Travel the world

Missing the Beaches of Florida

This guest post was written by Alyssa Lee, an avid traveler who is eagerly planning her first big trip to Europe.

Known as the ‘Sunshine State’, Florida has beautiful award-winning beaches suitable for different types of activities.

Whether you’re looking for surf, world class snorkeling, deep sea diving, adrenaline water sports, secluded sands, a place to be ‘seen’ or spectacular beach Florida hotels, you’ll find something to suit your tastes if you scour Florida’s 1,100 miles of shoreline.

If you prefer big waves as opposed to crystal clear waters and coral reefs, the Atlantic coast has the best surfing in Florida. The biggest waves can be found in Central & Northern Florida, particularly at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Cocoa Beach and New Smyrna Beach.

The Panhandle area in northwest Florida is known as the Emerald Coast and has some secluded, peaceful beaches where you can get away from it all. Gulf Islands National Seashore, in the Pensacola Region, has miles of beach which stretches the entire length of the Panhandle, from Perdido Key to St. George Island.

East of the Pensacola region you have the popular holiday towns of Destin and Fort Walton where you’ll find miles of powdery white sand and crystal blue waters set in a breathtaking area of natural beauty.

Panama City Beach is a popular haunt during Spring Break, when college students flock to the beach to party and let their hair down. The beach has sugar-white sand and waters with and emerald green tinge. There is an area of the beach known as the ‘shipwreck capital of the south’, which makes it popular with divers and snorkelers. This is definitely a better location for off-season travel.

On the east coast, South Beach in Miami is one of the best known beaches in Florida because of its glamorous scene and celebrity crowd. If you enjoy an afternoon of people-watching, South Beach is a perfect of southern atmosphere and crowds of an urban setting. This is better for singles or couples.

Daytona is one of my favorite ‘Spring Break’ beaches, with white sand, plenty of beach-front accommodation and a boardwalk. You can lounge on the wide beach and do nothing, or try the activities on offer, such as surfing lessons, parasailing or banana boat rides. The hard, compact sand makes it possible to drive on the beach as long as the tide isn’t too high. You’ll see four-wheel-drives, cars, scooters and bicycles and the beach can get very busy during the spring and summer months. Although I don’t usually like potentially overcrowded locations, there are so many activities to try concentrated in the area, that it’s worth the trouble.

Key West, the string of islands in the south of Florida, offers some of the best sailing, snorkelling and SCUBA diving in the state. Key West boasts white sand and shell beaches, warm tropical waters, coral reefs and beautiful sunsets. Tourists are attracted by Key West’s laid-back vibe, where it is easy to fill your days with absolutely nothing at all. The lagoon at Bahia Honda State Park has the best snorkelling and diving, and is located amongst 635 acres of nature trails.

Fort Myers is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida with crystal clear waters, tropical wildlife and plenty of activities, including jet-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing and water skiing. Swim in the clear blue waters, spot dolphins and explore the dozens of nearby islands.

The most romantic of all Florida’s beaches is Lover’s Key State Park, which has pristine sands and is teeming with birds and wildlife. Located just south of Fort Myers beach, this 2-mile beach is in a secluded spot set amongst a mangrove forest.

On the Gulf Coast, Fort de Soto Park is part of St. Petersburg and is made up of five inter-connected islands with 3 miles of stunning beaches. You can also visit the fort which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The soft sugary white sands of Clearwater Beach are located in a 900-acre park called Caladesi Island State Park. The park is home to wildlife like rattlesnakes, black racers, raccoons, armadillos, and rabbits.

For a taste of the high-life that won’t cost you a penny, visit Naples Beach, which is lined with huge mansions nicknamed “Millionaire’s Row”. Naples Beach is located on the Paradise Coast in the south of Florida before the Everglades.

Barefoot Beach Park at Bonita Springs is a 342-acre natural preserve in a gated community that is open to the public. The secluded, natural beach is home to the protected gopher tortoise.

Overall, I love Florida, because there is a city for every kind of traveler. A little research can help you avoid crowds, and create a vacation that works for you.

This guest post was written by Alyssa Lee, an avid traveler who is
eagerly planning her first big trip to Europe.

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