Florida’s Sports Coast’s peaceful Gulf oasis

Anclote Key Preserve State Park

Breakaway to Anclote Key Preserve State Park, where unspoiled beaches and sparkling shorelines melt your worries away.

Naturally Florida

Part wilderness, part beachy oasis, the preserve is far enough away to make you feel like you’ve gotten away from it all but close enough to ease your mind. Stretching out across 11,773 square acres, the state park comprises the islands of Anclote Key, Three Rooker Bar and North Bar and is easily accessible from the shoreline of New Port Richey.

While there you can sunbathe or wade in shallow waters (currents may be too strong further out), or camp overnight on powder-soft sand. Watch the sunset and the moonrise over a shimmering horizon. 

Anclote, as you may know, is Spanish for “anchor,” and it takes no stretch of the imagination why someone would want to lay anchor at Anclote. It’s located three miles off the Pasco County coastline, illuminated at night by an 1877 lighthouse with seabirds. 

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Naturally Florida

The isolated state park is a must for nature enthusiasts. Every spring, birders flock to observe the thousands of birds that arrive to nest. Shorebirds of all sizes soar and zip in and out of the islands’ lush mangrove wetlands and coastal pine flatwoods. 

Diminutive dunlins and piping plovers skittle across sugary-white shorelines as herons perch elegantly in the tall grass. Offshore, fierce osprey and bald eagles swoop down for their catch of the day while dolphins jump in and out of turquoise waves as if to celebrate your arrival. It’s quite the scene.

Shell collectors enjoy scouring the shore of Anclote Key. The walks are unbeatable. Stroll south, and the 110-foot-tall skeleton lighthouse commands your attention. Constructed with cast iron and no walls, the restored towering sentinel dates back to 1877, when it was an indispensable beacon in the storm. The signature landmark of Anclote Key fell into disrepair a few decades ago, but preservationists galvanized an effort to re-light it. It’s protected by a fence and watched over by a park ranger. 

There are days, however, when you can ascend the lighthouse’s 127 steps, and the beacon is open for climbing during scheduled open houses run by the Friends of Anclote Key. The group hosts private tours. Find out more about them and the lighthouse’s history at the Friends of Anclote Key & Lighthouse website.  

When planning a visit to Anclote Key State Park, consider packing a picnic for the afternoon or provisions for an overnight camp. Make sure you bring enough food and water but don’t overpack. Picnic tables and a pit toilet are provided and campfires make the night a little more special, but alcohol is a no-no. Make sure you bring insect repellent to keep the skeeters and no-see-ums from ruining everything. Also, leave the drone at home.

Abundant Wildlife
Sunset Cruise
Anclote Key Sandbar
Great Blue Heron
Anclote Sunsets
Anclote Key Cruises
Enjoy the beach
Windsong Charters

Set Sail

How do you get there? Boaters can dock at the northernmost point. If you don’t own a vessel, Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals and Private Island Charters provide captained and un-captained boats, pontoons and other vessels. The charters employ experienced captains licensed by the Coast Guard who can assist you with loading your boat and provide a detailed checkout to ensure safety. 

Windsong Charters rents out boats for 24-hour and 36-hour camping trips. Round up some friends to make this amazing experience more affordable. Pontoons can fit up to six people.

If you canoe or kayak, find out information about the tides, winds, and currents before you leave. The closest launches are in Holiday, Anclote River Park, and New Port Richey.

Intrepid watersports enthusiasts kayak to the island.

Intrepid watersports enthusiasts kayak to the island, which takes around an hour to two hours. Ferry services cannot and will not drop off visitors for overnight camping. You must travel there with your own transportation to stay overnight.

Anclote River Park is a scenic launch point that’s accessible for a $2 admission fee and a $5 per day boat-launch fee. Overnight parking overnight is permitted. Besides the boat ramp, the park has a mini beach where swimming is allowed, plus a volleyball court, picnic area, shelters, pavilions, horseshoe pits, a dock, playground and historical marker.

Fishers, bring your gear. Anclote Key is abound with redfish, trout, and snook. Everyone else, bring your beach chairs, umbrellas, paddleboards, skimboards and snorkeling gear for an adventure you’ll never forget. Oh, and don’t forget a bucket to collect stunning seashells and sponges.

Discover More Things To Do In Anclote Key State Park

Featured Listings

Anclote Key Preserve State Park

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Anclote Key, FL

(727) 469-5943

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

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8737 US Highway 19 North,

Port Richey, FL 34668

(727) 816-1890

James E. Grey Nature Preserve

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6938 Plathe Rd,

New Port Richey, FL 34653

(727) 841-4560

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