Your Florida Beach Bucket List: 14 Spots to Visit at Least Once
If you’re looking for a great beach getaway, look no further than Florida. The Sunshine State is home to some of the best beaches in the country. Below we’ll review the cream of the crop – these are the best beaches in Florida. So pack your sunscreen, put on shades and get ready to hit the waves.
1. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is located on Florida’s Space Coast and is an excellent spot for surfing, fishing, or just lounging in the sun. This laid-back beach is a perfect spot for family fun and is home to the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop. There are plenty of activities to keep visitors busy in Cocoa Beach and the surrounding area.
Kayaking and paddle boarding are popular watersports on the Banana River or Indian River Lagoon. If you have your own gear, Parish Park Boat Ramp is an excellent spot to launch and park a kayak or boat trailer. Otherwise, Cocoa Kayaking can handle all your paddling needs.
2. South Beach
Welcome to South Beach—where the sun always shines, and the streets burst with stylish people, luxury cars, towering palm trees, and Art Deco architecture. A bustling seaside strip during the day, this iconic Miami beach transforms into a nightlife hotspot after dark. South Beach attracts visitors from all over who soak up its unique vibes.
Whether it’s yoga classes on the beach or late-night DJ sets at Nikki Beach Club, South Beach has something for everyone (who can resist all those beautiful people?)
And if you need a break from the energy of South Beach, take a beautiful drive south to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which has a beautiful family-friendly beach.
3. Henderson Beach State Park
Located in scenic Destin, Florida, this beautiful beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast has excellent opportunities for family fun. Building sand castles, playing in the surf, camping, and fishing are a few favorite pastimes.
You can often spot dolphins and sea turtles in Henderson Beach waters, so keep your eyes peeled. There’s also plenty of wildlife on land at the park, including bobcats and rabbits. Finally, the emerald-green water and white sand beaches make it an ideal spot for swimming and paddling.
4. Dry Tortugas National Park
The Dry Tortugas National Park is a beach paradise like no other. Its pristine sugar sand and turquoise waters make for a dreamy backdrop as you relax in the sunshine. The park is only reachable by ferry or seaplane, making it perfect for an isolated beach getaway.
Activities like snorkeling and scuba diving are perfect for water lovers to swim with sea turtles and colorful tropical fish. And don’t forget about Fort Jefferson, an iconic American history and culture symbol.
5. Fort Lauderdale Beach
Fort Lauderdale Beach has been a spring break mecca, but if you can avoid the crowds in March, you won’t regret it. Fort Lauderdale Beach is known for its beautiful beachfront promenade with bars and restaurants.
There are tons of great watersports in the area, including paddle boarding, boogie boarding, kayaking, or swimming in crystal clear waters. The best part is enjoying it all while soaking up the sun. If you need to rent a kayak, paddle board, or other gear, Las Olas Paddle Boards, Boats & Kayaks has everything you need.
If you prefer to step away from the beach, try Bluefoot Pirate Adventures or Flippos, a family fun center, which are great activities in the local area.
6. Grayton Beach State Park
Fine white sand and emerald green water make this one of the best Gulf Coast beaches. The beach is between Destin and Panama City, and there are plenty of beachgoing activities to pass the day, like swimming, sunbathing, and surf fishing. While the beach might be the main draw, the state park also delivers hiking trails, a coastal dune lake, and campgrounds.
Paddling and fishing are popular activities on Western Lake. And if you need to get your steps in, there are four miles of trails to explore. The best part about Grayton Beach State Park is that it’s not as busy as other Florida beaches, making it a great spot to unwind.
7. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is one of Florida’s best beaches, with pristine sand, turquoise waters, and a thriving beach town atmosphere. Located 25 miles from the Tampa-St Petersburg area on the Gulf Coast, Clearwater offers watersports, beach volleyball, and shopping.
You can wander along the white-sand beach or explore Pier 60. Or grab a bite to eat at one of the area restaurants, including Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, for a grouper sandwich.
If you’ve had your fill of soft sand between your toes, take a break at Clearwater Marine Aquarium to get up close with sea turtles, stingrays, and dolphins. Or take time to explore the best places nearby, including Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park.
