15 Most Popular Beaches in Florida You Must Visit

By Rucha Devarchetti on Jun 06, 2017
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Summer is about to begin and so is the season of beaches and water sports. Just glimpsing through the photographs of sandy beaches seem to call out to you, urging you to take a dip in the water or work on that tan. America’s favourite beach destination, Florida, gears up for some summer fun around this time. Florida’s beaches await the water lovers wanting to cool off in the crystal-clear waves and play in the powdery sands. Here is a list of some of the most popular beaches in Florida.

1. Clearwater Beach, Clearwater

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Like its name, the Clearwater Beach in Florida is one of the most pristine beaches on the East Coast. The 2.4-mile stretch of the white sand beach is in fact a barrier island. It is flanked by the Caladesi Island State Park to the north and the Sand Key Park in the south. Thanks to its location just off the western coast of Florida, the Clearwater Beach witnesses dazzling sunsets that add a special glow to the reflecting waters. One place from where you can enjoy the golden evenings is Pier 60. The fishing pier plays host to the daily event ‘Sunsets at Pier 60’ that is made up of street and musical performances. You will find restaurants, cafes and resorts lined up along the Beach Walk. Walking along this track, you will come across beach showers, water fountains and bicycle racks for those visiting the beach. Clearwater beach is full of activities like jet skiing, parasailing, boat tours, pirate ship cruises etc. You are likely to see dolphins in the water along the island when going on a boat tour. Clearwater Beach is ready to welcome you to some fun once you get off the State Road 60 culminating near the fishing pier.

2. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key

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Another beach that has attracted the attention of tourists in Florida is located on the barrier island of Siesta Key. The Siesta Key Beach is known more for its sand than the water. It is claimed that this sand is the whitest and finest in the world and feels cool under your feet. This unbelievable feat is thanks to the sand being 99% quartz and not coral. Fret not, you can still see corals and other marine animals on the southern end of the beach, also known as the Crescent Beach. One of the rumours about this gentle sand on the Siesta Beach is that it came from the Appalachian Mountains to the north of Florida. Whatever may be its origins, the sand is a wonder which is visited by hundreds of tourists every year. Speaking about the water of the Siesta beach; it runs quite shallow near the shore. This is, in fact, one the safest beaches in Florida. The gulf waters run much warmer than those of the Atlantic coast. This beach is ideal for a romantic getaway with your partner. Curl up with your loved ones on the pure sand and watch the sunset from the west-facing beach on Siesta Key Island.

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3. Key West Island

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Situated off the southernmost tip of Florida, Key West Island is home to several beaches as well as the Port of Key West. The City Marina at Garrison Bright is the place where the Historic Charter Boat Rows happen. Holidaying with your pets? Head to the Dog Beach on the Atlantic side where your furry friends can take a splash in the ocean. Explore the historic waterfront of Key West Island from the Ferry Terminal. The island’s historic aspect continues with the African Cemetery near the Higgs Beach. Check out the fleet docked at the Key West Bright Marina. Families visiting the island can spend the day picnicking at the Rest Beach. Join your children for searching shells at this beach. If you are into boating, visit the Simonton Street Beach. Water sporting takes place along the stretch of the Smathers Beach. You can also play a game of volleyball at one of the courts here. Enjoy the Atlantic waters at the South Beach.

4. Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola

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This seashore is a group of barrier islands that are a part of the National Park along the Gulf of Mexico. The park is divided between the states of Florida and Mississippi. Perdido Key, Pensacola Beach, and Santa Rosa Island fall in the territorial area of Florida State. The Naval Live Oaks Preservation on the mainland is also a part of the park. Starting from the east, the Santa Rosa Island is home to many attractions in the park. It was the location of the Battle of Santa Rosa during the Civil War. The Confederates made a failed attempt to capture Fort Pickens on the western end of the island. Today, visitors can take a tour of the fort or camp at the grounds near the beachfront.

While getting to the national park from the city of Pensacola via US Highway 95, you will cross the Naval Live Oaks Nature Reservation and Pensacola Beach. You can take nature trails in the reservation and check out the beautiful oaks. Stroll along the pristine sands of the Pensacola Beach. A picnic is highly recommended at the Rosamond Johnson Beach on the Perdido Key Island. Check out the gorgeous marine life like the sea turtles, beach mouse, piping plover, pelicans etc. on this island. All this and more wait for you at the end of Florida Highway 292.

5. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin

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To the north of Clearwater Beach is the Caladesi Island State Park. If you are looking for some adventure on your Floridian vacation, you cannot miss this island. Shelling, boating, snorkelling, swimming, fishing, kayaking; you name the activity and it is available on this Florida beach. There are bathhouses and picnic pavilions on the beach. Like the Clearwater Beach, the sands here are soft and white, perfectly contrasted with the azure water. Once you have played to your heart’s content in the sea, check out the natural habitat of some of the wild animals and birds in the green cover of the island. You will see trees like oaks, saw palmettos and palm when hiking on the nature trail.

To get to the Caladesi Island State Park, take a ferry from Honeymoon Island in the north. Or if you are visiting Clearwater, simply start walking northwards from the beach and you will come across the board welcoming you to state park.

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6. Miami Beach

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Miami Beach is a municipality in the Miami County, different from the city of Miami. This municipality is broadly divided into three parts – North Beach, Mid Beach and South Beach. The Mid and North Beach are often considered to be one neighbourhood. It is a relatively quiet and peaceful neighbourhood. Fancy a bit of history? Pay a visit to the Collins Waterfront Architectural District. This is where the first settlement in Miami Beach set up their base. You will see plenty of different architectural styles in the buildings, mostly constructed in the 50s and 60s. You can spend your evenings walking on the boardwalk in Mid Beach. Surf on the waters of the Haulover Beach. There are very few travel enthusiasts in the world that have not hear about South Beach Miami. Seaside, entertainment, art, and luxury have an established presence in this district. The beach is home of parks like Flamingo Park and Lummus Park where you can play sports or relax on the sands. The latter is close to the party hub of Ocean Drive. Do not forget to check out the South Pointe Beach which is the southernmost tip of the municipality. South Beach is also active in the art scene of Miami, as witnessed by the Art Center Public Gallery and the Bass Museum of Art.

You can get into Miami Beach via US Highway 195. Check out some of the beat beaches in Miami

7. Pass-a-Grille Beach

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Pass-a-Grille Beach is on the southernmost tip of the St. Pete beach city. This area was discovered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century and was made into a holiday destination as early as the 19th century. You can journey back in time to see some of the popular landmarks and architectural styles by visiting the Historic District in Pass-a-Grille. The beach here is kissed by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. One of the characteristic features of this gulf is its green water which gives a special look to the white sand near Pass-a-Grille. The next best attraction in this town is the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum. It encompasses the story of this charming area and is housed in a building near the church. Besides the museum, you can check out the boutiques, fishing piers, parks, outdoor markets and shops, all located within walking distance of each other.

8. Delray Beach

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Party animals visiting Florida need to hit Delray Beach City. It is claimed that this city has the best nightlife in South Florida. During the day, you can head to the Delray Beach. You can rent a chair to soak up the sun or choose an umbrella to lie back on the sand. There are many volleyball nets on the beach for sports freaks. You will find showers at the entrance of the beach. In case you are worried about safety, there are plenty of lifeguard stands along the length of the beach. Close to the southern end of the beach is the Anchor Park, a public park where children can play while on picnics with their families. Explore the coastline on a yacht cruise at midday or sunset. Fishing and surfing can be done close to the Intracoastal Waterway. Discover the remains of steamship Inchulva on a snorkelling trip near the coast. Tennis lovers can opt to play a game at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. Not just the beach on the east, the city of Delray Beach can also be explored on your vacation.

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9. Sanibel Beach

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Sanibel Beach is one of the best beaches in Florida to visit with your family. The main attraction of the beach here is the presence of hundreds of shells, sponges, and sand dollars. You will also find seaweed and other aquatic plants growing along the beach. Though they give the beach strip a wild and rustic look, they are a part of the natural charm and ecology of the beach. The reason why so many shells are washed up to the beach by the Gulf of Mexico is because the island on which Sanibel is located is in fact a part of a plateau. This topography allows seashells to be deposited onto the beach. If you are lucky, you may even find the precious brown-spotted Junonia shells. Do not be disappointed if you don’t find them on the beach, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum has plenty of these in stock. The beaches along the Sanibel Causeway are great spots for fishing or windsurfing. Explore the bountiful nature of the Lighthouse Beach at one of the nature trails near the Sanibel Lighthouse. Get into a boat and explore Sanibel Island in entirety.

