In Florida, residents can get an up-close ocean view in almost every part of the State. Beautiful tropical weather, sandy beaches and the legendary Florida nightlife is able to lure visitors and vacationers throughout the year.
Spring break announce the arrival of the usual crowds to the beaches in mid-March. But, there are still many areas available where you can get away from the noise and spend time on a quiet secluded beach.
Some of the accommodations include five-star resorts that offer everything from fine dining to luxury spa treatments. If you are a nature lover, you can rough it to your hearts’ content. Or fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping against the shore, while camping under the stars on Amelia Island.
There are several large retail centers, night clubs, bars and hotels built alongside the barrier islands. The shoreline in Central Eastern Florida lies along the Atlantic Ocean and provide visitors with amazing views and plenty of natural wonders.
It all started almost 450 year ago when Ponce de Leon came to the Florida looking for The Fountain of Youth. Today, residents can lounge around and soak in the sun on their choice of more than 40 miles of coastline. Even though Ponce de Leon did not find the formula for lasting youth, today many parts of Florida remains as beautiful as is was when De Leon was exploring.
Beaches in N. Central Florida are irresistible to visitors because of the charm and relaxed lifestyle that is so popular in the deep South. Tallahassee, the State capitol is located closer to the city of Atlanta, Georgia than the sleek lifestyle of Miami.
Northeast Florida is nicknamed The First Coast because it is home to the oldest European settlement in the entire continental United States. Tourists and local residents flock to the beaches in these areas because the scenery make this the ideal destination for weddings, honeymoons and couples on vacation.
Ponte Vedra Beach -This is an area is filled with nature. Sea oats sway lazily in the ocean, tall palmetto trees grow freely on the shores – with the sparkling blue water all around. Home of the PGA Tour and the World Golf Hall of Fame.
St. Joseph Peninsula National Park – The Northwestern portion of Cape San Blas is a wilderness park that is popular for Eco tours. A white sand beach that is perfect for exploring nature and marvelling at the gigantic sand dunes, dense pine forests or listening to the sounds of the calming waves of St. Joe Bay in the Gulf of Mexico.
Panama City Beach – Home to the most beautiful beaches in the world. Visitors enjoy pure white sandy beaches that is supplied with the finely ground quartz crystals washed down from the nearby Appalachian Mountain chain. ”Spring Break Vacation” from MTV is filmed here.
Perdido Key, The lost island – Powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear emerald green waters and miles of bays and unspoiled wetlands make this the perfect place for sunbathing, diving and other water sports. More than 60 percent of the area is protected, natural shorelines and sand dunes.
Pensacola Beach – Pensacola Florida was once known for the wet t-shirt contests, female Jell-O wrestling matches and foam covered dance parties. The beach has matured since then and it is a great place for families with kids, snowbirds and those trying to elude the spring break chaos.
St. Andrew’s State Recreational Area – Travel Magazine named St Andrews the ”World’s Best Beach”. This white sandy beach has plenty of water recreation and several paces for nature lovers to come and explore. Seemingly endless unspoiled beaches, sand dunes, pinewoods and marshes make up this beach. Known most of all for some of the best scuba diving Florida has to offer.
Home to The Wonderful World of Disney. This area does not have as many popular beaches, but it is home to [[Walt Disney World]] in Orlando, Florida. No matter which part of Disney World you visit, there will be fun rides, interactive shows and nightly show of spectacular fireworks that make visitors believe every evening is the Fourth of July.
Blizzard Beach – Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park has one of the tallest and fastest free-falling water slides in the world. Families, singles and couples on their honeymooner will enjoy a trip to this magical kingdom.
Cocoa Beach – This is the closest beach to Orlando, Florida and it is one of the only places where ancient cypress forests is nestled in with modern technology. Visitors and residents can revel in a perfect balance of sea and space. This help to make Cocoa beach feel like a heavenly vacation. An ideal place for parents and children with nature preserves and evidence of space exploration in hte same view.
