Top 5 Florida Beach Destinations
Updated: Apr 2, 2021
The perfect options for your next Florida beach vacation! Florida beaches have some of the whitest sand and bluest water in the world! See where to go and what to do at the top 5 destinations!
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Welcome to the Sunshine State! Without a doubt Florida is the land of sunshine and good times! A proud Floridian myself, I can boast about my state all day long! Florida has so much to offer in the tourism sector that it just blows my mind! There are so many different vibes wherever you go, literally anyone can find something in Florida. With blue waters, white sandy beaches and a lively food and bar scene, Florida makes you feel like you are lost on a Caribbean island. Paradise. . . and you don't even have to leave the country!
For our next countdown, I wanted to highlight some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Now this was really hard as there are 1,350 mi (2,170 km) of coastline in Florida. Each one is beautiful in it's own way. Many of these destinations are places I have lived and love! Let's get started. . .
5. Miami Beach
Good for: Social Butterflies
Miami Beach is one of the first things to come up when people first search for vacations in Florida. You are probably already thinking of those iconic photos of the neon lights along Ocean Drive in South Beach. It is the hub of international events like food and music festivals, fashion shows and art events. If you are looking for a beach town that has literally every type of entertainment, look no further than Miami!
Miami has a lot more to offer than just the posh party scene of South Beach. Miami has a rich Hispanic, specifically Cuban, culture and you could easily dance the night away in Little Havana, wake up to croquettes and a cafecito before hitting the beach in a barely-there bikini. Maybe art is more your thing? Visit the famous Wynwood Art District where you can marvel at street art, eat at a local bakery and stop in a gallery to find that one of a kind piece to take home. Want to have a killer bachelor or bachelorette weekend? There is no better bar and club scene in the world than in Miami. Dance the night away in one of the best clubs along Miami Beach til the sun rises across the waves. Miami is without a doubt one of the hottest cities in the world and the perfect start to our Florida countdown.
My Top Accommodation Picks in Miami:
Lux Resort Choice: The Miami Beach EDITION
Boutique Hotel Choice: Hotel Croydon
4. Anna Maria Island
Good for: Family Trips
You want waters as blue and green as the Caribbean? Make your way to the other side of the state. Anna Maria Island is the closest thing to a “home beach” that I have. I have spent the majority of my childhood here from beach days with my mom when I was a toddler, school field trips, and weekends spent with friends in high school! I loooove Anna Maria. The island is part of the chain of barrier islands that run along the west coast of Florida just south of Tampa (also a short trip from St. Pete!!) Anna Maria is the Island that shoots into Tampa Bay. The south end of Anna Maria Island connects to Longboat Key that eventually hits Siesta Key. Bradenton is the closets major city but you could fly into Tampa International if you are traveling from long distances!
Anna Maria Island is definitely a sleepy little beach town. I would not suggest coming here if you want a huge party or selection of dining and entertainment. Anna Maria is the type of place you come to lounge in your beach chair all day. The water has few waves and is the most beautiful shades of blue and green. The main public beach is Manatee Beach where you can catch a quick lunch or ice cream at a small cafe. Coquina Beach is another great stop where you can find all the tiny coquinas digging back down into the sand. Their shells are all different colors and are fun to play with while sitting in the surf. Catch a sunset at Bean Point to end the day. Best part is there is a FREE trolley that takes you up and down the island. If you have always wanted to visit Florida and just experience the ideal "Florida Lifestyle" bring your family and friends here!
My Top Accommodation Picks in Anna Maria:
Family Friendly Resort Choice: Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club, Autograph Collection
Perfect Holiday House Choice: Beachfront Oasis
3. Delray Beach
Good for: Lux Beach Babes
Delray Beach may or may not already be on your radar for your next Florida vacation. If it’s not, it will be now! Nestled between West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, on the southeast coast of Florida, Delray packs small town charm with killer beach views. I discovered Delray Beach while going to school at FAU in Boca so I know it very well, but I loved it so much I moved back a few years after college! I always add it to the itinerary for south Florida trips.
