Florida Best Beaches Guide to Eco-Tourism Beaches

Unspoiled (and often unknown) beauty

While natural wonders like the Everglades, clear waters, white sand and mangroves made Florida famous, some of the Sunshine State's native treasures remain well-kept secrets. State parks harbor unspoiled beaches and indigenous habitats that attract a wide range of wildlife. Shorebirds, sea turtles and eagles seek refuge in these undeveloped areas, making them ideal for eco-tourists, birders and anyone wishing to reconnect with nature.

The following top eco-tourism beaches provide a tropical paradise of palms, exotic flowers, abundant wildlife, plants, pristine beaches and crystal clear waters:

  1. Bill Baggs Cape Florida NationalPark: Voted one of the top 10 beaches in the U.S., this park has guided tours and nature trails that meander through mangrove wetlands.
  2. St. Joseph Peninsula National Park: Birdwatchers and kayakers love this isolated park's 10 miles of shoreline. Almost 75 miles from the nearest urban center, the sand dunes and pine forests are never overrun by holiday crowds.
  3. Fort DeSoto Park: Five keys combine to provide this park with 900 untouched acres of land. With nature trails, turtle walks, canoeing and kayaking, you can connect to nature on your own power.
  4. Caladesi Island State Park: This isolated island can be reached only by ferry. A haven for shorebirds and sea turtles, six islands combine to provide 2000 undeveloped acres for you to explore.
  5. Honeymoon Island State Park: Once touted as a wedding destination, today this park romances mangrove swamps, salt marshes, sand dunes and more than 200 species of rare plants. Ospreys and other endangered shorebirds make Honeymoon Island their home.
  6. Amelia Island: Nature lovers won't want to leave this island, bursting with wildlife both onshore and off. From tiny birds to bigger-than-a-boat whales, this is a naturalist's dream.
  7. Sebastian Inlet State Park: Wildlife is the main draw Here - bottlenose dolphins, manatees and more than 180 species of birds will keep your camera clicking. In January and February, rare right baleen whales travels close to shore.
  8. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park: Ranger-guided walks and a freshwater lagoon set this park apart. Canoeists can paddle close to local wildlife, such as hawks, ducks, herons and turtles.
  9. Perdido Key: White sand beaches, bays, estuaries and wetlands shelter an abundance of native wildlife and sea life. Miles of protected, unspoiled shoreline and dunes make this one of the top swimming spots in the nation.
  10. St. George Island State Park: This barrier island park offers almost 10 miles of natural beaches and dunes - surrounded by the stunning Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay. Don't be surprised if you don't encounter anyone while you're there. Almost half of the beach is accessible only by foot.
  11. St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge: Reached only by boat, this waterfowl sanctuary shelters endangered bald eagles, red wolves, sea turtles and more than 260 species of birds.
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