When the beach beacons, transplanted Floridians and tourists tend to migrate towards the Atlantic (Eastern) coast with it's long, wide, white beaches. That's ok, if you like fighting the tourists for a parking spot, risking getting run over by the beach patrol, the (low-ish) potential of getting nibbled on by a shark, or staying in a "condo" that's really nothing more than an over-glorified hotel room. True Floridians however, we tend to migrate towards the West Coast. No, not Santa Monica, Malibu, or any other Californian beach-side shithole...the Gulf of Mexico. Sure, the beaches aren't as wide and you can forget about surfing unless a tropical storm (or worse) is coming, but the one thing that sets it apart from the other coast is...you ain't gonna be fighting for space with the tourists.
Personally, I like Manasota Key, which is often referred to as "Englewood Beach". There are only three small public beaches along the Key, but between them is pretty much private homes with a scattering of vacation rentals. Step off the back deck...and you're on the beach. If the sand isn't completely empty, the nearest person (other than the occasional jogger) is a hundred yards away....which definitely appeals to my loner / antisocial sensibilities. Thankfully it's also been spared of those giant, ten-story (or more), view-killing condominiums...unlike every other beach in Florida. Hell, the largest condo (which is all but condemned thanks to Hurricane Charlie back in '04...and thanks to some seriously strict zoning laws) is only four stories tall.
If you get up early enough and your timing is right, you'll get to see baby Loggerhead Turtles emerging from their nests as they make a dash for the water. Look all you want, take all the pictures you want, but don't touch'em....that is unless you don't mind being referred to as a convicted felon.