10 Best Beaches in Florida (+Where to Stay)

A visit to the Sunshine State is never complete without a trip to one of the best beaches in Florida. As a peninsula, the state is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Each beach is diverse and beautiful in its own way.

As a resident of Florida, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many of the state’s 825 miles of coastline. In this guide, I’ll explore the best Florida beach choices based on my experiences since living in Florida.

From the white sandy expanses of Sarasota and Siesta Keys to the amazing sunsets over Clearwater Beach and Miami’s South Beach, there’s somewhere to visit for everyone. The beaches are truly as diverse as the state itself. Each one has something unique to offer.

SEE ALSO: 15 Fun Facts About Florida (By a Local)

10 Best Beaches in Florida

Florida beaches are one of the key components that make the state so popular, and spending a day at the beach is one of the best things to do in the state. Whether you enjoy watersports, fishing, seashell hunting or just sunbathing – the best beaches in Florida are sure to meet your needs and fulfill your dreams of sun and sand, no matter when you decide to visit.

Whether you’re looking for beaches in Florida that allow dogs or the prettiest beaches in the state, we have you covered with this in-depth list:

SEE ALSO: 25 Best Things To Do in Florida (By a Local)
SEE ALSO: Best Packing List for Florida: 20 Must-Haves for the Perfect Trip

1. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach Florida with blue tents and tourists on the shore. A pier at the far sight.
  • Location: 📍Clearwater Beach, Clearwater
  • Best For: Kids, sunsets, beach bars, paddleboarding, and entertainment
  • Amenities: Nearby restaurants, rental equipment, toilets, changing rooms, cabana rentals

As one of the best beaches around Florida, Clearwater Beach is visually stunning. The blend of white sand expanse, turquoise water, and iconic Pier 60 makes this beach stand out as picture-perfect.

There’s a playground for children, bathrooms, showers, cabanas for rent, and nearby restaurants. When the sun starts to set on Fridays and Saturdays the pier comes alive with booths selling a variety of arts and crafts. During the summer months, the city of Clearwater launches fireworks that you can view from the pier or beach.

Where to Stay Near Clearwater Beach

Avalon Club: The Avalon Club sits only steps away from Clearwater Beach and the refreshing water. Find out more information here.

Edge Hotel: The Edge Hotel features two outstanding pools and a full-service fitness center with rooms overlooking the ocean. Book your stay here.

Clearwater Beach Resort: Stay only two minutes away from the water’s edge at the Florida beach at the Clearwater Beach, Clearwater Beach Resort. Make a reservation today.

SEE ALSO: Where to Stay in Florida in (Best Areas and Places)

Restaurants Near Clearwater Beach

fish sandwich beach florida

Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar: Dine in a laidback beach atmosphere at the Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar.

Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill: Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is well known for their fresh grouper sandwiches.

Crabby’s Dockside: Enjoy fresh seafood at Crabby’s Dockside, only a stone’s throw away from Clearwater Beach.

2. Siesta Key Beach

A red lifeguard hut on a lovely beach with white sand, blue sky, and clear water.
  • Location: 📍Siesta Key
  • Best For: Pristine white sand, building sandcastles, children’s play areas, beach pubs,
  • Amenities: Restaurants, toilets, showers, changing locations

There’s something magical about the dazzling white expanse of Siesta Key Beach. You can enjoy the warm water, hunt for seashells, swing on one of the many swing sets that dot the shoreline, or dine at a nearby restaurant with the freshest seafood.

During the evening hours, many people flock to Siesta Key to watch the sunset – it’s spectacular here. The picnic areas even feature barbecues for use, making it a great location for a family get-together.

Where to Stay Near Siesta Key

Twin Palms: Twin Palms at Siesta features outdoor swimming pools and onsite bike rentals. Reserve a room here.

Inn at Siesta Keys: The Inn at Siesta Keys is located just two miles from the marina and features complete apartments with individual kitchens. Find out more information here.

Parrot Beach Cottages: Parrot Beach Cottages offer individual cottages that overlook the pool area. Click here to book.

