The Best Atlantic Coast Beaches in Florida

Florida’s Atlantic coast is 400 miles long, not including the Florida Keys. 

There are endless sandy beaches for most of those 400 miles, which stretch from Amelia Island in the north to the Key Largo bridge in the south.

South Beach on Florida's atlantic coast with white and and clear water

Florida’s east coast beaches vary a lot. 

  • Some are touristy, some are deserted and undeveloped
  • Some beaches have constant waves, some are calm
  • Some have murky water, some have crystal clear water

Here are our picks for the best beaches on Florida’s east coast.

South Beach

The most famous and beautiful beach near Miami is South Beach, making it one of the best things to do in miami.

Beaches in South Beach have beautiful white sand and turquoise blue/green water. The water is most beautiful when wind and wave conditions are calm, and can sometimes be murky when waves stir up sand. 

One of the best beach access points is Miami Beach is at Lummus park. There is a large network of trails, along with playgrounds, beach volleyball courts, restrooms, showers and many other amenities.There are many clubs, restaurants, and options for lively nightlife. 

There are also museums and many family-friendly things to see and do. One of the most fun things to do in Miami Beach is to walk and explore the unique art deco architecture.

There are many fun and exciting things to do nearby, including boat tours, jet ski rentals and much more.

Crandon Beach Park

Crandon Park Beach is one of the best beaches in Miami, and is a great alternative to Miami Beach. 

The park is filled with beautiful palm trees and has excellent sand and (often) clear water. 

Crowds are often more laid back than other beaches near Miami, especially high-energy beaches like South Beach. 

The park has excellent amenities, including barbeque grills, on-site beach chair rentals, lifeguards, ample parking and an on-site cafe. 

Crandon Park is located on the expensive and luxurious island of Key Biscayne. There are other beautiful beaches nearby in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida

The beaches at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park are beautiful, and are among the best beaches near Miami. 

The sand is white and soft, and the beaches are much less crowded and chaotic than other beaches in Miami Beach. 

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is beautiful and there are excellent views of the Cape Florida Lighthouse. 

The beach is widest just north of the lighthouse. The beach does disappear south of the lighthouse, where it becomes a seawall instead of a sandy beach. 

The water near Cape Florida is often very clear. There are other beach access points further north of the lighthouse but the beach is less wide in those areas, and there tends to be more seaweed. 

This beach does tend to get very crowded during busy times, especially weekends and holidays.

Fort Lauderdale Beach

The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are beautiful, and are some of my favorite beaches in Florida’s Atlantic coast. 

When people ask me about the best beach on Florida’s east coast, I usually recommend Fort Lauderdale.

Beaches in Fort Lauderdale have beautiful blue water which is often clear when waves are calm. 

Depending on which section of beach you visit there are areas with lively boardwalks along the beach, and endless tropical palm trees. 

The beaches tend to be wide and have soft, deep white sand further up-beach, with hard-packed sand near the water. 

If you want a more laid-back, natural beach experience there are similarly beautiful beaches just to the south inside Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park.

Peanut Island Beaches

Peanut Island has some of the best beaches in Florida, in my opinion. 

The beaches have gotten more crowded in recent years as more people find out about this hidden gem, but it is still fantastic. 

The beaches have some of the clearest water in Florida, and the county park amenities are excellent. 

Clear water beaches in Peanut Island Park

The island is quite small but there is enough beach area for people to spread out, except for the busiest times, when everywhere on the island will feel busy. 

There are different beach sections to suit different preferences – party areas on the sandbar, family areas in other parts of the island. 

Continue Reading:   Sand Sculpting

Peanut Island does require a paid ferry, private boat, kayak or watercraft to reach the island, but the beaches are worth it and the journey will feel like a fun adventure.

Fernandina Beach

The beaches in Fernandina Beach are beautiful and pristine. The sand is soft, deep, white, and the beaches are extremely wide. 

Fernandina Beach is one of a limited number of beaches in Florida where you can drive cars on the beach, which many people enjoy. 

