Sandbars in Florida are amazing! They often have crystal-clear water, powdery white sand, and are beautiful beyond words.
While tourists crowd onto Florida’s beaches, Florida locals head to the sandbars.
Sandbars in Florida are community gathering places. Although some sandbars can get crazy, they can also be a great place to meet like-minded friends and fellow boaters who love the ocean.
Map of the Best Sandbars in Florida
Thanks to our readers’ requests and assistance, we created a map of the best sandbars in Florida.
Sandbars in Florida are constantly changing. If you see something that is incorrect or outdated, please let us know so we can fix it ASAP!
If you visit a sandbar, please be a good member of the sandbar community! Don’t be “That guy” (Or girl!) at the sandbar.
- Be careful and responsible
- Know how to operate your boat safely
- Know how to anchor properly
- Be respectful of fellow boaters
- Respect the ocean. Leave it cleaner than you found it!
- Minimize your boating impact.
- Protect seagrasses and sensitive habitats
Note: Most of the spots in this sandbar map are popular sandbars.
These spots can get crowded. If you prefer peace and quiet there are many other peaceful, secluded islands and sandbars in Florida.
When a spot is too crowded there are usually other sandbars nearby that will be more peaceful. The tides and currents that form one sandbar often create other islands and sandbars nearby.
Where are the best sandbars in Florida?
The best sandbars in Florida are located near river mouths, bays, cuts and inlets, where strong tides pick up and deposit sand into sandbars and barrier islands.
Sandbars vary in size, shape and depth. They may be exposed above the water, or submerged beneath the surface. Sandbars can grow to become islands, or completely disappear overnight in strong currents, especially during hurricanes.
Note: The Jupiter Sandbar is also known as the Loxahatchee Sandbar. Both usually refer to the same location. It is sometimes called “Coney Island”, as well.
The Jupiter Sandbar is located in the intracoastal waterway (ICW), near the Jupiter Inlet. It sits just west of the A1A bridge.
Depending on the local tide conditions, the sandbar is exposed about 1 hour before and after low tide.
The Jupiter sandbar is mainly composed of fine sand, sediment and silt. There is also some seagrass and mud in deeper areas.
A small mangrove island named Bird Island sits at the east end of the sandbar, towards Jupiter Inlet. Bird Island has vegetation and is typically exposed, even during high tide. It’s an important nesting ground for birds.
Water clarity in the Jupiter Inlet is generally good. Visibility is best during incoming high tides, when clear water from the Atlantic Ocean rushes into the inlet. When visibility is good the water can be spectacular, and feels almost like water you’d see in the Bahamas.
There are other sandbars and things to do near Jupiter, as well. The Tequesta Sandbar is located in the ICW just north of Jupiter Inlet.
Cato’s Bridge is located near the Jupiter Sandbar, and is a great place to snorkel. The sandbar also has great views of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.
The Jupiter Sandbar is fairly large, and is quite long. Still, it can get very crowded on holidays and weekends when the weather is warm.
The Loxahatchee/Jupiter Sandbar is also sometimes home to events, including the Endless Summer River Paddle.
The annual paddle race starts in the Jonathan Dickinson State Park, and ends with a sandbar party at the Loxahatchee River Sandbar.
Unofficial parties, and spontaneous boat meetups, are also held at the sandbar regularly.
Boats can be rented near Jupiter Inlet.
The Peanut Island sandbar is one of the best sandbars in Florida. It’s located in the Lake Worth Lagoon between Riviera Beach, Palm Beach and Palm Beach Shores.
The Peanut Island Sandbar is located in the waters just north of Peanut Island, and south of Blue Heron Bridge and Phil Foster Park.
The sandbar is popular because of several factors. The sand and water are gorgeous, and people are allowed to drink alcohol on the sandbar. Alcohol is not allowed on Peanut Island itself.
At times the Peanut Island sandbar can get very busy, rowdy and chaotic. It can attract hundreds of boats at a time during summer weekends and holidays.
