The 14 best beaches in Florida

Florida beach

When it comes to finding the best beaches in Florida, you don’t have to look far! Covering over 1300 miles, the Sunshine State’s coastline is one of the most famous in the world.

With white sand, crystal clear water, and year-round sunshine, Florida’s beaches attract thousands of tourists every year. Stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, every destination offers something completely different. Whether you’re looking for a breathtaking sunset or an abundance of activities, you’re sure to find something you like. 

If you’re searching for the perfect summer retreat, we’ve selected some of our must-visit beaches in Florida. Although it’s hard to choose a favorite, these beautiful destinations are definitely worth exploring!

Top beaches in Florida

1. Henderson Beach State Park | One of Florida’s best beaches for wildlife lovers

Situated on the Emerald Coast, the Destin beaches are famous for their sparkling green waters and sugar-white sands. Offering more than 6000 feet of scenic shoreline, Henderson Beach State Park is one of the most popular beaches in the area. Anchored by 30-foot dunes, this majestic stretch of sand borders the Gulf of Mexico, offering excellent views across the emerald water.

A hotspot for fishing, the warm waters here harbor a rich array of sea life, including catfish and pompano. As this is a protected park, you will also be able to spot plenty of wildlife above the waves. Dolphins and turtles can often be spotted swimming in the surf, and there is a huge variety of beach birds in the area. For the best birding opportunities, explore the park’s nature trail. This rugged pathway also offers a rare glimpse into the coastal dune’s unique ecosystem.

Henderson State Beach Park

2. Miramar Beach | Great for Florida nightlife

Close to the city of Destin, Miramar Beach is one of the prettiest beaches in Florida. Although it is relatively small, this vibrant community is packed with things to do. With a fantastic variety of nightlife, shops, and restaurants in the area, this popular destination is great for families seeking a fun-filled vacation. If you’re hoping to visit this summer, many of our vacation homes in Destin are located directly on this beach.

Although the beautifully soft sand is perfect for just lounging in the sun, you can easily enjoy an active vacation here. Miramar is one of the only beaches in South Walton to allow water sport rentals, so sunny days can be spent jet skiing or parasailing. You will also find a variety of sporting facilities just off the beach, including bike trails, golf courses and tennis courts. If you’d prefer to relax with some retail therapy, Miramar Beach is home to one of the nation’s largest designer shopping outlets.

Miramar Beach

3. Clearwater Beach | Florida’s most beautiful beach

Nestled on the West Coast of Florida, Clearwater Beach is a real stretch of paradise. Averaging around 361 days of sunshine a year, this sun-drenched destination is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in America. Lovingly maintained by the city, the signature soft sand here is pristine. If you’re looking for accommodation in Clearwater, most of our vacation homes offer incredible views across this very beach.

In addition to the stunning shoreline, there are also plenty of activities and attractions on offer nearby. As Clearwater is situated on the Gulf of Mexico, the warm waters here are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. If you want to get a great view of the coastline, there are a number of boat excursions available, from chilled pirate cruises to exhilarating speedboat rides. Once you’re back on dry land, grab a seat at one of the many beachfront restaurants for a fantastic view of the sunset!

Clearwater Beach

4. Siesta Key Beach | the best Florida beach for watersports

Just a short drive from Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach has been voted the best in America – twice! Famed for its quartz sand and turquoise water, this tropical paradise sits adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico. Also named as one of the best walking beaches in the US, Siesta Beach is perfect for long romantic strolls and wildlife watching. As the sand is 99% quartz, it remains cool underfoot, even on the hottest days.

The beach here is not only long, but extremely wide, so there is plenty of space to spread out and relax. The shallow clear water is perfect for water sports, with many visitors enjoying activities such as snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming. As there are year-round lifeguards on duty, this beach is also great if you’re traveling with kids. A popular but peaceful destination, Siesta Key Beach is the perfect option for those seeking rest and rejuvenation. You may even be able to enjoy an actual siesta!

Siesta Key Beach

5. St Augustine Beach | best for a classic beach vacation in Florida

Although St Augustine may be most famous for being the oldest city in the US, it is also home to some of the best beaches in Florida. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the city’s pristine shoreline stretches for over 42 miles. With warm sunshine, white sand, and a thriving community, St Augustine has everything you need to enjoy a classic beach vacation.

