A day at the beach, in Florida, is an event with options. Florida’s beaches are comprised of unique personalities, distinct vibes, and offer an array of amenities. Whatever kind of beach experience you’re looking for, Florida is ready to serve up the fun in the sun.
Some of Florida’s beaches are jam-packed with an active younger crowd enthusiastic about volleyball and water sports, while others are more romantic, secluded, and peaceful.
Still, other beaches draw in nature-lovers with their array of wildlife, including dolphins and manatee, or provide opportunities for shelling or sifting for shark teeth. And there are Florida beaches that create enchanting backdrops for stunning weddings.
Some of the most spectacular beaches in the country, Florida’s waters offer scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and amenities like volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, camping sites, and more.
Here are some of the best sparkling beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Siesta Key, a crescent-shaped barrier island, stretches for eight miles along the southwest coast of Florida, adjacent to the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. Two easily accessible bridges connect Siesta Key Beach to the city of Sarasota.
Siesta Key Beach, renowned for its sugary-soft sands, is comprised of 99 percent quartz and is repeatedly recognized as one of the best sand beaches in the country.
The Travel Channel named Siesta Key Beach, “The Best Sand Beach in America.”
The Siesta Key Beach’s white sands, cool to the touch, provide the perfect foundation for some of the best volleyball in the nation. The active beach volleyball community offers year-round games and tournaments that draw visitors from around the world to play and compete.
Aside from volleyball, which draws a younger crowd, Siesta Key Beach features Zumba classes, drum circles, bike tours and rentals, and other water sports and land-based recreational activities.
Aside from powdery sands, beach activities, volleyball, and water sports, Siesta Key Beach offers an eclectic selection of casual and fine dining, and shopping experiences from quaint boutiques, to quirky shops, and souvenir shops at Siesta Key Village.
On the south end of Siesta Key, Turtle Beach offers a more tranquil, peaceful vibe. Not only is the beach far less crowded than other area beaches, but it’s also an active nesting habitat for turtles during mating season.
Turtle Beach offers a variety of low-key recreation and activities such as the campground shaded by a blanket of trees, shelling, swimming, kayaking, and fishing from the shore.
Spanning 14 acres, the family-friendly Turtle Beach in Florida offers picnic shelters and grills, a playground, volleyball court, and boat launching ramps.
Turtle Beach is one of the “Blue Wave” Certification beaches because it’s clean and for its environmental conservation efforts. Although its sands are darker and more course than Siesta Keys, the waters are clear blue and inviting.
There aren’t any tourist shops, restaurants, or resorts on Turtle Beach, making it the ideal getaway spot for relaxing on the beach in the Florida sun.
Lovers Key State Park envelops 712 acres of unspoiled territory, populated by a variety of wildlife. The state park encompasses lagoons, canals, as well as four barrier islands, and is woven with miles of trails for hiking, biking, and other adventures amidst a collection of mangrove trees.
Among its expansive acreage is Lovers Key Beach, a two-mile stretch of sandy beaches made famous by turquoise waters populated with jumping dolphins.
Not only is Lovers Key a great place to nature-watch, but it’s also a spectacular destination for gulf-side weddings with awe-inspiring panoramic views.
And, of course, there are relaxing activities like fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and more.
While you won’t find a bustling tourist-vibe with shops and restaurants, the beach is equipped with concessions, as well as kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, beach chairs, umbrellas, and bikes to rent.
The area is also home to the elegant Lovers Key Resort for luxurious accommodations, dining experiences, and pampering.
Florida’s Venice Beach
Venice Beach in Florida offers the best of beach life and water adventures. Recognized consistently as one of the top five beaches in Florida,
Venice Beach underwent a re-nourishment program, investing $16 million over a three-year time span, expanding the sandy shores. Through this endeavor, Venice Beach has earned the Blue Wave Beach Certification.
While the beach offers traditional activities like swimming, shelling, and sunbathing, and has dolphin watching and turtle nests, Venice Beach is known as the “Shark Took Capital of the World.”
Visitors from near and far gather to Venice beach to enjoy its soft sands to sift for shark’s teeth and other fossils.
The beach offers volleyball courts, picnic areas, concessions, and have lifeguards on duty.
And, perhaps the more exotic charm to Venice Beach is its draw to scuba divers who explore the area’s coral reef.
For a more nostalgic beach experience, visit Florida’s Nokomis Beach, Sarasota County’s oldest public beach, with the Nokomis Beach Plaza constructed in the 1950s.
Rejuvenated in 2008, the beach offers volleyball, a boat ramp, canoe launch, fishing pier, picnic facilities, a playground field, and restrooms. And, in 2016 a concessions stand was added.
On the barrier island of Casey Key in Sarasota County, Nokomis Beach is a residential beach retreat where locals hunt for seashells and shark teeth while nature lovers take in the sights of pelicans, seagulls, and, of course, the beloved bottle-nosed dolphins.
Boca Grande Beach
For a step back in time, visit Boca Grande Beach on Gasparilla Island in Florida.
Not only does the beautiful beach offer activities like swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and nature study, but it’s also home to a lighthouse that’s been shining light on the shores since 1890, making it the oldest structure on the island.
The lighthouse also serves as an area museum, paying homage the the area’s rich past.
Whatever you’re looking for near the water, Florida has a beach for that.
Enjoy a day playing tourist and browsing the boutiques and souvenir shops. Sun bathe on sugar-soft sands listening to rolling waves.
Dip your toes into clean waters for a refreshing swim, or bait your hook to cast your line.
Enjoy a peaceful walk along a tranquil beach, or bust a sweat in a challenging game of volleyball. Sift the sands for shark teeth, or pitch a tent and camp out under the stars.
Celebrate a waterfront wedding, or launch your kayak. Florida is known for its beaches, and not all beaches are the same.
Choose your mood, then find a beach to match. Explore them all to discover which beach stands out as your favorite beach in Florida.
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