Last Updated on March 31, 2024

Are you looking for the best beaches near Tallahassee Florida? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking for something rugged and off-the-beaten-track, an island getaway, or a classic beach with sugar-white sand, this list has something for you.

Couples, families with little kids, bird watchers, shell collectors, and water sports enthusiasts have great options from as little as a 30-minute drive from Tallahassee.

Florida beach houses in St George Island overlooking the Gulf of Mexico

1. St. George Island State Park

If you’re looking for sand, sunshine, and the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, St. George Island State Park is the perfect place.

St. George was ranked number one on Dr. Beach’s 2023 list of the best beaches.

It is a fabulous spot for shelling, beach-combing, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Make use of the boat ramp, go camping, and revel in the rugged beauty.

Be sure to stop by the Cape St. George Lighthouse, a beautiful reconstructed lighthouse.

St. George Island State Park is about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Tallahassee. Admission costs $6.

beautiful sand dunes located at the beach in Cape San Blas Florida

2. Cape San Blas

Cape San Blas is another fabulous spot to make a beach trip, especially if you’re looking for an island getaway feel.

This gorgeous stretch features crystal clear water and white sand beaches.

It is located south of Port St. Joe and features picnic tables, restrooms, grills, and a playground.

It’s also a great place for kayaking and fishing.

Check out Salinas Park, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, and the Cape San Blas Lighthouse while you’re out and about.

Cape San Blas is approximately 2 hours from Tallahassee.

3. Shell Point Beach

Crabs, seashells, calm waters, a volleyball court, public restrooms, and plenty of parking make Shell Point Beach a delightful destination. 

The water isn’t deep or rough, making it ideal for young children.

This is one of the best white-sand beaches in the Florida panhandle.

Pick a shady spot, eat a picnic lunch, and challenge your friends to a rousing game of volleyball.

Depending on the time of year, there may be a sandbar to explore.

The water is often shallow, which makes it great for wading and searching for seashells.

Shell Point Beach is only 40 minutes from Tallahassee.

Stunning coastline near Aligator Point Beach in Florida

4. Alligator Point

Seashells, horseshoe crab shells, and the chance to spot marine life make Alligator Point stand apart.

Besides searching for shells, you can also go kayaking, grill a tasty lunch, and drop in a line at the fishing pier.

Alligator Point is part of Bald Point State Park and has three different beaches.

North End Beach has the most amenities and is also wheelchair accessible.

If you go to Alligator Point in the fall, you might spot bald eagles and monarch butterflies.

Alligator Point is only 1 hour from Tallahassee, making it a great option for an outing.

5. Mashes Sands Beach

Mashes Sands Beach is a quiet beach in Ochlockonee Bay featuring tea-colored waters and abundant wildlife.

This beach is more rustic than others on this list. It doesn’t have many amenities, although there are bathrooms.

At low tide, the water is so shallow you can wade out for over a mile.

There are usually no waves here. Hermit crabs scuttle over the white sand.

If you enjoy a more secluded experience far from crowds, Mashes Sands Beach is an excellent place.

However, if you’re looking for crystal-clear waters and waves, a different beach would be better.

Mashes Sands Beach is only 54 minutes from Tallahassee.

Photo credit – Wikimedia

landscape view of the beach in Fort Island Beach with white sands, grasses and rocks

6. Carrabelle Beach

Carrabelle Beach, also known as Old Carrabelle Beach, is one of the best dog-friendly beaches close to Tallahassee. But it’s not only for pet owners.

Carrabelle is an all-natural public beach that’s especially popular during the summer months.

It’s a great swimming beach and has excellent amenities, including picnic shelters, bathrooms, and outdoor showers.

If you don’t mind a challenge, consider climbing to the top of the 103-foot-tall Crooked River Lighthouse for sweeping views of the Forgotten Coast.

Carrabelle Beach is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Tallahassee.

St marks national Wildlife Refuge lighthouse and trees

7. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is the closest beach to Tallahassee, and it’s gorgeous.

The white sand and emerald waters make it one of the most beautiful beaches in the area.

