Florida is home to gorgeous sunshine, magnificent views, and endless wonderful beaches that span over an 8,400 shoreline.
Not to mention that iconic laid-back lifestyle that we all envy.
With thousands of theme parks, beaches, and plenty of animals watching to be done, there is never a dull moment when you visit the sunshine state of Florida.
You and the family can select a new place to visit each year and create incredible memories.
Below are 18 beach towns in Florida that you simply have to visit. Incredible beaches, open waters, and lifelong memories to be made.
Nothing screams summer like a Florida beach vacation.
1. Fernandina Beach
If you are looking for breathtaking views, secluded beaches, and roaming wildlife, then Fernandina Beach has to be on your list of places to visit.
Located on Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach is captured in ocean blue waters that are the perfect place to cool down after a long day sunbathing on the white beaches.
Once you visit you won’t want to leave! And many don’t. Word is continuing to spread about the simplicity of life that can be found at Fernandina Beach.
With a long history of mound-building culture and being involved in the Patriot War, Fernandina Beach is captivating and wholesome.
When searching for a relaxing vacation in a welcoming town with incredible beaches, Fernandina Beach is number one.
Not to mention you can drive on the beach and enjoy the sunset or sunrise!
2. Cocoa Beach
One of the closest beaches to Orlando is Cocoa Beach, and it’s amazing how much activity and leisure can be packed into such a short space.
The main activity on this peaceful beach is, of course, surfing. Many of the locals and visitors take extreme pride in the surfing community.
If you love to catch waves then you must take some time to visit Ron Jon Surf Shop. It’s only the biggest surf shop in the world!
Take a stroll down the renowned Pier, which protrudes 800 feet into the Atlantic and is lined with cafes selling delectable regional delicacies, for stunning views of Cocoa Beach.
Or you can kayak with your back to the coast through streams bordered with mangroves and observe dolphins, manatees, and a wide variety of bird species in the area around Cocoa Beach.
3. Captiva Island
Located just one hour from Fort Myers, Florida, Captiva Island is one of the smallest beach towns in the state.
At just 5 miles long and half a mile wide, you can really relax and take in the sights.
What makes this town so special? There are no cars allowed! Breathe that clean, unpolluted air and relax.
The uncrowded warm white sand beaches of Captiva Island make it one of Florida’s top family beach towns.
Captiva island is a haven for outdoor animals and is home to the JN Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Dolphins, birds, and other animals may be seen by fortunate visitors.
For those with a more adventurous side, you can kayak to Pine Island, or take an eco-tour of the island.
It may be small but there is plenty to do and see!
4. Cedar Key
50 miles southwest of Gainesville, Florida, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is Cedar Key.
There are just 800 people living in this one of the cutest coastal communities in Florida, which lies off of Highway 24.
First founded in 1849, it was quickly wiped out by a hurricane in 1896.
The lack of human presence allows incredible cedar trees to regrow, creating Instagram-worthy foliage for you to enjoy.
The best way to explore Cedar Key, a former peaceful fishing community, is by bicycle or kayaking along the coastline.
Don’t forget to sample the ubiquitous clam chowder that can be found on local menus.
Cedar Key is the perfect place for vacation as everyone takes the time to enjoy life and completely relax from the worries of city life.
You can take a 30-minute kayak trip out to Atsena Otie Key, which is a component of the 891-acre Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge established in 1929 if you want to explore an uninhabited island.
5. Madeira Beach
One of the best gulf coast Florida communities, St. Petersburg beach, is located just west of Madeira beach.
After the hurricane of 1848 opened a fresh pass, the first European to call Madeira beach home was the pirate John Leveque.
This is a retiree community, meaning it may not be the most exciting for youngsters to visit but for those looking to take a more laid-back approach to vacation, it is perfect.
With an all round pirate theme, you can take pirate charters out for the day or go deep sea fishing on a charter.
The Friendly Fisherman, which is on the dock in John’s Pass, is the ideal spot for meals and drinks if you enjoy seafood.
For those over 21, the Florida Winery in John’s Pass offers free sampling of its 20 wines, and for beer aficionados, Mad Craft Brewing Company crafts beers that are suitable for the beach.
6. Key West
The southernmost coastal city in Florida is Key West.
This little piece of paradise is well-known for its nightlife, as a spring break destination, for its eateries on lively Duval Street, and for its tranquil island atmosphere.
Without leaving the country, Key West’s atmosphere transports visitors to a Caribbean island.
No matter your budget, Key West has the perfect accommodation. From camping to luxury hotels, you can easily take the family away for an unforgettable vacation.
