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Explore the Best Beaches in Florida

Powdery-white sands, turquoise-blue waters, beachfront eateries, and spectacular sunset views make for the perfect getaway. But there's no need to travel to a distant, exotic locale to enjoy these amenities. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are just a few hours away. You don't even need a passport to find them. With nearly 1200 miles of coastline, Florida offers everything travelers need to immerse themselves in some well-deserved relaxation.

Famous for its vacation venues, there are more than 800 beaches in the Sunshine State to choose from. Snorkeling, kayaking, and biking are just a few of the activities you'll find. Or, if you're looking for nothing more than laying under a sun-filled sky and soaking up some rays, the locale choices are endless. Whatever your dream vacation is, you'll have no trouble finding ways to spend your time. Choose your paradise.

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01Clearwater Beach

Freshly raked sand and blue skies on Clearwater Beach luvemakphoto / Getty Images

On Florida's western coast, you'll find beautiful Clearwater Beach. Treasured by locals and visitors alike, it's famous for its soft sand, blue waters, and beautiful views of both the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Join in on a game of beach volleyball or try out parasailing and enjoy a bird's eye view of the beach. The shallow, warm waters, pristine beaches, and picturesque sunsets make it a popular spot for families and photographers alike.

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02Bahia Honda

Bahia Honda Rail Bridge in Florida espiegle / Getty Images

Google the term "great Florida beaches," and you'll easily find this Caribbean-like island setting. With its crystal-white sands, transparent, clear-blue waters, and swaying palm trees, you'll understand why. Bahia Honda is a popular state park in the Florida Keys, and one of the best in Florida, according to locals. Choose from three equally beautiful beaches: Calusa on the northwest side, Sandspur on the Atlantic side, and Loggerhead on the western end of the island.

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03Sanibel Island Beach

Sanibel Florida beach with sea shells at an angle TriggerPhoto / Getty Images

For those who crave natural settings and collecting treasures along the beach, Sanibel Island, located in the Gulf of Mexico, is a unique choice. Stroll along the 15-mile shoreline that wraps around the island, and you'll find amazing and colorful conch, cockles, and scallop shells, unbroken and plentiful. In fact, this beach is the shelling capital of North America. You'll see a historic lighthouse, a rustic boardwalk, and perfect sunsets on Bowman's Beach, a more remote section of sandy waterfront along the northwest end of Sanibel Island.

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04Siesta Key Beach

Seagulls flock to the shoreline at Siesta Key beach Sarasota Florida at sunset csfotoimages / Getty Images

Just a short hour's drive from Tampa, you'll find Siesta Key, an eight-mile barrier island. Once you arrive, you'll find Siesta Beach, a revamped public beach surrounded by a 40-acre park. The beach is famous for its white quartz sand, which stays cool despite the hot Florida sun and squeaks under your feet as you walk across it. You'll find walking trails, lifeguards on duty, food and drink concessions, a playground, picnic shelters, and drum circle events on the weekends.

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05Cocoa Beach

Wooden walkway surrounded by dunes and vegetation is leading to the Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA Anastasia Stoeckmann / Getty Images

Surfers love the calm, consistent waves at Cocoa Beach, which sits on Florida's Atlantic coast. The shallow water depths allow you to wade out past the breakers, so it's an excellent place for aspiring surfers as well. Although the area is immersed in surfer culture, you'll also find excellent parasailing, stand-up paddleboard and kayak rentals, and kitesurfing. Take a stroll along the 800-foot boardwalk that stretches out over the Atlantic Ocean and witnesses one of the most beautiful sunsets in all of Florida.

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06Fort Lauderdale Beach

Fort Lauderdale strip aerial view franckreporter / Getty Images

This picturesque beach once had a reputation as a Spring Breaker's paradise, but in recent years, Fort Lauderdale Beach has taken on a trendier, classier persona. These days, majestic palm trees and mansions line the promenade behind the beachfront. Sure, you'll still find plenty of happy hour locations that offer a unique array of craft cocktails and great food. But these days, you'll find most of the visitors sunbathing while participating in one of the most popular local activities: people watching.

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07Naples Municipal Beach

Fisherman stands on an old pier at the ocean on Naples Beach with dark skies overhead and rain on the horizon in Naples, Florida LagunaticPhoto / Getty Images

For more than a century, this beach has been a favorite spot for fishermen. You'll see them lined up on the beach's historic pier trying to reel in the catch-of-the-day. Naples Municipal Beach has 10 miles of oceanfront views with magnificent sunsets, but that isn't all that makes this an Instagrammable-worthy locale. Watch the dolphins and stingrays play in the waters just off the pier, and take advantage of the beach's long list of amenities to create the perfect day out.

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08Fort De Soto Beach

Seagulls flying over the beach in Fort de Soto Park beach, Tampa, Florida

Nestled along Florida's west coast, in the 1100-acre Fort De Soto Park near Tampa is Fort De Soto Beach. Locals love this 6-mile, family-friendly, dog-friendly beach, which may be why travel experts recognized it twice as one of the state's best beaches. The majestic views, clean white sands, and hiking trails make it a great spot for a fun weekend camping adventure or a short day trip. Go fishing off the pier, rent a kayak, and explore the beautiful shoreline or rollerblade along the paved trails.

