An island with sandy beaches, palm trees and cool drinks is nearly everyone\’s idea of an ideal vacation. When most travelers hear \"Florida islands,\" they immediately imagine the crowded Florida Keys, the likely destination for most visitors seeking an island getaway in the balmy Sunshine State. There are lots of stunning gems you might want to consider, and in the process, you’re likely to avoid the crowds.
The Florida Keys, comprised of 882 islands, offer an array of activities for couples and honeymooners: scuba diving, sunbathing, swimming, art galleries, fine dining and entertainment. From coastal isles that are off the beaten track to bustling destinations closer to Cuba than Miami, these are some of the top islands worth visiting while in Florida. Surprisingly, all are accessible via one or more bridges, an unusual but fantastic advantage for those coming by car.
1. Fisher Island
Fisher Island Hotel and Resort is a private island in Florida. The hotel is accessible only by auto-ferry, boat or helicopter. The hotel is a perfect hideaway for couples and honeymooners looking to relax on the beach while staying in an elegant hotel. The hotel is located 10 miles from Miami International Airport and a short ferry ride from the famous South Beach. You will have access to a sandy beach, marina, golf, tennis and a spa.
2. Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island, a wildlife refuged-dominated barrier island west of Fort Myers, is also a shelling mecca. It’s home to a wealth of pristine white sandy beaches that are covered with shells, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can visit the country’s one and only shell museum right here. The unique Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum displays everything from shells found from across the globe to intricate works of art. There are marine-focused arts and crafts, over 30 permanent exhibits, fun family-friendly activities and daily tank talks.
Islamorada, a village of six islands just 90 minutes south of Miami, is a paradise your family will love to explore by land and by sea. Islamorada is known as the \"Sportfishing Capital of the World,\" and hosts the largest fishing fleet per square mile in the world. This laid-back retreat is a great place to come to for rest and relaxation, family fun, or a romantic getaway. The Islamorada area is packed with water sport rentals, Eco-adventure tours, and some beautiful hiking trails. It’s considered the Sport-Fishing Capital of the World so boating and fishing tours are abundant and available year-round.
4. Marco Island
Located a short ride from the Florida Everglades and close to Naples, Marco Island is the largest and only developed land in Florida\’s Ten Thousand Islands. This Gulf Coast retreat offers luxury resorts, beautiful beaches and unspoiled parks. The tropical climate of Marco Island is a considerable attraction to the area, with the water being the next major attraction. Collier Seminole State Park, just a few miles from Marco Island, has primitive camping, canoeing, fishing, boating, picnic grounds, and a mile-long nature walk. Narrated boat tours of the park run on a daily basis.
5. Anna Maria Island
A seven-mile strip of beautiful white-sand beaches line the barrier island of Anna Maria Island between the turquoise Gulf of Mexico and peninsular Florida. Also found in Anna Maria Island, at the southern mouth of Tampa Bay, are the cities of Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria and Holmes Beach. There are no high-rise condos or greasy golden arches. Gulf Drive cuts down the center, and canals branch off from the interior, creating a plethora of water-accessed homes. Instead of a car, it’s more likely you’ll use your bike, kayak, or flip-flops.
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