Besides sun tanning and swimming, you can kayak through tidal creeks, walk nature trails, pedal along the bike trails, and visit the picturesque St. Marks Lighthouse.

It’s also a great place to see monarchs during their yearly migration.

Birders, picnickers, and fishermen will all love this beach.

Admission costs $5, and it is only 19 miles from Tallahassee (about a 35-minute drive).

8. St. Joseph Bay

St. Joseph’s Bay is another of the most amazing beaches near Tallahassee, Florida.

This delightful spot features rolling sand dunes, white sand, clear water, and boardwalks.

For great amenities, consider accessing the beach at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, one of the most top-notch Florida state parks.

This is a wonderful place to enjoy water sports, scuba diving, fishing, swimming, and hiking.

You can also learn about the park’s efforts to protect St. Andrews beach mice and sea turtles. 

St. Joseph Bay is located 2.5 hours from Tallahassee.

Mexico Beach pier sign and a boardwalk going to the beach

9. Mexico Beach

Mexico Beach is one of the prettiest beaches you can find.

The sand is super soft quartz grains, and the water is an eye-catching green.

Much of the town was destroyed during Hurricane Michael in 2018, but after reconstruction efforts, the beach was reopened in 2022.

The amenities include a shaded picnic area and restrooms.

Popular activities here include spotting dolphins, driving around town in a golf cart, and watching the spectacular sunsets.

If you get hungry, stop by the Shipwreck Raw Bar. Mexico Beach is a 2-hour drive from Tallahassee.

10. Dog Island Beach

If you’re ready for an adventure, consider a trip to Dog Island Beach.

This barrier island is just offshore of Carrabelle and is only accessible by boat or ferry.

There are no amenities here, so you’ll have to take everything you need. But it’s worth it!

The east side of the island is especially nice because it is owned by the Nature Conservancy.

The water is incredible, and the sand will feel luscious underfoot.

To get to Dog Island, reserve a spot on the Dog Island Ferry, run by Captain Mike.

The ferry leaves from Carrabelle, a 1 hour and 15 minute drive from Tallahassee.

Photo credit – Wikimedia

11. Bald Point State Park

Whether you’re interested in a day trip or going away for a long weekend, Bald Point State Park could be the perfect destination.

Restrooms, picnic tables, and a fishing dock are among the few amenities, so be sure to take plenty of food, water, and beach gear.

The beaches here tend to be quite shallow, making it the perfect beach for kids, waders, and sellers.

The park itself doesn’t offer accommodations, but there are vacation rentals nearby.

Bald Point State Park is a 50-minute drive from Tallahassee.

palm trees silhouette on the foggy beach of Keaton Beach in Florida USA

12. Keaton Beach

If you’re looking for Florida beaches perfect for small children, Keaton Beach is worth considering.

Although it is a small beach, it is very quiet, with shallow water and a covered picnic shelter.

Travelers love the quiet laid-back vibe on the wild coast of Florida.

If you visit during mid to late summer, you can go scalloping, but the fishing is great year-round.

Hiking, birdwatching, and ATVing are other fun activities you can enjoy during your visit to Keaton.

Keaton Beach is a 1.5-hour drive from Tallahassee.

13. Hagen’s Cove

Another favorite scalloping spot is Hagen’s Cove.

This beach is even more secluded than Keaton Beach, making it ideal for nature lovers.

The amenities are a bit rustic, with a pit toilet for a restroom, a small boat ramp, and picnic pavilions.

What sets Hagen’s Cove apart is its quiet wild beauty. It makes you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.

There are no cities, high rises, or amusement parks nearby. It’s a place to embrace nature, view wildlife, and relax.

Hagen’s Cove is another popular place to find scallops during the season.

This beach is about 1.5 hours from Tallahassee.

boardwalk of Grayton Beach State Park in Florida Panhandle USA

14. Grayton Beach State Park

If you don’t mind a longer drive, Grayton Beach State Park is another worthy destination.

Blue-green water, white sand, and a family-friendly atmosphere await.

You’ll have the chance to see dolphins, starfish, hermit crabs, schools of fish, and more.

The water is shallow, and the amenities are great.  

Grayton Beach State Park is a 2.5-hour drive from Tallahassee, United States. 