Police often patrol the Peanut Island sandbar during busy times, especially during large gatherings and events. Arrests and tickets are common due to public intoxication, fights and other related problems.
The actual island of Peanut Island is managed as a county park. It’s much more family-friendly than the nearby sandbar, and is patrolled by seasonal lifeguards and park staff.
Peanut Island Park has boat docks, restrooms, showers, and even full-service camping facilities.
Passage Key Sandbar
Passage Key is one of the most beautiful sandbars near Tampa. It’s located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, roughly halfway between Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key.
Passage Key is an extremely popular sandbar.
It has sugar white sand, crystal clear water, and is one of the best beaches near Tampa Bay.
Passage Key is sort of a clothing optional beach, but only unofficially. It is one of the only nude beaches in Florida, and the only nude beach near Tampa. Anyone who visits should be prepared to see nudity.
Important notes about Passage Key:
- Passage Key is a national wildlife refuge. It is illegal to trespass on the island!
- A good rule of thumb is to “keep your feet wet”. Do not go beyond the high tide line, otherwise you will be breaking the law. People have been arrested, and the area is patrolled. Be sure you know the rules before you visit.
- Be cool. Don’t trespass on the island, and don’t disturb the wildlife!
- Dogs are never allowed on Passage Key!
Read more about Passage Key
Egmont Key is a state park, and an island, but we can still consider it as a giant sandbar, sort of.
Egmont Key formed as a sandbar as sand was deposited at the mouth of the bay. Vegetation eventually grew on the island, which stabilized the sand and kept it from washing away. Still, Egmont Key is eroding quickly due to tides and currents. It’s lost much of its landmass in recent years.
Egmont Key is beautiful. The sand is lovely, and the water is crystal clear. There is great shelling, and the island has a fascinating history. Egmont Key has a historical lighthouse and crumbling ruins of an old military fort, Fort Dade.
Egmont Key is a popular place for boaters to visit, and is a popular alternative to other sandbars in the area. Egmont Key is one of the more accessible sandbars near Tampa because there is a public ferry for people who don’t have their boat, or don’t want to rent a boat.
Egmont Key is one of the best beaches in Tampa, and one of the best places to snorkel near Tampa. There are sunken ruins of Fort Dade, a historical military fort. The ruins are great places to snorkel when wind and wave conditions are very calm.
Visitors should note that the snorkeling site can be dangerous when the water is rough, depending on the conditions. There may be other hazards in the water, as well.
Boca grande sandbar
The Boca Grande sandbar is located next to the Boca Grande Causeway, halfway between Boca Grande and the Florida mainland.
The Boca Grande Sandbar is a very popular spot for boaters to anchor and swim in the clear waters of Gasparilla sound.
At low tide the sandbar is usually about 1-3 feet deep in many areas, although the actual depth will vary according to local tide conditions.
The water can be extremely clear when conditions are right. It feels like a big swimming pool as sunlight shimmers off of the fine white sand on the bottom.
The sandbar is located near the old railroad trestle which connected Boca Grande with the Florida mainland.
The abandoned train tracks are overgrown with trees; the trestle is a popular spot for photography and fishing.
There are other popular boating destinations in the area, including Don Pedro Island State Park, Stump Pass and others.
There are also several other sandbars and islands in the area, including Dog Island and Bird Key.
The Boca Grande sandbar can be reached via boat or kayak. There are several options for boat rentals near Boca Grande.
Big Pass Sandbar
The sandbar at Big Pass, or Big Sarasota Pass, used to be one of the best sandbars near Sarasota.
It was located near Sarasota, between Siesta Key to the south, and Lido Key to the north. Big Pass is also known as “Big Sarasota Pass”
The sandbar at Big Pass was extremely popular. It was small, and got crowded very quickly. The small size and popularity made it a pretty high-energy party spot.
Despite local protests, the Big Pass sandbar was dredged and removed in the fall of 2020. The sand was used for beach replenishment on nearby Lido Key.