Fort DeSoto Park in St. Petersburg – Fort DeSoto Park has more than 1,100 acres that consist of five interconnected islands and three long miles of unchained beaches. A fort that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places is located here. Nature trails, fishing piers, a 2.25-mile canoe trail, spectacular views of Tampa Bay and the Gulf complete the beauty of this beach.
Clearwater Beach – Almost four miles of semi-secluded beaches. Caladesi Island is situated in the busy Tampa Bay area with soft sand, sea grass and palmettos growing around the outer edge. A nature trail is in the park has black racers, rattlesnakes, raccoons, armadillos and rabbits. Visitors can get there by ferry from Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area, off Dunedin.
New Smyrna Beach – A beautiful beach where the ocean meet the sky. The area is free of crowds, pollution and the noises associated with city life. Located in the second oldest settled city in Florida, there are also museums and art galleries in addition to the thirteen miles of white sandy beaches. New Smyrna is considered to be one of the safest swimming beaches in the world, thanks to the lack of undercurrents.
South Florida has destinations like Miami, Naples, Marco Island, the Florida Keys and Fort Myers Beach to provide the best that nature has to offer. With the Gulf of Mexico sitting at the edge of Florida’s Southwestern shores, there are several island resorts and plenty unspoiled natural wonders. Attractions for the whole family help to make this area one of Florida’s preferred destinations.
Lovers Key State Park – Unspoiled naturally beautiful describes this secluded Gulf coast beach. Transportation is provided for guests to and from the lagoons and mangroves is provided on a tractor-pulled tram. Privacy is what has convince most honeymooners and other couples to come to Lovers Key and there is a gazebo available for planned and impromptu beach-side nuptials.
Punta Gorda – Royal palm trees line cobblestone streets in this enchanting, waterfront resort town. You will immediately feel like you took a trip back in time in this old-fashioned Southern town. Boating, fishing and nature walks are enjoyed on any of the four beaches on Manasota Key or Englewood Beach, an uncrowded, affordable area that is ideal for shelling.
John U. Lloyd Beach State Park – There are no high-rise condominiums, no gaudy T-shirt shops or hotels on this natural beach. Instead, you can find a clean untouched shoreline completely surrounded by a canopy of Australian pine trees.
Bahia Honda State Park – Located in Bahia Honda Key, this is one of the most serene beaches in the State of Florida. There are 635 acres of nature to enjoy and a portion of Henry Flagler’s railroad.
Barefoot Beach Park – (Bonita Springs): Visitors of this beach get to see some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in Florida. More than three hundred acres of natural preserves has 8,200 feet of beach and sand dunes. Located in Bonita Springs, this is the home of the endangered gopher turtle that has been around for more than 60 million years.
Naples Beach – A beautiful strip of beaches right in front Millionaires’ Row in Naples, Florida. Visitors get a glimpse of the huge mansions and a quiet stroll on the historic Naples Pier. This is said to be an ideal place to watch the sun as it disappear over the Gulf.
Cayo Costa State Park – This deserted tropical island is more than two thousand acres of sand, pine forests, mangrove swamps, oak hammocks and beautiful beaches. This natural grassland is accessible only by boat from nearby Captiva Island and Gasparilla, Pine.
Virginia Key, Key Biscayne – A secluded, picturesque deserted beach where people go when they do not want be bothered by the noise of the more popular shores.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park – In Key Biscayne, Florida this is more than a mile of sandy beaches and nature trails. A historic lighthouse that recalls an earlier era that was evident before such pristine places gave way to developers and pollutants.
Lummus Park Beach – A world renowned beach more commonly called South Beach. 12th Street is the part is the beach where gay residents and visitors frolic.
Clothing Optional Beaches
Haulover Beach – Situated on Miami Beach between the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean, Haulover is located off Collins Avenue, north of Bal Harbour. This is the only clothing optional beach in the city.
Playalinda Beach – Almost completely undeveloped, some people use this as a naturist beach, even though nudity is not entirely legal on the beach. Boardwalks line the area from the parking lots all the way to the beach.
St. Andrews State Park – Acres and acres of dazzling white sand and sand dunes make this preserved wilderness the first choice for visitors and residents. Visitors get a glimpse of what Panama City Beach looked like before the influx of motels and condominiums replaced the natural aspects of the area. Expect to see foxes and deer as you explore the beaches. Golden sea oats dance and sway in the Gulf to the tune of Mother Nature.