Restaurants Near Siesta Key Beach

fresh oysters florida

Siesta Key Oyster Bar: At the beachside shack Siesta Key Oyster Bar, you can enjoy fresh oysters and other seafood choices. Self-proclaimed as “The hot spot in Siesta Key Villiage”, it’s one to add to your Florida itinerary.

Island House Tap and Grill: The Island House Tap and Grill offers indoor and outdoor seating in a laid-back atmosphere.

The Cottage: This Cottage looks like an island-style Tiki Bar, and serves up some impressive Asian food.

3. St. Augustine Beach

A pier leading to the sea, with clean and clear water.
  • Location:📍St. Augustine
  • Best For: Fishing, volleyball courts, children’s play area with splash zone, sea turtle nesting site, picnic areas
  • Amenities: Restaurants, ice cream shops. and shopping

St Augustine Beach is located on the Anastasia Island along the Atlantic Ocean. It features a long fishing pier that many people enjoy fishing from, but it’s also nice to simply stroll along and take in the views.

Walk the Ocean Hammock Park natural trail and view the sea turtle nesting site. It’s an ideal place for families as you can walk over to A1A Beach Boulevard to enjoy a meal or grab a cone at one of the many ice cream shops. The entire vibe is laid back and it’s a popular destination for visitors of all ages.

Where to Stay Near St Augustine Beach

Island Life: Located only 1 mile from the beach, the Island Life hotel features a rooftop pool and kiddie pool area.

Castillo Real Hotel and Resort: Stay just a two-minute walk from pristine St Augustine beach at the Castillo Real Hotel and Resort. Guests can take advantage of an outdoor pool with a hot tub, and a fitness center including a sauna and steam room.

SEE ALSO: Best Florida Transportation Options (By a Local)

Restaurants Near St. Augustine Beach

american food florida

Beachcomber: The Beachcomber is a casual waterfront diner favored by the locals located at a stone’s throw from the beach.

World Famous Oasis Restaurant: The World Famous Oasis Restaurant serves up classic American fare in a casual environment, complete with a game-watching deck.

Salt Life Food Shack: Grab a quick bite to eat at the Salf Life Food Shack before you head back to the sandy expanse of St. Augustine Beach.

4. Panama City Beach

A building structure near the shore, white sand, and clear sea water.
  • Location:📍Panama City Beach
  • Best For: Soft sand, beach bars, fishing
  • Amenities: Changing rooms, picnic facilities, cabanas, toilets showers

The Panama City beach hugs 27 miles of the Gulf of Mexico. This is a lovely sandy white beach that’s home to several nature preserves and trails. Along the expanse are numerous public access points, ensuring you’ll have access to all you need during your visit.

The beach area is a favorite for scuba diving thanks to its numerous artificial reefs off the coast. Fishermen also flock to the beach line to try their hand at snagging the ‘big one’.

Where to Stay Near Panama City Beach

Ocean Reef 2306: The luxurious Ocean Reef 2306 hotel is located a short 18-minute walk away from the beach, and the iconic pier is only a little over a mile away.

Tidewater Beach Resort: Stay beachside at the Tidewater Beach Resort and enjoy the many miles of sandy shoreline just steps away from your room.

Embassy Suites: Embassy Suites is located within a 6-minute walk from the beach and offers free bikes for guests to explore the area from a different perspective.

Restaurants Near Panama City Beach

fresh seafood florida

Pineapple Willies: For the best po’boys in the area, dine on the beach (literally on the sand), at the hot spot that is Pineapple Willies.

Hunts Oyster Bar and Seafood: For the finest, fresh seafood, reserve your spot at Hunts Oyster Bar and Seafood – serving patrons for over 45 years.

Bayou Joes Marina and Grill: A somewhat secret spot in Panama City, dine on the waterfront at the Bayou Joes Marina and Grill, which serves Southern classics and 180-degree views of the water. 

5. Cocoa Beach

A pier towards to sea, a clear blue sky, and crystal clear water.
  • Location:📍Cocoa Beach
  • Best For: Soft sand, surfing, dining, shopping
  • Amenities: Restaurants, showers, changing rooms, watersport rentals

Every year, thousands flock to Cocoa Beach in Brevard County to surf the big waves. The beach has become a well-known location for many leading surfers such as Kelly Slater who was the 11-time world champion. Yes, Cocoa Beach is one of the best public beaches in Florida for catching waves, but it also offers a lot more for its visitors. 

