The Best Beaches in Florida (By Region)

What is the best beach in Florida?

We get this question all the time, it’s kind of an impossible question. There are literally thousands of beautiful beaches in Florida, all with different characteristics.

We did our best to narrow the options into a short list of the best beaches in Florida — our favorites. The final “Best” decision will depend on when you’re going, and what you want from your trip!

Map of the Best Beaches in Florida

Grayton Beach State Park (Florida Panhandle)

Grayton Beach State Park is the best beach in Florida, according to beach experts and visitor reviews.

Grayton Beach has the nicest sugar white sand in Florida, and the most beautiful clear water. It also has the best facilities because it is part of an excellent state park and campground.

Besides Grayton Beach State Park, there are dozens of amazing and beautiful beaches nearby in the panhandle and the surrounding “Emerald Coast” region.

Pass-a-Grille Beach (Central West Coast/Gulf of Mexico)

There are many options for beautiful beaches in Florida’s central Gulf Coast, especially in Pinellas County. Pass-a-Grille Beach is the best, in my opinion.

My family and I spend considerable time at all of the beaches near Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater — Pass-a-Grille is our favorite, by far. This opinion is shared by most other locals I talk to.

A sign in Florida marks "Florida's Best Beach" according to user reviews, experts and TripAdvisor

The beach at Pass-a-Grille is enormous, and beautiful. It’s very wide and very long, so there is enough room for beach crowds to spread out.

There is a perfect mix of secluded beach areas, and fun lively spots. There is easy parking in some areas, convenient restrooms in certain areas, and bars and restaurants near the beach.

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There is also a beachfront cafe, a fishing jetty, a nearby dog beach and a very cute historic downtown district with shops, restaurants and more.

Tigertail Beach (Southwest Florida)

The best beach in southwest Florida is Tigertail Beach in Marco Island. This beach is beautiful and also enormous. The beach has two separate sections, separated by a natural saltwater lagoon.

The sand is beautiful and white, and the water is beautiful and clean.

There are good facilities in a beautiful county park, and parking is easy, although there is a fee for entering the park.

Tigertail beach park in Marco Island, Florida is one of Florida's best beaches

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (Florida Keys)

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach is the best beach in the Florida Keys.

In case you don’t know this — the beaches in the Keys are not actually the best beaches in Florida. Almost all beaches in the Keys are very small and aren’t actually that good. But, the beach at “Fort Zach”, or “Fort Taylor” is excellent.

There is a nice amount of natural shade, there is on-site snorkeling, and parking is easy. There is a good amount of room for crowds to spread out, so it doesn’t feel too crowded, or like everyone is sitting on top of each other.

There are also other fun things to do nearby, including a historic military fort, along with many other things to do in Key West.

Miami Beach (South Florida)

Miami Beach has the best beaches in Miami and all of south Florida, in my opinion.

A lifeguard tower at Miami Beach (South Beach), one of the best beaches in Florida

Miami Beach several distinct beach areas to choose from, ranging from South Pointe Beach to North Beach and ending at Bal Harbour Beach.

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Each beach is excellent and all have a different feel, so visitors can choose the best beach to match their own preferences.

Cocoa Beach (Atlantic Coast)

Cocoa Beach is the best beach in Florida’s Atlantic coast. The beaches are very long, very wide, and the sand is nice and clean.

The Atlantic Coast does stay wavy because it faces the Atlantic Ocean, and the water is usually not clear like many other Florida Beaches. But, on the plus side, the constant wave action creates some of the best surfing conditions in Florida.

Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando so it is one of the most popular and widely-visited beaches in Florida.

What is the Prettiest Beach in Florida?

Grayton Beach State Park, Florida crystal clear water, florida

According to most rankings, the prettiest beaches in Florida are located in northwest Florida, AKA the Florida panhandle. More specifically, the prettiest beaches are located between Perdido Key and Mexico Beach. Beaches in the surrounding “Emerald Coast” region are beautiful. They have bright white and and beautiful crystal-clear water, with a range of pretty colors, including deep blues and beautiful emerald green.

What is the Number 1 Ranked Beach in Florida?

Spring break Clearwater Beach, Florida, aerial view

Clearwater Beach is the number 1 ranked beach in Florida, according to most rankings, beach experts and travel organizations. In reality, the best beach in Florida is totally subjective, and varies from person to person. In my opinion Pass-a-Grille Beach is much nicer than Clearwater Beach in almost every way. The “best” beach depends on your desired experience, which beach factors are considered, and personal preference. The overall beach experience also depends heavily on weather, which has an enormous influence on a beach experience.

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Which Beach in Florida has the Clearest Water?

Crystal clear water in Florida in front of a white sand beach.Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys

The beaches in Dry Tortugas National park have the clearest water in Florida. Beaches in Dry Tortugas have excellent water clarity and visibility due to their remote location and the lack of sediment and sand debris in the water column. However, even in the Dry Tortugas, water clarity and visibility varies greatly depending on wind and wave action. The water is always clearest when wind and wave conditions are calm, allowing sediment to settle and water visibility to be at its best and clearest.

Which side of Florida has Nicer Beaches?

Pass-a-grille beach, the best beach near Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater on Florida's Gulf Coast

The west side of Florida has the nicest beaches because the west coast includes excellent beaches in the Florida Panhandle beaches, the central Gulf Coast and southwest Florida. Most beaches on Florida’s west side have good sand and excellent water clarity when conditions are favorable.

Where are the Five Best Beaches in Florida?

A sign in Florida marks "Florida's Best Beach" according to user reviews, experts and TripAdvisor

The five best beaches in Florida are:
1. Grayton Beach State Park
2. Tigertail beach
3. Fort Zachary Taylor State park
4. Miami Beach
5. Cocoa Beach