Tip: Turn this into a road trip by taking a cave tour at the Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna on your way to Grayton Beach.

You can also extend your trip with a visit to Perdido Key, Destin, or Seaside.  These beaches, as well as Grayton Beach, are personally some of my favorite beaches near Tallahassee Florida. 

Sea life in Wakulla Springs State Park USA

15. Wakulla Beach

If you don’t mind having lots of room, sand, and official picnic areas, Wakulla Beach could make an excellent spot to visit.

This tiny beach is a fun spot to look for crabs and take your dogs to roam.

It isn’t ideal for swimming, but if you walk one mile westward, you’ll discover an excellent fishing spot.

Please note that this beach is only accessible via sandy roads, so some visitors had trouble getting there.

Round out your day with a boat tour at the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

It is a relatively short drive from Tallahassee and takes approximately 40 minutes.

16. Shell Island Beach

Shell Island Beach is a delightful spot to spend a beach vacation.

This seven-mile-long island is a mini paradise populated by sea turtles, ghost crabs, and shells.

Shorebirds nest along the dunes, and dolphins flip and play in the waters.

This island is part of St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach (2.25 hours from Tallahassee).

It is only accessible via boat, whether private, a charter, or the ferry.

The ferry runs every half hour during the summer months.

Be sure to take everything you need with you because there are no amenities on the island.

17. Cedar Key

Cedar Key is another fun spot to visit on the Gulf Coast.

Small-town charm, rustic condos, and lots of funky shops line the streets.

Although the beaches of Cedar Key tend to be narrow, they are still lovely, with white sand, clear water, and tranquility.

Launch a kayak and paddle out to the nearest refuge island: Atsena Otie. 

Alternatively, relax under one of the palm trees with a friend.

Cedar Key is 2.5 hours from Tallahassee.

Row of blue beach chairs in the white sand beach of Seaside beach Florida with kayaks sitting on the edge of the shore

18. Seagrove Beach

Seagrove Beach is famous for its eye-pleasing beach cottages, walkable town, and delightful shore.

Enjoy the white sand, beautiful water, tall palm trees, and cute town center in nearby Seaside, Florida.

Many of the area’s beaches are private, but the public can access the beach from Holly Beach Access and Greenwood Beach Access. 

Unfortunately, you aren’t allowed to bring your own umbrellas and beach chairs.

Instead, you’ll be obligated to rent them for $100 a day.

Seagrove Beach is about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Tallahassee.

19. Van Ness Butler Jr. Regional Beach Access 

If you’re visiting Seagrove Beach, may as well check out the Van Ness Buttler Jr. Regional Beach Access. 

Situated between WaterColor and Seaside, this public beach access has a large free parking space across the street for visitors. 

The beach is equipped with family-friendly amenities like restrooms and handicapped-accessible ramps. 

They also have a lifeguard in season to ensure everyone’s safety, especially during busy seasons. 

Explore the white sand shoreline or swim with the gentle waves in this hidden gem. 

Van Ness Butler Jr. Regional Beach Access is about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Tallahassee via I-10W.

 

 

aerial drone shot of the Tallahassee Florida State Capitol

Beaches Near Tallahassee Florida FAQs

What Is The Closest Beach To Tallahassee Florida?

The nearest beach to Tallahassee is located at St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge.

This beach features a historic lighthouse, hiking, birdwatching, and 43 miles of coastline.

It is only a 35-minute drive from Tallahassee.

How Far Is Tallahassee Florida From The Beach?

Tallahassee is about 35 minutes from the beach at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

What Is The Best Beach Close To FSU?

The best beach close to FSU is St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

It only takes 35 minutes to drive there.

What Island Is Near Tallahassee Florida?

Dog Island is one of the nearest islands to Tallahassee, Florida, but it can only be reached by ferry from Carrabelle.

 

 

19 of the spectacular beaches near Tallahassee Florida USA

Beaches Near Tallahassee Florida Final Thoughts

There are many wonderful beaches near Tallahassee.

While some require a greater time investment than others, there are enough options that you can choose exactly how far and long you want to drive.

 

 

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