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Three Best Little-Used Florida Beaches

Updated on April 22, 2014

Three Best Little-Used Florida Beaches

I'm not your typical beach-goer. I like to go to quiet beaches and I think I've found the three best little-used Florida beaches. I'm at the beach to take in the beauty of the sand, surf and sun and anything else that happens to be there and these three beaches fit the bill to a 'T'.

They all have the gorgeous turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico, which reflects aqua even on the cloudiest day. Each beach has its own unique quality, whether it's talcum-powder sand, drifts of seashells brought up on shore by endless waves, or miles of hard-packed sandy shoreline beckoning you to cast a line into the water for some surf fishing or to set out on foot or by bicycle to see what's around the next bend.

I've listed the three best little-used Florida beaches that follow in no specific order of preference. Kick back and take a walk along each of them and let me know which one is your favorite!

Image by KateHon

Pack These in your Beach Bag!

Florida's Seashells
Florida's Seashells

A must-have for identifying all those shells you're going to pick up on the beach!

 
Hunting Fossil Shark Teeth In Venice, Florida: The Complete Guide: On The Beach, SCUBA Diving, and Inland
Hunting Fossil Shark Teeth In Venice, Florida: The Complete Guide: On The Beach, SCUBA Diving, and Inland

There are thousands of shark teeth on Manasota Beach, too! They're even embedded in the sidewalks! You've gotta see it for yourself!!

 
Florida's Living Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber
Florida's Living Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber

The beaches offer a plethora of delights - learn all about that diversity here

 
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Birds of Florida

The perfect guide for every beach enthusiast! This book includes pictures of all the shore birds you're likely to encounter.

 
Moon Florida Gulf Coast (Moon Handbooks)
Moon Florida Gulf Coast (Moon Handbooks)

Find out where to go and how to get there with this comprehensive Florida Gulf Coast guide

 

Do You Favor Florida Gulf Coast Beaches or Florida Atlantic Coast Beaches?

Are you a fan of Florida's Gulf Coast or Atlantic Coast beaches?

Best Little-Used Florida Beach #1 - Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island

Bradenton Beach is on Anna Maria Island, the northern-most barrier island of the group of islands running from Bradenton, FL down to Englewood, FL.

Bradenton Beach has a LOT of free parking and talcum-powder sand beaches with relatively small crowds, compared to some of the other, more popular, barrier island beaches on the Gulf Coast, such as Longboat and Siesta Keys.

Bradenton Beach is very long and deep, with intermittent stands of towering Southern pines, offering shady places to lounge in a beach chair with a good book and a cold drink or to just relax and listen to the waves kiss the shore.

Image by KateHon

Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island - Images by KateHon

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wild sea grape and sea oats help to anchor sand dunes to limit erosion on Bradenton BeachA sea grape leaf, almost buried in the talcum-powder sandGuests mingle after an intimate beachside wedding on Bradenton BeachMealtime for shore birds on Bradenton BeachPelicans and seagulls enjoy their own private jetty on Bradenton BeachSunset on Bradenton Beach
Wild sea grape and sea oats help to anchor sand dunes to limit erosion on Bradenton Beach
Wild sea grape and sea oats help to anchor sand dunes to limit erosion on Bradenton Beach
A sea grape leaf, almost buried in the talcum-powder sand
A sea grape leaf, almost buried in the talcum-powder sand
Guests mingle after an intimate beachside wedding on Bradenton Beach
Guests mingle after an intimate beachside wedding on Bradenton Beach
Mealtime for shore birds on Bradenton Beach
Mealtime for shore birds on Bradenton Beach
Pelicans and seagulls enjoy their own private jetty on Bradenton Beach
Pelicans and seagulls enjoy their own private jetty on Bradenton Beach
Sunset on Bradenton Beach
Sunset on Bradenton Beach

More of Bradenton Beach to Love

Sarasota / Bradenton Atlas
Sarasota / Bradenton Atlas

Know where everything is with this atlas of the entire Sarasota/Bradenton area

 

Best Little-Used Florida Beach #2 - Manasota Beach on Manasota Key - This picture was taken on Christmas Day 2013

Where Anna Maria Island is the northern-most barrier island in the chain between Bradenton and Englewood, Manasota Key is southern-most. It is within the jurisdiction of two Florida counties, Sarasota on the north and Charlotte on the south.

All the pictures are from Manasota Beach in Sarasota county. There isn't a great deal of parking at this beach, but it is free.

Manasota Beach is an extremely broad, long beach and is known for its excellent shelling and small crowds, making it, in my mind, a far better shelling option than its very popular counterpart further down the coast, Sanibel Island.

Although the weather in the picture looks cloudy and cool, it was really a balmy 78 degrees with a light breeze. Beautiful. What a way to spend Christmas!

The total beach crowd as far as the eye could see wasn't much larger than that seen in the picture, making it my kind of place.

Image by KateHon

A Manasota Beach Christmas - Images by KateHon

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A family celebrates their Yuletide holiday with a beachside picnic, complete with a sandy Christmas tree.Shells like these are strewn pretty much throughout the entire beach areaObviously someone is looking for more shellsThe shells aren't hard to find - they're everywhere!The shells pile up in drifts on the beachShells even find their way onto a sandy hula dancer's costume!
A family celebrates their Yuletide holiday with a beachside picnic, complete with a sandy Christmas tree.
A family celebrates their Yuletide holiday with a beachside picnic, complete with a sandy Christmas tree.
Shells like these are strewn pretty much throughout the entire beach area
Shells like these are strewn pretty much throughout the entire beach area
Obviously someone is looking for more shells
Obviously someone is looking for more shells
The shells aren't hard to find - they're everywhere!
The shells aren't hard to find - they're everywhere!
The shells pile up in drifts on the beach
The shells pile up in drifts on the beach
Shells even find their way onto a sandy hula dancer's costume!
Shells even find their way onto a sandy hula dancer's costume!

Bring Manasota Key Home with You

Florida's Port Charlotte, Manasota Key, Gasparilla Island & Punta Gorda
Florida's Port Charlotte, Manasota Key, Gasparilla Island & Punta Gorda

You'll find detailed information about Manasota Key and nearby destinations here

 

Best Little-Used Florida Beach #3 - Lovers Key Beach near Bonita Beach

Lovers Key is situated in the 1,616 acre Lovers Key Carl E. Johnson State Park between Ft. Myers and Naples, near Bonita Beach. It got its romantic name early in the 1900s, when the island was accessible only by boat and only lovers made the effort to get there.

The park is made up of four barrier islands, of which Lovers Key is one. Lovers Key has 2.5 miles of beautiful white sandy beaches right on the Gulf, with shelling, birding, hiking, biking, kayaking and fishing, just a handful of the many fascinating ways to while away the hours there.

Since Lovers Key is located in a state park, there is a fee to enter, $8 for a car with 4 occupants, for example. Once you're in, the parking is free and plentiful. You can also rent kayaks, bikes, beach chairs and umbrellas from the concession stand, as well as purchase snacks, water and other beverages.

The beach isn't far from the parking, making it an easy, interesting walk, but a tram is available, if you'd rather ride to the water.

The men, above, are getting ready to surf fish, hoping to snag a snook, redfish, trout or tarpon. Castnetting for mullet is also common.

This picture and the ones below were taken in early January, when two weather fronts were colliding, forming a pea-soup fog over the Gulf waters. Although the weather looks chilly, it was 80 degrees with virtually no breeze, making our forty-five minute walk on the beach rather a warm one.

Image by KateHon

Lovers Key Beach - Images by KateHon

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beachcombers in the far distance, look for the perfect shell.  Lovers Key seems to have more intact shells than Manasota Beach, but not as many.Sea oats are everywhere on Lovers Key, serving as ground cover to minimize erosion. Notice the couple  in the distance, enjoying the solitude.A coconut palm bears plenty of fruit in this semi-tropical oasis.Dense mangroves, with their thick, intertwined root systems, help keep the sand from eroding, and are found throughout Lovers Key.
Beachcombers in the far distance, look for the perfect shell.  Lovers Key seems to have more intact shells than Manasota Beach, but not as many.
Beachcombers in the far distance, look for the perfect shell. Lovers Key seems to have more intact shells than Manasota Beach, but not as many.
Sea oats are everywhere on Lovers Key, serving as ground cover to minimize erosion. Notice the couple  in the distance, enjoying the solitude.
Sea oats are everywhere on Lovers Key, serving as ground cover to minimize erosion. Notice the couple in the distance, enjoying the solitude.
A coconut palm bears plenty of fruit in this semi-tropical oasis.
A coconut palm bears plenty of fruit in this semi-tropical oasis.
Dense mangroves, with their thick, intertwined root systems, help keep the sand from eroding, and are found throughout Lovers Key.
Dense mangroves, with their thick, intertwined root systems, help keep the sand from eroding, and are found throughout Lovers Key.
Florida Salt Scrubs, 12.1 Ounce, Coconut
Florida Salt Scrubs, 12.1 Ounce, Coconut

Bring the beach to your bathtub with these coconut salt scrubs

 

Which of the Three Best Little-Used Florida Beaches is Your Favorite? - Image by KateHon

Have you chosen your favorite of the three best little-used Florida beaches yet?

See results

If You Could be on Any of the Three Best Little-Used Florida Beaches Right Now, Which One Would it Be? - What's the first thing you'd do there?

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    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I've never been to the Panhandle of Florida, or to the Keys, so I'd probably go visit the beach at Manasota Key as my best friends live in Bonita Springs (nearby) and my aunt & uncle live in Punta Gorda and it would be fun to see them all. Since I once lived in Naples, I'm most familiar with the beach areas along this part of the Gulf Coast. Today I live near Tybee Island beach in Georgia and earlier spent 13 years living 3 blocks from this beach. I've also lived within sight of the ocean on the California Central Coast. Guess you could say I'm a true 'beach' person. :)

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 

      4 years ago

      Nice 'counter view' to the busy beach culture of Florida. Thanks for a nice lens.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Sweet lens and wonderful photos! I've been to a few beaches in Florida, but live on the other coast! Enjoyed reading about yours!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 

      4 years ago

      I used to live in Clearwater but I don't think I ever made it to Bradenton Beach. That was a big mistake. Nice lens. If you want to add more beaches, consider Honeymoon Island. You have to pay to get in...I think, at least in season, but it is great for kids. Very calm...almost no waves, kind of a cross between an ocean front beach and a lake.

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