Florida has hundreds of miles of coastline and a huge variety of beaches depending on just where precisely you’re at in the state. The east coast of Florida welcomes in the cold Atlantic waters and these beaches attract surfers for the rougher waters and divers for the wreck diving as the docking ships left behind all sorts of treasures. On the other coast though, the Gulf of Mexico offers year-round bathtub temperature water and green salty waters with gentler waves.
South Beach in Miami Florida ranks as one of the most fun beaches in the state!
Top Beaches in Florida
And if the coasts of the state don’t appeal, also consider the islands of the south; with a mix of Caribbean, Gulf, and Atlantic waters creating pretty and clear waters down past Miami and into the Florida Keys. Let’s take a look at some of the best Florida has to offer:
Panama City Beach
Panhandle, Panama City
Let’s be honest here, you’ve heard of Panama Beach because it rapidly rose to fame as the spring break capital of the United States (maybe warring with another Florida beach, Daytona Beach, for that title). The thing is though, Panama Beach used to rank on the list as stunningly gorgeous before all of the rapid over-development, which brings it down to pretty. Panama Beach pulses with life and if this is your cup of tea then you’ll love the nightlife here and can even stop in at the largest nightclub in the U.S. for drinks and fun.
West Coast, Naples
You’ll get a completely different vibe at Naples Beach even though it’s nearly as popular as Panama Beach, its claim to fame is very different. Enjoy a weekend vacation to Naples beach and take in the pretty Gulf of Mexico before heading out for a late morning walk of the famous Millionaires’ Row. This famous part of the city demonstrates the wealth that is rampant in Naples, which is perhaps why this beach, though developed, is impeccably clean. Stay for the evening and be wowed by a sunset at the Naples Pier.
West Coast, Tampa Bay
Fine white soft sand, relaxed beach culture and a gentle nightlife bring Clearwater Beach to the top of my list. None of the partying and wealth is present, it’s really just a fairly normal beach most of the year. The bars and restaurants are right on the beach, but the party scene is tame and you’ll find more of the 30-something crowd enjoying evening peers than your 21-year-old partiers that frequent other Florida beaches.
South Florida, Miami
No self-respecting list of beaches in Florida can stand without extolling the virtues of South Beach since it’s arguably the most famous of Florida’s many miles of sandy white beaches. South Beach is as much about the sand and water as it is about the international nightlife scene that is infused with a jolt of both Cuban and Latin American dance culture. These southern flavors add a unique spice to the beach culture and add an entirely different element. As for the beach itself, not just the town, the water is clean and cool and surprisingly busy all day long as morning hours joggers take in the sand and sun and topless sunbathers enjoy the gentler morning rays.
East Coast, North of Boca Raton
Delray Beach is an example of an East Coast beach done just exactly right; although the beach gets one million visitors a year it maintains a small village-like feel that nearby beaches just don’t possess. This is also a really popular beach for families and you won’t find any of the youthful drinking shenanigans of some of the others in the state!
West Coast, Sarasota Bay
Perhaps the best family vacation spot on the list, the beaches of Siesta Key are as relaxed as the gently lapping Gulf Waters. There are a lot of playgrounds, picnic tables, and child-friendly spots and you can find a lovely little cottage near the sand and water for a great price. Also, consider this for a couples getaway and dine by candlelight at some of the nicer restaurants in town. This ranks as one of my favorite beaches in the state!
South Islands, The Keys
Key West sits right at the tip of the Florida Keys and has a culture unlike any other spot in the United States — and that includes any place in Florida! They call it the Conch Republic and the culture and vibe down there is just as good a reason to visit the Keys as the light sand shorelines and turquoise blue waters. The town has many sides and while you can party on Duval Street, families can also take in the nightly entertainment on the boardwalk.