Year-round warmth, thousands of hours of sunshine, long stretches of ivory sand, unique marine habitats and a diverse population of fun-loving local folk have all helped to make Florida one of the best-loved seaside destinations in America; a place of guaranteed winter sun, unbridled festivity and endless swathes of coastland to enjoy. Indeed, the state itself is surrounded on three sides with ocean, offering up beachfronts from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic. Between it all there’s surfing, waterskiing, fishing, sunbathing, sailing and nature spotting to be had, not to mention a wealth of curious historical sights to see along the way.
Here are Hopper’s picks for the best five beaches in all of Florida State. They range from romantic getaways oozing quietude and relaxation, to high-energy city beaches made famous for their fun-loving attitude and exhilarating character.
Photo by sun dazed/Flickr.
Backed by the famous Collins Avenue and dotted with the high-rise silhouettes of some of Miami’s most iconic hotels, Mid Beach remains perhaps the most-recognizable stretch of sand in all of Florida. Guests here should be sure to stroll amidst the Art Deco and moderne buildings that surround the Collins Waterfront Architectural District immediately west of the shoreline - a neighborhood laden with interesting examples of 1950s and 1960s construction – while between 46th and 23rd street, the famous Miami Beach Boardwalk offers up magnificent Atlantic views and a real taste of this city’s curious character.
The ivory sands and year-round sun of Clearwater Beach have made it one of the undeniable favorites of Florida’s coastal line up. It’s perched out on a barrier island in the warm swells of the Gulf of Mexico, boasting more than two miles of uninterrupted sand. Along with the beachcombers, sunbathers and swimmers, guests here enjoy the hubbub of a newly renovated Beach Walk promenade, watersport opportunities to boot, and some of the best dolphin spotting opportunities in the entire state. It really is no wonder that it’s won many best beach awards over the years!
After winding through the nature trails and wildlife parks of the famous Sanibel Island just to the west of Fort Myers, visitors will discover the postcard-perfect Lighthouse Beach, a jewel in the crown of Florida’s barrier island beaches. Named after the whitewashed lighthouse that still operates on its eastern tip, the spot also affords great access to the wetland habitats of central Sanibel and boasts one of the best marine fishing piers in the state.
Long synonymous with the Florida subcultures of the 1950s, Volusia County’s Daytona Beach remains hallowed ground for motorsports enthusiasts the world over, famed as the home of NASCAR and the Grand American Racing Association. But purring engines aside, Daytona is also home to some of the most varied water sports opportunities on Florida’s eastern coast, with tons of paddle boarding, canoeing, sailing and surfing. Be sure not to miss the tallest lighthouse in Florida at the Ponce Inlet in the south, and don’t forget to explore the nightlife spots that light up the Beach Boardwalk and Piers after dark.
Relaxed, romantic and remote, Atlantic Beach is the place to go in Florida for isolation and raw beauty. Between the roaring Atlantic swells and the undulating coastal dunes, great stretches of glistening yellow sand make for some of the best beachcombing opportunities in all of Florida. Those looking for a truly romantic experience should head out early to catch the magnificent sunrises that grace the horizon, while early-bird surfers will enjoy some of the quietest riding spots on the eastern side of the peninsula.