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8 Places In Florida That Feel Like The Caribbean

Florida, often referred to as the Sunshine State, is famous for its beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, and unique natural landscapes. While it’s well-known for destinations like Miami and Orlando, Florida also boasts several spots that give off a distinctly Caribbean vibe. These locations offer stunning turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and lush tropical settings, making you feel like you’ve been transported to a Caribbean island without leaving the mainland. Here are eight places in Florida that will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean.

1. Key West

Key West, the southernmost point in the United States, is renowned for its laid-back atmosphere, clear waters, and vibrant culture, reminiscent of the Caribbean. This island city is part of the Florida Keys archipelago and is famous for its stunning sunsets, lively nightlife, and rich history. The colorful conch-style houses and the presence of numerous outdoor cafes and bars contribute to its tropical charm. Activities like snorkeling, diving, and exploring coral reefs in the nearby Dry Tortugas National Park provide an authentic Caribbean experience. The local cuisine, heavily influenced by Cuban and Bahamian flavors, further enhances the island’s exotic appeal.

2. Sanibel Island

Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Sanibel Island is known for its shell-strewn beaches and tranquil, natural beauty. The island’s clear, turquoise waters and pristine white sand beaches are strikingly similar to those found in the Caribbean. Sanibel’s relaxed pace, combined with its protected wildlife areas, makes it a perfect escape for nature lovers. Visitors can explore the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, home to diverse bird species, manatees, and alligators. The island’s commitment to conservation and its lack of high-rise buildings maintain its untouched, tropical feel, providing a serene getaway that feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of mainland Florida.

3. Islamorada

Often referred to as the “Village of Islands,” Islamorada is a collection of six islands in the Florida Keys that exude Caribbean charm. Known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, Islamorada offers a plethora of water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and boating. The island’s azure waters, coral reefs, and abundant marine life make it a paradise for underwater enthusiasts. The laid-back atmosphere, coupled with local tiki bars and seafood restaurants, provides a quintessential Caribbean experience. The area’s numerous luxury resorts and private beaches offer a slice of tropical paradise, perfect for those looking to unwind in a picturesque setting.

4. Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island, situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is a seven-mile strip of paradise that closely resembles a Caribbean island. With its powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and charming, laid-back atmosphere, it’s easy to see why this island is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The island’s quaint streets are lined with colorful cottages, boutique shops, and seafood restaurants serving fresh catches of the day. The absence of high-rise buildings and chain stores contributes to its untouched, old-Florida charm. Activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and dolphin watching tours make Anna Maria Island an idyllic tropical escape.

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5. Dry Tortugas National Park

Located about 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is a hidden gem that feels like a remote Caribbean island. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this national park is made up of seven small islands and is home to Fort Jefferson, a historic 19th-century fort. The park’s crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life make it a haven for snorkelers and divers. The secluded, untouched nature of the islands, combined with their stunning natural beauty, offers a tranquil and unique experience reminiscent of the Caribbean. Camping on the islands provides an opportunity to fully immerse oneself in this tropical paradise.

6. Captiva Island

Adjacent to Sanibel Island, Captiva Island offers a similarly Caribbean-like experience with its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. Captiva is known for its more upscale, secluded atmosphere compared to its neighbor Sanibel. The island’s luxurious resorts, private beaches, and exclusive vacation rentals provide a high-end tropical escape. Activities such as sailing, kayaking through mangroves, and exploring shell-laden shores make Captiva a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The island’s vibrant sunsets and starry nights add to its romantic, exotic allure, making it a perfect destination for couples and those seeking a serene getaway.

7. Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park, located in the lower Florida Keys, is renowned for its stunning beaches and clear, blue waters that rival those of the Caribbean. The park’s sandy shores, particularly the beach at Sandspur, are often considered some of the best in Florida. The shallow, warm waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. The park also offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and observing native wildlife. The iconic Old Bahia Honda Bridge provides a picturesque backdrop to this tropical setting. Camping facilities within the park allow visitors to stay overnight and experience the serene, natural beauty of this Caribbean-like destination.

8. Little Torch Key

Little Torch Key, part of the lower Florida Keys, is home to the exclusive Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, which offers a truly Caribbean-like experience. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this private island resort provides an ultra-luxurious, secluded retreat. The resort’s thatched-roof bungalows, swaying palm trees, and pristine beaches create a tropical paradise that feels far removed from everyday life. Guests can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, diving, and fishing in the surrounding crystal-clear waters. The island’s emphasis on privacy and relaxation makes it an ideal destination for honeymooners and those seeking an indulgent, tropical escape.


Florida’s diverse landscapes and coastal regions offer numerous opportunities to experience a taste of the Caribbean without leaving the mainland. From the vibrant, culturally rich Key West to the tranquil, nature-filled Sanibel and Captiva Islands, each of these eight destinations provides its own unique blend of tropical beauty and laid-back charm. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, these Caribbean-like spots in Florida are sure to deliver an unforgettable escape. So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to explore the Sunshine State’s hidden tropical paradises.

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