The next time you're planning a romantic getaway, consider sneaking away to one of these secret Florida islands. Sprawling coastlines, charming beach towns, untouched beaches, and a tropical setting will make it a vacation you won't soon forget.

Whether you want to stay at a cozy Airbnb with an ocean view or a quaint beach resort, the following islands are perfect for a little weekend of romance in the sunshine state.

Updated January 2024 by Meghan Roth.

Secret Florida Islands

Casey Key

This lovely Sarasota-area gem is truly one of Florida's best-kept secrets. Home to the town of Nokomis, Casey Key boasts a beautiful, shell-spotted seashore with nary a high rise in sight. Casey Key is definitely one of the most romantic getaways in Florida.

Weekends see crowds swell at the public beach area but the beach quiets immensely as you travel a few hundred yards toward a handful of small, one-level hotels and inns dotting the beachfront.

Plan to spend your days soaking up the rays, watching dolphins frolic in the surf, floating in the warm Gulf waters, and relishing spectacular Gulf sunsets.

Location: 30 minutes south of Sarasota; about two hours from Orlando
Stay: The Beachcomber or Gulfside Beach Club (shown below)
Dine: Old Florida spots abound, Casey Key Fish House is classic and Pop's Sunset Grill is a must
Do: A visit to Historic Spanish Point and Selby Gardens make for beautiful moments

casey key


A lively little neighborhood at the southern end of St. Pete Beach, Pass-A-Grille houses a handful of art galleries, shops, restaurants and bars, plus a few charming hotels and inns. This small, beachfront town is the perfect place to park your car for a few days to lounge and enjoy the salt life.

Location: Approximately two hours from Orlando
Stay: Inn on the Beach, Coconut Inn as well as VRBO options like the one shown below.
Dine: Paradise Grille (right on the beach!) and The Seahorse (for breakfast)
Do: Kayak tours, deep sea fishing and sunset cocktails

vrbo pass de grill

Cedar Key

Cedar Key is a quiet island community nestled among many tiny keys on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Long admired for its natural beauty and abundant supply of seafood, it is a tranquil village, rich with the almost forgotten history of old Florida.

Location: Located along the Gulf of Mexico just west of Gainesville, 3 hours from Orlando.
Stay: Snuggle into a variety of romantic Cedar Key hotels, inns, and vacation homes.
Dine: All of the delightful Cedar Key restaurants are locally owned, and Cedar Key is considered to be the South's Capital of Clams.
Do: Kayak, fish, book a boat tour (Cedar Key Boat Rentals & Island Tours or Tidewater Tours), rent a golf cart, Cedar Key Museum

We've got a complete guide to A Romantic Weekend Getaway in Cedar Key

Cedar Key Florida - Corner of G Street and 2nd Street with gulf water, rocks, palm trees, and a tropical home
Cedar Key Florida – Corner of G Street and 2nd Street | Dani Meyering

St. George Island

Drive across a four-mile bridge and you'll arrive at the secluded resort town of St. George Island. Not the place for high-rise hotels or strip malls, this beach-centric destination is for people who just want to chill. The unfussy setting features nine miles of pristine, undeveloped shoreline. The 28-mile island consistently rates as one of the top beaches in the U.S. for its aqua waters and white sand beach.

Location: 1 1/2 hours from Tallahassee; five hours north of Orlando
Stay: Home rentals range from two-bedroom cottages to huge, six-bedroom homes with swimming pools. Explore St. George Island Places to Stay.
Dine: There are a dozen or more options; check out this TripAdvisor list for the best bets
Do: Climb to the top of the St. George Lighthouse (92 steps up) for 360-degree views, bicycle to St. George Island State Park, go on nature walks and kayak trips, stargaze (the pitch-black sky is perfect!)

St. George Island

Palm Island

A three-minute ferryboat ride across the Intracoastal Waterway drops you and your car on Palm Island. This ideal seven-mile-long isle is nestled in the Charlotte Harbor area of Southwest Florida.

Location: Just under three hours southwest from Orlando
Stay: Palm Island Resort is the island's only hotel but it offers one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, as well as cottages and private homes to rent
Dine: Rum Bay Restaurant on the island and Leverock’s Restaurant on the mainland, plus the hotel can make you a picnic lunch to-go
Do: Rent a bike, search for sea shells, go on a fishing excursion

Palm island overview

Little Palm Island

Arguably Florida's most luxury resort, Little Palm Island is truly paradise. Guests travel by boat departing from Little Torch Key (near Key West) before arriving on the tiny island. This paradise is dotted with thirty private thatched-roof bungalows, a spa and an all-inclusive restaurant. The seclusion almost makes it feel like it's your own private beach.

Location: About six hours south of Orlando toward the Florida Keys
Stay: Their bungalows offer private balconies, vibrant ocean views, and an array of luxury amenities
Dine: Enjoy a fine dining experience by their world renowned chefs or choose in-room dining for a more private experience
Do: Relax by the peach or indulge in couples massages

little palm island 2

Cayo Costa State Park

Effective Oct. 25, 2023: The beach facing the Gulf of Mexico at Cayo Costa State Park is open daily, 8 a.m. to sunset for those with private vessels. Ferry services, docks, electricity, drinking water and overnight accommodations are not available.

Accessible only by boat and served by a public ferry from nearby Pine Island, Cayo Costa is a 2,426 acre state park that's ideal for a day trip or overnight, depending how rustic you can stand your accommodations. Ideal for natural lovers and those who crave outdoor adventures. This nine-mile-long island is dotted with pine forests, mangroves, wildlife refuges, and a seemingly endless expanse of untouched beaches.

Location: Located along the Gulf of Mexico just west of Fort Myers, Cayo Costa one of the largest barrier islands in Florida.
Stay: For overnight stays, the park offers primitive cabins and tent camping. These can be reserved through Reserve America up to 11 months in advance. Each cabin sleeps up to six people and is furnished with three bunk beds and a table. Though the cabins have no electricity or water, outdoor grills are provided for cooking. Restrooms, cold water showers and potable water are located in the park.
Dine: You'll need to pack your own provisions; there is no restaurant on the island
Do: Swimming, shelling and fishing


Other Secret Florida Islands

  • Hontoon Island State Park – this island is a state park and free to explore, 1 hour from Orlando
  • Egmont Key State Park – a natural paradise, perfect for a day trip, 1.5 hours from Orlando
  • Anna Maria Island – this Florida island is not so secret, and for good reason, 1.5 hours from Orlando
  • Lido Key – a small Florida island near Sarasota, 3 hours from Orlando
  • Amelia Island – stretches along the east coast from Florida to South Carolina

Feature Image – Little Palm Island