Whether you’re seeking a beach for surfing in Florida or just a sandy expanse to soak up some sun, Cocoa Beach is the perfect location.

Where to Stay Near Cocoa Beach

Turble Bay: Stay beachfront at the lavish Turtle Bay where you can walk from your room and easily sink your toes into the soft sand.

Cocoa Beach Suites Hotel: The Cocoa Beach Suites Hotel offers rooms with full kitchens and is a great affordable option for families seeking comfortable accommodation.

Anthony’s On the Beach: Enjoy private beach access at Anthony’s on the Beach.

Restaurants Near Cocoa Beach

tiki bar restaurant

Coconuts on the Beach: Coconuts on the Beach is a fun establishment for young and old alike with lots of exciting contests and live entertainment for diners.

Long Doggers: If you’re seeking an easygoing atmosphere right on the sand, then check out Long Doggers.

Florida’s Fresh Grill: Modern dining awaits at the upscale Florida’s Fresh Grill.

6. South Beach Park

A white beach sand, clear water, and a boat in the distance.
  • Location:📍South Beach Park
  • Best For: Soft sand, children, families
  • Amenities: Restaurants, watersports, toilets, changing areas, showers

In the City of Vero Beach, you’ll find the South Beach Park. It’s one of the best beaches in Florida for families; children will love learning that it’s part of Florida’s Treasure Coast, which is a location favored by real-life treasure hunters. 

The Florida beach is also located close to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The area has ample picnic tables and hiking trails for many outdoor adventure opportunities.

SEE ALSO: 15 Travel Tips for Florida (By a Local)

Where to Stay Near South Beach Park

Islander Inn: The lovely Islander Inn is located only two minutes from the beach which makes it the perfect hub for anyone planning a beach escape.

Staybridge Suites: The Staybridge Suites features a complete fitness center and outdoor swimming pool.

Hampton Inn: The Hampton Inn is centrally located close to the beach, shopping, and dining. It’s ideally positioned for those wishing to be within reach of everything.

Restaurants Near South Beach Park

garlic crab florida

Oceans Grill: The Oceans Grill is located inside what was once the officer’s club, and provides outstanding ocean views.

Waldo’s: The rustic restaurant Waldo’s serves fresh seafood and boasts a variety of pool tables for patrons.

Crab Stop: This unassuming, small Crab Stop is a local favorite for its seafood delicacies. Claiming to have “The best garlic crabs in town”, it’s worth putting their statement to the test!

7. Hollywood Beach

Hollywood Beach, Florida. Coconut palm trees on the beach and illuminated street lights on the boardwalk at dusk. Cloud sky. Sunset in the background.
  • Location:📍Hollywood Beach
  • Best For: Entertainment, dining, shopping
  • Amenities: Boardwalk, showers, changing rooms, restrooms

One of the best beaches in Florida is Hollywood Beach which offers classic, tropical charm with palm trees dotting the horizon. The beach runs along the picturesque Hollywood Beach Boardwalk and there’s an amphitheater that regularly hosts live music and performances. 

Close to the beach is the Anne Kolb Nature Center where you can hike miles of trails that wind through the mangroves. It’s one of the largest urban parks in Florida and is home to an abundance of vegetation and wildlife, including some endangered species. It’s a great spot for visiting outdoor enthusiasts.

Where to Stay Near Hollywood Beach

Hollywood Beach Boutique Hotel: Stay at the Hollywood Beach Boutique Hotel where you’ll be only minutes from the beach, the boardwalk, shopping, and entertainment nearby.

Hampton Inn: The Hampton Inn is a pet-friendly establishment located close to Hollywood Beach.

Surf Hollywood Beach: The Surf Hollywood Beach provides unparalleled views.

Restaurants Near Hollywood Beach

mexican food florida restaurant

Nicks Bar & Grill: Dine at an open-air beach hub with outstanding water views at Nicks Bar & Grill.

GG’s Waterfront: Dine on fresh seafood at GG’s Waterfront.

