Underrated and Often Forgotten Great Beaches of Florida

Florida has one thousand miles of coastline and miles of terrific beaches, but some beaches are actually underrated and almost forgotten by a majority of tourists and even Floridians.  Why is that?

Sometimes, there are few large resorts advertising the benefits of the beach village and small family motels don’t promote except in local media.  Other great beaches are hemmed in by larger, more commercial communities.

Here are some places to consider:

VERO BEACH may have changed some with the loss of the Dodger Baseball Spring Training City and now a less-promoted smaller McKee Botanical Garden attraction, but it still has a wonderful beach, quality restaurants, and the McLarty Treasure Museum.

floridatraveler VERO BEACH

The funky Driftwood Inn is still on the beach with some nice restaurants within walking distance.  To the south is a Holiday Inn and Suites and a Prestige Hotel, just south of South Beach Park.   Not far north at Wabasso Beach is Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

floridatraveler FUNKY DRIFTWOOD Vero-Beach-61922

The Historic But Strange Driftwood Inn, Vero Beach

Another often neglected Atlantic beach town is DEERFIELD BEACH, hemmed in by the fancy resorts of Boca Raton and the huge hotels and condos of Pompano Beach.  The beach is very pristine and even in the heart of the winter tourist season not packed since the beachfront is mostly small motels and residences.

Architectural Photography

Royal Blues Hotel in Deerfield Beach

The great 976-foot International Fishing Pier is the beach focus and right next door is five star Wyndham Deerfield Beach and a half-dozen eating places.  A few blocks south is the deluxe Royal Blues Hotel Relais and Chateau.

Fort Myers Beach has been a popular resort spot for years, but first timers usually stay near Times Square, the very active restaurant center on the northern tip by the main bridge.  At the southern tip is the LOVERS KEY area.

floridatraveler lovers-key-resort FORT MYERS BEACH

Lovers Key Resort – Park Across Street

The Lovers Key Resort looks out onto the ocean and the bay where the Calusa Indian Mound Key is visible.  Across the street is Lovers Key State Park, where a tram takes you around the mangroves and lakes before the beautiful beach.  It is a truly natural setting where pirates once roamed.

If you want a strange mix of rustic casual, small crowds but access to luxury and fancy than the ENGLEWOOD BEACHGASPARILLA ISLAND area is your bag.  On the Charlotte County side of Manasota Key are small motels and resorts.  My favorite is the Weston’s WantaB Inn located at the entrance of semi-deserted one mile Stump Pass Beach State Park.floridatraveler ENGLEWOOD -stump-pass

Englwood Beach to north and Palm Island Resort to south

East of Jacksonville is ATLANTIC BEACH, often unnoticed by visitors for it hasn’t the bustle and amusements of nearby Jacksonville Beach.  Atlantic Beach has small deluxe resorts like the One Ocean Resort and Spa and the delightful Sea Horse Inn.

floridatraveler atlantic-beach

Uncrowded Atlantic Beach

A big asset to this beach is nearby Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park.  Atlantic Beach was voted by the Travel Chanel one of Florida’s best secret beaches.

While most visitors to Saint Augustine visit St Augustine Beach with its famous  lighthouse and “oldest” alligator farm, few don’t realize that on the northside of St. Augustine Inlet is peaceful VILANO BEACH with the same neat beach.

floridatraveler Vilano Beach and Pier _6_640x427

Vilano Beach bayside Pier, Beach, St Augustine Beach on right

At the southern tip are several moderate hotels including the beachfront Hampton Inn and Suites.  Don’t expect lots of nightlife, but Saint Augustine is just over the bridge and five minutes away.

 

 

 

 

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
This entry was posted in adventure vacation, attractions, conservation, environment, florida history, Florida parks, florida vacations, Historic Hotels & Inns, keys, mcbobleonard, museums, Recreational Experiences, small towns, travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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