View of the historic, mysterious sculpture garden carved into 1,100 tons of coral rock by Edward Leedskalnin with people enjoying the gardens in Homestead near Miami Florida

Relax on a Beach

Known for its year-round warm temperatures and sunshine, Florida is famous for its top beaches in the world. Florida has the longest coastline in the continuous USA with 1,350 statue miles and 663 miles of accessible beaches to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, swim, surf, paddle, dive or just relax, you’re never more than 75 miles from the shore. Florida is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast. Florida offers hundreds of free public beach access points along the coasts with restroom facilities and other amenities. Often, you’ll find shower facilities, affordable parking, trash receptacles, and lifeguards at many beaches. Many beaches are accessible and offer use of complimentary beach wheelchairs.   Water temperatures are ideal from April through October, but many will venture for a swim year-round especially in the Florida Keys or along the south Florida beaches. Often, the Gulf of Mexico is slightly warmer than the Atlantic.  From partying on the beach with your best girlfriends or bros to spending time with the whole family to enjoying nature in the nude, there is a beach in Florida for you.

red bridge through bamboo forest

Panhandle Beaches

The Florida Panhandle beaches are known as the Emerald Coast for its clear emerald-green colored water, and are located in the North West of Florida. Florida’s Emerald Coast consists of St. George Island, Santa Rosa Beach, Sandestin, Perdido Key, Pensacola Beach, Panama City Beach, Navarre Beach, Miramar Beach, Fort Walton, and Destin. Also known for its soft, sparkling-white, sugar-like sand made almost entirely from quartz, the area has also been called the Sugar Coast. The Emerald Coast beaches boast a calm shore with gentle waves perfect for families with children who want to swim. Panama City Beach in particular is a popular spring break party destination.

North East Beaches

The beaches of North East Florida stretch up to the Florida-Georgia Line and include notable beaches such as Jacksonville Beach, St. Augustine, Amelia Island, and Fernandina Beach. The Jacksonville Area Beaches are known for top surfing in Florida with the coasts’ choppy waves, strong currents, and sharp drop off points which make the the best waves for surfing in the area. The North East beaches are some of the most historic in Florida with Daytona Beach being the first spring break party destination in the world and continues the tradition with hot nightlife. St. Augustine’s coastline is dotted with history, being the oldest city in the United States. With a long history of piracy and shipwrecks in St. Augustine, you might just find some treasure washed up on the beaches!  While the waves on the North East beaches are stronger than those on the Gulf, families will  still enjoy relaxing, walking along the coast, picnicking, sunbathing, or collecting sea shells.

Large archway gate with sign leading into Fountain of Youth property
exterior outdoor photo of dezerland park orlando with a curved red roof and tall windows with a variety of antique historic classic collectable cars parked out front

Central East Beaches

The beaches on the Central East coast are the closest to Walt Disney World, Universal and the Orlando attractions. Famous for the Kennedy Space Center, the area is called the Space Coast and boasts more public access points than any other community. Watch the cruise ships sail in or out from the coast at Cape Canaveral or catch a rocket launch over the ocean. Canaveral National Seashore is home to two federally designated nude or “naturalist” beaches on Playalinda and Apollo beaches for adults to enjoy. Cocoa Beach is one of the most popular beaches in central Florida and well-known for surfing with the world’s largest Ron Jon surf shop.

Central West Beaches

Known as the gulf side, the beaches on Florida’s west coast boast sparkling clear blue water and gentle waves on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches on Florida’s west coast have made many top ten lists. Clearwater and St. Pete Beach in particular is known for beautiful sunsets, soft sand, and tons of nightlife. Tarpon Springs is famous for its Greek heritage and sponge diving industry. Fort De Soto State Park features beautiful ecosystems from the beaches of the five islands to the mangroves, wetlands, and hammocks. Indian Rocks and Madeira beaches are known for being family friendly and good for kids. All of the beaches on the west coast are known for their stunning sunsets and bird watching.

people stand under giant alligator mouth entrance to gatorland orlando the alligator capital of the world in 1949
arial view of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse with an American flag in front, surrounded by trees, people walking on brick paved pathway with lights illuminating the lighthouse at dusk with a pink purple and blue sky and big puffy blue colored clouds

South East Beaches

The beaches of South East Florida radiate luxury and upscale lifestyles with a Caribbean and Latin flair. The southern beaches boast warmer weather year round perfect for beach goers looking to enjoy the shore during the winter.  The most popular beach in Florida, Miami Beach, is famous for the hot nightlife and lifestyles of the rich, famous, and beautiful. Haulover Beach in Miami is one of the most famous and oldest official nude beaches.  More relaxed than Miami Beach, the long and wide boardwalks in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood offer a more relaxed and family friendly atmosphere. Fort Lauderdale, also known as the Venice of North America has the most boats and yachts per area where water taxis and gondolas float down the many canals, and many water crafts enjoy the Atlantic Ocean. The Palm Beaches boast excellent diving and snorkeling off the beaches along the underwater snorkel trail – an artificial reef off Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach. Named after the fish that swim freely off the beaches of  South-East Florida, Pompano beach is known for great fishing.

South West Beaches

With warmer air and water temperatures on the Gulf of Mexico year round, the South West beaches are some of Florida’s most popular winter destinations. Shelling is a popular activity along the Fort Myers – Sanibel Island beaches where over 400 species of beautiful shells line the shoreline. The area has also been dubbed the Tarpon Fishing Capital of the World. Sunsets are breathtaking over the Gulf of Mexico from any of the many bars and restaurants that line the west coast shoreline of Florida. Sand Dunes and mangroves in Sarasota attract nature lovers. Siesta Key has been named one of the top beaches in America for its cleanliness, nearly 100% quartz crystal sand that rarely gets hot, parking, and easy access as well as its hot night-life. Many of the South West beaches are located on barrier islands and are protected by the state parks. The beaches are kept them well maintained, clean and safe for visitors so you can relax and de-stress at the beach.

A male lion pants while sitting beneath a tree at Lion Country Safari
A male lion pants while sitting beneath a tree at Lion Country Safari

Florida Keys

Surrounded by water on all sides, the Florida Keys are a string of islands South of Miami. Often known as the prettiest beaches in Florida, the beaches in the Florida Keys are smaller than the wide coastlines of main land Florida but boast some of the clearest and calm waters. The beaches in the Florida Keys are known more for the underwater sports such as scuba diving or snorkeling off the coast than sunbathing. Off the coast of Key West lies North America’s only natural live barrier reef. The sunsets over the beaches in the Florida Keys are breathtaking. Only accessible by the Dry Tortugas Ferry, boat, or plane, the Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles from Key West and is considered a top snorkeling beach. Water sports enthusiasts will love the calm, clear waters of the Florida Keys for paddleboarding, kayaking, kiteboarding, jet skiing, and more.

One of the most unique things to do in Florida is to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast and end your day with a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico West Coast. At its widest point, Florida is only 160 miles across. Favorite East-West beach destinations include Cocoa Beach to Clearwater, Fort Pierce to Sarasota, or Fort Lauderdale to Naples. Whether you’re looking to spend time with the family, relax and get away, beat the cold winter months, you’ll find the ultimate beach paradise in Florida.

Spending the day at the beach is cheapeasy and fun way to relax with family and friends. All you need is some sunscreen,  drinking water, and a towel and you’re ready to hit the sand.

For more information and to learn more about different beaches throughout Florida, check out our SEE & DO page and our BEACHES listings.  

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