Top 10 Beaches in Florida

Published on June 23rd, 2021

What are the Most Popular Beaches in Florida?

If there’s a state whose name is synonymous with beaches, it’s Florida — and with 1,350 miles of coastline, it’s easy to see why. The Sunshine State is absolutely teeming with beautiful, sandy stretches to enjoy that sunshine in — and in case that sounds (understandably) overwhelming, we’ve gathered the top 10 beaches you absolutely need to know about before you head on your Florida vacation.

Top Beaches in Florida

1. Henderson Beach State Park

2. Amelia Island State Park

3. St. Augustine Beach

4. Clearwater Beach

5. Blowing Rocks Preserve

6. Hollywood Beach

7. South Beach

8. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

9. Bahia Honda State Park

10. Smathers Beach

Florida Beaches

Without further ado, here are 10 Florida beaches that absolutely deserve a place on your bucket list!

1. Henderson Beach State Park

Blue skies, white sands and green waters on Florida’s Emerald Coast near Henderson Beach State Park and Destin Florida

The Florida panhandle might not get as much press as the beaches that line the Atlantic seaboard — but there’s a reason this area is known as the Emerald Coast. The shimmering, blue-green water here is a sight to behold, as is the magnificent stretch of soft sand it caresses — though you’ll first be greeted by impressive 30-foot dunes, over which boardwalks have been built to help protect them. Henderson Beach State Park is a well-known destination for beachfront weddings as well as families simply looking for a fun day in the sun. The warm waters of the Gulf are a little less rambunctious than the ones you’ll find on the east side, making this state park a perfect choice for those traveling with youngsters who might not be the strongest swimmers just yet. (And yes, there is camping available right onsite!)

Things to do near Henderson Beach State Park: Located just outside of the city of Destin and only a little more than an hour from Pensacola, this state park is surrounded by many other beaches and wildernesses, including Topsail Hill Preserve State Park (which also offers an RV park). Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider for your vacation.

2. Amelia Island State Park

Black Rock Beach with its fallen trees on Big Talbot State Park, nearby Amelia Island State Park

Amelia Island hosts far more than just its stunning namesake state park, which offers acres of wildlife viewing both along the waterfront and in the forested canopy characteristic of this part of Florida. Locals know Amelia Island to be one of the most expensive places in the area — perhaps even the entire state — to buy or rent property, or even just to visit… and one trip will surely make you understand why. (Good thing RVing tends to be the relatively affordable way to get around!) Insider tip: take advantage of one of the nearby stables that offers horseback riding along the beach here. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Things to do near Amelia Island State Park: This river-struck part of the state is riddled with incredible wildernesses to explore, including nearby Big and Little Talbot State Parks and all of the Jacksonville beaches. Plus, there are some excellent RVshare vehicles and campgrounds in the area to peruse!

3. St. Augustine Beach

fishing pier at st augustine beach florida usa

Long-time readers of the RVshare blog will know we have a special place in our heart for St. Augustine, which is the oldest continually run European settlement in America — yes, really! First established by the Spanish in 1565, this town predates both Plymouth Rock and Jamestown… and the incredible beaches that inspired the Spaniards to plant their flags here remain today. Although there are many incredible seafronts to explore here (check out nearby Vilano and then take A1A all the way up to Ponte Vedra and eventually Jacksonville), good ol’ St. Augustine Beach is a classic with soft sands and wadable waters. Anastasia State Park has some excellent water frontage, too!

Things to do near St. Augustine Beach: The city of St. Augustine is well-known for its plethora of tourist attractions and services, including some of the best restaurants in the entire state. Be sure to stop by the Castillo de San Marcos to get your national parks passport stamped, and consider traveling in one of these local RVshare rentals.

4. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach at sunset

It’s happened more than once that Clearwater Beach has been named the best beach in the entire country — and yes, that includes the exotic black sand beaches of Hawaii and all of those crystal-clear coves along the California coastline. Come visit Clearwater Beach and see why it’s such a standout. (We’ll give you a hint: the soft, white sands and epic sunsets certainly don’t hurt.) The beach also offers a large playground area, which is part of the reason it’s so popular among parents, as well as a paved promenade that’s frequented by bicyclists and rollerbladers alike.

Things to do near Clearwater Beach: Among other things, Clearwater is known for its incredible seafood — a stop by Ted Peters is absolutely critical, and Frenchy’s pretty much sets the standard as far as grouper is concerned. Then, of course, there’s the larger Tampa/St. Petersburg metro to explore — in short, you could very easily stay busy here for a good long time! Here are some local RVshare rentals and campgrounds to help you do it the cozy, convenient way.

5. Blowing Rocks Preserve

Blowing Rocks Florida

And now, for something at least a little bit different: the Blowing Rocks Preserve, managed by the Nature Conservancy on the barrier island just outside of Jupiter, offers a classic Florida beachfront along with a unique outcropping of Anastasia limestone — Anastasia limestone that’s a stunning 100,000 years old, to be exact. The largest such example anywhere on the Atlantic coast, Blowing Rocks Preserve is a great example of what can happen when we truly make an effort to conserve and restore one-of-a-kind natural areas. To that end, you can’t while away a whole day here sunbathing and wading, but you can wander along the mile-long stretch of sand and watch as the waters dance and play with the geological formations along the shore.

