Discovering Florida’s Beer Can Island

Have you ever seen the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away? I watched it for the first time about 5 years ago.

If you haven’t seen it, let me give you a brief rundown. Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck, is the sole survivor of a plane crash. Chuck washes ashore a deserted island and must learn to survive on his own.

Even before I had watched the movie I knew the basic plot and had already made a picture in my head of what Chuck’s deserted island would look like.

Basically, I figured it would look just like Beer Can Island. White sand and turquoise blue water covered in downed trees and driftwood scattered all over the beach.

In reality, the beach in Cast Away looked a little different than what I had pictured. The sand was white and the water turquoise, but the shoreline was scattered with beautiful limestone rocks and trees.

Beer Can Island (also known as Greer Island) is a secluded sandy hook at the northern tip of Longboat Key. Over time, mother nature has eroded portions of the beach uprooting many of the Australian pine trees that once stood on the shore. The huge tree trunks and roots give the beach a “Cast Away-esque” feel and create an amazing landscape of fallen and weathered wood.

Beer Can Island, Longboat Key, Florida

Beer Can Island, Longboat Key, Florida

Beer Can Island, Longboat Key, Florida

Beer Can Island, Longboat Key, Florida

Beer Can Island, Longboat Key, Florida Photo via my travel bud Mackenzie 
Longboat Key, FloridaPhoto via my travel bud Mackenzie

Beer Can Island, Longboat Key, Florida

If you go 

  • Beer Can Island is located at the Northern most part of Longboat Key. Just before crossing the Longboat Key bridge (the bridge that connects Longboat Key to Anna Maria Island).
  • There are no facilities, no lifeguard, and limited street parking.
  • A lot of people come to Beer Can Island by boat. There no formal docking spots, but the shallow sandy water makes it a great spot to drop anchor and come ashore for a bit.
  • If you’re not coming by boat (we didn’t) you can take Broadway Street or North Shore Road until you see signs for the beach.
  • We came in via North Shore Road, parked on the street, and then walked north for a bit on the beach to get to Beer Can Island. You’ll know when you’re getting close by the driftwood becoming more and more plentiful on the shore.
  • Although Beer Can Island is more secluded than some of the other area beaches, it does get busier on the weekends.
  • All of the trees close to shore make this the perfect place to bring your hammock lounge around. We saw a number of people who had strung their hammocks across two trees and it looked divine!

Beer Can Island is a beautiful little beach covered in driftwood, located at the very North end of Longboat Key.

Have you ever been to a deserted looking beach like Beer Can Island?


It’s really a shame social media overexposure is drawing large crowds to places that were formerly quiet and pristine. Beer Can Island Is no exception. It’s now overrun with people and parking is an issue.

Hi Carrie – I am thinking about coming here for a family photo shoot with my husband and 3 month old daughter. Is it fairly accessible to walk if we don’t come by boat?

Hi Alex,
It’s a beautiful spot for photos! As long as the tide isn’t high you should be able to have plenty of room on the shore line to walk there.

How far is the walk from the beach access. Going to take some wedding photos there and don;t want my wife to be to have to walk too far in her wedding dress. thanks!

It’s definitely too long of a walk for a woman in a wedding dress. I’ve been to the beach several times and am a physically fit person. By the time you walk all the way there, her hair and make up will be ruined. I promise you that!

Hi David, Congrats on your wedding! The walk isn’t too bad at all. However, depending on the time of day you go the tide may vary, which will make the walk easier with more sand and beach space to walk, or harder with very little to no beach space for walking. In which case that will depend if she’s able to lift her dress and walk with her ankles in the water for a bit. Hope this helps!

Rachelle Rosenblit

So you can walk there from Long Boat Key?

it’s semi attached to long boat key! to the very north! right before you cross the bridge towards Bradenton beach.

Interesting name! Looks like a gorgeous spot and a bit different to your average with all the driftwood. BYO hammock sounds genius! What a great place to spend an afternoon. I only just watched Castaway this year after realising it was a gap in my film knowledge – I can recommend it!

When ever I meet someone with the first name or last name Wilson, I always say in my head, WILSON!! (in the Tom Hanks scream of course!) lol.

This beach looks lovely! I love beaches where no one else is really around and you feel like you have the whole thing to yourself. The beach by my parents house is like that since it’s private. So my family always goes down with my dog and she can just run free. There is also a lot of driftwood at my home beach, although the water isn’t half as nice as this looks!

ahh that sounds glorious Lauren!! There’s a beach not to far from our home in Florida that has a dog beach area and my dog LOVES it!

Ahila Thillainathan

Lovely photos of the island beach. Have not watched Cast Away but can imagine the location as a potential for a movie on the shipwrecked and stranded theme.

Cast Away is a great movie, Ahila! and this beach was such a good find! 🙂

Gorgeous pictures! Wouldn’t mind re-enacting cast away there either 😀

It was an awesome day! Not your typical Florida beach so it was a nice change of pace! 🙂

How awesome! To be honest, I never saw Cast Away but if it looks anything like your pictures then maybe I should! haha #WanderfulWednesday

haha yes! it’s a great movie! tom hanks gives a phenomenal performance.

i have never seen castaway but i would definitely picture the beach to look like this. it looks beautiful and totally deserted. apart from you and the other boats of course 🙂

cast away it an awesome movie! I definitely recommended it! we definitely weren’t the only people there, but it also wasn’t crowded by any means, which was nice. I’m sure come winter time when tourism picks up in Florida its much busier.

Beer Can Island looks so beautiful! Even though they’re dead trees, the trees look so beautiful and really do create a crazy looking view of the island.

It was such a pleasant surprise! it’s really like no other beach i’ve seen here in florida.

That last picture of you is beautiful!!

Thank you! I tend to look awkward when I pose, but if someone just snaps random pictures of me they turn out amazing. haha.

I love discovering new places together! Great post!

thanks mack! you’re the best traveling partner!

I had no idea this was Beer Can Island! Great photos.. love the post. I’m going to have to go back there!

Our next photo shoot location this spring??! I think yes! 🙂

How fun! I love finding driftwood beaches on my travels. 🙂 There is one completely deserted island here in Charleston called Bulls Island which has a driftwood beach and no houses at all! I also love the driftwood beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia–it’s so romantic with all of the huge fallen trees. Adding this one to the itinerary the next time we’re in this part of Florida!

I’ve heard awesome things about Jekyll Island!! and of course, everyone I know raves about Charleston. I haven’t made it there yet, but I’m working on a girls trip there with some of my best friends for 2017!

Thank you so much! it was such an awesome find! 🙂

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