The third-largest coral reef in the world, and the only live coral reef in America, is located at Key West.
Key West should be at the top of your list of Florida beach places to visit if you’re hoping to snorkel or scuba dive while on vacation.
Islamorada, more excitingly known as ‘purple island’ is located just 15 minutes from the local airport.
Islamorada is known for being the perfect resting place when on a road trip from Miami to Key West.
While it is only 7 miles long, Islamorada has a rich culture in art and food meaning there are plenty of galleries, shops, and restaurants to be explored.
Take a glass-bottom boat ride or observe dolphins and sea lions up close at Theater of the Sea. for those seeking an all-inclusive resort at a luxurious yet laid-back vacation spot.
With the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the views are breathtaking and endless.
With over 500 species of fish, Islamorada is known as the sports fish capital of the world. Don’t be afraid to try your hand at feeding tarpon at Robbie’s Marina!
A small beach community called Seaside can be found near South Walton, Florida, off Highway 30A.
Its vibrant colors and white picket fences, along with its ideal layout, make it one of Florida’s cutest communities.
It is one of the top gulf coast Florida cities since it is built on the principles of New Urbanism and has a walkable layout.
You may recognize the town from the famous The Truman Show movie starring Jim Carrey.
This small coastal town in Florida is well-known for both its setting and architecture.
This is one of the best beach communities on the Gulf of Mexico in the Panhandles, with white sand beaches, and a central downtown with stores, restaurants, and hotels.
Try the mind-blowing waterfront restaurants or enjoy a quick stop at some of the food trucks for a delicious bite in between sightseeing.
9. St. Petersburg
St.Petersburg, more commonly named St.Petes, is known as the Sunshine City from those around America.
It is only a short drive from both Tampa and Clearwater because it is situated between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico!
On the Gulf Coast in the middle of Florida, St. Pete Beach is one of the nicest beach communities there is.
If you are looking for a trip to the Caribbean without leaving the US and that has more family-friendly entertainment, then St.Petersburg is the ideal destination.
With white sand beaches that stretch into turquoise waters, museums, restaurants and so much more, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
You can even take a day trip to visit the five islands of Fort De Soto!
10. Saint George Island
The 20-mile-long Saint George Island, which is located across from the Apalachicola River, is a popular spot for beachgoers, birdwatchers, and fishers.
Saint George Island is home to white sand beaches and clear blue waters that are perfect for swimming, fishing, and kayaking.
All sandwiched between two state parks that offer picturesque hiking trails and even camping.
Numerous wading birds and angling fish reside on the marshy northern bay-facing side.
While nesting seabirds and turtles are drawn to the south-facing seashore, which is only around 300 yards away, throughout the summer.
If you happen to have a slightly larger budget you may even opt to take a small charter and fly straight into the local airport of Saint George Island.
However, the most popular option is to take a road trip straight through Atlanta for a stunning drive.
11. Tarpon Springs
After the first settlers witnessed tarpon jumping, Tarpon Springs was called in 1876.
Tarpon Springs Town, which was incorporated as a town in 1876, is listed on the historical Florida places to visit registry.
When you take a trip to Tarpon Springs you may feel like you are taking a vacation to Greece. Well, not quite.
But Tarpon Springs has the largest Greek population in the United States.
It has a rich Greek influence and even holds the Opa’ Palooza Greek Seafood festival throughout November.
You can take a St. Nicholas Boat tour to learn how sponge divers gather one of 18 different types of sponges, from wool to yellow sponge, in this region known as the sponge capital of the world.
For those who would rather remain on dry land, Dodecanese Blvd. is where all the sponge docks are situated.
12. Siesta Key
For all those spring breakers searching for somewhere outside of Key West, Siesta Key is an absolute must.
With architecture inspired by a small Italian village you can get all of your pictures, enjoy drinks at the local bars, and relax on the stunning beaches.
Families frequently visit Crescent Beach because the shallow, quiet water is ideal for kids to play in.
If you want to snorkel, proceed to Point of Rocks past Crescent Beach where the limestone rocks offer plenty of opportunities to see different fish just off the coast.
Just remember Crescent Beach is around a 30-minute walk from Siesta Village.
If you prefer to stay more local, enjoy free yoga classes on the beach, take the time to check out the restaurants, and even do some retail therapy.
13. Anna Maria Island
On the Gulf Coast, Anna Maria Island is situated 30 minutes from Sarasota.
This 7-mile island is one of the few tiny communities in Florida that has managed to maintain its characteristic old Florida vibe by avoiding major development.
Anna Maria Island is home to less than 2000 residents, making it ideal for a tranquil and quiet break from everyday life.
