4 Top Beaches in Dixie County, Florida to Visit

dixie county florida beaches graphic

Discover the hidden gem of Dixie County in Florida’s Big Bend region! You can escape the chaos of big city life and return into peaceful nature. Explore this off-the-beaten-path destination with its fantastic boating, scalloping, fishing, and kayaking. Your next unforgettable adventure awaits at these top beaches in Dixie County, Florida!

About Dixie County Area

You’ve probably heard of the more popular Orange and Miami-Dade counties of Florida, but along the Gulf of Mexico is the lesser-known Dixie County.

Dixie County is located in the Big Bend region of the northern part of the state, with Taylor County at its northern borders and the Suwannee River to the south, totaling about 800 square miles. Dixie County was originally created from the southern portion of Lafayette County. Dixie County is just north of Cedar Key and south of the Steinhatchee River.

Unlike many other destinations in the state, this down-to-earth region offers plentiful opportunities to unplug from bustling cities packed with traffic and pollution.

Here, you will find an escape with undisturbed nature and wildlife species waiting around every corner. 

Although they are not your typical beaches, Dixie County provides visitors with one of the best spots for boating, scalloping, fishing, and kayaking. Some of the most popular spots are Shired Island Beach, Horseshoe Beach, Fishbone Creek, and Salt Creek. 

In addition to perfect fishing spots, Dixie County is also home to preserved nature areas such as Big Bend Wildlife Management Area and Steinhatchee Falls. While you’re in Dixie County, you absolutely can’t miss the experience of fresh seafood at restaurants such as The Shrimp Boat and Salt Creek Restaurant. 

Best Things to Enjoy in Dixie County, FL

Dixie County is the perfect place for wildlife viewing, saltwater fishing, and enjoying the unique small community that you won’t find in the busier coastal communities of the Sunshine State.

As a Florida resident, this is one of my favorite spots to disconnect from the busy cities and tune into the laid-back lifestyle of Old Florida. Dixie County is considered the “Hidden Coast,” because the population density is a mere 20 people per square mile.

Whether you’re looking for a spot for a vacation, a team building trip, or a solo getaway – you may want to start considering Dixie County. 

I’ll give you all the desired information including tourism activities and vacation rentals for planning the perfect trip to Dixie County! 

The Best Beaches in Dixie County, Florida Are…

The beaches in Dixie County are not your typical white sand beaches that you might think of when you imagine the Sunshine State. But, these brackish beaches are a great place to scallop, hike, paddle, and enjoy the untouched nature that has grown within the Hidden Coast.

Here’s a list of the top coastal communities in Dixie County to enjoy the water. 

1. Shired Island Beach

View of Canal in grass flats on Shired Island, Dixie County, Florida.

Shired Island is one of the small islands located between the town of Horseshoe Beach and Suwannee. It is part of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and truly a beautiful spot!

The secluded shoreline along Horseshoe Cove offers the perfect place to view wildlife such as bald eagles, dolphins, and crabs. There are large, fascinating pieces of driftwood along the beach. 

In addition to the beach, the area also has a campground and a laid back waterfront park where you will find the county boat ramps. 

Location: SE Hwy 357, Horseshoe Beach, FL  32648

2. Horseshoe Beach 

Shrimp boats docked at a commercial marina in florida

You will find Horsehoe Beach at the very end of Dixie County Highway. This friendly fishing village was first settled in the early 1800s by C.C. Douglas and Burton Butler. People travel from all over the United States for the amazing saltwater fishing.

You will commonly find shrimp boats for local commerce and restaurants.

If you want to do your own fishing, there is even a tackle shop located on the beach! 

Location: 262 3rd St, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648

3. Fishbone Creek 

Manatee Springs State Park in Florida

Fishbone Creek is located inland from Shired Island Beach, north of the town of Suwanee. This creek is exceptionally popular among kayakers, as a short paddle will take you out to Horseshoe Cove and the grassy shore of the private island known as Hammock Island.

One of the best parts about this creek is the five different biozones along the way, which can provide views of wildlife such as:

  • Black Needlerush
  • Great Egrets
  • Diamondback Terrapin
  • Oyster Reefs
  • Bottlenose Dolphin

Location: SW 800th Ave, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648

4. Salt Creek

Salt Creek is a river located just south of the Perpetual Wildlife Management Area in Old Town. This river feeds into the Little Bradford Inlet and the Gulf of Mexico, making it a great place for freshwater and riverwater fishing.

You will find marinas, several fish camps, fish wharves, and a seafood packing plant in the town of Salt Creek. Because fishing is such a big attraction here, this is the perfect point to try some local seafood restaurants! 

Location: SE 349 Hwy, Old Town, FL 32680

Planning Your Trip to Dixie County, Florida 

Suwannee River Bridge

In addition to visiting the beaches, planning a trip also involves making a plan for where you’ll stay, and enjoying the local culture such as restaurants and other tourism activities. Take a peak at the sections below to learn more helpful information for planning your trip to the Hidden Coast. 

Best Places to Stay in Dixie County

Part of a vacation is finding a place to stay, luckily I’ve got you covered with a wide range of options for your next Dixie County vacation. Here is a list of some of the top places to rest your head at night that keep you close to the natural beauty and fun tourism activities of Dixie County! 

Best Restaurants in Dixie County

With Dixie County being right off the Gulf Coast of Florida, their seafood selections are out of this world! Some of the best restaurants in the county are locally owned, no-fuss establishments that serve up some of the freshest seafood with a southern flare.

Here’s my list of the can’t-miss spots to chow down: 

Other Places to Visit in Dixie County 

Horses feed in a blooming meadow in the later afternoon sun in Chiefland, FL.

Not too far from the coast is the Dixie County seat of Cross City. This central location was once an important destination for lumber companies, which bred the need for the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. The rail line has since been converted to the popular 32-mile Nature Coast State Trail, which is a perfect place to bicycle or hike. 

The Nature Coast Trail connects adventurers to nearby cities including Trenton, Fanning Springs, and Chiefland. In Chiefland, you will find Manatee Springs State Park, which is a clear-water spring where snorkelers and scuba divers can meet West Indian Manatees and other natural wildlife. 

Other popular destinations in Dixie County are:

  • Road to Nowhere Point
  • Big Bend Wildlife Management Area
  • Steinhatchee Falls
  • the Yellow Jacket Conservation Area

Helpful Table of Open Beaches in Dixie County, Florida

Shired Island BeachSE Hwy 357, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648-secluded shoreline
-wildlife viewing
-waterfront park
Horseshoe Beach262 3rd St, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648-friendly fishing village
-tackle shop
-amazing saltwater fishing
Fishbone CreekSW 800th Ave, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648-popular among kayakers
-five different biozones
-wildlife watching
Salt CreekSE 349 Hwy, Old Town, FL 32680-freshwater and river water fishing
-excellent seafood restaurants

Conclusion to Best Dixie County Florida Beaches

I hope you enjoyed this guide to the beautiful Dixie County, if you are interested in other Florida beaches, check out 10 Stunning Beaches Near Orlando, Florida or 11 Sunny Gulf Coast Beaches in Southwest Florida!   

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