Best Florida Beach (2018)


From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic, the Sunshine State boasts 825 miles of beaches, many of which are ranked among the best on the planet. An average of 230 days of sunshine a year make Florida's shoreline hard to resist for vacationers looking for sun, sand and sea.

  • Pensacola Beach

    Pensacola Beach

    The narrow strip of white, powder-soft sand known as Pensacola Beach is backed by a boardwalk filled with shops and restaurants. Beach goers enjoy clear, shallow waters and gentle waves, perfect for swimming, along with a relaxed Old Florida feel.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / lightphoto

  • Panama City Public Beach

    Panama City Public Beach
    Panama City Beach

    With 27 miles of soft sand and nearly 100 beach access points, Panama City Public Beach caters to sun seekers of all types. Just about every activity is on offer here as well, from parasailing and kayaking to scuba diving and deep sea fishing.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Panama City Beach

  • Gulf Islands National Seashore

    Gulf Islands National Seashore

    Undulating with the Panhandle’s patent dunes of talcum sands, this continuum of platinum sandscape feels otherworldly and primitive. It stretches from Perdido Key on the state’s westernmost waterfront and continues at Pensacola Beach’s Fort Pickens National Park and the Santa Rosa Area – the most secluded. 
    Photo courtesy of Visit Pensacola

  • Navarre Beach

    Navarre Beach

    Powdery white sand and turquoise waters characterize the 12-mile stretch of under-the-radar beach in Navarre near Pensacola. Popular with families, the beach offers the opportunity to spot bottlenose dolphins playing in the surf or cycle along a seaside bike path.
    Photo courtesy of Britt Reints / Flickr

  • Siesta Key Beach

    Siesta Key Beach

    For decades, Siesta Key has been winning awards for whitest and softest sand in the world. The thick carpet of sand is made up of quartz crystals that wash down from North Florida beaches. Siesta Key Beach is a wonderland of the pearlescent sand, as popular with couples as with families for its recreational facilities – from volleyball to soccer – and gorgeous sunsets.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / NicsPix

  • Clearwater Beach

    Clearwater Beach

    The depth of this clean, sugary, talc-white strand of sand ensures a wealth of space for beach enthusiasts as they cavort – or lie prone in the bright Florida sun – from surf to towel, contemplating active options from paddle boarding to parasailing. Of course, simply lolling about in the oft-warm, blue-green swells, scanning for dolphin pods or enjoying the epic sunsets is just as appealing.
    Photo courtesy of City of Clearwater

  • St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

    St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
    Port St. Joe

    Hidden far off the flip-flopped path, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park juts into the Gulf of Mexico to benefit from both gulf and bay water fronts, meaning excellent fishing and birding, and beaches so quiet even the ghost crabs are spooked. The beach flaunts the white sugar sands that make Northwest Florida famous. Clear aqua waters invite swimming and kayaking into the Wilderness Preserve that occupies the park’s west end.
    Photo courtesy of John Mayer / Flickr

  • Caladesi Island State Park

    Caladesi Island State Park

    Accessible only by boat (although you can sometimes walk across from Clearwater Beach at low tide), Caladesi Island State Park remains lightly populated despite its reputation for plush white sands and unspoiled demeanor. A ferry from nearby Honeymoon Island State Park makes the short trip to Caladesi for sun-lovers, fishermen, nature trail hikers and picnickers. Docks accommodate boat-in visitors, and a playground keeps the kids happy.
    Photo courtesy of Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

  • Canaveral National Seashore

    Canaveral National Seashore

    Stretching between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, Florida's Canaveral National Seashore provides a habitat for many threatened and endangered species, including sea turtles. Beach lovers will find 24 miles of undeveloped beach – the longest undeveloped beach on the state's eastern coast. 
    Photo courtesy of S. Anderson / NPS Photo

  • Bean Point

    Bean Point
    Anna Maria Island

    As beautiful as it is underrated, Bean Point on Anna Maria Island sparkles with white sand and turquoise Gulf Coast water. The tide is calm and ideal for swimming, and beach goers might find themselves sharing the water with a curious Florida manatee.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / EyeMark

The top 10 winners in the category Best Florida Beach are as follows:

  1. Pensacola Beach
  2. Panama City Public Beach
  3. Gulf Islands National SeashorePensacola
  4. Navarre Beach
  5. Siesta Key Beach - Sarasota
  6. Clearwater Beach
  7. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park - Port St. Joe
  8. Caladesi Island State ParkDunedin
  9. Canaveral National SeashoreTitusville
  10. Bean Point - Anna Maria Island

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Congratulations to these 10 winning beaches!

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