Hey Siri, play “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett.
Monday is Memorial Day, and what better way to enjoy time off of work than with a relaxing day at the beach? If you aren’t up for the hustle and bustle of popular beaches such as Clearwater, check out our three recommendations for a quieter oceanside visit.
Apollo Beach Nature Preserve | 1 hour + 20 minutes from Lakeland
One of the closest public beaches to Swan City, the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve is 63 acres, with 2 of those acres reserved for visitors looking to picnic or sunbathe. Visitors can check out an observation deck with wheelchair access, nature trails, and the option to shoreline fish.
Anna Maria Island, FL | 1 hour + 30 minutes from Lakeland
Anna Maria Island (or AMI), is an alternative to overcrowded beaches and offers public access ranging from Bradenton Beach to Manatee Public Beach. Plus, there’s so much to do. If you’re not too keen on sitting in the sand, consider biking the island, which is 7 miles long. Pro tip: If you choose to visit AMI, be sure to get to the public beach access early as parking can get a bit tight.
Treasure Island, FL | 1 hour + 46 minutes from Lakeland
Treasure Island’s Sunset Beach is a quieter option to its popular counterpart, St. Pete Beach. The area is mostly residential, leaving little room for bustling beach hotels + party crowds. And, if you’re in the mood for a meal, Caddy’s Treasure Island (9000 W. Gulf Blvd.) is a 2-minute walk from the beach.