The beaches of Florida are talked about a lot. They attract tourists year round, but those are ocean beaches. Waves and sand and even drive-on beaches make Florida a unique beach vacation destination.
My favorite beaches are not on the ocean. They are far from the crowds and tourists and often have no people present. We find these beaches while boating along the Intracoastal Waterway and the backwaters of the Indian River.
A recent trip to Mosquito Lagoon took us to an out of the way beach which turned out to be a bit scary. I didn’t really think about it at the time, but later I realized the chances I had taken by strolling through water that could have had alligators!
Photo Below: Disappearing Island is a place well known to boaters. It’s a big wide sand bar that disappears at high tide, but is usually full of people at low tide when the island is visible. Boaters can pull up at the Inlet side, or go around to the shallower back side of the island (where I took my photo). Only boats with a shallow draft, or kayakers, can easily navigate the little canal that runs along the back. And we all have to watch the tide, as it’s easy to get stranded! I think that every time I’ve been, at least one boat had people pushing on it to get it off the sand where the tide had left it high and dry.
The water around Disappearing Island is fairly clear as is it located at the inlet that goes out to sea. There will also be waves on the front side of the island. However, I have not found many shells here.
Like the beautiful Disappearing Island, some beaches in the backwater are underwater when the tide is in. But backwater beaches can be mucky and suck you in like quicksand. Others are encrusted with oysters, and boaters have to be careful of that. Oyster shells can tear up a boat hull, and your bare feet! It’s one reason I always wear water shoes.
These backwater areas are wonderful for view nature. We always see interesting birds, and have found live horse conchs on shallow sandy areas like this. Other shells that are regularly seen are the Shark’s Eye and Crown Conch.
I found a lot of pear whelks in this area, and watched hermit crabs scurry along in the shallow water.
The beach below is also on an island near Ponce Inlet. It is across from Disappearing Island. I found some unique little seashells here and saw a lot of shore birds.
An island we always pass backs up to the main waterway. Sometimes boats are docked here, but if they aren’t, we stop. I love to walk along the entire beach and have found some awesome shells here. Some I kept, but most had to go back due to the fact that they were homes to hermit crabs.
Below is a little beach where we stop sometimes to take a swim. The water is deep in that cut through, but boats can fly past, so it’s best to keep an eye out. Also the current is strong in the pass.
Summer months in Florida bring afternoon thunderstorms. The heat of the day causes clouds to form over land and those clouds will build and build. They can suddenly turn dark and pour rain, but the dangerous thing is the lightning. Boaters have to be vigilant so we won’t get stranded out on the water in a bad storm. Even a storm far off in the distance can be dangerous. It doesn’t have to be raining either!
I do love the ocean beaches, such as New Smyrna Beach, but island beaches also have a lot to offer. Locals with a boat have the ability to enjoy the real, wild Florida. Except for the high rise condos in the distance, it would be easy to believe I was truly in the wilderness.