The best beaches in Florida offer something for everyone. Some of the Sunshine State’s beaches are quiet, secluded places to admire the scenery and feel the sand beneath your toes. Others are exciting places to enjoy a party over spring break and beyond. Moving south to the Florida Keys, those beaches have the feel of Caribbean islands, offering some of the best scuba diving in the U.S.
No matter where—or when—you decide to visit Florida, you won’t be far from the coast. The state boasts more than 1,200 miles of shoreline and more than 800 beaches in total. Even Orlando is just a two-hour drive away from some of the best beaches in Florida. With year-round warm weather and beaches to suit all interests, Florida is a great place to spend some time in the sun.
Many Florida beaches are found alongside the Atlantic Ocean, including Daytona Beach. The city is best known for its auto races, but it’s also a great place to spend a day—or more—at the beach. The soft golden sand is especially well-suited for building sandcastles. Unlike other beaches, you’re allowed to drive on the beach, a tradition that dates back to the early days of auto racing. Cars also are welcome at New Smyrna Beach and Butler Beach, just south of nearby St. Augustine.
When looking for the best beaches in Florida for spring break, you won’t do any better than Panama City Beach. In February, March, and beyond, the white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico pulse with energy. You’ll find plenty of live music, beachside cabanas, and condo rentals perfectly suited for fun by day and night.
A little quieter, the family-friendly Florida beaches along Tampa Bay offer wide stretches of clean white sand. Beyond swimming and the typical beach pursuits, many visitors enjoy watching for birds and other wildlife like dolphins and manatees. Tampa Bay has calm waters perfect for kayaking or canoeing—and the entire region is blessed with 361 days of sunshine a year on average.
Like the Sunshine State as a whole, Miami offers a wide variety of beaches. Chic and sophisticated, many of the beaches of Miami and South Beach draw visitors in all four seasons. Other Florida Beaches in South Florida are well-suited for family fun in the sun, and still others are favorites of surfers. Whether you’re looking to hang out with the A-List crowd or you’d prefer to spend your time windsurfing, you’ll have no trouble finding a great beach in and around Miami.
Just 90 miles from Miami, the Florida Keys is a collection of islands connected to the mainland by the Overseas Highway and 43 bridges—one seven miles long. Perhaps best known as the favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, the islands offer a laid back escape and the southernmost point in the United States. Its collection of Florida beaches line the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. With a rainbow of marine life and shipwrecks beneath the surface, Key West and its neighbors offers some excellent spots of diving and snorkeling.