The water is usually not clear due to sand being stirred up by constant wave action.

Amelia Island

Amelia Island has absolutely beautiful, natural beaches. 

There are many beach access points all along Amelia Island. The main beach access points in Amelia Island are at Main beach park and Amelia island State Park. 

This is a good place to find seashells and occasional shark teeth, especially during the week when crowds are lower. 

The beach is large and usually feels uncrowded except during the busiest times. The beaches are wide and easy to access.

Main Beach Park is a convenient place to visit because it has picnic shelters, a playground, sand volleyball nets and restrooms.

Palm Beach

The beaches in Palm Beach are beautiful. The beaches are located on a barrier island and the area feels like one of the most tropical places in Florida. 

Palm Beach has excellent snorkeling and scuba diving nearby, and often has crystal clear blue water when waves are calm.

This area has beautiful white sand beaches which are very long and wide. There are many palm trees and lush tropical vegetation. 

Palm Beach is an expensive, upscale area. It is the location of the Breakers Palm beach hotel and other upscale beach towns, including West Palm Beach, Singer Island and other communities near the Lake Worth Lagoon.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Florida. It’s one of the most touristy beaches, and one of the most-visited because it’s the closest beach to Orlando. 

Cocoa Beach is one of the best beaches for surfing in Florida and has a very strong surf culture. The water can be blue at times but it is usually not clear because of sand stirred up by almost constant waves.

Anastasia Island State Park

The beaches in Anastasia Island State Park are beautiful!

These are some of the best beaches near St. Augustine. The sand is soft and white, and the water is clean. 

The water is not usually clear due to wave action but it is still very nice. The beaches in Anastasia Island State Park usually don’t feel overly crowded except for the busiest times, i.e. weekends and holidays. On weekdays the beaches are almost always empty. 

There are other fun things to do in the state park as well, including nature walks and bird watching.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Florida. It’s a good beach for people who want to be entertained and have a lively tourist atmosphere. 

Daytona Beach is located on a barrier island and is near other beach towns, including New Smyrna Beach to the south and Ormond Beach to the north. 

The water around Daytona Beach is usually not clear except when wind and waves are calm for several days, allowing sand to settle out of the water. 

There are usually waves and Daytona Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Florida for surfing.

Canaveral National Seashore

Canaveral National Seashore is amazing! This entire stretch of coastline has beautiful, endless, unspoiled beaches. 

The beaches are very wide and usually have beautiful dunes. The water is usually not clear due to constant wave action. 

Canaveral National Seashore is one of the best uncrowded beaches in Florida for quiet beach time away from crowds. Some areas of Canaveral National Seashore are nude beaches, and are among the only legal clothing-optional beaches in Florida due to their (partially) Federal jurisdiction. 

Be sure to be aware of the rules and obey all rules and regulations – it’s always advisable to confirm laws with local authorities.

Miami beach

Miami Beach is a world-wide beach hotspot, and is home to some of the most iconic and popular beaches in Florida. 

Miami Beach is actually an entire barrier island and city – it includes many beaches along its shorelines, including the famous South Beach, among many others. 

Miami Beach is a destination by itself, and has so much to offer, from exciting nightlife to iconic art deco architecture and cosmopolitan vibe that can’t be found anywhere else. 

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is one of the best beaches in Florida, in my opinion. Many locals also say it’s one of their favorites, but it’s not as popular among tourists who tend to go to Cocoa Beach to the south, or Daytona Beach to the north. 

Continue Reading:   Rip Currents

There are beautiful, wide, white sand beaches all along New Smyrna, and endless deserted beaches further south towards Apollo Beach and Canaveral National Seashore. 

One of the easiest places to access the beach, and best beach access points, is near Smyrna Dunes Park at the north tip of the island, near Ponce de Leon Inlet. 

The nearby Disappearing Island sandbar is a fun attraction and New Smyrna Beach is one of the best beaches for surfing in Florida.

Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach is a beautiful beach near Jacksonville. 

