Siesta Key. Photo via MaryShutterstock.
Siesta Key. Photo via MaryShutterstock.

The Sunshine State is a beach lover’s paradise of sandy shores and sun-kissed waters. And that makes picking Florida’s best beaches a near impossible feat.

While the rest of the country is getting out their fall clothes, summer’s not over yet in Florida! You can still enjoy some of the best beaches between Florida’s Gulf shores and Atlantic coastlines. Here are a few of our favorites. We’re sure you’ll have more to add to the list!

Siesta Key 

Isn’t it true that the name alone invites you to kick off your “city shoes” and relax? Sitting off the coast of Sarasota on the Gulf of Mexico, this barrier island is considered one of the best beaches in the nation. You may have even seen it on the MTV show “Siesta Key”! 

With crystal-clear waters and eight miles of white sand, it is a favorite spot for families and couples alike. And unlike beaches that are made up mostly of pulverized coral, Siesta Beach’s sand is 99% quartz, most of which came down rivers all the way from the Appalachian Mountains.

For your convenience, the beach has a large parking area, concession stands, picnic areas, a playground, volleyball facilities, tennis court and more! There’s also a free trolley to get around on the island, and nearby fun Siesta Key Village. Learn more HERE.

Amelia Island

Image via Lynne Neuman / Shutterstock

Do you love the tranquility of an uncrowded beach, and the need to be surrounded by the natural beauty of  wide open spaces…? With just 18 square miles—13 of those of uninterrupted gorgeous Atlantic beach—this eco-tourism paradise is the place that has it all for your perfect escape.  

The island’s rivers, marshes, and greenways are also a balm to the spirit of those seeking to reconnect with nature. And when it comes to lodging, you can choose from a variety of accommodations, some of them just steps from the beach. There are boat rentals, river cruises, and more than 100 restaurants to choose from! Learn more HERE.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Image via FloridaStock / Shutterstock

This mile-long, undeveloped beach on the southern tip of Key Biscayne offers gorgeous shores with unequaled views of the Atlantic, and a lot of history. In 2004, a marker was erected at the site to mark it as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Trail, as hundreds of fugitive slaves escaped from there to freedom in the Bahamas. It’s also the site of the Cape Florida Light, built in 1845 and the oldest standing structure in Greater Miami. 

For the more sports minded, there’s also a vast network of biking and walking trails, plus activities like boating, canoeing, and kayaking. There’s also a picnic area, and visitors can take tours of the lighthouse and keeper’s quarters. Learn more HERE.

Marco Island

Image via Paul Harrison / Shutterstock

Just imagine: This paradisiacal spot located in the Gulf of Mexico, off Southwest Florida, features six miles of beach and over 100 miles of waterways within its 24 square miles. And that is not all! Marco Island’s unique mix of high-end resorts and unspoiled habitats makes it one of those best-of-both-worlds spots vacationers love so much. 

But the jewel in the crown is the island’s gorgeous beaches. Tigertail Beach Park is the place for those looking to take long, unhurried  walks, search for seashells or rent kayaks, while South Marco Beach offers great opportunities for sunbathing and swimming. 

Boating is also popular on this barrier island linked to the mainland by bridges south of the city of Naples. Learn more HERE.

South Beach

Image via Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock

Do you like sculpted bods, flashy cars, and a possible celebrity sighting or two? Then welcome to South Beach! Hands down, this 2.2-mile white sand stretch with swaying palms and pastel-colored Art Deco buildings is Florida’s busiest, most touristy, and famous spot for those  who love Miami’s glitz and glamor. 

That may also be why locals prefer to hang around the quieter spots south of Fifth Street. In this area, South Pointe Beach is popular thanks to minimal development and easy access to the walking trails. And let us not forget the spectacular sunset views within adjacent South Pointe Park. 

But even if all you’d like to do is spread a towel on the sand and enjoy ocean breezes and sun, South Beach delivers! Learn more HERE.

Bahia Honda 

Image via Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock

“Deep bay” is the Spanish meaning of the name of this beautiful spot of crystal-white sands, transparent, clear-blue waters, and swaying palm trees. 

A popular state park in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda lets you choose among three exquisitely beautiful beaches: Calusa on the northwest side, Sandspur on the Atlantic side, and Loggerhead on the western end of the island.

Apart from sunning and swimming, amenities that are sure to please the whole family include bicycling, birding, hiking, camping, stargazing, and so much more! The concession also offers chairs, snorkeling equipment, and kayak rentals, as well as snacks and lunches. Learn more HERE.

Delray Beach

Image via lunamarina / Shutterstock

“Florida’s Village By the Sea,” as it is also known, Delray Beach offers the friendly atmosphere of a small town with the entertainment options of a big city. Delray’s Municipal Beach is, of course, wonderful, and ideal for active pursuits like snorkeling and paddleboarding. For a quieter beach experience, however, visitors can head to Atlantic Dunes Park. 

But there’s so much more! For example, the lakeside Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens offers tea ceremonies, calligraphy workshops, and serene outdoor spaces, while Wakodahatchee Wetlands park features a raised boardwalk with views of birds, turtles, and alligators.

Later you can stroll down palm tree-lined Atlantic Avenue for upscale shopping and vibrant nightlife. Learn more HERE.