Things to do near Blowing Rocks Preserve: The city of Jupiter offers all the urban amenities and resources you might need, and the nearby J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area is an excellent place to see a different side of old Florida: one characterized by pine trees and cypress wetlands. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider for the journey!

6. Hollywood Beach

Aerial view to Hollywood beach, Fl

Don’t make the mistake of skipping right over Hollywood Beach as you make your way south from Fort Lauderdale to Miami — this stretch of seashore offers all of the same vibrant amenities, food, shops, and more, but with a decidedly more casual attitude. Populated by volleyball nets and lifeguard stands, this beach is simultaneously well developed and relatively untouched, and it’s a beautiful place to sit back and enjoy the sun. Bonus round: head to this beach after sunset to enjoy the almost-constant heat lightning that plays on the horizon. At this time of night, the lifeguard stands are generally empty, so you may just find yourself a seat.

Things to do near Hollywood Beach: Hollywood — and yes, this east-coast Hollywood is actually older than its more famous west-coast cousin! — is full of fun things to see, explore, and do. Top of your list should be a visit to Jaxon’s, one of the best ice cream parlors in the county (if not the country). Meanwhile, check out these great RVshare vehicles and campgrounds to stay in.

7. South Beach

Miami Beach, Florida, USA on Ocean Drive at sunset.

Perhaps the most famous beach not just in the state of Florida, but anywhere in the United States, South Beach is definitely worth a visit, if only to say you’ve been there. This stretch of 2.2 miles of seashore is generally populated by the south Florida elite — and you can usually spot their six-figure cars lining the nearby roads as well. The busiest part of this beach is between 5th and 15th Street, immediately alongside Ocean Drive, so if you want a more local South Beach experience, take your towel north of 15th. While much of this part of the waterfront is reserved for private hotel clubs, there are some public areas that might not be quite so crowded as the remainder of this extremely famous waterfront.

Things to do near South Beach: All of Miami awaits discovering, from the murals of Wynnwood to the absolutely knock-your-socks-off Cuban food you can get — well, just about anywhere. Plus, you’re not far at all from Everglades National Park, not to mention the mostly-underwater Biscayne National Park. Here are some local RVshare rentals and campgrounds to make a whole getaway of it.

8. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Cape Florida Lighthouse and Lantern in Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne Florida

It’s hard to find undeveloped beachfront anywhere in the state of Florida, let alone in Miami — which is probably one reason why Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park so frequently shows up on “best of” lists of beaches. Soft waves and sandy shores make for a great spot to while away a quieter beach day, all within view of the iconic Cape Florida Lighthouse, which stands sentinel some 95 feet above sea level. Better yet, the park also includes plenty of forested areas for hiking, biking, and more. Oh, and by the way, yes, the Lighthouse is open for tours — and given that it was built all the way back in 1845, it’s South Florida’s oldest such structure.

Things to do near Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park: Another beautiful Miami-area option, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is surrounded by resorts and other beach parks worth visiting, as well as options slightly further afield like the R Hardy Matheson County Preserve. Here are some local RVshare rentals to peruse — and Miami campgrounds to take them to!

9. Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park - Calusa Beach, Florida Keys - tropical coast with paradise beaches - USA

Bahia Honda State Park often comes up on lists of the best beaches in the Florida Keys — which, of course, are already renowned for their many wonderful stretches of coastline. This one truly is special, though; the state park sits at the place where the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico meet, giving it unique properties from both bodies of water, as well as truly endless waterfront views on both sides. And at more than 500 acres, this park has plenty to offer aside from beachfront, including hiking trails, kayaking areas and incredible stargazing opportunities. It’s also home to the largest intact section of Henry Flagler’s elevated overseas railroad, offering history buffs some added excitement.

Things to do near Bahia Honda State Park: Located about two-thirds down the Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West, Bahia Honda State Park makes for an excellent waypoint as you travel this storied stretch of islands. Just a bit further south, you’ll encounter the Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve; here are some local RVshare rentals to consider for your adventure.

10. Smathers Beach

Footbridge to the Smathers beach on sunrise - Key West, Florida

It might come as a bit of a surprise, but Key West isn’t actually known for a superfluity of beaches — most of the island has been developed and taken up by shops, restaurants, hotels, and more. But Smathers Beach is a noteworthy exception and easily one of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Florida Keys. (In fact, chances are if you’ve seen someone’s beachfront wedding photos and know they were taken in the keys, this is the beach pictured.) Although the sand is imported, it’s no less soft and inviting, and the beach is also lined with palm trees and restrooms making for a both scenic and convenient stay. Nearby vendors offer rental equipment for sports like parasailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and more.

Things to do near Smathers Beach: Exploring Key West will take you a while — and no matter how you go about it, you’re sure to enjoy your time. Do be sure to swing by the Southernmost Point of the Continental US for your requisite Instagram photo, and check out these local RVshare vehicles and Key West campgrounds to stay in!

Planning an RV Trip to Florida

Beaches are only the beginning of what Florida has to offer — and an RV trip is such a perfect way to see the state. We’ve penned guides to all the best state parks and campgrounds the Sunshine State has to offer, as well as hosting the best peer-to-peer RV rentals you can find. Oh, and we’ve covered its major cities, too! So now all that’s left is for you to get out there and enjoy the sun.

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