Our 12 Favorite Beaches for Adventure in Florida

Escape to the beach.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Dropping temperatures and a hint of snow in the air have us dreaming of beach explorations along Florida's stunning coast. With 8,436 miles of shoreline, Florida offers up a near endless supply of beach adventures on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. 

Whether you're looking for surfing waves, family-friendly swimming spots, sugary sand for lounging with a book, or well-packed beaches for a long trail run, you'll find it in Florida.

South Florida & the Keys

Beach Day at Bahia Honda State Park

Adventure by Adrienne Tyler

Bahia Honda State Park's tropical beaches are some of the most beloved in the Florida Keys. Enjoy crystal clear water, warm sea breezes, and a calm surf for snorkeling and swimming. The stargazing is spectacular, too!

Snorkel at Sombrero Reef

Adventure by Courtney Clemmons

Ok, you've got us, Sombrero Reef isn't a beach. But if adventurous fun in the water is what you're after, you won't want to miss the chance to explore this stunning reef. Located seven miles from the Key town of Marathon, Sombrero Reef's shallow corals make for a spectacular snorkeling experience.

Kayak Camp on the East Cape

Adventure by Daniel Madrigal

Beach camping? Yes, please. Launch your kayak from Flamingo Marina in Everglades National Park and paddle 8 miles to the East Cape. You'll likely have the beach to yourself as you cook dinner with a glorious sunset backdrop then fall asleep under the stars.

Catch a Sunset at the Naples Pier

Adventure by Brett Rothmeyer

The Gulf of Mexico is home to some of the most beautiful coastal sunsets you'll find anywhere in the world, and the Naples Pier is the perfect spot to catch the show. Arrive early to cast a line over the water or to do some stand up paddle boarding. Keep an eye open for leaping dolphins, too.

Exploring the Ruins of Fort Dade

Adventure by Nina Vanell

If you're looking to get away from it all, look no further than Egmont Key State Park in St. Petersburg. Accessible only by boat, this state park is home to historic Egmont Key Lighthouse (built in 1858) and the ruins of Fort Dade, a relic from the Spanish-American War. Even if history isn't your jam, the island is rimmed by pristine beaches perfect for swimming, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Central Florida

Hike the Turtle Mound Trail

Adventure by Yvonne Levesque

While it's best known for its spectacular viewing of rocket launches from nearby Kennedy Space Center, there are plenty of places to explore along Canaveral National Seashore's pristine coastline. One of our favorites is the hike to Turtle Mound, a 50-foot tall shell midden, which offers panoramic views of the Atlantic.

Photograph a Gulf Coast Sunset at Clearwater Beach

Adventure by Jeff Driscoll

Soft sand, turquoise water, and amazing sunsets await at Clearwater Beach, on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Stroll on the Beach Walk, surf the double-sandbar break on the north end of the beach, relax in the sun with a good book, and don't forget to stick around to watch the sun dip below the horizon.

Kayak to Shell Island

Adventure by Ryan Noeker

Take off from Fort Island Trail Park in the town of Crystal River and paddle for 45 minutes to unpopulated Shell Island. Bring a picnic lunch and explore the island, or try to snag one of the first-come, first-served primitive campsites.

North Florida & the Panhandle

Bike the Beaches of Saint Augustine

Adventure by Sara Sheehy

The historic town of St Augustine is lined by flat, wide beaches that are perfect for cycling. Grab a rental cruiser bike from one of the many bike shops in town and pedal for as many miles as your legs can take you. Just be sure to keep out of the surf — the salt water ruins bike gears.

Beach Day at Blackrock Beach on Big Talbot Island

Adventure by Amber Locke

Big Talbot Island State Park, on the outskirts of the city lights of Jacksonville, offers up a welcome respite from its urban surroundings. Pedal on miles of bike trails, fish in the saltwater marsh that surrounds the island, or scramble on the beach filled with giant downed trees. 

Explore Fort Clinch

Adventure by Jared Beeler

Fort Clinch, a large brick fort built in the 1800s, sits on a prominence looking out over the Atlantic Ocean to the east and north across the St. Mary's River to nearby Georgia. Come for the camping and the shark-tooth hunting, but stay for the wildlife viewing and to explore the fort's rooms and galleries.

Visit St. Marks Lighthouse

Photo by Amelia Vandemark

Enjoy the picturesque coast of Florida's Panhandle with a short walk to St. Marks Lighthouse in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Check it out at sunset for particularly stunning views. If you want to wander further, the refuge has dozens of miles of trails for hiking.

Looking for more beach adventures in Florida? Explore more at VISIT FLORIDA.

Cover photo courtesy of VISIT FLORIDA

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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