With about 1,200 miles of coastline and beauty, the Sunshine State is famous for some of the best beaches in the world. Powdery sand, turquoise waters, and charming beach towns, Florida is a year-round destination for residents and foreign vacationers. But not all Florida beaches are made the same. Western beaches are famous for their incredible sunsets, while those in the south are favorites of nature-lovers. Those along the Atlantic coast are popular with surfers and water sports enthusiasts. Which ones should you choose? Here are our picks for the top Florida beaches for every kind of mood.
1. Best for peace and quiet: Sanibel Island
For those that prefer quiet and peaceful over rowdy parties, head over to Sanibel Island. Here, the favourite pastime is the ‘Sanibel Stoop’ aka collecting seashells. Bowman’s Beach or Blind Pass Beach for the prettiest seashells you will ever see. You won’t find high rise buildings or overcrowded tourist spots here, and you get the sense that seashells matter more than actual dollars. If that’s not quiet enough for you, hop on a boat to Cayo Costa State Park, an island with nine miles of beautiful beach, acres of pine forests, an abundance of seashells and barely any people.
2. Best for water sports: Clearwater Beach
One of the most popular beaches on Florida’s Gulf, Clearwater Beach attracts sunseekers in droves. It is essentially a colossal playground for the young and old. When you’re not busy paddleboarding, jet skiing or parasailing among other water sports, you can ride a bike and go rollerblading on Beach Walk Promenade. When the sun fatigue hits, take some time to enjoy the casual beachfront restaurants. How about a visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium too to see Winter, the famous rescue dolphin with a prosthetic tail?
3. Best for party people: South Beach
Beautiful people, wild parties, trendy bars and clubs and Art Deco architecture, South Beach is where you go to have fun. With a never-ending amount of entertainment, you simply can’t be bored here. In the daytime, lay down a towel and people watch or take your pick from activities like snorkeling, kayaking, or windsurfing. If you can afford to splurge, the glitzy Nikki Beach is part beach club and part nightclub, where the party goes from day to night.
4. Best for couples and families: Siesta Key
Siesta Key consistently ranks as one of the top Florida beaches. It has what it calls the world’s whitest, finest sand. It is more than 99 percent pure quartz, which stays cool even under blazing sun. Don’t be mistaken – it’s really not the drama-filled ground which MTV reality show Siesta Key portrays. Rather, it’s a kid-friendly spot that teems with sand sculpture artists, hippies, and families basking in the sun. Need to refuel? Turtle Beach Grill is the perfect island hangout and bar.
5. Best for surfers and dog owners: New Smyrna Beach
When it comes to surfing in America, you’ll typically think of California and Hawaii. But Florida has a surf scene, too. The 17-mile stretch that’s New Smyrna Beach is well known to local surfers, offering some of the finest wave action on the east coast. Expect wave breaks that are plentiful for expert and amateur surfers alike. New Smyrna Beach often receives accolades as one of the top surf towns in America, and it’s where you’ll want to be to experience Floridian surf culture. If you’re traveling with pets, be sure to check out the dog beach located on the north side of the jetty at Smyrna Dunes Park!