The dredging operation was delayed several times by local opposition and lawsuits. The dredging was allowed to proceed, and was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Previously the Big Pass sandbar sat above the water at low tide. Portions of the sandbar were sometimes even exposed even at high tide. Today, the remnants of the sandbar are deeper, and lay underwater even at low tide.
The sandbar at Big Pass is always changing. The sandbar will accumulate again as sand is deposited by currents.
After the Big Pass Sandbar was removed, boaters found other islands and sandbars in the area to visit.
There are other beaches, islands and sandbars in the area, including Sharker’s Island which is located further north towards Bird Key. Lido Key Public Beach is just across the waters of Big Pass.
There is beautiful white sand in this area, and the water is crystal clear. There is also relatively good snorkeling. There isn’t any coral to see, but you can usually find good seashells and unbroken sand dollars. There are often large fish and dolphins in the area.
The currents around Big Pass are extremely strong. Visitors should beware, and use extra caution while anchoring and swimming!
Jewfish Key Sandbar
Note: There are several islands in Florida named “Jewfish Key”.
Jewfish Key is located near the northern tip of Longboat Key. It is roughly between Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, near Beer Can Island on Longboat Key.
The Jewfish Key sandbar is a very popular place for local boaters.
Jewfish Key is a large island, and has a large sandbar. There is lots of room for many boats. The sandbar at Jewfish Key is at the northwest end of the island.
The water at Jewfish Key is very clear, and the sand is a brilliant white. Overall, the island of Jewfish Key feels like one of the most tropical places in Florida. There are lots of palm trees and Australian Pines.
Visitors should beware of strong currents around Longboat Pass.
Bunces Pass is one of the most popular sandbars near Tampa. It’s located in Tierra Verde, on the northern edge of Fort De Soto County Park, just south of Shell Key Preserve.
Bunces Pass has beautiful white sand. The water clarity varies, but the water is crystal-clear water under the right conditions, especially when wind and wave conditions are calm.
Most boaters anchor at the east end of the sandbar, which offers protection from the Gulf. Boats also anchor on the Gulf of Mexico beaches when wind and wave conditions are calm.
In recent years the sandbar has formed an inner lagoon, which some boats used to enter. Due to recent rule changes, the interior tidal lagoon is now closed to boat traffic.
Boaters should be careful and watch for swimmers, and be aware of strong currents which flow through Bunces Pass.
The other beaches around Fort De Soto are also amazing, and the area is filled with many islands and sandbars. Fort De Soto also has excellent camping.
Crab Island Sandbar
The Crab Island Sandbar is located in Destin, at the mouth of the Choctawhatchee Bay. It sits between Okaloosa Island and Destin on the north side of the Destin Bridge.
Crab Island is one of the most popular sandbars in Florida.
At one time Crab Island was a relatively peaceful local sandbar spot. Over the years it’s evolved into a crazy circus atmosphere.
On crowded days there are hundreds of boats, and thousands of people. There are food boats, floating stages with live music, inflatable obstacle courses, bounce houses, slides and many other activities.
The spectacle, lovingly called the Redneck Yacht Club, can be seen from Highway 98 and as you drive over the William T. Marler Memorial Bridge to Destin.
The water is usually a beautiful turquoise color, but water clarity varies. It’s most clear during high tide, when the inlet is flooded with clean water from the Gulf of Mexico.
Haulover Sandbar is one of the most popular sandbars in Florida.
Part of the sandbar was recently removed via dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, amid local protests.
Dredging deepened the sandbar depth by approximately 3-6 feet. It made the sandbar smaller and less usable as a party spot. The sand from Haulover Sandbar was used to replenish nearby Bel Harbor Beach.
The sandbar will begin accumulating again after dredging, but it will probably take several years to be fully formed and usable as a large sandbar again.
Haulover Sandbar is located in North Miami Beach. It is located to the northwest of the inlet, just south of Oleta River State Park. It is west of the Bill Bird Marina on Haulover Beach, across from the FIU Biscayne Bay campus.