The beaches at Jacksonville Beach are very wide, and have large dune areas. The sand is white and powdery. The water is usually not clear due to near-constant wave action and surf conditions. 

There are tall condo buildings in many areas along Jacksonville Beach. There are other beach towns nearby, including Neptune Beach to the north and Ponte Vedra Beach to the south.

Jacksonville Beach is one of several popular beaches in the region, so it can get busy on weekends and holidays. Jacksonville Beach is also one of the closest major beaches to Atlanta so it receives many visitors from Georgia. 

St. Augustine beach

St. Augustine Beach is a very nice beach to visit, especially combined with a trip to historic St. Augustine. 

St. Augustine Beach has wide beaches and light colored sand.

Wave action at St. Augustine Beach is usually high, like other beaches in the region, so the water is usually not clear. There are other beautiful beaches in the region, including Anastasia Island and Amelia Island.

Delray Beach

Delray Beach has beautiful beaches. 

The beaches in Delray Beach are generally very wide and have distinct dune areas, far back from the water. The sand is soft and light-colored. Delray Beach tends to have more clear water and calm water conditions because it’s located in the Bahamas wave shadow. 

Delray Beach is sandwiched between other beach towns, including Boynton Beach to the north and Boca Raton to the south. 

Vero Beach

Vero Beach is partially located on a barrier island (North Hutchinson Island) in the Treasure Coast region. 

Vero Beach is a popular place for local beach visitors and offers a quiet beach experience on uncrowded beaches. Very Beach is popular for outdoor activities, especially surf fishing. There are several state parks nearby, including Sebastian Inlet State Park, Avalon State Park and Ft Pierce Inlet State Park.

Patrick Space Force Base Beaches

One of the best “hidden gem” beaches in Florida is a series of beaches near Cocoa Beach. 

These are on a narrow sliver of land near Patrick Space Force Base, previously named “Patrick Air Force Base”. 

There are several beaches here: Tables Beach, 2nd Light Beach, Hangar’s Beach, and Pineda Beach Park. These beaches are beautiful, and are almost always deserted. There is very little development here because the land is all owned by the nearby military base. 

Some of the beach access points have showers, restrooms and nice facilities, while others do not. 

These beaches are open to the public but there are some restrictions because of the nearby military base. 

These beaches are almost always empty so the beachcombing is excellent — you’re much more likely to find beautiful seashells because they haven’t already been picked up by a thousand other beach visitors that day. 

We think these hidden, undeveloped beaches are some of the best beaches in Florida for shelling.

FAQ

What is the best beach on the east coast in Florida?

The best beach on the east coast in Florida is Fort Lauderdale Beach. The beach has a nice mix of nice sand, clear water, beach fun and excitement and relaxation.

What is the clearest beach on the east coast of Florida?

South Beach on Florida's atlantic coast with white and and clear water

The beach with the clearest water on Florida’s east coast is found at Peanut Island in West Palm Beach.
Beaches with the clearest water on Florida’s east coast are found in south Florida, especially below Jupiter, due to geographical reasons.
Northern Atlantic Coast beaches tend to have constant wind and waves which come from the east and the powerful Atlantic Ocean. These forces tend to stir up sand in the “surf zone” where waves break near the shore, so the water is not usually clear. 
However, even in north Florida, the water can be quite beautiful, blue, and even clear when conditions are just right, especially when wind and wave conditions are calm for several days. Or when winds blow “offshore” from west to east, allowing waves to disappear and the water becomes extremely calm. This is not common though, and visitors should not expect these unusual conditions.

What is the nicest east coast beach?

The nicest east coast beach is found on Peanut Island in West Palm Beach. The beaches on Peanut Island are beautiful and are among the most beautiful and nicest beaches in Florida, in my experience. The water is often as clear as the Bahamas, the beaches are clean and well maintained, and the island has a tropical feel which is extremely nice. There is also a campground on the island.

Continue Reading:   Passage Key (Anna Maria)

What is the prettiest beach in Florida?

