Whether you’re searching for adventure, a place to unwind, or seashells and underwater creatures, the sunshine state of Florida boasts one of the largest coastlines in the United States with an impressive amount of beaches sure to deliver the perfect beach day. Before you pack up your car for another day of sun and sand, check out this list of eight must-visit beaches in Florida.
1. Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island
If your perfect beach day includes sifting through the sand for seashell treasures, then cruise over the bridge from Fort Myers to this quaint island. While there are many beaches to choose from, Bowman’s Beach is an underdeveloped gem. Sanibel Island is known for having “shell beaches” and your biggest challenge will be deciding how many great finds you can keep!
Pro Tip: Bring a beach cart or pack light. The walk from the parking lot to the beach is about 10 minutes.
2. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key
When the weather heats up, walking across the hot sand to find the perfect spot can be painful, but not at this beach! Instead of crushed coral, which is what most beach sand is made of, Siesta Beach’s sand is made of quartz. That makes the sand super soft and reflective and cool to the touch no matter what the thermometer says.
Pro Tip: There is a free parking lot, but it fills up quickly, so plan to arrive early! Don’t feel like packing up lunch? This beach has a concession stand to grab beach eats.
3. Bathtub Reef Beach, Stuart
Sometimes referred to as “Toddler Beach,” Bathtub Reef Beach has water as warm and calm as well…your bathtub, making it a perfect destination for families with small children. The coral reef right off the coast, which breaks the waves and creates the serene lagoon, is also a great place to snorkel and scuba dive.
Pro Tip: Plan your visit around low tide and you can actually walk right out to the reef to explore.
4. Lover's Key State Park, Fort Myers
Free up the whole day for a visit to this state park filled with tidal lagoons, canals for kayaking, hiking trails and of course—a beach. Kayaks are available for rent and tours to get up close to the local wildlife like manatees and dolphins are available.
Pro Tip: There is a free tram that will bring you directly from the parking area to the beach.
5. North Beach at Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg
Another great family destination, North Beach has tons of tidal pools to discover creatures and splash in. For those that enjoy combing the beach for treasures, this is also an excellent beach to search for sand dollars.
Pro Tip: The North Beach has four restrooms, a food concession stand and a gift shop.
6. Grayton Beach State Park, Santa Rosa Beach
This state park has beautiful white-sand beaches, but when you want to explore something a little different, you can visit the banks of Western Lake, a coastal dune lake. There are only 15 of these in the world!
Pro Tip: Make a vacation out of your visit and stay overnight! The state park has both campsites and cabins for rent.
7. Amelia Island State Park, Jacksonville
If you’re looking for a little more adventure on your next trip to the beach, this state park may just be the place. Amelia Island is the only Florida state park that offers horseback riding on the beach. After you go for a ride, spend some time on the beach searching for shells and even shark teeth!
Pro Tip: Reach out to Kelly Seahorse Ranch, the park’s service provider, to book a horseback riding tour.
8. Clearwater Beach, Clearwater
This two and a half mile long beach comes with lots of amenities to make sure your trip is perfect. Pier 60, which is centrally located on the beach, rents out cabanas and umbrellas so you can relax in style. Visitors can also rent fishing equipment and cast a line right off the pier.
Pro Tip: Stay into the evening to enjoy the nightly entertainment Pier 60 offers year round. Check out their events calendar for details and times.
Don’t see your favorite beach on this list? Comment below what makes your go-to beach special! And don’t forget to check out our blog post on sea glass for more beach fun!