With plenty of activities on offer, your trip here can be as active or relaxed as you like. Volleyball and bocce courts are set up along the beach and the glittering waves here are great for surfing. If you’d rather just enjoy the view from your beach chair – that’s okay too. There are plenty of restaurants and shops within walking distance of the beach if you need to stock up on suncream and snacks!

St Augustine

6. South Beach Miami | Florida’s most famous beach

Extending for over 9 miles, Miami Beach is split into three different neighborhoods. Although all of the beaches in Miami are popular, South Beach is the most famous. Lined with swaying palms and pastel-colored buildings, this iconic stretch of sand is one of the most photographed beaches in Florida. Bursting with character, this area is famed for its impressive Art Deco architecture. If you’d like to explore the colorful streets, there are a number of guided walking tours that will take you to the best spots.

Known as SoBe to the locals, South Beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and people-watching. As this area is a hotspot for celebrities, you never know who you might see! Although the legendary shoreline is the main attraction in South Beach, you will still find plenty to do away from the ocean. You will find some of Miami’s finest restaurants and shops just a short walk from the beach, as well as some amazing bars and clubs. Stick around after sunset and you will also be able to experience the infamous Miami nightlife!

South Beach

7. Fort Lauderdale Beach | the best for beach amenties

If you prefer an action-packed beach day, Fort Lauderdale is full of fun things to do. Situated on the southeast coast, this tropical destination offers year-round sunshine and an abundance of amazing activities. The beach itself has volleyball courts, whilst the nearby promenade is great for rollerblading and jogging. If you need to take a refreshment break, you’ll find an array of stylish shops, restaurants, and cafes dotted along the coastline.

Beyond the beach, there are also plenty of opportunities to explore the water. From luxury yacht tours to pirate ship adventures, you will find several boat excursions on offer. If you want to venture out alone, there are vendors up and down the beach offering jet ski, kayak, and paddleboard rentals. The clear waters here are also great for snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving. As there is a Gulf stream running just offshore, the ocean is warm even during the winter months.

Fort Lauderdale

8. Cocoa Beach | the best beach in Florida for surfing

Just an hour from Orlando, Cocoa Beach is situated on Florida’s Space Coast. Great for families taking a break from the theme parks, this quintessential beach town is packed with fun things to see and do. The huge stretch of sand is perfect for both relaxation and recreation, whilst the historic Cocoa Beach Pier is a hub of restaurants, bars, and shops.

Rich in surf history, Cocoa Beach is renowned for its excellent surfing conditions. Known as the surf capital of the East Coast, the legendary waves here are popular with both beginners and professionals. If you need equipment, pay a visit to the original Ron Jon Surf Shop, the oldest and largest surf shop in the world. Attracting over 2 million visitors each year, this iconic store also houses the Florida Surf Museum. Even if you don’t want to ride the waves yourself, this is a great way to learn more about Florida’s famous surf culture.

Cocoa Beach

9. Daytona Beach | the best Florida beach for families

Nicknamed the “World’s Most Famous Beach”, Daytona Beach is a fantastic choice for families. With over 23 miles of white sand to explore, this popular destination offers endless opportunities for fun in the sun! The expansive shoreline is over 500-feet wide at low tide, giving you plenty of space to spread out and relax. If you’re into water sports, surfing, parasailing, and paddleboarding are just some of the activities on offer here.

Aside from the beautiful beach, it is also worth checking out the Daytona Beach Pier during your visit. First built in 1925, this iconic landmark stretches 1000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. There are a number of shops and restaurants on the pier, the most famous of which is Joe’s Crab Shack. The rooftop bar here offers amazing views across both the ocean and the city, especially at sunset!

Daytona Beach

10. Bean Point Beach | the most romantic beach in Florida

Situated on the West Coast of Florida, Anna Maria Island is neighboured by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Despite being a popular vacation destination, this 7-mile long island remains one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. If you’re looking for a peaceful place to relax, Bean Point is the quietest beach on the island.

