It’s beachin’ over here
With miles of coastline falling into picture-perfect turquoise water, it’s no wonder why everyone wants to hit the beach in Florida. Check out these ideal beach spots where you can sun, surf, swim, sweat, or just appreciate the view — also have a little fun in town because you never know what you’re gonna find.
It’s pretty safe to say that the glitz and glamor associated with Miami can be found at South Beach. As the most popular beach in Florida, let’s be clear it’s not the sand, nor the relatively breath-taking surf that make it famous, but rather the shimmering bodies and hot hangouts — from the gay beach at 12th to the ritzy, beachside clubs between 17th and 21st.
New Smyrna Beach
While the West Coast tends to get all the clout for great waves and chill surf town vibes, New Smyrna Beach is Florida’s rebuttal. Here, you’ll find sets of impressive waves thanks to an out-croppping of rocks offshore, and the expanse of dunes lined with boardwalks make it a beach you won’t forget.
Panama City Beach
If you were looking for the best beach for an enormous workout, you’ve found it at Panama City Beach. As the home of Ironman Florida, you’ll find triathletes gathered once a year to tackle incredible physical feats, but the rest of the time, feel free to laze about and enjoy the blue waters of the Gulf Coast, plus all the kitschy beach town attractions.
This famous strip of beach between Miami and Key West is a destination in its own right. It’s the perfect piece of paradise to relax in the sun, take out a boat, or jump into the water with a snorkel and get a tour beneath the emerald water.
The days of wild spring breakers wreaking havoc on the beach have given way to a new, hipper Fort Lauderdale. You can still find plenty of watering holes to make a fool of yourself, but should you choose, you can also check out vintage cars at Berliner Cars or the Antique Car Museum, actually cool art in the Arts District, and enjoy the delightful blue water at an upscale resort.
The southernmost island off the coast of Miami offers an escape from the wild, bumping beach vibe at South Beach. The silky, white sands and volleyball courts of Crandon Park make it a great spot for a family BBQ, or head to Bill Baggs State Park at the tip of the key to pretend you’re on a deserted island.
Ft. Myers Beach
For those intentionally trying to ride the spring break wave, Ft. Myers is both manageably sized and just wild enough to keep you entertained from the rooftop bar all the way down to the beach. The Hawaiian-themed Lani Kai Beach Resort is the mecca of the party, but you can also get out on the water for shelling tours and encounters with dolphins and manatees.
Henderson Beach State Park, Destin
Tucked into a chain of islands on the Gulf Islands National Seashore, this preserve boasts majestic sand dunes and gorgeous green water. This quiet beach is where you can come to forget any of your worries, and also catch a glimpse of wildlife. This is a nesting ground for sea turtles, and a popular spot for dolphins and pelicans to hang out and fish.
The shallow, calm waters at Clearwater Beach make it perfect for families with kids, and for those who want a less extreme experience stand-up paddle boarding, jet-skiing, or kayaking. The promenade along the beach is a great place to ride bikes or get a bite to eat, and you can find concerts and festivals nightly at Pier 60.
Undeveloped beaches abound on this quiet, luxe island, just a quick drive from Ft. Myers. Come for the incredible seafood that the island is known for, and stretch out on the uncrowded Bowman’s Beach, where the sunsets are all the colors of Floridian pastel you’d expect to find in a Golden Girls episode.
To beach hop in style and make the most out of your Florida adventure, book the perfect car on Turo and find your own secret beach along the coast.