Some ‘Karen’ once said, “Secrets, secrets, are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone.”

Who are we kidding, travelers love discovering the best secrets and it’s seems like a no harm, no foul situation.

Sure, locals might be peeved about tourists trickling in, but secrets don’t last forever. Never have, never will.

When it comes to Florida, vacationers invade the state’s coastline all the way from Destin to Key West and tend to have a favorite beach for a sunny getaway.

The Sunshine State is one of the most sought-after destinations for sun and sand, but there are still hidden gems to avoid the crowds.

One unknown beach town with picture-perfect white sand is Florida’s best-kept secret. So secret in fact, as if it’s buried in the backrooms of Fort Knox, locals practically begged me not write about it…


Welcome To Nokomis

Aerial view of Nokomis, Florida

Another hour south of Tampa lies Florida’s best-kept secret beach destination.

Unassuming at first sight with scattered chain restaurants and mobile home parks, the real gem is the beach itself.

However, locals couldn’t be friendlier and more welcoming as this laid-back coastal town is full of good times, until they find out you’re a travel writer.

Florida draws quite a crowd and there is definitely a mix here of retired men in oversized shorts and palm tree attire and a younger crowd enjoying the lively bar scene with live music and all the fresh seafood fixins you could imagine.

Blue waters and white sand of Nokomis Beach

Beach vibes galore not only on the beach, but the plentiful tiki hut-style bars and waterfront restaurants where it seems like Jimmy Buffett will walk around the corner at any moment.

Local’s Favorite Alternative To Siesta Key

If there’s one place that is definitely not a secret, it’s Siesta Key.

Consistently ranked as one of America’s top beaches and well-deserved, there is a huge parking lot for a reason.

This powdery white sand beach is about as Caribbean-esque as it gets in the U.S., but depending on when you go, it can be a challenge to enjoy when you don’t have any elbow room.

Soft white sand of Nokomis Beach

Just 15 minutes away, Nokomis Beach is the next best thing.

In fact, you can see Siesta Key from here and wave to the crowd as you enjoy a lot more space while still vacationing in gorgeous white sand.

Given it’s a well-kept secret, the parking options are much smaller. If you go on a weekday, chances are you can score a front row space with easy access to this hidden paradise.

Make sure you don’t skip the lively drum circles every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Not The Only Hidden Gem Around Here

Nokomis Beach is undoubtedly the top attraction in town, but one fun activity is to rent a pontoon boat from Cool Breeze and then come back for dinner at the always-busy Pop’s Sunset Grill next door.

Piled of seashells in Stump Pass

You can spend hours on the scenic waterways running past more popular beach towns, such as Venice.

But there are other hidden gems tucked away that only locals know about. One of them being Stump Pass, a place for boaters to congregate, kick back and drink some cold ones and enjoy crystal clear water perfect for snorkeling and swimming.

It’s so untouched you have probably never seen more seashells and sand dollars in perfect condition except inside a typical beach town gift shop.

Just watch out for crabs!

4 Airports To Choose From

Airport sign in Fort Myers

Nokomis is just as easy to reach as Siesta Key. Flying into Tampa has the most flight options, but there are a couple of other airports even closer with budget airlines potentially saving you more on airfare.

These 4 airports are all within just over an hour of Nokomis:

  • Fort Myers (RSW) – 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Tampa (TPA) – 1 hour
  • Punta Gorda – 37 minutes
  • Sarasota (SRQ) – 30 minutes

These budget airlines fly into the region:

  • Allegiant
  • Avelo
  • Breeze
  • Frontier
  • Spirit
  • Sun Country
Aerial view of waves crashing on Nokomis Beach

Nokomis is not the type of beach getaway for 5-star beach resorts; it’s more of a laid-back vibe to escape the crowds.

There are brand-name hotels in town, but if beachfront hotels are what you’re seeking, it’s probably best to rest your head in Siesta Key and enjoy Nokomis by day.

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