Beyond the Beaches
Beyond Disney and the Beaches – There are theme parks in Florida and one is called Wet ‘n’ Wild. There are thrilling rides and crazy slides in this park. Look out for all the water fun you can handle – without breaking the budget.
Lighthouse Point Park – on Daytona Beach is 52 acres of pristine land with fishing, nature trails, an observation deck and tower, swimming, and picnicking. Wildlife include raccoons, possums, skunks, armadillos, shorebirds and birds of prey call this place home.
Cape Canaveral National Seashore – Sitting midway between Daytona Beach and the Kennedy Space Center, this is the protected stretch of coastline called Canaveral National Seashore. It is twenty four miles long with cabbage palms, sea grapes, and palmettos.
Caladesi Island State Park – Ideal for an Eco tourist aching to bond with nature’s creatures. It is a secluded three-and-a-half mile beach that provides the perfect nesting ground for shore birds and sea turtles. Despite its name, Caladesi Island is actually six islands created in 1921 when a vicious storm severed it from Hog Island. The newly formed landmass covers almost two thousand acres and it is separated from the mainland by the aptly named Hurricane Pass. Accessible only by ferry from Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area.
Clearwater Beach – Known for spectacular sunsets and an exceptionally clean beach playground, approximately one million visitors vacationing in Clearwater annually. Don’t be surprised if it’s a bit crowded. By day, Clearwater Beach is packed with young sun bathers. At night, the crowds move on to Pier 60, an area filled with vendors, local artisans and free concerts.
This makes it a popular destination during Florida spring break. However, there are quieter areas geared toward families and Florida snowbirds. Parks and nature preserves have less commercialized beaches for those who seek their wildlife in nature, not bars.
Egmont Key, Florida – A 360-acre wildlife refuge accessible only by boat. Several operators offer snorkeling excursions to this barrier island where visitors can enjoy unique inhabitants – gopher tortoises, box turtles, shore birds, wading birds and nesting sea turtles. The islands’ proudest man-made possession is the lighthouse, built in 1858. It continues to operate as Florida’s sixth brightest lighthouse and provides a romantic setting for night-time weddings.
St. Pete Beach – This seven-mile stretch is a tourist Mecca. Filled with vintage signs, miniature golf, amusement parks, ice cream parlors, unusual gift shops, live entertainment, people-watching and recreation galore. It’s the perfect beach for spring break in Florida, and it makes a great destination for family fun, as well.
With so much to offer, St. Pete Beach has no slow season. While this happenin’ beach has much to offer during the day, the hotels and condos that dominate its coast have less peaceful nights. Play at St. Pete Beach by day and retire to quiet but close-by Pass-a-Grille Beach to the South.
Honeymoon Island State Park – North Americans were introduced to Honeymoon Island in the early 1940s when magazine ads declared it to be an “undiscovered paradise for newlyweds”. Now, Honeymoon Islands’ subtropical climate and balmy breeze welcome visitors to relish the native mangrove swamps, salt marshes and sand dunes. More than 200 species of rare plants, resident osprey and various other endangered shorebirds make this an ideal escape.
Daytona Beach -An area synonymous with auto racing and spring break, it is also known as the Birthplace of Speed. Daytona Beach garnered attention in the 1930s and 40s when racing automobiles and setting new speed records was all the rage. The beach itself is a 23-mile, 500-foot-wide racetrack (in low tide).
Today, Daytona Beach is a mix of affordable spring break action, hopping nightlife and family-friendly fun.
South Florida Beaches
South Florida has popular destinations like Miami, Naples, Marco Island, the Florida Keys and Fort Myers Beach that provide the best that nature has to offer. White sandy beaches sit on thousands of acres along the shore. With the Gulf of Mexico at the edge of Florida’s Southwestern shores, there are island resorts and plenty of beautiful unspoiled natural wonders. Attractions for the whole family make this area one of Florida’s preferred destinations.
There are several more beaches in Florida. This is a list of only a few of the most popular.