Credit: Ashley Morton
Florida is home to some of America’s finest beaches with pristine white sands and warm currents along the gulf that draw millions of visitors each year. But if its beaches are what attract visitors, it’s the surrounding amenities that make them stay. Every beach town is slightly different offering any combination of shopping, golf, history, entertainment, lodging and food for every traveler, budget and appetite. Check 5 of Florida’s Best Beach Towns and see for yourself.
Beaches in Naples run the gamut from those lined with full facilities and water sport rentals to chic shopping centers to natural preserves and state parks. The sandy coastline runs along the Golf of Mexico with Bonita Beach lying to the North and Ten Thousand Islands in the south. The pristine sandy beaches are dotted with wildlife and sea shells much to visitors delight.
Just south of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast lies the once winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Sarasota. Today the city is known for miles of coastline, sandy beaches and shallow waters at gems like Lido Beach and Siesta Key Beach. Sarasota also boasts an active nightlife, golfing, great fishing, plenty of seafood and the Ringling Museum of Art, which showcases old masters and modern art.
Paradise is located just off the coast of mainland Florida — and it’s called Key West. In addition to shopping, boutique hotels, active nightlife and restaurants a stones throw from anywhere on the island, Key West is also home to one of Florida’s most beautiful locations, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. In addition to its wide stretches of sugary sand and tranquil waters, outdoorsy visitors will find a schmorgesborg of activities in abundance. Snorkeling, glass bottom kayak rentals or hiking are a few options. A bike rental will allow you to traverse the shipping channel and around the fort; offering up prime picnic locations and an abundance of wildlife.
Gorgeous, laid-back St. Pete Beach is home to the longest undeveloped stretch of public beach in the county at it’s southern most point in the historic district, Pass-a-Grille Beach. The city is known for its mild weather and is a popular destination for golfing, boating, fishing and beach going. Its waterfront parks host the Dali Museum, featuring surrealist works of art; the Museum of Fine Arts, with works ranging from ancient to contemporary; and Mahaffey Theater, home of the Florida Orchestra.
Anna Maria Island
At a quaint 7 miles long Anna Maria Island, is known for its sugar-white coastline, emerald Gulf waters and chic shopping districts. Despite being no larger than a few blocks wide visitors are graced with so much to do there is no reason to leave with amenities like pristine beaches, fishing, wildlife watching, snorkeling, surfing performing arts and shopping. Travelers are treated to award-winning restaurants and a variety of lodging for every budget and traveler.