Mamacita’s Latin Bar & Grill: At Mamacita’s Latin Bar & Grill you can enjoy Mexican and Cuban cuisine.

8. Deerfield Beach

Deerfield Beach, Florida shoreline aerial photo. An island with structures and green plants. Blue tents and blue ocean on the beach.
  • Location:📍Deerfield Beach
  • Best For: Kids, watersports, swimming, fishing
  • Amenities: Restaurants, changing rooms, restrooms, showers

Deerfield Beach stands out as one of the best beaches for swimming in Florida. Families regularly flock to the area to enjoy this sandy expanse which is well monitored by on-duty lifeguards. 

Walk the long pier in the mornings or evenings and capture the sunrise or sunset. It’s also an ideal place to head to if you enjoy fishing, as the fishing pier spans 100 feet across the water.

Where to Stay Near Deerfield Beach

Ocean Villas Deerfield: If you’re seeking affordable accommodations with a large swimming pool then check out Ocean Villas Deerfield.

Tropic Isle Beach Resort: The Tropic Isle Beach Resort is surrounded by lush foliage with a large swimming pool.

Ashley Brook Beach Resort: The Ashley Brook Beach Resort features free parking, picnic tables, a swimming pool, and barbecues for families.

Restaurants Near Deerfield Beach

beach cocktails florida

Whale’s Rib: A beach fun spot, dine at the Whale’s Rib for some of the freshest seafood around.

Deerfield Beach Cafe: Dig into American favorites next to the beach at the Deerfield Beach Cafe.

Patio Bar and Grill: Dine beachside at the Patio Bar and Grill. Take a seat just feet away from the white sandy beach and enjoy this casual spot with a cocktail or two.

9. South Marco Island Beach

Blue sky and white sand in Marco Island, South Beach, Florida. There are a lot of tourists on the beach.

One of the best beaches in Florida for families who like to hunt seashells is the South Marco Island Beach. The white sandy beach is made up of small, sharp shells so be sure to wear shoes while you explore – particularly to protect little feet!

Visit the beach in the early morning hours to find remarkable seashells along its expanse. This beach is great for walking and soaking up the views. It’s also one of the best beaches in Florida for couples who often get married along the beach’s beautiful expanse.

Where to Stay Near South Marco Beach

Marco Beach Ocean Suites The Marco Beach Ocean Suites are located a short three-minute walk to South Marco Beach.

Anglers Cove Hideaway: If you’re seeking affordable accommodations in a quiet location then check out Anglers Cove Hideaway.

Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites: The Old Marco Island Inn and Suites offers a lavish pool and spa along with rooms featuring kitchens.

Restaurants Near South Marco Island Beach

coconut shrimp

Snook Inn: The Snook Inn is an eclectic seafood establishment that offers affordable prices and delectable menu choices.

CJs on the Bay: Enjoy the view while you dine on American food choices at the CJs on the Bay.

Mangos Dockside: At Mangos Dockside you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices. The staff here is great and it has a warm and friendly atmosphere.

10. Crandon Park Beach

Crandon Park's beach on a beautiful day, with a coconut tree.
  • Location:📍Crandon Park Beach
  • Best For: Diving, snorkeling, volleyball, hiking, tennis
  • Amenities: Volleyball court, tennis court, changing rooms, showers, restrooms

Crandon Park is one of the best beaches in Florida for young adults because there’s so much to do, such as playing volleyball or tennis right along the water. For those looking to hike in Florida, I recommend visiting the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, where you can walk for miles along the many trails and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

The beach is famous for snorkeling due to its fossilized mangrove reef where you can enjoy a wide array of aquatic life. The area also attracts bird watchers who enjoy watching local songbirds, hawks, ospreys, and herons.

Where to Stay Near Crandon Park Beach

Ritz Carlton: Stay at the luxurious Ritz Carlton which offers great ocean views. The hotel features a spa for guests to enjoy, which includes saunas, hot tubs, and a steam room; it’s the perfect place to unwind after a day in the sun.

Fortune House Hotel: Each suite at the Fortune House Hotel includes a full kitchen and ocean views. They also have an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy made-to-order meals from their à la carte menu.

