The 20 Best Beaches in Florida — From Romantic Islands to Family-friendly Spots

Find your slice of paradise on the peninsula.

You can splurge on plane tickets to Bermuda or Cancun, but the reality is that you can find some of the world's most beautiful beaches right here in the U.S. Thanks to Florida's hundreds of miles of coastline, beaches with soft sand and crystal clear water are just a short flight (or even drive) away.

But with all that shoreline, finding the state's best beaches requires some research. To help, we've curated some of our favorite beaches in Florida, from sprawling family-friendly stretches to tiny islands with intimate beach nooks, so you can make digging your toes into sugar-white sand a reality. Here are 20 of the best beaches in Florida.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Key West Florida
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If you're searching for sunny days and temperate waters, it doesn't get much warmer than the beaches of Key West, the state's southernmost point. You can pass your time here at Smathers or Higgs Beach, but for calm waters and wide stretches of sand, it's hard to beat Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. Spend the afternoon swimming and snorkeling before taking a break to check out the park's pre-Civil War fortress. If you can't sit still, you'll find nature trails and snorkel rentals on site.

Miramar Beach

Row of beach chairs and umbrellas at Miramar Beach, Florida
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On the Florida Panhandle, you won't want to miss a day (or days) spent enjoying Miramar Beach in South Walton. Pull up a lounge chair and drape your hand into the fine, white sand or join a game of beach volleyball. Once you're all beached out, Miramar's South Walton neighborhood is full of scenic beach roads and antique shopping waiting to be discovered.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach at Sunrise with Pier in the Background
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Long called the surf capital of the East Coast, Cocoa Beach in Brevard County has produced several big-name surfers, including Kelly Slater, an 11-time world champion. But whether or not you've got the know-how, you can expect a good time at Cocoa Beach. With a local, laid-back feel and plenty of surf schools, you'll be up on your board in no time. Not a surfer? Hole up at one of the beach's waterfront bars or watch surfers from the fishing pier.

South Beach Park

Florida, Vero Beach, Jaycee Park, Ocean Drive Aerial
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The city of Vero Beach has a little something for everyone hidden on its pristine shores — literally. As part of Florida's Treasure Coast, the area draws treasure hunters who come and try their luck at finding the riches lost when a fleet of early 18th-century Spanish ships sunk in a hurricane. If you need to get out of the sun, hop in the car and drive north to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Juno Beach Park

Juno Beach Pier jetty in Jupiter, Florida
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If you're looking for a slow oceanside afternoon, this is the place to go. Grab a bag of picnic supplies and spend the morning swimming and soaking up the sun on Juno's pristine shores. Then, snag a shady picnic table and dive in. You'll find the Loggerhead Marinelife Center a 15-minute walk down the beach, and a 10- to 15-minute car ride will take you to the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.

Bowman's Beach

Bowmans Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida
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Seashell collectors have long known about the stunning Sanibel Island southwest of Fort Myers. Here, seashells from the Gulf of Mexico wash ashore, attracting collectors from all over the world — so it's no surprise Bowman's Beach makes this list of best beaches in Florida. Spend the cool mornings curating your perfect stash of shells on Bowman's Beach before laying down a towel under the sun.

Delray Beach

Delray Beach at Sunset with Clouds and Sea Grapes.
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In Palm Beach County, Delray Beach is the perfect place to alternate between napping, swimming, and people-watching. With a wide, sandy sprawl that's lined with grass and palm trees, you'll have plenty of space to relax. When you need a break from the sun, browse the shops on Atlantic Avenue or take in the murals and public art in the Pineapple Grove Arts District.

Lummus Park Beach

Volleyball grounds in Lummus Park

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If you're searching for next-level people-watching in Miami, look no further. A truly urban beach, this spot regularly sees toned locals playing volleyball or getting bronzed under the ever-shining sun. Choose between sitting in the sand or keeping your feet clean and sand-free in the park's shaded grassy area. When you start feeling antsy, walk along the promenade that separates the grass from the beach and keep an eye out for movie stars or film crews.

Lowdermilk Park

Clear blue sky over Lowdermilk Beach
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Naples is known for its pearly white sand and at Lowdermilk Park, you can focus your attention on nature or walk along Millionaires' Row in the Old Naples area and pick out your dream house. YKeep the kids busy on the nearby playgrounds or at the duck pond and stick around to catch a sunset before dinner and peruse the Naples nightlife.

