6 Great Beach HikesFebruary 2022
By Sandra Friend, Visit Florida
These beach hikes offer an up-close look at natural Florida, with some prime places where you can enjoy a sunrise or sunset before the full heat of summer arrives.
Hiking Trail, Little Talbot Island
Check in at the ranger station of Little Talbot Island State Park for this 3.8-mile loop, which starts in a shady maritime forest of windswept red bay trees and gnarled oaks. As the roar of the waves draws closer, the trail skirts spectacular dunes that shimmer in the sun and emerges at a bench overlooking the sea. For the next hour, it’s just you and the beach, starfish-studded and remote. 12157 Heckscher Drive
Silver Palm Trail, Bahia Honda Key
Well-known for its botanical bounty and stunning beaches, Bahia Honda State Park is also home to one of the largest native stands of silver palms in the United States. Learn a little botany on this interpretive .6-mile loop past the diminutive palms, the tallest of which is 29 feet. US 1 MM 37 Oceanside
University of West Florida Dunes Preserve, Pensacola Beach
For 3.7 miles, the Florida Trail — the only National Scenic Trail to reach a beach — winds through mounds of sand, sparkling white as sugar, in this unique 150-acre preserve. Enjoy quiet contemplation amid dune grasses, coastal marshes, and wind-sculpted pines that meet between the calm waters of Santa Rosa Sound and the emerald hues of the Gulf of Mexico. CR 399 (3000 block of Via De Luna Drive)
Anastasia Island, St. Augustine Beach
Leave the crowd at Anastasia State Park and walk to the north end of the island. At low tide, the hardpacked sands offer an easy strolling surface where flocks of pelicans and seagulls gather. As the shoreline curves to meet Matanzas Inlet, stones and a well-worn track guide you to the end of the road for your reward: a panorama of downtown St. Augustine. 1340-A A1A South
Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter Island
Hike 1/3-mile through a shady tunnel of sea grapes to discover Anastasia Limestone rock formations along a slice of beachfront preserved by The Nature Conservancy. When the surf pulls back across soft, cinder-like sand to reveal the well-worn rock formations, explore the wave-sculpted benches and tidal pools — an ever-changing landscape carved by waves and wind. 574 South Beach Road.
Caspersen Beach Park, Venice
At the southern tip of Venice, Caspersen Beach Park beckons with more than a mile of wild shoreline featuring views of mangrove islands and the gulf. Walk up to 3.8 miles round-trip along the hardpacked tidal line as pelicans play in the surf. Or join the stoop-and-scoop crowd in search of mega-sized sharks’ teeth from the prehistoric megalodon. 4100 Harbor Drive South