Atlantic Ave. is the main drag that will lead you straight to the main public beach. The Ave is littered with amazing bars and restaurants from a variety of cuisines! New things are being added all the time but you can guarantee the landmarks of Delray like Salt 7 - an upscale bar with killer brunches and martinis, The Office for a great outdoor bar scene, or The Sandbar for more of a tiki hut vibe. Delray is home to a collection of mostly residential rentals and a few lux hotels. You could bike almost anywhere and enjoy everything the town has to offer in a quick escape. If you were planning a longer vacation, you could easily hop on a train to West Palm, Ft. Lauderdale or Miami for even more exploring!
My Top Accommodation Picks in Delray Beach:
Lux Resort Choice: Opal Grand Oceanfront Resort & Spa
Holiday Home Choice: SeaGrape Cottage
2. Saint Petersburg Beach
Good for: Metropolitan feel but not Miami
My most recent home, also known as St. Pete Beach, will always be one of my favorite beaches in Florida. It is massive, has white powdery sand and crystal clear waters. Because it’s part of the Gulf of Mexico, waters are pretty warm year round. The town of St. Pete Beach is mostly resorts and hotels with a few shops and restaurants sprinkled along the main drag. There are a collection of amazing beach bars where you can literally watch the sunset steps from the sand. If you want a wider variety of cultural stops and entertainment, you can grab an Uber into downtown St. Pete. Going through a huge revival, downtown St. Pete has so much to offer from fine dining, art museums, and a fun bar scene. Rooftop bars like The Canopy showcasing the spectacular sunsets over Tampa Bay make the perfect spot to end the day. If you want to explore Tampa on the same trip grab the ferry connecting downtown St. Pete with downtown Tampa. It’s a gorgeous ride through the bay and gives you the opportunity to explore all the options in Tampa.
St. Pete really works well for family vacations or trips with the girls! You could easily find a beach bar and enjoy live music and watch the sunset. You could also easily never leave your beach chair!!
My Top Accommodation Picks in St. Pete Beach:
Lux Resort Choice: The Don CeSar
Boutique Hotel Choice: Postcard Inn on the Beach
1. Florida Keys
Good for: Fun in the Sun
The number one spot for this list shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone since I sing so many praises for the Keys all the time! You usually don't think of beaches when you think of The Florida Keys, but Marathon (the Key about 2.5 hours south of Miami) has both white sandy Sombrero Beach and the beautiful Bahia Honda State Park. Both of these beaches bring views similar to a Caribbean island! There is also Smather's Beach in Key West, and while not the most beautiful beach on the list, this one just steps from Duval St. action is definitely fit for a number one spot!
The Florida Keys will make you feel like you’re a million miles away from everything yet, you’re still in the continental U.S. Because there are so many different vibes through the Keys, you can find something that’s perfect for you. Do you want to have a wild bachelor or bachelorette weekend with the crew? Fly down to Key West and enjoy the ride! Are you looking for a fishing trip with your buddies? Maybe a rental in Islamorada or Key Largo with a boat dock would suite you better. Just want a romantic vacation for two? Take in the luxury Key West has to offer on Sunset Key. There are campgrounds and RV parks dotting through the Keys as well so you can rough it at night and take in the world’s 3rd largest coral reef system by day!
The Keys keep that old Florida charm alive with beautiful architecture dating back to when the Spanish discovered Florida! It is the perfect place to keep you shaded by palms while drinking a margarita or pina colda! Taking a road trip through the Keys brings some of the most picturesque views and will make you fall in love like I have.
My Top Accommodation Picks in The Florida Keys:
Lux Resort Choice: Sunset Key Cottages
Beach Resort Choice: Hawke's Cay Resort
As you can see Florida has a lot to offer! If you are looking for a perfect beach vacation, look no further than the Sunshine State! Have you visited any of these destinations? Any other spots we should add to the list?
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