Hotel AKA Suite: The Hotel AKA Suite provides one of the best private beaches in Florida for its occupants.

Restaurants Near Crandon Park Beach

spanish food florida

Boater’s Grill: Overlook the harbor while dining at the Boater’s Grill. Serving Cuban cuisine alongside fresh local seafood, this is a great place to visit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Kebo Restaurant: Dine on Mediterranean & Spanish cuisine at Kebo Restaurant. As well as delicious tapas options to choose from, their menu includes an impressive range of vegan and vegetarian dishes.

Costa Med Bistro+Wine: The Costa Med Bistro + Wine is a charming eclectic restaurant offering Mediterranean food choices.

Beaches in Florida: FAQs

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about the best beaches in Florida:

What is the best beach in Florida?

When picking the best beach in Florida, it’s hard to pinpoint a single beach because they’re not a one-size-fits-all. Gulf Coast beaches in Florida are lovely if you prefer warm, calm waters, but for waves, you might want to pick a beach in Florida on the Atlantic Ocean side.

What are the best beaches in Florida for partying?

If you’re seeking the best beaches in Florida for nightlife and partying, then I recommend heading to Clearwater Beach. A variety of clubs are located within walking distance of this sandy shoreline.

What is the best beach in Florida for families?

The best beaches in Florida for families are diverse but Deerfield Beach stands out as a leader.

What is the best beach in Florida for couples?

South Marco Island is the best beach in Florida for couples. Many opt to get married along the white beach expanse and it’s easy to see why.

What is the best off-track beach in Florida?

If you are seeking the best off-track beach in Florida then consider Caladesi Island State Park, which is accessible only by boat. This pristine barrier island offers uncrowded beaches, nature trails, and a peaceful environment. Many consider it one of the best beaches in the Florida Gulf Coast due to its beauty and remote atmosphere

What is the best beach close to Tampa?

One of the best beaches close to Tampa is Clearwater Beach. Clearwater Beach is located on a barrier island just west of Tampa and is known for its powdery white sand, clear turquoise waters, and lively atmosphere.

It’s considered by many as one of the best beaches in Florida. If you enjoy sunsets, then you’ll love this beach – it’s one of the best places to watch the sun sink below the horizon as the sky puts on a show.

What is the best time to visit Florida?

The best time to visit Florida depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and activities. Consider these factors when planning your trip to make the most of your visit.

What part of Florida has the best beaches?

Florida is home to numerous beautiful beaches, and the concept of the “best” beach can vary greatly depending on personal preferences. However, the best public beaches in Florida often line the Gulf Coast. 

What beach in Florida has the clearest water?

If you’re looking for beaches in Florida with clear water then look no further than the namesake Clearwater Beach which is known for its remarkably transparent water.

Are there white sand beaches in Florida?

Yes, there are white sand beaches in Florida such as Siesta Keys, South Marco Island, and Sarasota beaches.

What beach in Florida has the whitest sand?

Sarasota is known to have the whitest sand in Florida.

What beach in Florida has the bluest water?

The beach in Florida with the bluest water is said to be Siesta Keys.

Are the beaches in Florida safe for swimming?

Yes, many Florida beaches are safe for swimming; I recommend Deerfield Beach.

What’s the safest beach in Florida?

The safest beach in Florida is rumored to be Siesta Key Beach which is known for its soft, white sound and is a popular destination for families.

Are there sharks in Florida?

Yes, there are sharks in Florida in the Atlantic and Gulf areas.

In Conclusion

Florida offers a range of different beaches, each with its own unique charm and appeal. From the powdery white sands and calm Gulf waters of the west coast to the vibrant Atlantic beaches on the east. 

The best beaches in Florida are as diverse as the state itself. Whether you’re seeking the lively atmosphere around Miami, or the family-friendly shores of Siesta Key, Florida’s beaches provide something for everyone; you’re sure to find one that suits your exact needs and preferences.

Written by

Kimberly Sharpe

Kimberly is a local of Ocala Florida and is a local of Daytona Beach, Gainesville, and other cities near her home town where she's both lived and travelled extensively in the past 30 years.

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