Don’t imagine yourself on one of the most beautiful Florida barrier islands—step inside it with our virtual travel video of a walk along Anclote Key. The blue and green waters seem a little brighter here, and the sunsets a little cooler.
About Anclote Key Preserve State Park
Named Best Hidden-Gem Beach 2014 by USA Today, this island getaway is over 400 acres and features miles of white-sand beaches. Four islands make up the park—Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar (this is the “dog beach” everyone loves on the island; it’s the only part of the island that is fido-permitted), South Anclote Bar, and Three Rooker Island.
Must-Sees on Anclote Key
Take in the views of the island’s unique lighthouse: The Anclote Key lighthouse is located on the southern end of Anclote Key. Unlike lights of the mid- and upper-Atlantic, this lighthouse is a square pyramid made of cast iron—it seems like a giant iron statue standing sentinel to guide Gulf boaters.
Enjoy the beach your way: Stroll miles of white sand beaches in relative seclusion. Or, lay down a couple blankets and simply relax on your very own island getaway.
Go birdwatching: Bring your binocs and catch sight of bald eagles, oystercatchers, and other shorebirds.
Do the nature thing: Go snorkeling, fishing, or for a picnic in the picnic area, located on the southern end of the island.
Camp under the stars: Go primitive beach camping on Anclote Key and wake up to spectacular sunrises. If you want to camp out, you have to have your own transportation (Ferry services won’t drop you off for an overnight stay). Make a camping reservation by calling the park’s ranger.
How to Get to Anclote Key Preserve
Located three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs, Anclote Key Preserve is only accessible by private charter boat or ferry.
Ferry service to the island is offered by:
These ferries leave from Tarpon Springs' historic Sponge Docks.
Charter boat services include the following and run from Pasco County:
- Island Paradise Charters
- Private Island Charters
- Windsong Charters
Top Tips: What You Need to Know when Visiting Anclote Key Preserve State Park
- The Park is open 8am until sunset year-round.
- There or no stores or snack bars on the island, so bring your own water and food supplies—and take all your belongings, including trash, with you when you go, as there are no trash receptacles on the island.
- There are no lifeguards on duty at Anclote Key so be careful when swimming (there are warning flag signs posted at the welcome station that tell you about local water conditions).