THE 12 BEST Florida Beaches (with Photos)
Florida is one of the most popular beach destinations in the world, nicknamed the “Sunshine State” of the United States of America because of the warm climate throughout the year. Between the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines, Florida’s beaches do not lack the rich marine biodiversity, sandy beaches, and clear turquoise waters that draw large crowds of visitors who are in for some beach and waterfront activities. From the white sands of Siesta Beach and the fur-friendly Jupiter Dog Beach to the “no clothes required” Haulover Beach, prepare to soak up the sun in some of Florida’s best beaches.
Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Sarasota
Siesta Beach, or Siesta Key Beach, boasts one of the world’s finest and whitest sand, made of 99 percent pure quartz that remains cool under the summer sun’s heat. Visitors will have no trouble looking for a place to lie down in the vast expanse of the coast. Although the beach is relatively safe, a sheriff’s office and lifeguard towers are located across the beach.
The northern and southern end of Siesta Beach is the quietest, perfect for tranquil walks along the shore, while the central beach, close to the main parking area, is where the volleyball courts, picnic areas, public restrooms, and beach shops are located.
South Beach, Miami Beach, Miami-Dade
Composed of three beaches with their own personality, Miami Beach is the most visited beach neighborhood in Florida. While North Beach and Middle Beach are known for their relaxing, laid-back atmosphere, South Beach has become one of Miami’s iconic and popular beaches. There are plenty of fun activities to try, like people-watching, volleyball, paddle boarding, surfing, and jet skiing, and plenty of boutiques, bars, and restaurants to explore.
Miami South Beach is also home to Art Deco Historic District, where hotels, restaurants, and prominent buildings are designed in Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern styles.
Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Pinellas
Clearwater Beach lives up to its name, with the crystal-clear waters from the Gulf Coast that meet the white sand beach. Clearwater Beach invites visitors to try out various activities, like paddle boarding, parasailing, kayaking, fishing, joining sightseeing and dolphin cruises, watching the sunset at Pier 60, and visiting the rescued marine animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
The friendly and casual beach also has shallow waters and play areas, ideal for families with little children. A Beach Walk Promenade, great for morning jogs, evening walks, pushing a baby stroller, bike rides, and rollerblading.
North Beach at Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Pinellas
Fort De Soto Park is a historic park that spans more than 1,000 acres and five islands. But its most popular beach is the North Beach, where little children can play in the azure waters from the Gulf Coast, splash around a natural tidal pool, and collect seashells.
North Beach also connects to a seven-mile multi-purpose paved trail for hikers, runners, and cyclists. The expansive Fort De Soto Park has other beaches, such as Dog Beach, East Beach, and Gulf Pier Beach.
Pensacola Beach, Escambia
Pensacola Beach has a bit of everything for everyone, which is excellent for those visiting Florida for the first time. The parking lot is free, there are various shopping, dining, and entertainment options to try, and the beach is wide and long. The waters are relatively calmer and shallower at the height of summer, and beachgoers can see the peaceful waves from the boardwalk that extends almost 1,500 feet out into the ocean.
Jupiter Dog Beach, North Palm Beach
Jupiter Dog Beach is one of Florida’s best and few remaining dog-friendly and off-leash beach areas. Jupiter’s Town Council adopted this policy in 1989. Paw prints are scattered across the 2.5-mile stretch of sand that dogs are free to explore. Because of the off-leash policy, owners must be conscientious of other beachgoers, and their four-legged company must be behaved, obedient and well-socialized.
Cocoa Beach, Brevard
Cocoa Beach is well-known for its intense waves and strong winds, two essential factors when surfing, kiteboarding, and parasailing. Apart from thrilling beach activities, the expansive shoreline ensures families and beachgoers ample space to set up their blankets and beach umbrellas. Visitors can also walk along the Cocoa Beach Boardwalk, lined with boutiques and restaurants, and get remarkable beach views. Other things to do near Cocoa Beach include visiting surf- and space-themed museums, like the Florida Surf Museum and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and wildlife sanctuaries, like the Banana River Aquatic Preserve and Helen & Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary.
Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, Lee
Bowman’s Beach is a popular family-friendly beach on Sanibal Island. Its raw and undeveloped beauty is a magnet for beachgoers looking to collect seashells, ride the gentle waves and watch the soft-hued sunsets without the big crowds. Despite seeing little development, the beach is perfect for windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, and canoeing. Visitors can enjoy long walks along the shore while taking unobstructed views of the beach.
Crandon Park Beach, Key Biscayne, Miami-Dade
Crandon Park Beach is Key Biscayne’s gem, a 2-mile sandy beach rich in wildlife, wetlands, and beach activities. The gentle waters of the beach match its mellow atmosphere, an appealing ambiance that several beachgoers look for. Visitors can spend a day golfing, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and kiteboarding or visiting nearby conservation centers like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center.
Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Pinellas
Caladesi Island State Park is renowned for its 3.5-mile pristine white sand beach brimming with bird life, seashells, and mangrove trees. The beach is one of the few untouched islands along the Gulf Coast, accessible only by ferry or on foot via Clearwater Beach. Visitors can kayak through the mangrove forest, trek straight into the island, and even set camp. Other activities include boat camping, fishing, swimming, picnicking, and shelling. There is also a concession stand, restaurant, restroom facilities, and picnic pavilions around the island.
Fort Lauderdale Beach, Broward
Fort Lauderdale Beach resembles Miami Beach because it is a center of tourist-related activities, some of the best dining and shopping options, luxurious resorts, and fancy yachts. The 7-mile white sand beach is one of the nicest beaches in Fort Lauderdale, where visitors can bask under the sun, strong along the boardwalk, and enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean. Families and friends can enjoy sandcastle building, jet skiing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing.
Haulover Beach, Miami-Dade
Haulover Beach is a 1.5-mile family-friendly beach recognized for its cerulean waters and impressive swells favored by surfers and bodyboarders. At the same time, Haulover Beach is one of the oldest and officially recognized public nude beaches in Florida. The beach is unofficially divided into three sections: families, non-families, and LGBTQ+. The scenic beach also has an off-leash dog park, a tennis court, and a nine-hole golf course.
Whether traveling solo or with families or friends, it’s best to pack what’s needed and necessary. These include sun protection, swimwear, electronics like a phone charger, cash on hand, and travel requirements such as travel visas, passports, and booking confirmations.
How to get there
The best ways to get to Florida are either by land or air. Some of Florida’s major airports are Miami International Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Daytona Beach International Airport, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Other airports can be found across Florida’s counties. Interstate highways also connect to Florida, including Interstate 95, 75, and 10.
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