BEST BEACHES IN FLORIDA

July 26, 2021

Florida has one of the longest saltwater shorelines in the United States, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says the state has 570 beaches with a total beach length of 902 miles.

Delray BeachDelray Beach Public Beach
Flickr/Mberjano

Our list of the best Florida beaches is organized by the eight geographical regions of the state.  Just click on the links below to see the beaches or scroll down the page to enjoy them all.

NORTHWEST FLORIDA BEACHES

Grayton Beach State ParkGrayton Beach State Park

    Grayton Beach State Park. This is on Scenic Highway 30A and has not only wonderful beaches but all kinds of hiking, camping, kayaking and other outdoor activities and the quaint village of Grayton Beach.

    Panama City, beaches stretch both east and west.  The best beaches are on the 28.5 mile long Scenic Highway 30A that runs from just west of Panama City Beach toward Destin.

    Pensacola, great beaches all the way to the Alabama line.  The beaches in this area are broad and white, and one of the best is the Gulf Coast National Seashore.

    Seaside, wonderful beaches soft white sand.  This is a "new urban" community that inspired several others along this coast.  The waters are emerald green and clear and the beaches are soft white sand.

    Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach.  Beautiful sand dunes are the trademark of this park.  It is so named because old sailors back in the day would see it from the ships and swear the white sand dunes looked the sails of square rigged sailing vessels.

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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA BEACHES

Tubing on the Ichetucknee RiverTubing on the Ichetucknee River
    There are not many really swimmable beaches along the marshy saltwater shores of this part of Florida.  A Florida tradition, however, is enjoying the many springs in the area.
    Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White. A Florida tradition is floating down the spring fed crystal clear Ichetucknee River on an inner tube.  You can rent the tube and they will pick you up downstream at the end of the trip. 

NORTHEAST FLORIDA BEACHES

Flagler BeachFlagler Beach
    Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine.  This is a quiet park with miles of white sand beaches.  It is convenient to downtown St. Augustine with its many historical attractions.
    Flagler Beach, no condos on the ocean side.  State Road A1A hugs the beach for miles and there is no room for houses or condos.  A very unusual unobstructed view for Florida, and some nice quiet beaches.

    Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach.  The white sand beach here extends along the Atlantic Ocean and on into St. Marys Inlet.  It is convenient to scenic Fernandina Beach.
    Jacksonville Beaches. Numerous beaches near Jacksonville, including the towns of Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach, all of them beautiful.

CENTRAL EAST FLORIDA BEACHES

Melbourne BeachMelbourne Beach
    Brevard County Parks and Recreation, some of the best beaches in the state are in Brevard County with one of the longest Atlantic Ocean shorelines in the country with soft sand beaches. The best and most secluded beaches are between Melbourne Beach and Sebastian Inlet.
    Cherie Down Park, Cape Canaveral.  Small county park in quiet neighborhood.  This park is close to Port Canaveral and has a nice view of ships coming in and out.  It is also a great place for watching rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center.
    Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna and Titusville. This is a 24 mile long undeveloped beach on the barrier island.  There are several public beaches with nice parking areas.  Two of the beaches are clothing optional and well isolated from the others.
    Cocoa Beach, lots of activity and a great ocean pier.  The beaches here are popular for walking and surfing.  This town is the location of the famous Ron Jon's Surf Shop.
    Indialantic, public boardwalk and miles of beach.  There are many parks along the city's oceanfront and plenty or public access points.
    Melbourne Beach.  This area of the state has many public access beaches, all nice.  Melbourne Beach has avoided the typical beachfront highrise condos and hotels, and the area from here south to Sebastian Inlet has wonderful beaches.
    Vero Beach. The municipal beach on the Atlantic Ocean, downtown beachside, is one of the best beaches in Florida.

CENTRAL FLORIDA BEACHES

DeLeon Springs State ParkDeLeon Springs State Park

Landlocked Central Florida has thousands of residential, public, and commercial swimming pools but no real beaches.  They do, however, have some nice springs that are great for sunning and swimming.

