Florida has an average of 300 sunny days per year; if that’s not a good enough reason to hit the beach, I don’t know what is!
The good news is, there are loads of beaches to choose from. But if you’re time-limited you want to know you’re headed somewhere a bit special, right? So we asked a few trusted Florida experts and locals to tell us about their favourite beach – and why they love it!
Disney Quality – Vero Beach
Craig Williams – Disney World/Florida addict and blogger at mkingdon.com
Vero Beach on the east coast is perhaps not the best known beach in Florida, but the Disney resort based there (yes, they do have one) is just superb for a few days away from the hustle and bustle. The resort oozes quality as you might expect, and the beach itself is quiet, private and immaculate.
Just because this is a Disney resort, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a theme park on the sand. This is Disney with a small d, and gives you all the guarantees of comfort, quality and excellent service you’d expect from the brand, but in a subtle, understated way. There isn’t a great deal to do in the surrounding area, so Vero Beach is best suited if you want an away from it all break with your book/kindle to relax and recharge your batteries.
Something for Everyone – Siesta Key
Anna Nash – Florida local and blogger at thepineappletraveler.com
Leave the queues behind and discover what Florida really has to offer on this 8-mile island stretching off Sarasotas coast into the Gulf of Mexico. Siesta Key was ranked Americas #1 beach in 2011 and is just a short drive southwest of Orlando,with the softest white sand beaches you’ve ever seen.
With water and land activities, restaurants and fine shopping, Siesta Key is a great place to head when you’re ready to take a day out from the parks. Whether you want fun in the sun or basking in solitude, it’s relaxing island vibe is enjoyed by both visitors and locals.
Natural Beauty – Playalinda
Kasey – Orlando local and blogger at Kasey Knows Orlando
As the name implies, Playalinda in Titusville is easily the one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida! Located in a National Park, the opportunity to see a little of Florida’s natural wildlife is one of the best parts about the drive out here, and if you do visit, be sure to bring a packed lunch because you are completely immersed in a natural Florida setting with no snack stands or restaurants! The only responsibility you will have during your visit is to relax and enjoy the finest beach in Florida.
The Party Beach – Miami’s South Beach
Andy Bennett – Manager at FloridaTix
If you’re looking for an action-packed holiday, this is the beach for you! It’s busy, close to Ocean Drive and has a great buzz about it. It’s also a stones throw from all the major hotels as well as a good selection of restaurants and cafes, but still manages to stay lovely and clean. The only downside is that the sunbeds are quite expensive, but I guess you get what you pay for!
Head to Miami South Beach if youre young or young at heart – this is definitely not a place for peace and quiet.
Perfect for Families – St Pete’s Beach
Janine Pipe – Florida and Disney World addict
St Pete’s Beach is just down from Clearwater on the Gulf Coast. Weve stayed at a beachfront hotel whenever we visited for a couple of days away from the parks to re-charge the batteries and get ready to do battle with the crowds again!
I love St Pete’s so much because of the setting; the sand is soft and clean, the sea is warm and clear and theres plenty to do. Weve done everything from boat trips watching dolphins to spending whole days just lying in the sun.
This area is romantic enough to be perfect for couples, yet fun and safe enough for families. We cant wait to take our daughter there on our next trip and see her combing the beach for shells and playing in the sea.
A Break from the Parks – Long Boat Key
Sharon Southern – Seasoned Florida visitor and blogger at Florida For Me
My favourite Florida beach is Long Boat Key. Most people think of Key West when you mention the Keys but these islands are situated off the South West coast of Florida. Its a three-hour drive from International Drive so can be done in a day, but I would recommend it as a place to come if you want to take a few days out for some quiet family time.
Long Boat Key has many beaches but the one I fell in love with was off the Gulf of Mexico Drive. The whole West side of the Key is one long unspoiled beach, and its amazing. The sand is typical Florida white and the beach has a long sloping shelf, so even when the tide is in you can walk for at least 500m – perfect for shelling!
Your own Private Island – Fort Desoto
Sean Ross – Native Floridian
This chain of islands and keys is a few miles south of St. Petersburg. Completely surrounded by water on all sides, it has the most pristine white sandy beaches lined with palmetto and oak trees.
It’s full of wildlife and on any visit you can see tortoises, hawks, manatees, dolphins, gators and all kinds of fish. The park has a campground, boat ramp, several picnic areas, bird sanctuaries, a historic fort, a fishing pier and several mangrove-bordered canals.
Head to the unoccupied North beach and you’ll you feel like you’re on your own private island, with the gulf on one side and Tampa Bay on the other. With no buildings in sight and a sandbar that seems like a never-ending bridge over crystal clear water, This is definitely a paradise-on-earth kind of beach!
Do you have a favourite Florida Beach? Let us know what it is and why it’s so special!