Best 'Secret Beaches' list includes two located in Southwest Florida

Can you keep a secret?

Southwest Florida's has two beaches listed on America's Favorite 100 Secret Beaches. But remember. It's a secret. Sort of.

The website Family Destinations Guide recently revealed its 2023 version of the best secret beaches in the U.S. and appearing on the list from Southwest Florida are No. 6 Lover's Key State Park and No. 56 Cayo Costa.

That's the good news.

The bad news? Both of these amazing places are currently not accessible to the public. Lover's Key State Park and Cayo Costa received significant damage when Hurricane Ian struck on Sept. 28, 2022. In fact, it was Cayo Costa Island where Ian made landfall.

What about 'hidden' beaches? Two Fort Myers-area islands on list of nation's top 100 hidden beaches

Hopes are high that both locations will open again soon.

What is a secret beach? Think: secluded. Think: off the beaten path. Think: not as easily accessible as some other beaches. If you like having a Tiki Bar near by or a gift shop, these beaches aren't for you.

Cayo Costa State Park: Five things to know

Visitors dropped of by a Captiva Cruises boat begin to tour the island of Cayo Costa. It is considered one of the gems of Lee County's tourist attractions.
  • Accessible only by boat or kayak

  • It is a former fishing ground of the Calusa Indians

  • Features nin miles of undeveloped shoreline for swimming, snorkeling, shelling, fishing, bird-watching and exploration along with several walking and bicycling trails through the island’s interior

  • Shorebirds are numerous, and one might spot manatees, porpoises and sea turtles offshore

  • Campsites and cabins are available for overnight stays, and a ferry service runs to the island from several mainland locations

8 months after Ian: NBC's Lester Holt returns to SWFL for Hurricane Ian series

Lover's Key State Park: 5 things to know

Greg and Barb Rhodes renew marriage vows during a service at Lovers Key State Park on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. It is an annual event that is held on Valentines Day. The event is held by the Friends of Lovers Key.
  • Previously destined to become the site of luxury condominiums, the land that is now Lovers Key State Park was donated to the people of Florida so that its beaches and mangrove forests can be preserved for all to enjoy

  • The park is a popular romantic destination and frequently hosts picturesque gulf-side weddings

  • Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, shelling, fishing, hiking, bicycling, wildlife watching, canoeing/kayaking, geocaching and more

  • The park is about 710 acres of tidal lagoons, canals, and beautiful blue water beaches.

  • There are four barrier islands included in the park and is home to manatees, dolphins, coastal birds, and other wildlife

Top-5 secret beaches in America

1-Awahua Beach, Hawaii

2-Shell Key Preserve, Florida

3-Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

4- Kauapea Beach, Hawaii

5- Sedge Island, New Jersey

Other Florida beaches ranked among best secret beaches in America

The northern tip of Caladesi Island State Park is virtually deserted Friday afternoon, July 11, 2008.

9-Dry Tortugas National Park

10-Boneyard Beach

13-Navarre Beach

17-Crescent Beach

23-Caladesi Island

64-Camp Helen State Park

How the secret beach rankings came together

Dry Tortugas Naitonal Park off the coast of Key West

According to the Family Destinations Guide website, the rankings are the result of an online panel survey of 3,000 adults based on age, gender, and geography. Internal data sources are used to obtain population data sets. We used a two-step process to ensure representativeness through stratified sampling and post-stratification weighting.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Lovers Key State Park, Cayo Costa included in best secret beaches list