Alexander Springs is a recreational area in the Ocala National Forest.  The cool spring is a popular summer swimming attraction for Central Florida.

DeLeon Springs State Park in north of DeLand and has a large spring popular with swimmers.  It also is the location of a popular historic restaurant where you make your own pancakes at your table.

Wekiwa Springs State Park is in the Orlando metro area and has a wonderful large spring that attracts so many people in the summer that the sometimes have to close the park.

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CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA BEACHES

Fort DeSotoFort DeSoto
    Pinellas County Beaches, dozens of them from Clearwater to Pass A Grille, including Fort DeSoto Park at the southern end of the county on the Gulf.  There are many parks with public access, and hundreds of Mom and Pop seaside motels.
    Sarasota, all its beaches and barrier islands.  White sand and luxury. 
    Siesta Key is among the nicest along this stretch of beaches. Many residences and high rise condos, but also beautiful beaches with public access.
    Venice, nice beaches in town and on Casey Key.  Venice Beach is very popular and the beach has great sand and quite often will expose a weathered shark's tooth to take home as a souvenir.

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA BEACHES

Englewood BeachEnglewood Beach

    Anna Maria Island, end of road town with quiet beach.  There are three small towns on the island with nice clean beaches:  Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach.

    Boca Grande
    , miles of uncrowded beautiful sand.  This isolated island at the end of the road was the playground for the rich and famous during the Gilded Age of the past.  Now the rich still live there but you and I can enjoy the public beaches at Gasparilla Island State Park.

    Captiva Island, and Sanibel. Miles of white sand beach and sea shells.  My grandmother developed the famous "Sanibel Stoop" so called because of the posture that avid shell collectors assume while hunting for shells in the sand.

Sanibel IslandSanibel Island

    Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples.  This is a busy park with a wonderful beach just south of Wiggins Pass on the north side of Naples.

    Fort Myers Beach, busy beach on Gulf.  This is a great family beach with plenty of things to do that keep the kids happy, but just enough peace and quiet for the parents also.

    Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach.  A very long and quiet stretch of white sand that stretches south from Fort Myers Beach to Bonita Springs.

Seagate Beach, NaplesSeagate Beach, Naples

    Englewood.  Charming small town with great beaches.  The town is surrounded by sprawling developments but still retains its quiet small town charm.

    Marco Island, Tigertail Beach and other white sand beaches. Many of the beaches on Marco Island are crowded during peak season, but Tigertail seems to be one of the quietest.

    Naples Beaches. Every east-west avenue in Naples ends at a beautiful white sand beach with a dune crossover. Every one of them is among the best  beaches in Florida.

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SOUTHEAST FLORIDA BEACHES

Bahia Honda State ParkBahia Honda State Park
    Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key.  One of few sand beaches in the Keys.  You can swim, camp, fish at this park and make it your headquarters for exploring the Florida Keys.

    Delray Beach. Numerous beaches within the city limits with easy access to the ocean.  The Delray Municipal Beach is one of the best, with 1.5 miles of undeveloped beachfront that attractions millions of visitors.

    Fort Lauderdale, great beaches with lots of dining and drinking places. It was the location of the movie "Where The Boys Are" and still attracts a youthful crowd.
    Lauderdale-by-the-Sea north of Fort Lauderdale has some beautiful quiet beaches and not so many highrise condos on the ocean.

    Haulover Beach. Great white sand, clothing optional but people with swim suits are welcome also in a separate area.
Cape Florida Lighthouse, Key BiscayneCape Florida Lighthouse, Key Biscayne

SPECIAL FEATURE

Community boosters often get together and come up with catchy names that are designed to represent the features of their oceanfront.  Some catch on, others not so much.

FLORIDA'S 12 COASTS AND THEIR NICK NAMES

A statewide resource page on this website is beach and seashell related with day trip recommendations to other beaches, shell museums and other popular attractions.

  READ ABOUT FLORIDA BEACHES AND SEASHELLS



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