There’s something really special about Florida! Not only is it packed-full with some incredible places to visit but it’s also got gorgeous national parks, amazing cities and some of the very best beaches in Florida that you really can’t miss.
Over the years, we’ve visited Florida countless times and explored all across the state. From the pristine islands in the Florida Keys to the seaside vibes of Pensacola or Clearwater. There’s a little slice of Florida that’ll suit and surprise every type of traveller.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best beaches in Florida that are total gems to experience.
Take a look, below, at the best beaches in Florida. Have the best time exploring and chilling in the surf!
1.) Cocoa Beach
Found on the Atlantic shore, Cocoa Beach is one of the best beaches in Florida that’s great for a day at the beach. Honestly, it’s the kind of beach that’s great for most seaside experiences, especially with the surfing and parasailing that make this area totally fun.
In need of a sweet treat? Pop over to the Florida Key Lime Pie Company for their (you guessed it) Key Lime Pie. It’s totally delicious and all homemade. Plus, you might get to meet Sweetie, the resident alligator that’s something of a local celebrity here.
Now, if you don’t fancy a whole trip to the beach alone, you can easily partner this with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center that’s a total dream to visit.
2.) Hollywood Beach
Just shy of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood Beach is a great coastline to stay (and visit) for a few days chilling out. With larger hotels and shoreline properties, it’s got everything you need to make your trip to the beach totally easy.
Also, if you’re an early riser, head for a stroll and watch the sunrise on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. It’s gorgeous and totally quiet at this time of day.
3.) Fort DeSoto County Park
Just shy of St. Pete’s Beach, Fort DeSoto County Park is an idyllic and totally unspoilt area of Florida that’s too good to miss.
Preserved as a county park, Fort DeSoto County Park has a lot to boast about! In fact, it has some of the best beaches in Florida that’s just as popular with the locals as it is with the visitors.
North Beach is an easy favourite to visit, along with East Beach too! Both have their own charms and you can’t really go wrong with either of them.
Not only that, you can spot loads of wildlife here. During the months of April, all the way to September, loggerhead turtles can be specifically found nesting in the beaches. This means extra care is necessary when rambling the coast.
4.) St Pete Beach
We spent around 5-days exploring St Pete Beach and the larger St. Petersburg area; it was incredible!
After checking into the Don Cesar, a Floridian institution, be sure to check out one of the best beaches in Florida. You see, from here you can take a ramble and explore St Pete Beach or stroll south to the white sandy shoreline of Pass-a-Grille Beach.
The whole area around here is totally lovely and pretty quaint, too. Just make sure to stop off at Crabby Bill’s for their yummy seafood and take a trip into St. Petersburg for its street art and grab a bite at Bodega on Central for the best Cuban sandwiches.
5.) Clearwater Beach
Best for beachside eateries and soft sandy banks, Clearwater is a destination in its own right.
Now, we visited in March and the weather was perfect (nice and quiet) – which we loved! Though, it can get a lot busier in the holiday season.
Best of all, there’s shed loads of things to do in Clearwater; from going for a swim to adventurous actions like parasailing, cruises, and paddleboarding. Clearwater has something for everyone.
6.) St. George Island State Park
St. George Island State Park is a gorgeous place to visit if you’re making the drive up from Orlando to Pensacola. It’s roughly halfway between both and well worth an afternoon jaunt if you’re fancying a little chill time.
The whole island is totally pristine and looks just like it would have done centuries ago. That’s the beauty of the coastline here, it feels so untouched.
The beach itself spans the whole southerly stretch of the island and goes on for miles. This means you’ll never feel overly crowded or cramped on the beach… even in the peak visiting times.
After a day on the shore, hop on over to Paddy’s Raw Bar for some of their Apalachicola Oysters that are as local as you can get. Totally chilled and relaxed, it’s a great place to relax before heading away from the shoreline.
7.) Siesta Key, Lido Beach, Sarasota Beach and Crescent Beach (Sarasota)
Nestled within the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico, Siesta Key is a totally blissful barrier island that has a charm that’s as inviting as they come!
Better still, Siesta Key’s beaches will never disappoint and they’re easily some of the best beaches in Florida to visit. With gleaming white sand and toasty water temperatures, it’s the kind of place you go with the whole family.
This is especially true as the waves are a little calmer than the Atlantic Coast; though, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take an extreme amount of care. Remember, the sea can be dangerous.
8.) Bahia Honda State Park
Located around 30 miles away from Key West, Bahia Honda is one of the must-see places in the Florida Keys – especially if you love beaches!
Whilst here, be sure to spend some time soaking in the rays at the Calusa and Loggerhead Beaches that are so dreamy. Although relatively small, it’s a charming little area to explore even if a little crowded at times.
Well worth a visit as you explore the wider Florida Keys.
9.) Fort Lauderdale Beach
Often as popular as its nearby sister, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach is a pretty popular spot in Florida to visit. Best of all, it’s not just all about the sun, sea and sand either! Throughout the year, numerous different events are also held on the boardwalk and the beach itself. It’s a totally fun atmosphere and you can easily spend a good few days chilling out here.
Plus, you can try your hand at jet-skiing, snorkelling, and scuba diving, too!
10.) Gasparilla Island
Just north of Fort Myers, Gasparilla Island is another Floridian gem that’s too good to miss. In fact, I’d say it’s got one of the best beaches in Florida that’s totally easy to visit.
Totally tranquil and pretty darn cute, the shoreline near Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is a must-visit. Although not the biggest, as Floridian beaches go, it’s got something of a charm and loveliness that’s totally worth the trip.
Afterwards, head on over to South Beach Bar and Grille to grab a table. Their local catches are so yummy and fresh!
11.) Anna Maria Island
South of St Pete’s Beach, Anna Maria Island is a perfect mix of pristine shoreline, cute little eateries and a charm that’s second to none.
For me, it’s one of the best beaches in Florida to totally relax and unwind. You see, it’s not too far away from amenities but quiet enough for it to feel a million miles away!
For a tasty dinner, head into the Sandbar Restaurant for their crispy calamari. It has some of the best in all of Florida.
12.) South Beach (Miami)
I can’t mention the best beaches in Florida without mentioning South Beach in Miami. Love it or hate it, its shoreline is gorgeous and well worth visiting whilst exploring the wider area of Southern Florida.
After chilling on the sand, head for a stroll around the historic Art Deco District and stop for a cheeky cocktail along the way. It’s a totally vibrant area that’s incredible to soak up!
Well-known by visitors in the US, Pensacola is a little less known by international visitors that head over to Florida. This means it can be quieter than some of the other popular spots in Florida, especially when country-specific holidays mean more people travel.
Although a little more retro, Pensacola is a charming spot that’s well worth a little love and visit. We loved the shoreline at Pensacola Beach Park and it’s totally pristine.
Worked up an appetite? Head to Flounder’s Chowder House that serves up some of the best chowders in the south! Trust me, you won’t wanna miss it.
14.) Sanibel island
Nestled just of Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is a total vibe and houses some of the best beaches in Florida. Some of our favourites are the Gulfside City Park Beach and Bowman’s Beach (which is totally epic and pristine).
If you’re heading up to North Captiva Island (just off Sanibel Island), be sure to pop into the Mainstay and Barnacles Bar. It’s a cosy little restaurant that serves up the tastiest shrimp tacos.