For Americans, Florida is a popular state to escape to when planning a domestic vacation. With its warm weather and sexy beaches, it’s an ideal holiday hotspot. With overtourism sometimes being an issue that contributes to a decline in local environments, it’s always worth it to consider visiting less popular tourist spots. Many people travel to well-known cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, but for a quieter tropical getaway, here are five of Florida’s best secret islands.
1.) MARCO ISLAND
Sitting on the rim of the Everglades is an island featuring a contrasting mix of luxury and wild ruggedness. For adventure-seekers, take a walk on the wild side and spot some alligators, manatees, dolphins, sea otters, and many other fascinating creatures.
2.) JUPITER ISLAND
Don’t let Tiger Woods’ $40 million beachfront home or Celine Dion’s $72 million mansion fool you. Although much of Jupiter Island has been overtaken by the rich and famous, there is still plenty of land left for the rest of us to enjoy. Walk, hike, or bike along miles of white, sandy beaches, kayak down the Loxahatchee River, or climb the Jupiter Lighthouse for a stunning view. This beach is great for anyone who wants a laidback, happy atmosphere.
3.) LITTLE PALM ISLAND
For the lovebirds out there, visiting Little Palm Island, Florida’s most secluded and romantic retreat, should be at the top of your list. On the boat trip over to the island, the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa staff helps clear your mind of all distractions by offering you their complimentary signature cocktail, the Gumby Slumber. After arriving, you’ll feel like you were transported to an exotic destination as you take in its tropical bungalows shaded by soaring palm trees and turquoise waters.
4.) BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK
Truly a hidden gem, the Bahia Honda State Park offers a quiet getaway in a tropical paradise. Here, you’ll be surrounded by rustic wilderness, as you enjoy its exotic beaches, bike trails, and fun ocean activities including kayaking, tarpon fishing, and snorkeling. Accommodations are mostly limited to cabins, campgrounds, and boat slips available for overnight rental. For more options, book your stay on the nearby Marathon Island. Click here for information on entry fees to the state park.
5.) FORT MYERS
Probably one of the more recognized of Florida’s tropical island getaways is Fort Myers. Many travelers go here for the golf courses and pristine beaches lining the Gulf Coast. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoors lover, or looking for family-friendly fun, this island has something for everyone. Take in some history at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, visit the island’s slow-moving rivers and inland waters for some canoe and kayak adventures, or take the kids to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, the most popular nature preserve to visit.