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09Haulover Beach

Photograph of the sun over palm trees and sand at Miami's Haulover Beach located in Sunny Isles, Florida Boogich / Getty Images

Miami is one of Florida's top cultural and artistic hubs, known for its cuisine, its vibrant nightlife, and its diverse populations; plus, it's the home of Haulover Beach. Take a stroll along the beautiful shoreline, and once you reach the northern end, you'll find the only legal nude beach in the state. But this unique beach offers more than a place to sunbathe sans swimsuits. Check out one of the most popular beach activities, kite flying, or make your way to Food Truck Tuesdays, an event featuring an amazing selection of local food vendors, music, and entertainment.

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10Palm Beach Municipal Beach

Palm Trees on Palm Beach, Florida at Sunrise Crystal Bolin Photography / Getty Images

The city of Palm Beach is no doubt the crown jewel of glitzy extravagance in Florida. This South Florida island has more than 47 miles of spectacular beachfront views and, surprisingly, a wide range of budget-friendly lodging options. Palm Beach Municipal Beach is one of the top-rated beaches in the state, according to visitors and locals alike. Swaying palm trees, stylized architecture, upscale boutiques, exclusive galleries, and unique restaurants add to its charm and offer a unique place to take in some rays.

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11Santa Rosa Beach

Under Okaloosa fishing pier in Fort Walton Beach, Florida during day with pillars, green shallow waves in Panhandle, Gulf of Mexico during sunny day krblokhin / Getty Images

If you're seeking a more secluded beach, Santa Rosa Beach in northwest Florida is a great place to tune out the noise and appreciate the calming benefits of the ocean. Travelers seek out not only the sugar-like sand on the beach but also the area's clear, turquoise waters and serene atmosphere. National Geographic named Santa Rosa Beach as a 2019 hotspot. You'll find a thriving local artist's community, luxury beach houses, and upscale dining experiences in this unique beach neighborhood.

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12South Beach

Aerial view of south beach franckreporter / Getty Images

For those who've never experienced Miami, South Beach is the best place to start your adventure. This is the land of beautiful people, world-class accommodations, and year-round fun-in-the-sun. South Beach is not the perfect destination for those seeking solitude and relaxation. It's a thriving hub for locals and tourists alike, where you'll find superb sunbathing spots, volleyball courts, lots of paved sidewalks for rollerblading, and gentle ocean waves that are perfect for the novice surfer.

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13Delray Beach

Delray Beach, FL, USA Photo by Ary Milligan on Unsplash

One of few downtowns in the U.S. located right on the ocean, Delray Beach is characterized by its unique mix of city attractions and tropical beach life. Take a walk along Atlantic Avenue all the way to Delray Beach Municipal Beach with its chair and cabana rentals and wide, sandy shores perfectly suited for swimming, sunbathing, or a game of volleyball. And if you continue further south, you’ll find the beach parks Anchor Park and Atlantic Dunes Park that are equally great for spending the day basking in the sun.

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14Captiva Island

Captiva Island Sailboat captured in sunset jmichaelmedia / Getty Images

Captiva Island is a small island close to Fort Myers on Florida's Gulf Coast. This island is all about beach life and outdoor activities, like sailing, biking, parasailing, and all kinds of water sports. This is a famous shelling hotspot, so look out for treasures when you walk along the island's sandy beaches. The marine wildlife is abundant around Captiva Island. If you rent a wave runner or a kayak and head out at sea, you may spot manatees, sea turtles, and dolphins.

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15South Walton

Cayo Costa, Florida, USA Photo by Yuhan Du on Unsplash

South Walton is 26 miles of white sand beaches in the northwest of Florida. Located between Panama City Beach and Pensacola, it’s a popular vacation destination for travelers from neighboring states like Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Tennessee. The clear waters are invitingly turquoise, and along the coastline, you will find 16 vibrant beach neighborhoods, all sporting their own unique vibe and traditions. The calm, relaxing pace of this region is highlighted by beautiful walking paths, often lined with aromatic Loblolly pines. In South Walton, you will also find numerous rare coastal dune lakes, which create unique ecosystems with a mix of freshwater and saltwater.

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16Jupiter Beach

A surfer and a dog walking on the beach in Destin, Florida Photo by Taylor Deas-Melesh on Unsplash

Jupiter’s beaches are famous for warm, clear waters and tropical natural features like dunes, sea grape trees, and mangroves. The different parts of the beachfront all have a different feel, and whether you’re looking to have a picnic, go surfing, shelling, or go for a run with your dog, there is something for everyone. Because yes, that's another beautiful feature of the Jupiter beach: the 2.5-mile stretch where furry friends are welcome to join their owners. While the beach is an excellent venue for all kinds of water activities, there is sometimes a strong rip current that you need to be cautious of. Always check the beach warning flags before going into the water, and take the warnings seriously.

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17Vero Beach

Pristine sand beaches, stunning nature preserves, and a laid-back atmosphere characterize Vero Beach. Located between West Palm Beach and Orlando, Vero Beach is the perfect place to spend the entire day right by the sea. The ocean boardwalk is dotted with restaurants, and whether you're into fine dining or just looking for a casual seaside lunch, you can be sure to find it here. The scenery in Vero Beach is equally beautiful above and below the surface, making this an excellent place for diving and snorkeling.

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