Florida's beaches are among the top attractions in the United States. With a coastline of about 1,200 miles, Florida is, no doubt, one of the world's best destination for a beach holiday.
What's more, the state has a wide variety of shores that cater to all types of travelers, from family-friendly resorts to party-focused beaches. The state's warm weather and beach town vibe attract thousands of travelers from around the world.
Western Florida's beaches are famous for their gorgeous sunsets, while the beaches along the Atlantic are more popular for surfers. Read on to find out more about the best beaches in Florida.
1. Canaveral National Seashore
Known as the longest unspoiled beach in Florida, the Canaveral National Seashore sits on a barrier island on Florida's Eastern Coast. This pristine barrier island has lagoon habitats that protect the beach park from storms and help preserve the Timucua Native American mounds. Heaps of shells, discarded arrowheads, and shards of pottery can be found on the island's shores. These were left by the Timucuan Indians who were the first known inhabitants of the island.
Families who love nature, adventure a slightly more unusual beach holiday, will find the Canaveral National Seashore fun to explore. This beach park is also a sanctuary for thousands of species of plants and animals. Follow the hiking trails where you might come across some of the endangered animal species that have settled on the island. The long coastline allows visitors to enjoy plenty of water sports activities, from surf fishing to paddleboarding and snorkeling.
2. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is located along Florida's Atlantic Coast, just south of the Canaveral National Seashore. It's only an hour's drive away from Orlando, making it a popular destination for families and surfers looking to escape the busy city life. Dubbed the "space coast", Cocoa Beach features four parks with access to the beach, including the Sidney Fischer Park and Alan Shepard Park. Both parks have shower and picnic facilities ideal for families and day-trippers.
But the most frequented area is the long stretch of sand by the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. It's a great place for surfers to catch a wave. There's also an annual surfing competition that's being held here. Surf shops and surfing schools dot the area, and there's also a wide range of bars and restaurants.
If you're going to Florida for a surfing holiday in Cocoa Beach, Orlando would be the perfect place to base yourself. Cocoa Beach is only an hour away and can be easily accessible from the city. You also have plenty of options when it comes to your accommodation. Consider staying in a luxury Florida villa or apartment with a pool in Orlando and take the shuttle for a day trip to Cocoa Beach.
3. Longboat Key
Longboat Key is a beach town in Florida known for its outstanding beaches. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, Longboat Key offers warm tropical breezes, beautiful sunsets, and powdery white sands. The laidback atmosphere of this tropical paradise attracts thousands of beachgoers who keep coming back year after year.
Longboat Key offers an elegant and scenic environment featuring a rare combination of cultural sights and breath-taking beaches. It is home to several resorts and seaside communities, and a large number of the town's residents are retirees who prefer to live close to the town's golf courses and tennis clubs. Longboat Key is also known for its excellent dining and shopping options, which attract upscale travelers.
To make the most of your holiday in Longboat Key, consider booking a vacation rental and stay for a few days. Most of these properties are close to the beautiful beaches, as well as the various cultural attractions in Sarasota. The city is known for its eclectic art galleries, world-class theatres, and beautiful museums.
4. Siesta Key Beach
Voted the number one beach in the United States, Siesta Key is known for its crystal powdery white sand, turquoise waters, and fun nightlife. This quaint 8-mile-long beach is a perfect destination for a family vacation or romantic getaway. Just chilling on this beach is one of the most relaxing things to do in Florida, even if you are on a solo Florida adventure. It's also a playground for active tourists who want to take part in various water sports activities. Here, you can go kayaking, fishing, swimming, sandboarding, biking, and water skiing.
Siesta Key offers plenty of beachside amenities. Aside from the spacious parking area and concession stands, beachgoers will have access to a free trolley that will allow them to get around the island and visit the nearby Siesta Key Village.
Siesta Beach is only a few minutes away from downtown Sarasota. The city itself has plenty of attractions that are worth a visit. So aside from spending time at the beach, you can visit the city's finest art institutions, enjoy a close encounter with wild animals at the Sarasota Jungle Garden, or take a boat ride to the untamed islands of Florida.
5. Miami Beach
Miami Beach is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when going for a beach getaway in Florida. This popular beach is often crowded and covers more than seven miles of shoreline. During summer, the shores of Miami Beach are usually packed with sunbathers.
The golden beaches and blue waters of Miami Beach offer plenty of activities for all kinds of tourists. But aside from frolicking at the beach, there are plenty of activities that you can enjoy while in Miami Beach. Don't miss the opportunity to explore Biscayne Bay, a massive lagoon ideal for kayaking and snorkel adventures. Check out the South Beach area, and you might be lucky to spot your favorite Hollywood celebrity. The Art Deco Historic District is also worth a visit. It's home to more than 800 Art Deco buildings that have been restored and can be explored on a walking tour.
Families with kids should check out the Miami Seaquarium, a massive outdoor aquarium home to a wide variety of sea creatures, including sea turtles, penguins, and manta rays. The Miami Children's Museum is also not to be missed. It offers plenty of activities for kids of all ages, including interactive exhibits where kids can learn a wide range of things.