8. Delray Beach
Delray Beach is a destination for Floridians and visitors looking for an unforgettable beach experience. Visitors will enjoy the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, whether you’re paddle boarding, snorkeling, or just soaking up the sun.
On top of that, it’s also one of the best sites in Florida for people-watching – from beach bums to partygoers, you’ll find a variety of characters enjoying the shore at Delray! With its gentle waves and crystal clear water, Delray Beach is one of South Florida’s most popular spots to spend an afternoon.
9. Siesta Key
With gentle waves, soft sand, and amazing sunsets, Siesta Key is one of the best Florida beaches, and for a good reason. With Siesta Key Beach, Turtle Beach, and Crescent Beach, there is no shortage of great places to relax and unwind on Florida’s west coast.
Water sports enthusiasts will have a blast swimming, boating, fishing, or stand-up paddle boarding off its emerald-green shores. Its natural beauty has even been the backdrop of an MTV reality show – “Siesta Key,” – highlighting the area’s charm and fun atmosphere. Finally, Siesta Key is an ideal beach destination if you want a romantic getaway or an unforgettable family vacation.
10. Amelia Island
Amelia Island is a barrier island on Florida’s east coast. Thirteen miles of wide open beaches, including a beautiful stretch along A1A, give visitors plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun and enjoy outdoor activities.
If horseback riding, catching a wave, or sitting quietly on the beach sounds fun, Amelia Island is a fantastic spot. On the island’s southern tip sits Amelia Island State Park, a beautiful Florida state park with trails and intercoastal waterways begging you to explore.
The surrounding area has excellent dining and shopping options. Stop by the Salty Pelican, where people come for fantastic seafood and views.
11. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Key West is home to lime pie, Caribbean culture, and colorful characters. It’s also home to one of Florida’s best beaches at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. Visitors have many options when it comes to exploring the 54-acre park.
Snorkeling and fishing are popular activities, as is lounging on the beach. This unique spot in the Florida Keys, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico meet, is a great place to watch the sunset after a day of playing at the beach.
12. Panama City Beach
Once considered the epicenter for spring break partiers, Panama City Beach’s raucous reputation has calmed down recently and turned into a fantastic beach destination year-round. The MTV sets no longer dominate the beach, leaving this beauty for families and beach lovers.
Visitors flock to Panama City Beach for the crystal-clear waters and miles of white sand beaches. And there is a multitude of opportunities to have fun in the sun, including watersports like jet skiing, windsurfing, fishing, and paddle boarding.
And when it’s time to relax and refuel, there are many tasty restaurants like The Wicked Wheel and Harpoon Harrys.
13. Santa Rosa Beach
Nestled on the Gulf of Mexico, Santa Rosa Beach is a fantastic beach community in South Walton. Santa Rosa Beach is smack dab in the middle of Pensacola Beach to the west and Panama City Beach to the east, with plenty of soft, sandy beaches and smaller crowds in between.
Also, visitors can enjoy nearby hotspots like Grayton Beach State Park and Henderson Beach State Park. In addition to the traditional watersports activities, this area boasts other excellent attractions that tourists love. And if you have had your fill of sunning, swimming and parasailing, take a break at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park or grab a bite at Stinky’s Fish Camp.
14. Daytona Beach
With 23 miles of beaches, Daytona Beach has plenty of outdoor activities to keep people busy. Yes, there are all kinds of watersports, including fishing, jet skiing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. Still, there is more to do in Daytona Beach than getting sand in your shorts.
If you want to step away from the beach and enjoy all the area has to offer, two wheels is a great way to go. Bicyclists and motorcyclists always enjoy a tour of “The Loop,” a 34-mile route to explore the natural beauty of Daytona Beach. In addition, the city has plenty of bike trails for leisurely pedaling in the sunshine.
If you get your thrills on the track, a trip to Daytona Beach is only complete with a visit to Daytona International Speedway. Race cars take center stage in the NASCAR series event.
Which Ones Will You Enjoy in 2023?
A Florida Beach vacation is an excellent way to relax and get away from it all. Florida has beaches for just about every taste, whether it’s a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation. From Siesta Key to Daytona Beach, there are plenty of excellent beaches in the Sunshine State.
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