Situated on the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, this secluded spot has no facilities, so tends to be relatively tourist-free. As there are very few visitors here, the beach is also a haven for local wildlife. With soft white sand and plenty of dunes, Bean Point is perfect for romantic picnics or strolls along the shoreline. The beach offers some spectacular views across both Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, particularly at sunset. Unfortunately, as this area is prone to riptides and strong currents, swimming is not recommended…but sunbathing is essential!

Bean Point Beach

11. Bowman’s Beach | the best Florida beach for avoiding the crowds

Sanibel Island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Relatively isolated, Bowman’s Beach is the ultimate relaxation destination. With white sand, turquoise water, and very few amenities, this pristine beach is a real taste of paradise. There are picnic areas, grills, and restrooms on the beach, but it is a good idea to bring along your own supplies if you’re planning on spending a full day here.

Although other beaches on Sanibel Island are easier to access, it is worth making the journey to this hidden gem. Less developed than other parts of the island, this picturesque beach is full of natural beauty and rustic charm. The warm Gulf water is perfect for swimming, whilst the beach is one of the best shelling spots in North America. Stick around for the sunset and you will be rewarded with some of the most amazing views across the Gulf. 

Bowman's Beach

12. Anne’s Beach | the best dog-friendly beach in Florida

Dedicated to local environmentalist Anne Eaton, Anne’s Beach is one of Islamorada’s top attractions. Voted as one of the top beaches in the Florida Keys, this secluded stretch of sand is the ideal place to spend a lazy day in the sunshine. Bordered by mangroves and wetlands, Anne’s Beach is one of the best places to experience the Key’s natural beauty and glorious weather.

As the beach itself is quite small, it is a good idea to visit at low tide – there will be much more space to spread out! Although there are very few amenities nearby, you will find some excellent picnic spots, all overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. If you prefer to keep busy on the beach, the year-round warm waters here are ideal for snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. As the water is relatively shallow, Anne’s Beach is a fantastic option for groups traveling with kids or pets.

Anne's Beach

13. Fort Jefferson Dry Tortugas National Park | the best beach in Florida for history lovers

Located around 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most remote national parks in the US. Accessible only by seaplane or boat, Dry Tortugas is made up of 7 islands in the Gulf of Mexico. As well as having a number of spectacular beaches, this national park is also home to the impressive Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century fort and harbor. Whether you are a beach lover or a history buff, this unique destination is definitely a must-visit.

Less than 1% of the national park is dry ground, so the best way to explore is by getting in the water. A hot spot for diving and snorkeling, the clear waters that surround Dry Tortugas are full of protected coral reefs and marine life. If you want to explore further afield, you can also kayak, paddleboard, or take a boat tour around the islands.

Dry Tortugas

14. Amelia Island | the most relaxing beach in Florida

Just off the northeast Florida coast, Amelia Island is part of the Sea Islands. A popular vacation destination, this unique island is full of history and culture. Edged with quartz sand and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Island is an ideal choice for those seeking a relaxing escape. The island’s beaches are rarely crowded and the warm, tranquil waters are great for swimming. If you’re looking for family-friendly activities, there are loads of things to do here – from beachside horseback riding to guided kayak experiences.

Also home to a rare maritime forest ecosystem, Amelia Island has a unique array of flora, fauna, and wildlife. Popular with conservationists and bird-watchers, the island is full of natural beauty and interesting habitats. If you want to learn more about the island’s rich ecosystem, there are a number of tours and excursions available. An adventurer’s paradise, Amelia’s Island is the perfect place to explore all the wonders of nature.

Amelia Beach

Planning a trip?

If you’re planning a beach vacation this summer, Top Villas offers a fantastic range of accommodation in Florida. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront villa in Destin or a chic condo in Miami, all of our vacation homes offer luxury living space, incredible views, and an abundance of first-class amenities.

If you need to arrange car hire (or kayak hire!) for your trip, our Guest Experience team will be happy to help. We offer a huge range of Travel Extras, designed to make your stay completely stress-free.

When you book with Top Villas, arranging a stay couldn’t be easier. By following our simple online booking process, you can secure your dream home instantly. Our website makes it easy to check availability, get a quote, and book instantly online. Alternatively, you can submit an inquiry and we’ll get straight back to you.

When you’re ready to start planning your next adventure, you can check out our full range of vacation homes here.