10. West Palm Beach

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West Palm Beach, stretching along the length of the S Ocean Boulevard, is in fact on the eastern coast of the barrier island of Palm Beach. A list of the best party hubs in Florida is incomplete without the name of Palm Beach City. Equally famous is West Palm Beach. This is one of the safest beaches in Florida due to the mild currents and the presence of lifeguards along the beaches. Go underwater at the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park or at the Breaker’s Reef. The former is full of aquatic animals, kayaks, mangroves and hiking trails. Frequent visitors have often seen rockets being launched into the sky from Cape Canaveral. Try and catch one such launch in the evening, when the ocean water reflecting the rocket cutting through the sky. The entire stretch of the beach on this island can be discovered on a bicycle tour along the Intracoastal Waterway. Explore West Palm Beach tours with TripHobo.

11. Naples Beach

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Looking for a beach to relax? Head to the city of Naples in Florida. The western front of the city is home to one of the longest beaches, spanning nearly 10 miles. Like most Floridian beaches, this beach is clean and full of white sand. It is exceptionally clean, a factor that adds beauty to the surroundings. Walking along the beach, you will come to the Naples Pier, a local landmark. Since this pier extends into the water in the west, it is a wonderful place to enjoy warm sunsets. Waters around the pier are full of fish and you will often see people sitting with lines falling into the water. The canals are also a great place to catch fresh fish. Pack your family for a picnic at the sea on Vanderbuilt Beach. There are freshwater showers, picnic tables, boat ramps and plenty of lifeguards for safety. Take a romantic walk with your partner at the Clam Pass Beach boardwalk. Naples is full of golf courses if you want to enjoy a game near the sea. These courses are open for public tours too.

12. Fort Lauderdale

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Often called the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale is all about sand and water. The main city is separated from the beach strip by a maze of canals. The waterways often serve as a harbour for speedboats, yachts and other sailing apparatus. Take a stroll at the Bahia Mar Marina which docks luxurious boats and yachts. You can take a river cruise and explore the waterway network on the shore. Deep sea fishing is an option for the adventurous visitor in Fort Lauderdale. Sandwiched in the middle of the canal system and the open sea is the Fort Lauderdale Beach, often known as just The Strip. It is bordered by an array of shops and restaurants where you can sit back and watch the seaside activities. Snorkelling and scuba diving is up for grabs on the beach. There are several piers extending into the sea. Large quantities of fish are caught at these piers every day. Discover the beauties of Fort Lauderdale, one of the most famous beach strips in Florida.  

13. Fort De Soto Park

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The Fort De Soto Park is a collection of six islands near Tierra Verde in Florida. They were formerly used as military fortifications and there are museums like the Quartermaster Storehouse Museum that exhibit this history for visitors. There are plenty of shallows near these islands. Wading anglers are a common sight in these shallows. Designated swimming areas are at the North and the East beach, the former being one of the most popular beaches in Florida. Pick up your fishing gear and hear to the pier or rent equipment right there. Do not forget to check out the boat ramp. You will also find designated picnic and camping areas at various places on the islands. Nature trails, canoe trails, multi-purpose trails are all a part of the tourist attractions in the park. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the Fort De Soto Park.

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14. Honeymoon Island State Park

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One of the barrier islands off the coast of the Palm harbour is home to the Honeymoon Island State Park. Keep driving west on the Causeway Boulevard and it will drop you at the park. The islands were a part of the larger barrier island that divided itself into this and the neighbouring Caladesi Island when a hurricane struck. The island owes its name to the private vacationing huts that were promoted as a honeymoon destination to encourage tourist inflow. Visitors to the park often go hiking or to watch the birds that call this park home. Sunbathers are a common sight on the sands here. There are bathhouses on the beach to freshen up after a swim. Some of the beach strips are covered with fossilized coral. Pay a visit to the Rotary Centennial Nature Center to learn about the natural and cultural history of the park. Planning a romantic getaway with your partner? Honeymoon Island is the place to choose.

15. Amelia Islands

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Looking for a beach that looks gorgeous in the mornings? You should check out the city of Amelia Islands. It is located on the southernmost part of a chain of barrier islands that stretches from the north of Florida to South Carolina. Since it is on the east coast of the state, sunrise is the best time to hit the beach. Once the sun is up, you can head to the Main Beach Park for a game of volleyball or skating. Families often visit the park for a picnic. For those wanting a little more rustic feel, head to the Little Talbot State Park. This island is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands in the state. Minimum human interference has led to a flourishing wildlife system in this park. You will come across animals like river otters, marsh rabbits and migratory birds when visiting the park. The beaches near Amelia Island can be explored on horseback too. These islands are separated from the mainland by water channels but state highways connect them to each other and the mainland as well.

This is our list of the best beaches in the state of Florida. Explore all of this and more on your vacation in Florida.

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