We've rounded up a handful of lesser-known islands like Matlacha and Cayo Costa off of Florida's Gulf Coast that offer breathing room, intimate accomodations, and easy access to water for a relaxing, unique vacation. Following is all the information you need to visit one of these five undiscovered paradises.
Located just west of Ft. Meyers, the tiny town of Matlacha is the perfect island getaway for a quiet and relaxing vacation. With local art galleries, infamous food, and prime fishing, you'll wish you discovered this paradise sooner. A little down the road, Pine Island offers a peaceful stay, with waterside accommodations in historic hotels, outstanding seafood, and fun beach activites like cruisers and kayaks.
Florida's Cabbage Key is the perfect island for nature lovers--featuring multiple trails studded with mangroves, gumbo limbo, and other exotic plants. Take a trip to nearby Cayo Costa State Park for ideal kayaking and fishing. Quaint hotels like the Cabbage Key Inn and delicious, fresh seafood add to the overall package of this hidden paradise.
Take a trip to the pristine town of Boca Grande--the Palm Beach of Gasparilla Island. This easy-going, but upscale island boasts stylish shops and boutiques, as well as to-die-for seafood restaurants. In the off-season, beachgoers can have the water to themselves, going the whole day without seeing anyone.
Enjoy the lively island of Pass-A-Grille, just off of St. Petersburg. This hidden paradise is only a block wide, but features quirky art galleries and shops, delicious drinks and dining, and a number of historic, quaint hotels. If you're up for it, you can even experience a kayoga class--a mixture of kayaking and yoga.
A little bit north of Tampa, the sleepy island of Cedar Key is sure to make for a calm, enjoyable vacation. Free of stoplights and franchises, this paradise allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature, and features a National Wildlife Refuge, which guests can enjoy by kayak. On a delicious note, Cedar Key is known for its multiple versions of fresh and local clam chowders.