People kayak and paddle over from Oleta River State Park, and other areas. There are also boat rentals nearby.
The Haulover sandbar is only visible at low tide, and is now sometimes not visible at all because of the dredging and deeper water.
Hundreds of people and boats gather on the sandbar, especially in warm weather and on weekends and holidays.
The water at the sandbar is very clear, although the clarity varies depending on the tide status. The water used to be waist-deep in most places on the sandbar, but is now deeper.
Boaters play music and people mingle in the emerald blue/green water. It is often packed full; there are lots of boats, and lots of party people.
There are sometimes “Food boats”, which are like floating food trucks. They sell ice cream, burgers, ceviche and many other types of food.
The scene at Haulover Sandbar is often wild and rowdy. There are sometimes issues with fights, reckless boaters and other problems associated with alcohol. Police patrolled the area frequently.
Disappearing Island is an extremely popular sandbar near New Smyrna Beach. Disappearing Island is located inside the Ponce Inlet, inland from the jetties.
The sandbar is beautiful. The water is calm and clear, and there is a ton of room because the sandbar is enormous. There are also beautiful views of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse in the distance.
The Disappearing Island sandbar can get very crowded on busy days, especially weekends and holidays. There are also many waterfront restaurants with boat docks in the area.
Read more about Disappearing Island
Lake Boca Sandbar
The Lake Boca Sandbar is a very popular place for boaters to gather and party.
The surrounding area is much more urban and developed than other sandbars in Florida; it’s surrounded by private homes, docks and highrise condos.
The water is clear and blue. It is shallow in areas around the sandbar, but quickly drops into deeper water in channels, including the ICW which runs through Lake Boca.
The Lake Boca sandbar is home to parties, including the controversial Boca Bash.
Johns Pass Sandbar
The Johns Pass sandbar is extremely popular, and is one of the top destinations for boating in Tampa Bay.
The Johns Pass sandbar is located in the western part of Boca Ciega Bay. It’s just inland from Johns Pass Inlet, northeast of Johns Pass bridge. It’s roughly between Treasure Island and Madeira Beach.
The shallow sandbar exists because sand accumulates as it flows out of Boca Ciega Bay, out of Johns Pass and into the Gulf of Mexico.
There are other islands in Boca Ciega Bay, as well, including Little Bird Key, Eleanor Island and Archie’s Island.
The water around Johns Pass can be clear when conditions are calm, but the water is not as clear or clear as other sandbars in Florida. Still, the water is usually a beautiful emerald blue/green.
Like the Lake Boca sandbar, Johns Pass is located in a densely developed surrounding environment.
Johns Pass has a lively waterfront area with waterfront restaurants, tours, watersports and many other things to do.
The Johns Pass sandbar is the site of parties, including organized events and private gatherings.
Hundreds of boats can gather on the Johns Pass sandbar, especially on warm summer weekends and holidays. Summer holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are among the busiest days for Johns Pass.
Fort Pierce Sandbar
The Fort Pierce Sandbar is located near Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. There is a large sandbar at the entrance of the Fort Pierce Inlet, and there are several other spots further inland.
The water at the Fort Pierce sandbar is not as clear as other sandbars in Florida due to a high amount of organic matter and sediment in the water. The sand is also more dark and silty than you find at many other Florida sandbars.
The Fort Pierce sandbars can become very crowded on busy weekends and holidays.
The sandbar at the north side of the inlet tends to have the wildest party atmosphere. There are other sandbars and islands in the area which are more usually relaxed and peaceful.
Some islands and sandbars in the area are accessed via small channels. If you go exploring through the channels, be careful about tide levels. Be sure to leave yourself a good way to get out!
The currents around Fort Pierce Inlet can be strong, so visitors should be careful and take precautions while navigating, swimming and anchoring.
There are a number of popular restaurants with boat docks in the area.
Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen Springs is a very popular place for boats to gather, especially houseboats. It’s unique because it’s a freshwater sandbar, instead of salt water.
