Those looking for a more relaxed ocean experience will love the Gulf of Florida and the sparkling white sand beaches that stretch long and flat, thanks to the constantly calm surf conditions. When people think of Florida's Gulf Coast, they mostly consider its sand soft and silky. Few places on Earth have better beaches. Taking a walk along these beaches will result in fewer punctures in your toes from shells, sticks and rocks.
Long known as the surf capital of the East Coast, Cocoa Beach has produced several renowned surfers, including Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion. But whether you have the knowledge or not, you can expect to have a great time in Cocoa Beach. With a local, relaxed atmosphere and plenty of surf schools, you'll be getting on your board in no time. Aren't you a surfer? Settle into one of the beach's quiet beachfront bars, or watch the surfers from the fishing dock.
The city of Vero Beach has something for everyone, literally tucked away on its pristine coastlines. As part of Florida's Treasure Coast, the area attracts treasure hunters who come and try their luck finding the riches lost when Spanish ships of the early 18th century sank in a hurricane. Search picturesque South Beach Park before joining a volleyball match. If you need to get away from the sun, get in the car and drive north to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.
If you're looking for a quiet afternoon by the sea, this is the place to go. Grab a bag of picnic supplies and spend the morning swimming and sunbathing on the pristine shores of Juno. Then grab a shaded picnic table and dive in. You'll find the Loggerhead Marinelife Center a 15-minute walk down the beach, and a 10- to 15-minute drive will take you to Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and John D.
Clearwater Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the Sunshine State, and for good reason. Its white sand beaches are attractive to even the most experienced beach lovers, bordered by crystal clear waters that make it an excellent beach getaway all year round. Spend your days looking for shells and soaking up the ambiance of this award-winning beach, take a pirate cruise, then visit Pier 60 for nightly sunset celebrations and live performances. It's easy to see why Sanibel Island was dubbed the bombing capital of the world.
Each of its 15 miles of beaches is filled with unique shells (including sand dollars) that came from the Gulf of Mexico. With so many beautiful beaches on Sanibel Island, it's hard to choose just one. Located on one of Florida's best islands, this luxurious beach is long and wide, covering more than 30 acres of land on Marco Island. Rent a kayak to enjoy the area's most impressive asset, its wildlife, up close and personal.
In this protected area, which spans 342 acres, visitors encounter an enchanting array of indigenous creatures (including turtles that nest among sea oats) and vegetation, as well as the sandy coast lined with dunes. Anglers will enjoy the extensive fishing found in the surrounding tidal streams and mangroves. Although there are several areas to access the beach, the real St. Pete Beach is located across the street from Dolphin Mall.
Here you will find ample paid parking (235 spaces) along with a large sign indicating that you have found the right place. Facilities are quite limited, with only bathrooms and showers. As soon as you stroll along the waterfront, you may need to lift your jaw from the sand. An incredible view of crystal clear waters extends to the horizon, begging you to enter.
Home to the largest fishing pier on the Gulf Coast, the Navarre Beach Pier is 1,545 feet long, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy a beautiful view and try your luck fishing something. There's a small fee to walk along the dock, but the view is worth it. North Beach is an open barrier island beach that is absolutely huge. Get ready for a long walk from the parking lot to the water's edge, but once you get there, you don't want to leave.
Soft, dusty sand, open spaces, and warm, clear water invite you to stay until sunset. North Beach is also a great place for birdwatching, with about 330 species observed in the last 60 years. Back from the beach, there are uniquely designed concrete picnic facilities with tables and grills. If two incredible beaches and extensive wildlife weren't enough, a historic fort dating back to 1900 is another fun thing to explore.
Position yourself on a fishing dock that not only offers great fishing, but also stunning views of Egmont Key and Anna Maria Island. Plan a return trip before leaving. George Island is the place where stress goes away. A 28-mile long barrier island in the north of the Gulf Coast, this pristine island is protected, meaning it's fantastically clean and lush.
You won't find skyscrapers that spoil the beautiful landscape, but you'll find some of the best beaches in Florida. Destin, also known as the “Luckiest Fishing Village in the World”, has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Florida Panhandle. If you're looking for fresh seafood or live entertainment, Mexico Beach restaurants are some of the best in Florida. The nearby inner city oozes the charm of old Florida with a delicious lack of skyscrapers, along with small, cozy restaurants and eclectic shops.
This pristine beach destination isn't far from the city of Jacksonville, on Florida's east coast. If you plan to do a lot of surfing, bodysurfing, or boogie boarding in your life in Florida, then you'll want to consider the East Coast. It's a place you wouldn't know unless someone from Florida told you about it, but it's definitely one you should visit. The emerald green water of the northwest Gulf Coast of Florida caresses the soft white sand beaches of Pensacola Beach in Pensacola.
Way Key, located about three miles off the coast of Florida, about 100 miles north of Tampa and fifty miles southwest of Gainesville, is the most developed area. While all of the Florida beaches on this list are charming, there is something particularly special about Destin. If you're in the Florida Panhandle, you don't want to miss a day (or days) enjoying Miramar Beach. Pick up your special someone, leave the kids with your parents or the keg at the fraternity house and head to Florida's city of love.
For pristine landscapes and stunning sunset views, head to one of these main beaches on Florida's Gulf Coast. Make a reservation at one of the beachside restaurants for an incredible dining experience while watching Florida's most beautiful sunsets. Now, if you're looking for more of a hammock scene, Florida's Gulf Coast will be your ticket to happiness. Plus, there are vacation rental communities, campgrounds, Gulf Coast vacation rentals, and some of Florida's best RV parks.