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Discover Florida’s Beaches, Barrier Islands, and the Keys
Escape to paradise without even leaving the country. With 1,197 miles of breathtaking coastline, Florida is home to some of the world’s best beaches and tropical oases that are right in its backyard. From the white powdery sands in Naples to the island fun down in the Keys, explore the Sunshine State’s hidden gems and award-winning destinations for your next vacation.
Top Florida Beaches
With three sides bordering either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, Florida beaches are in a class of their own. Unlike other states, the sand is typically golden or white, and the water is jewel-toned from blues to greens. Experience Florida’s natural wonders and spend some time hitting the beaches from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys.
One of America’s most beautiful white-sand beaches is Clearwater Beach off the Pinellas Peninsula on the Gulf Coast. Spanning a 3-mile stretch, Clearwater Beach features the typical recreational activities like beach volleyball, parasailing, and surfing, but the famed Pier 60 sets it apart from the rest. Try your hand at catching fresh fish or take in a breathtaking sunset as it drops into the water.
Relax on the sugary sands of Atlantic Beach near Jacksonville, Florida and forget your cares for at least a day. With sparkling blue waters that capture your attention, Atlantic Beach offers small-town charm mixed with island flair. Walk across the pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets to the many restaurants, galleries, and boutiques just on the other side of the sands.
Located in southern Florida's Gulf of Mexico coast, Naples Beach offers the most phenomenal fishing experiences along the pier, with top-notch outdoor restaurants and exquisite panoramic views. Relax on the white-powder sands or hit the waves while soaking in the Florida sun.
There's nothing more spectacular than hitting the beaches in Miami. Head to sultry South Beach and take a dip in the crystal-blue waters of the Atlantic. This man-made beach is the ultimate playground for aquatic fun, sunbathing, and a vibrant nightlife for when the sun goes down.
Barrier Islands in Florida
Set off Florida's Gulf coast, just west of the Pinellas County shorelines, lies a series of picturesque barrier islands destinations that make for ideal vacations. For those seeking island fun but with a bit of peace and tranquility, head to the barrier islands and discover these untouched hidden gems.
Situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Roberts Bay, relax and unwind on Siesta Key, just a short distance from downtown Sarasota. Perfect for family vacations, enjoy some fun in the sun kayaking, shelling, or sailing around to quaint seafood restaurants.
Famed for its vast shelling, lighthouses, and inspiring sunsets, Sanibel Island has everything needed for a tranquil beach getaway. Located along the Gulf of Mexico near Fort Myers, Sanibel Island's small population, immaculate white-sand beaches, and impressive things to do makes for a fun and relaxing vacation for families and couples alike.
Just north of Sanibel, Captiva Island offers some of the best fishing and boating in Florida. Sail along the blue Gulf waters to see local wildlife, including dolphins, crocodiles, and blue herons, or catch unforgettable sunsets at the end of Captiva Drive.
Florida’s east coast offers similar islands waiting to be explored. From its stunning beaches to the historic Downtown, Amelia Island has fun activities for all ages. Just off the northeast coast of Florida near Jacksonville, Amelia Island has 13 miles of beautiful golden beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters. Watch the dolphins jump, go fishing, or just relax on the shore of one of Condé Nast Readers' Choice Awards Top 10 U.S. Islands.
The Florida Keys
No other destination screams the ultimate getaway than the Florida Keys. Picture a laid-back vibe, Jimmy Buffet music playing in the background, cold Corona beer, and an endless supply of conch fritters, and you get the Florida Keys.
The 112-mile-long chain of islands begins at the very bottom of Florida's mainland starting with Key Largo. As you make your way down to Key West, stop in Islamorada, Marathon, and the lower Keys before hitting your final destination.
Teeming with activities for all ages, the Florida Keys make for a classic Florida vacation. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the Keys make for the most exceptional fishing and diving in the world. Filled with water sports and aquatic adventures, dive and snorkel through the only living coral reef in the US and explore a famous Florida Keys shipwreck. Visit Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, home to wide stretches of sand and tranquil waters for a full day of adventures by land and sea. For those looking to unwind, swing on a hammock or just hang with locals at a nearby Tiki Hut. While in Key West, make sure to head to Mallory Square to witness a perfect sunset, nosh on a slice of Key Lime Pie, and take an obligatory selfie at the southernmost point of the United States.