Silver Glen Springs is located inside the Ocala National Forest, up the St. Johns River and Lake George, via Silver Glen Run. The main head spring at Silver Glen Springs is a popular spring for swimming, and is closed to boat access.
The water in Silver Glen Springs Run is usually as clear as a swimming pool. The spring and spring run can sometimes become less clear, and the spring water is overwhelmed by the darker St. Johns river.
The natural spring water temperature remains a constant 72 degrees year-round, so it’s refreshingly cool in the summer and can actually feel warm in cooler months.
Silver Glen Springs is an important habitat for manatees. They need access to the spring run for survival. Boaters should be careful to avoid disturbing manatees in any way, or hitting them with their boats!
The bottom at Silver Glen Springs is mostly coarse white sand. There are also grasses that are important to manatees, and the health of the fragile marine ecosystem.
Boaters should be careful not to damage the fragile marine grasses with their boats, anchors or propellers!
The shorelines around Silver Glen Springs are protected by Ocala National Forest and the Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area. There are also fascinating ancient historical sites in the area from Florida’s earliest inhabitants.
Kayak and canoe rentals are available to explore down Silver Glen Run.
The Anclote sandbar is located approximately three miles offshore Florida’s gulf coast, north of Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area.
The sandbar is part of a string of barrier islands and sandbars. Other islands in the chain include Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island, among others.
Anclote Key Preserve State Park is the northernmost barrier island on this stretch of Florida’s gulf coast.
Anclote Key sits three miles offshore from Tarpon Springs and is a popular destination for Tarpon Springs boat tours.
Many boaters launch their boats from boat ramps in the nearby Anclote River Park when boating to the Anclote sandbar.
The most popular sandbar at Anclote is the north sandbar which sits at the northern tip of Anclote Key. There are several others in the area, including Three Rooker Island further to the south.
The exact width and shape of the Anclote sandbar changes with wind and tides. At high tide the sandbar is either completely submerged, or sits just barely above the water. At low tide the sandbar becomes quite large and wide.
The larger island of Anclote Key is amazing. It feels like a beautiful tropical island in central Florida.
The sand is a brilliant white, and powdery soft. The water is crystal clear. There are picturesque palm trees and a historical lighthouse from the 1800s.
The Anclote sandbar becomes very crowded during busy weekends and holidays. Some people dislike the party atmosphere of the sandbar, which sometimes sees a lot of drunken behavior.
Visitors should be sure they follow regulations when in the jurisdiction of Anclote Key Preserve State Park.
According to the Florida State Parks official website, dogs are allowed on the Anclote North Bar if kept on a 6-foot leash, but dogs are not in any other part of Anclote Key Preserve State Park.
Please a responsible pet owner and pick up after your pet, and please be respectful of wildlife.
Three Rooker Island Sandbar
Three Rooker Island is located north of Honeymoon Island, and south of Anclote Key Preserve State Park. It’s just west of the Saint Joseph Sound.
Most boats gather on both eastern shorelines, which offers protection from the wind and waves of the Gulf. During calm weather some boats may anchor on the Gulf side, as well.
The water around the Three Rooker Sandbar is absolutely beautiful. It is extremely clear, and is a brilliant blue over the white sand bottom. The sand is a soft, fine white powder.
Three Rooker Island is also referred to as “Three Rooker Bar” because it used to be a sandbar. Vegetation began growing on the sandbar, which helped stabilize the sand, and allowed it to become an island.
Three Rooker Island is a relatively new island, and was formed by an accretion of sand which eroded from other nearby sources.
Three Rooker Island is a busy boater destination on weekends and holidays, but is usually calm and uncrowded during the week. There are a number of other nice sandbars in the area.
Three Rooker Island is part of Anclote Key Preserve State Park, and is subject to the rules and regulations of the state park.
Pets are not allowed on Three Rooker Island because the northern section of the island is a bird sanctuary. Pets are allowed on the nearby North Anclote Sandbar.
Cover photo by Tamara Malaniy
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