Siesta Beach

Beautiful Siesta Key Beach in Southern Florida
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You don't have to fly to the Caribbean to experience tropical white-sand beaches. On Siesta Key — a short drive from downtown Sarasota — you can look out over the glittering Gulf of Mexico with a cocktail in hand. Talk about relaxation. Spend the day walking the beach and looking for shells or rent a kayak and venture out into the blue, tranquil waters.

South Beach

South Beach Lifeguard tower and beach, Miami, Florida at sunrise
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In the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach, you'll find trendy beachgoers, rollerbladers, and a smattering of young, beautiful (and perfectly tanned) locals. Check out the area's historic Art Deco architecture, walk around South Pointe Park, or swing by Joe's Stone Crab for a meal you won't soon forget.

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach, Florida at sunset
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With a name that conjures up images of perfectly transparent water lapping against silky sand, Clearwater Beach sets expectations. But as any Florida beach fanatic knows, this stretch of sand doesn't disappoint. With its truly clear waters and white-sand shores, visitors come from all over to enjoy the calm Gulf waters or partake in one of the area's many activities, from parasailing to fishing.

Crandon Park Beach

Aerial drone view of Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Miami Florida
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If you packed your snorkel gear, you won't want to miss a day at Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne. The barrier island across from Miami has a fossilized mangrove reef, which is home to colorful sea life that has long attracted divers and snorkelers. If visiting an underwater world doesn't interest you, look up — Crandon Park is one of the Miami area's top bird-watching destinations (herons, hawks, ospreys, and songbirds are often spotted here). If you want to learn more, swing by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center at the northern end of the park.

Deerfield Beach

View of empty Deerfield Beach in Florida
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If you have little ones, head to Deerfield Beach, a famously clean, family-friendly beach that used to beckon herds of local deer to its shores. While the beach itself — certainly one of the best beaches in Florida — is a wonderful hangout for kids and adults alike, the nearby Quiet Waters Park is a nice bail-out option if the kids get bored. Inside the park, you'll find cable skiing, mountain bike trails, and a water park.

Henderson Beach State Park

aerial view of Haulover Beach State Park, florida beaches
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In the city of Destin, you'll find Miramar Beach's more wild neighbor at Henderson Beach State Park. Not your typical beach day experience, you can spend your time at this nature reserve exploring the 30-foot-high sand dunes. If you're really outdoorsy, you can also reserve a campsite and enjoy activities like fishing and cycling in between daily swims and wildlife spotting.

Haulover Park

aerial view of haulover park beach in miami

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If you prefer to sunbathe in the buff, this might be the best Florida beach for you. Haulover Park is a nude beach located between the Hollywood and North Beach neighborhoods and it has some of the prettiest waters you can find in Florida. If you prefer to keep your whole swimsuit on, there are non-nude parts of the beach and you'll also find tennis courts and a golf course nearby.

Hollywood Beach

Hollywood beach scene at daylight with palm trees, and people having fun at beach, Miami. This Broadwalk, is a promenade that stretches nearly 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, with beautiful an idyllic beach just in front.

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Sand and sea are nice, but sometimes all you want out of a beach vacation is the fun of a lively boardwalk. You can keep yourself busy with visits to oceanfront restaurants like Bonny & Read's Toucan Hideout and catch a live musical performance at the outdoor Hollywood Beach Theatre. End the night with a scoop of ice cream and you've got the making for a perfect beach day.

Marco Island

Marco Island Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, USA. Summer scene at this southern Florida touristic attraction, USA.
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Hidden away between Naples and the Everglades at the very bottom of the Florida peninsula, Marco Island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida with great sunset views. You can get away to the island's wild side at Collier Seminole State Park, where you can camp, canoe, and fish, or take a day trip to Briggs Nature Center to do some birdwatching and keep your eyes open for the resident reptiles.

Navarre Beach

Pier on sandy beach near Pensacola, Florida

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Hailed by many to be "Florida's Most Relaxing Place," Navarre Beach is a small town located near Pensacola that tends to be light on the crowds. Because the town is located between the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Navarre Beach Marine Park, things are relatively quiet here and visitors can take advantage of the Sunshine State's more outdoorsy activities like hiking, diving, and fishing.

Grayton Beach State Park

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This 400-acre park is rich with sugar-white sand beaches and abundant with wildlife. With four miles of nature trails and an inner lake for paddling adventures in addition to the sparkling sea, there is a lot of beauty to be found in this state park located in Santa Rosa Beach. The nearest town is small but charming with many cozy bed-and-breakfasts and the larger Water Color Inn resort.

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