New Smyrna Beach

Just south of Daytona is New Smyrna, a hip little community that due to its consistent break (thanks to rock ledges off the coast), attracts plenty of surfers looking to hang 10. After catching some good waves, stick around for the intense sunsets and chill out in the cutesy downtown filled with coffee houses, low-key bars, and surf shops.

Where to Stay:Black Dolphin Inn, The Riverview Hotel & Spa

Siesta Beach — Sarasota

Located on Florida’s Siesta Key, a quick drive from downtown Sarasota, this stunning strand is known for its soft white-quartz sand (which stays cool even when the temps soar). Parents will appreciate the shallow shoreline, lifeguard stands, shaded playground/picnic area, and concession stand.

Where to StayHotel Indigo Sarasota, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

Rosemary Beach — Rosemary Beach

If you’re looking for a charming beach resort where ice cream shops and quaint stores reign supreme, consider a visit to Rosemary Beach, located along the South Walton coast, recently named a 2019 hotspot by National Geographic. Spend your days unwinding on the beach and tooling around around town on a bicycle before settling down for a seafood dinner. 

Where to Stay: Carillon Beach Resort Inn, The Pearl Hotel

Tigertail Beach — Marco Island

This barrier island along the Gulf of Mexico has 4 miles of unspoiled shoreline. One of the most beautiful beaches is Tigertail, which is not only has some of Florida’s best bird-watching, but stellar shell-collecting as well — bring a mesh bag and hunt for sand dollars, starfish, coquinas, and other treasures from the sea.

Where to Stay: JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites

Lummus Park Beach — Miami

This strand runs along Miami’s Ocean Beach, with its pastel-colored Art Deco buildings on the opposite side of Ocean Drive. Running from about 6th to 14th Street, this is the place to be if you want to check out the hipster sun-worshipping scene. You’ll see everything on favorite Florida strand — from modeling shoots to fitness buffs working out, and anything in between.

Where to Stay: South Seas HotelNautilus – a Sixty Hotel

Clearwater Beach — Clearwater

One of the best beaches in Florida is Clearwater, which is known for its pedestrian-friendly Beachwalk Promenade. On this waterfront path, you’ll come across runners, cyclists, and bladers. You’ll also find beach volleyball courts and watersports, and come sundown, people gravitate toward Pier 60, lined with musicians and street performers.

Where to Stay: Wyndham Grand Clearwater BeachHyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa

Caladesi Island State Park — Dunedin

Caladesi Island, off the northern end of Clearwater Beach (reached via ferry) deserves its own mention, as it’s similar to the beaches you’d find in the Caribbean — turquoise waters fronting sugar-soft white sands, making it one of the prettiest strands in all of Florida. Little wonder it was named as one of Dr. Beach’s Top Ten Beaches in 2018.

Where to StayCharthouse Suites on Clearwater Bay, Sheraton Sand Key Resort

St. Augustine Beach— St. Augustine

Like Daytona, you can actually park your car right on the beach at many of the strands in this historic Florida city. Just a 10-minute drive from downtown, St. Augustine Beach, located on Anastasia Island, is a 10-mile beauty of soft sands and warm waters. Sea turtles also nest along these beaches, so be careful not to walk on the nesting areas.

Where to StayCourtyard by MarriottLa Fiesta Ocean Inn & Suites

Naples Municipal Beach — Naples

Located in downtown Naples, this municipal beach (on 12th Avenue’s western end) is famous for its historic wooden pier, which dates to 1888 and is often lined with fisherman angling for a catch. Locals and tourists alike gather here to watch the nightly sunset, which is simply stunning as it sets over the Gulf of Mexico.

Where to Stay: Hyatt House Naples 5th AvenueInn of Naples

Panama City Beach — Panama City

Panama City on Florida’s Panhandle has just about everything you could want from a sun-drenched Florida beach vacation. There are plenty of seafood restaurants and attractions like swimming with dolphins, but the main draw is the 27 miles of beaches, including bustling Panama City Beach and lesser-developed strands like St. Andrew’s State Park and Shell Island, accessible only by boat.
Where to Stay: Marriott’s Legends Edge at Bay Point

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