You Don't Have To Leave The US For A Warm Winter Escape, Thanks To This White Sand Beach

Anticipating a sandy beach vacation in the midst of winter's cold temperatures can be an exhilarating experience. A change of pace, temperature, and surroundings can be refreshing and delightful. If you're looking for an escape from the cold but don't want to leave the U.S., you can book a trip to the Sunshine State, specifically Calusa Beach in Big Pine, Florida. You'll feel like you're in the Caribbean when you rest on its white sand and stare into its vibrant blue waters.

Calusa Beach is part of Bahia Honda State Park, a 524-acre park consisting of three beaches and a small island. Calusa Beach is the smallest beach of the three, but that doesn't mean it lacks beauty, popularity, or thrilling water and shore adventures. Its soft sand, crystal waters, and abundance of sunshine make it the ideal location for locals and travelers alike to sit back and enjoy, regardless of the season.

Beach fun in the water and on the shore

Calusa Beach offers all the typical and fun beach day activities — gorgeous shores to rest upon, glorious water to swim in, and a space for adventurous aquatic activities. You can rent kayaks at Bahia Honda State Park and paddle in the crystal-clear blue waters. For a single kayak, prices are $12 an hour and $36 for a half day. There is also $18 an hour and $54 for a half day for a double kayak. Snorkeling is another fun and popular activity to engage in. Bring some goggles and witness the variety of plant and animal species swimming around underneath the waves.

Back on the land, you can venture down one of the pathways on foot or bike. There are plenty of picnic tables if you're looking for a spot to have a meal or a snack. If you didn't pack any food, you can grab a bite as well as some merchandise at one of the food and souvenir shops.

Where to stay

If Calusa Beach sounds enticing, you'll want to plan and get to the beach early since it reaches its capacity quickly, even in winter. As for where to stay, you have the option of a rustic feel via camping in Bahia Honda State Park or venturing into Big Pine for a more luxurious and/or convenient stay. There are three campgrounds in the state park, all of which accept reservations up to 11 months in advance — the earlier you book, the better. They feature great camping amenities like hookups, grills, bathhouses, and more.

If you're interested in a bed and breakfast, Barnacle Bed and Breakfast is a great option. The establishment has 4 stars on TripAdvisor and offers gourmet breakfasts and beautiful views. Big Pine Key Resort is another fantastic option if you want more amenities. This waterfront resort has a heated pool, recreation room, observation deck, as well as nature trails, and canal docks. So next time you're looking for a relaxing beachside vacation, consider booking a trip to Calusa Beach for a peaceful and enjoyable time.