If you are looking for a Florida beach, the real beaches are about 40 miles to the south. This area is called the Nature Coast. The Nature Coast consists of miles of (useless to humans) marsh land. Bird watchers and Birkenstock sandal purists may find this area comforting, but if beautiful sand, water, and people are what you are seeking, travel south to Clearwater or St Pete beaches.
There is a nice little hut that serves soft drinks and snacks. If you are a family, and just want the kids to experience salt water, Ft Island will likely work out well enough. At high tide, the water there is still just a few feet deep. A terrible beach for shelling, it's just sand and a boring / unremarkable view of the Gulf. Sunsets can of course be nice, but sunsets anywhere on Florida's west coast can be beautiful. If the no-see-ums are out, be prepared to be totally annoyed.
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