And when you are in the mood for exploring, there is a free trolley that runs every 20 minutes, or take the Monkey Bus for a slightly more amusing journey.
One of the rare locations that permits horseback riding on the seashore is the island. And the Bradenton Shipwreck site is conveniently located for divers right off the coast.
In addition to being a bird refuge, Anna Maria Island is also a frequent destination for dolphin, manatee, and turtle sightings.
14. Fort Myers Beach
Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers is seven miles of magical beaches, piers, and views.
It is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing drink or go for a dip in the calming waters.
Although not exactly a snorkeling paradise, kayaking is fantastic there.
On the west side, there are stunning island views, and on the east side, there is a maze of interesting tidal creeks surrounded by mangroves.
Popular fishing spots include the pier at FM Beach’s main section.
With an incredible nightlife, spring breakers often paint the town red in the warmer months.
However, during the day there are loads to keep you busy. From taking in the island views, kayaking, or even parasailing to take in the town from above.
Fort Myers Beach is an excellent location for anyone to forget about their worries and simply relax.
15. Marco Island
Nicest beach communities in Florida? The beaches on Marco Island are some of the best you’ll find anywhere.
This well-known beach town is renowned for its vivacious vitality; it has a truly distinctive feel and constantly has something going on.
Marco Island is known for its more luxurious lifestyle.
With some of the best world-class golf resorts, high-end shopping, and incredible dining, it is on the higher end of the budget.
But many would say that it is worth every penny.
Located just 20 minutes south of Naples, Marco Island has all of the benefits of the Gulf Coast. It is known for its welcoming atmosphere and incredible experiences.
You may go shelling, fishing, boating, bird and wildlife watching, kayaking, and canoeing in the nearby Everglades National Park as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and the mangrove-lined estuaries of the Ten Thousand Islands.
16. Vero Beach
Vero Beach is less known than other beach towns throughout the state.
However, it is rich in history and is home to some of the most incredible historical sites in Florida.
With not so many tourists visiting, Vero Beach is one of the most affordable beach towns to visit.
Offering jaw-dropping beaches and some of the best surfing on the East Coast.
When you visit you can expect balmy weather and the ability to take a second to breathe.
Vero Beach is a fantastic holiday spot and a significant component of the area known as the Treasure Coast because of its tranquil beaches, museums, nature tours, and an assortment of hotels.
Additionally, Vero Beach provides a superb assortment of restaurants that cater to all price ranges as well as shops in huge malls, the historic downtown, and along the beach.
17. Key Biscayne
Only 15 minutes from downtown Miami, Key Biscayne is an island paradise with a wide variety of amenities and activities.
Undoubtedly among the best-located beach villages in Florida.
Numerous restaurants, lengthy beaches, mangroves, and tropical forests abounding with wildlife can be found here.
Two sizable parks next to the ocean offer picnic spots and kid-friendly activities like a carousel and a peacock refuge.
As the miles of sandy beaches and the sky-blue ocean has remained almost completely untouched, Key Biscayne is one of the most natural places in the US.
There are many local eateries that offer some of the nicest views in the entire country in the evening.
It is largely undeveloped, allowing for the ideal tranquil getaway.
18. Gasparilla Island
Florida’s Gasparilla Island is a very exceptional location.
The 7-mile-long barrier island where the town is located provides the ideal tropical setting for relaxation and sunbathing.
Between Sarasota and Ft. Myers is Little Gasparilla Island.
It is only accessible by private boat or the local water taxi and lacks any bridges.
There are just sand paths that wind between sea grapes and Australian pines; there are no paved roadways.
Hire a golf cart or simply walk around the island to take in the views.
As you take a stroll along the beach, you may not see another soul but you are certain to spot some incredible wildlife.
Shorebirds, ghost crabs, giant sea turtles, and porpoises are frequent visitors to the island’s beaches!
Florida, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in America.
Whether you are looking to party your life away or want to take some time to relax, a Florida beach town is always ideal.
Above are 18 incredible Florida beach towns for you to explore, relax, and enjoy as the ocean waves crash behind you and you see some rather wonderful wildlife.
Just don’t forget your sunscreen!
Frequently Asked Questions
Satellite Beach in Florida is the safest neighborhood to reside in. With little over 11,000 residents, this small city on Florida’s space coast will make you feel secure.
Only six violent crimes occurred in Satellite Beach in 2021, making it by far the safest location to live in Florida.
One of Florida’s most remote beaches, St. George Island is located on a 22-mile barrier island off the “Forgotten Coast” in the state’s northwest.
The empty beaches are ideal for swimming or simply lounging on the sweet sand.
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