With summer days reaching triple digit temperatures and a nickname like “the sunshine state,” Florida’s beaches are a perfect escape for visitors and residents alike. But with almost 1,500 miles of coastline, choosing which beach to visit can be even more difficult than choosing which ice cream flavor to indulge in after a long week at work. Would the familiar simplicity of vanilla be best? Or is Chunky Monkey the only way to go? Luckily, Florida also has a beach for any and every occasion and personality. Ice cream and the beach are two perfect additions to any hot summer day, so find the flavor that suits your taste and jump in. Whether you prefer the east coast waves or think the west coast is the best coast, there are hundreds of beaches to choose from. The following list explains why five stand out from the rest.
Like your favorite vanilla ice cream, Destin Beach is pure, simple, and refreshing. The Florida panhandle is an often overlooked destination in the sunshine state. It’s far enough north that you get to avoid the sauna-like heat and humidity of some Florida beaches, while still enjoying the sunshine and soft pure white sand that they’re famous for. Plus, the beach boasts quiet resorts and affordable hotels that are often a welcome relief from the chaos of more tourist laden beaches.
2. St. Pete/Clearwater
Further down the west coast lie beaches known for their clear waters and perfect sand. Decadent and as sweet as a good butter pecan dessert, the smooth crystal blue water and powdery sand feel perfectly luxurious. St. Pete Beach and Clearwater are about two hours due west of Orlando, and hold the record for the most consecutive days during the year of continuous sunshine. There are beach activities galore, and resorts for every budget on the gulf coast. Clearwater and St. Pete beach are also located near local restaurants, bars, and Clearwater aquarium, for endless entertainment if you can pull yourself away from the beach itself.
3. Fort Lauderdale
For an extra sweet family treat like a cone of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, don’t miss Fort Lauderdale Beach. It has waves and sun and resorts and restaurants enough for any vacation. With budget friendly hotels and sand perfect for castle construction, Fort Lauderdale is an excellent beach for a weekend getaway. It has all the sunshine and room to run as the west coast beaches, but with the added bonus of surf worthy waters and fewer people to crowd the best spots. Fort Lauderdale is a classic escape spot for any beach lover.
If you crave crazy combinations and fun flavors, Cocoa Beach may be the perfect compliment to a scoop of Half Baked or Chocolate Fudge Brownie Core and the best spot for you to catch some rays. Cocoa is an east coast beach with a reputation for parties and perfect surfing conditions. Every Sunday, the iconic bar and restaurant Coconuts opens their doors onto Cocoa beach for an all day celebration with food, drinks, and music. Stop by the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop on the way to the water and pick up some gear for an anytime beach party.
5. Key Biscayne
The name might be harder to pronounce than Miami; this southern Florida beach beats the chaos and mess of South Beach any day. With the delicious and unexpected bright twist of a good cup full of Cherry Garcia, Key Biscayne has all the beauty and luxury of a tropical paradise. The beach is covered in clean white sand and lined with palm trees enough for the perfect jealousy-inducing Snapchat. Escape the rush of Miami to enjoy a game of beach volleyball and a swim in the cool clear water.