Deserted Beaches, Where and When

Many people dream of having a beach all to themselves. Because we have a boat, we often get to be on deserted beaches. But you can find deserted, and semi-deserted beaches in Florida, at certain times. It also helps if you have a boat with a low draft.

These photos are just a few from the past six years of travels.

Near Ponce Inlet, by Boat

It can be tricky boating around here. Storms can make changes to the boating lanes by shifting the sand around.

L-R below are all photos from travels north to the Ponce Inlet area. That pretty little river with the blue-green water is no longer there. The beach area is part of Disappearing Island, which is a popular place for boaters to hang out at low tide. On this particular day, the place was not deserted, but close enough. A boater further down the channel needed help pushing his boat off the sand.

The last time we went up that way, to the Inlet, the sand had shifted, and everything looked different.

Go during the week because this place is packed on weekends, and especially when the weather is hot.

Ponce Inlet and Park Beaches by Car

Drive over the North Causeway in New Smyrna and take a left on Peninsula Ave.. At the end of the road is Smyrna Dunes Park. All photos below come from that area. It is the end of the peninsula that is one side of Ponce Inlet and the park wraps around from the beach side to the river side. It is also a dog park, so be ready for dogs. They are not supposed to run free, but people do it.

Parking at the park can be tough at busy times. And it costs money. However, if you go early in the day, or late in the day, you may be practically alone here. And when the tide is out, the beach is huge and wide.

Drive onto the beach and walk around the jetty and it will bring you to the same place.

Most Visited By Us

When we go boating, we usually visit the places below. Three Sisters is a group of islands at low tide. At high tide it is all shallow water. We take the boat in behind the big island and anchor. Then we explore, swim and / or fish.

This is where I’ve seen some wonderful wildlife like a living sand dollar, tiny sea star, and big red hermit crab. There were lots of stingrays in the water one time that made walking a bit creepy. We have to hit the area at low tide or it’s not as much fun. And sometimes low tide is too high to create dry ground. You never know.

The first photo below is the channel pass that leads from the main channel to the backwater area. We mostly stay out of the main channel as there are lots of “no wake” zones which makes travel slow. Also, the backwater islands are where we see the good stuff.

The big photo below is where we stop quite often. It’s a good place to swim and cool off. Shelling is not so great, but I’ve found some interesting things on this beach, like olive shells (a rare find here), a pretty knobbed whelk, and there are always hermit crabs.

Ocean Beach

The ocean beach is never truly deserted. With condos and houses all along the coast, someone is always out on the beach. During the day it is a drive-on beach. I visited after a storm that blew in jellyfish and made the sand bumpy and full of ruts. I pretty much had the beach to myself.

When a storm is rolling in, the beach empties pretty quickly too. But of course no one should be on the beach during a thunderstorm.

The Inlet beaches are usually a lot less crowded than the drive-on beach.

Both Sides

The condos visible in both photos below (they are just above the white truck in the storm photo) are the same group of condos. The storm photo was taken from the ocean beach. The other photo is from an island beach across the river that runs behind the condos.

Boating Around The River Islands in May

This week my son and I went boating around the river islands. May is a very good time to go boating in Florida. The water temp has warmed to 80 (or close) and the afternoon thunderstorms are not yet a thing.

I try to get a lot of text into most of my posts, but after being out on the boat for two days, I have so many photos to share. All those photos convert to specific posts about my beach-combing finds, but getting the pictures sized and ready also takes time.

Because I end up with many photos of the landscape, like the ones below, I’m sharing a big block of scenes from the Indian River backwater area. Soon I’ll write more in depth about these boating trips because there is a lot to report. For one thing I found more tulip shells in one place than ever before.

Discovered a New Island to Explore

The water temp was between 75 and 80 depending on where we went. The first day out we stayed in Edgewater and Oak Hill and found a new, low tide “new island” to explore. I found some really awesome marine life here, which I will be writing about!

Then we headed over to Three Sisters where I found more to photograph. That tiny sea star was a fun discovery!

After a while my photos all begin to look the same… mud, water, and mangroves! But each area holds wildlife that is interesting and beautiful. I never know what I’ll find out there.

Day Two and Boating North to Ponce Inlet

On our second boating day we headed north to Ponce Inlet to explore the sandy islands left exposed at low tide. It just happened to be a day when a rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral and we could watch.

Unlike our first day of boating, there were more boats and people. Also, there were fewer seashells and lots less marine life. But the water was a beautiful blue and the islands were hard packed sand instead of mud.

Found a Big Horse Conch to Take Home

horse conch big seashell
Horse Conch

Yesterday, while walking the low tide sands around Three Sisters Islands, I came across a big seashell that was empty! I saw a lot of nice crown conchs, small pear whelks, and a nice big sharks eye shell, but all were occupied by hermit crabs. Until I saw the horse conch, all I had collected were bivalves, which were filled with sand, and not living creatures.

I found a giant Atlantic cockle which is joined, so I have two perfect, connected halves, and a pretty flat white shell which I believe is a dosinia.

Dosinia shell

We piled into the Gheenoe – three of us – which was a tight fit, and headed out in the heat to do some fishing and island hopping. Being the middle of the week, we had the river pretty much to ourselves. Since the tide was just beginning to come in, there was plenty of exposed sand to explore.

The only types of shells that are abundant are the clumps of oysters which are the bane of boaters. So finding some collectable shells means searching. It was a 95 degree day (actually cooler than what we’ve been having), and even the water was hot – yes, like a hot tub – but I shuffled around the edges of the island in search of something good that was close enough to see and reach. Continue reading “Found a Big Horse Conch to Take Home”

%d bloggers like this: