cold as long as the sun is shining. There is just something about the sun and being on an island that beckons you to come and enjoy everything it has to offer.
Five Island Florida Hideaways
Florida Hideaways #1 – Amelia Island
If you are looking for something a little less predictable than St. Pete or prefer not to be over-run in locales like Fort Lauderdale and Pensacola, then Amelia Island should be on your list for Florida Hideaways. It sits near the Georgia-Florida border where you can enjoy miles and miles of unspoiled and uncrowded beach. This is one of the easiest islands to find an open beach as there are 42 beach access points over a five-mile stretch.
There are plenty of activities for everyone in the family to experience if you stay at the Amelia Island Plantation Resort. You can swim, golf, and take a stroll past the cannons of Fort Clinch. Walk the shoreline and collect as many shark teeth as you can find. Board the Amelia River Cruises at the docks at Fernandina where they will venture you off to catch shrimp, watch dolphins and see wild horses roaming on nearby Cumberland Island.
Florida Hideaways #2 – Cedar Key Island
A little bit north of Tampa, the sleepy island of Cedar Key is sure to make for a relaxing, enjoyable vacation. You will not find any stoplights or named franchises. This island paradise allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature and features a National Wildlife Refuge, which guests can enjoy by kayak. Indulge in the multiple versions of fresh and local clam chowders for which Cedar Key is famous.
Florida Hideaways #3 – Gasparilla Island
The town of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island is like Palm Beach without the glitz. You will find cottages in assorted pastel colors, Gulf-front estates, and an excellent assortment of upscale stylish shops, boutiques, and seafood restaurants. The Gasparilla Inn opened in 1913. At this low-key but elegant retreat, the attire is smart-casual. You can get around by bicycle or golf cart, and be sure to check out the 1890 lighthouse/museum at the island’s southern end. The gorgeous length of sand that stretches along its entire Gulf shore is just waiting for you.
Florida Hideaways #4 – Pine Island
Located just west of Ft. Meyers, the tiny town of Matlacha is the perfect island getaway for a quiet and relaxing vacation. With local art galleries, outstanding food, and fantastic fishing, you’ll wish you discovered this paradise sooner. A little down the road, Pine Island offers a peaceful stay, with waterside accommodations in historic hotels, outstanding seafood, and fun beach activities like cruisers and kayaks.
Pine Island has a bike path that will take you from one end of the island to the other. There is very little traffic, so it is ideal for cycling. Hikers may want to take the Calusa Heritage Trail. This trail winds through ancient shell mounds or Indian mounds as they are also known. These man-made structures are composed of earth, sand, and shells. They were built by prehistoric and historic civilizations as far back as 7000 years ago. Trail signs illustrate the thriving seaside village that in the early 1500’s greeted Spanish explorers.
Take Route 78 from Matlacha to peaceful Pine Island. You will enjoy nearly 17 miles of Old Florida as you view the plantations complete with guava, palm, citrus, avocado, macadamia, and mango trees.
Florida Hideaways #5 – Cabbage Key Island
Florida’s Cabbage Key is the perfect island for nature lovers. There are multiple trails lined with mangroves, gumbo limbo, and other exotic plants. If you want to get away from all commercialization, this place is for you. Take a trip to nearby Cayo Costa State Park where you can rent a kayak or motorized skiff and go fishing. This barrier island features more than six miles of pristine, white sand beach lined with sea shells and Gulf-tossed driftwood.
Quaint hotels like the Cabbage Key Inn http://cabbagekey.com/, delicious, fresh seafood, and everything a nature lover would want, add to the overall package of this hidden paradise.
There are plenty of fun activities for couples, singles, or families at these Florida hideaways. You can be as active as you want or relax and enjoy the sun and sand.