The southern and central stretch of Florida’s Atlantic coastline has the most beautiful beaches on Florida’s east coast, in my opinion and experience. 
This section of the peninsula is sheltered by the islands of the Bahamas to the east, which tend to block ocean swells and contribute to the beautiful water conditions. The Gulf Stream current also flows very close to shore, bringing warm and clear water to the area. Still, wind and waves can cause water to be murky — clear water can never be guaranteed.

What is the number one most beautiful beach in Florida?

The number one most beautiful beach in Florida is found on Garden Key inside Dry Tortugas National Park.

What is the least touristy beach in Florida?

The least touristy beach in Florida is 2nd Light Beach, found inside the Patrick Space Force Base (Formerly Patrick Air Force Base.) This beach is one of several beach access points that are open to the public, but are seldom visited, and are not touristy at all. These beaches are often described as “hidden gems”. They have enough amenities to make them pleasant to visit, but are far enough away from non-military base conveniences that tourists hardly ever visit. On the West coast the least touristy beach in Florida is the beach at Anclote Key Preserve State Park. This undeveloped beach has no tourist infrastructure at all, and the only visitors are day tour boats or locals with their own private boats.

Where is the bluest water in Florida?

The bluest water in Florida is found in the Florida Keys, especially near Dry Tortugas National Park. Deep water and lack of sediment in this region allows the ocean water to become amazingly blue.

What beaches are on Florida’s east coast?

The following Florida beaches are on the Atlantic coast: 
Alan Shepard Park
Amelia Island
Anastasia State Park
Apollo Beach (Canaveral National Seashore)
Atlantic Beach
Avalon State Park
Bal Harbour
Bathtub Reef Beach
Beverly Beach
Blowing Rocks Preserve
Boca Raton Beach
Boynton Beach
Bryn Mawr Beach
Butler Beach
Canaveral National Seashore
Canova Beach Park
Carlin Park
Cherie Down Park
Cocoa Beach
Coral Cove Park
Crescent Beach
Dania Beach
Daytona Beach
Deerfield Beach
Delray Beach
Dollman Beach
Fernandina Beach
Flagler Beach
Flagler Beach and Pier
Fort Lauderdale Beach
Fort Pierce Beach
Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area
Golden Beach
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
Gulfstream Park
Hallandale Beach
Haulover Beach
Herman’s Bay Beach
Highbridge Park
Hobe Sound Beach
Hobie Beach
Hollywood Beach
Indialantic Beach
Indian Riverside Park
Jacksonville Beach
James H. Nance Park
Jaycee Park (Vero Beach)
Jensen Beach
Jetty Park Beach
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Juno Beach
Jupiter Beach
Key Biscayne (Crandon Park Beach and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park)
Lake Worth Beach
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
Lummus Park Beach (Miami Beach)
Marineland Beach
Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park
Matheson Hammock Park
Melbourne Beach
Miami Beach
Neptune Beach
New Smyrna Beach
Normandy Beach
North Miami Beach
North Peninsula State Park
Ocean Bay Beach
Ocean Cay Park
Ocean Reef Park
Ocean Ridge Hammock Park
Oceanfront Park (Boynton Beach)
Ormond Beach
Ormond-by-the-Sea
Palm Beach
Paradise Beach Park
Pepper Park Beach
Pineda Beach
Playalinda Beach (Canaveral National Seashore)
Pompano Beach
Ponce Inlet
Ponce Inlet Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach
Red Reef Park
Riomar Beach
Riviera Municipal Beach
Round Island Beach Park
Satellite Beach
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Sidney Fischer Park
Singer Island
Smyrna Dunes Park
South Beach (Miami Beach)
South Beach Park (Vero Beach)
South Hutchinson Island Beach
South Ponte Vedra Beach
Spanish River Park
Spessard Holland North Beach Park
St. Augustine Beach
Stuart Beach
Sunny Isles Beach
Surfside
Tiger Shores Beach
Tomoka State Park
Tracking Station Beach
Vero Beach
Vilano Beach
Wabasso Beach Park
Walton Rocks Beach