18 Best Beaches in South Florida • Hidden Beach Gems

16 min read


Boardwalk under palm trees leading to the beach

South Florida has some of the best beaches in the United States. With white sand beaches, turquoise, crystal clear waters, and swaying palm trees, it’s hard to beat the beaches in South Florida.

Everybody knows that Florida has the best beaches in the country. This is due to its close proximity to the equator and subtropical nature. So of course, it’s the best place for a beach vacation!

Many know about the most popular beaches, like Miami Beach, South Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, for their party nature and beautiful beaches.

However, there are plenty of other hidden beach gems in South Florida that are worth checking out!

If you’re looking for your next tropical beach getaway, this article has got you covered. Whether you are looking for beaches on the East or West Coast.

Let’s dive right in!

If you are in a hurry

South Florida is a popular vacation destination, so many of the best tours sell out pretty quickly. If you want to make sure your beach getaway is jam-packed with fun, memorable, and unique things to do, be sure to book in advance!

Here are the main things to book in advance:

1. Explore Cayo Costa State Park

empty shell on a beach

One of the most pristine beaches in South Florida, Cayo Costa is an absolute hidden gem!

This incredible island paradise has everything a nature lover could ever want! Hiking, kayaking, shelling, snorkeling, swimming, you name it. Cayo Costa State Park has got it!

This is by far one of the best beaches in South Florida. A heavily wooded, ancient, untouched island with gorgeous beaches and stunning flora and fauna, Cayo Costa is a real paradise.

It’s only accessible by boat, so consider catching the ferry from Pine Island unless you have a better idea in mind as to how to get there!

The ferry ride is totally worth it, though, because you get a gorgeous look at the surrounding marine life, and there are often dolphins and manatees hanging around on the way to Cayo Costa!

If you’re looking for romantic things to do in the area, check out this incredible sunset sail tour that takes you all around Sanibel Island and Captiva Island near Cayo Costa!


Book Your Sunset Sail

2. Head to Siesta Key Beach

aerial view over the Siesta Key beach

Siesta Beach on Siesta Key is by far one of the best beaches in South Florida. White sandy shores, clear crystalline water, swaying palm trees, an island vibe…what else could you need?

No seriously. This beach is absolutely incredible, and that’s why it’s number 2 on this list!

Located on a stunning barrier island, Siesta Beach offers excellent swimming, snorkeling, wildlife viewing and is the perfect place to read a book and soak in the rays.

Constantly ranking among the best beaches in the United States, Siesta Key is worth checking out. Not only for its insane beauty but also because it’s worth seeing what all the hype is about!

Want to get to know the gorgeous nature around Sarasota and Siesta Beach? Check out this incredible kayak tour to get an in-depth look at the mangrove islands surrounding this beautiful barrier island.


Book Your Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Tour

3. Check out Clam Pass Park

water and trees at Clam Pass Park

Another breathtaking Gulf Coast Beach, Clam Pass Park near Naples is one of the best South Florida beaches you will find.

With incredible turquoise, calm, shallow waters, white sandy beaches, and breathtaking wild Florida nature, this is a truly stunning beach destination in S. Florida.

This is an excellent place to go shelling, swimming in water that seems so still it’s like a glass lake, snorkeling, soaking up the sun, and getting some much-needed R&R!

Want to see some manatees and dolphins on your trip? Check out this incredible manatee, dolphin, shelling, and wildlife sightseeing tour nearby!


Book Your Manatee & Wildlife Experience

4. Be on island time on Marco Island

Marco Island skyline

Marco Island is one of the most beautiful barrier islands in Florida, with some of the best beaches.

Picture this: turquoise Caribbean azure waters, white sand, palm trees, stunning coastal flora and fauna, a drink in hand, toes in the sand. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Well, this is what you can expect your visit to Marco Island to be like! Tigertail Beach Park is also an incredible beach you do not want to miss on your trip!

After you spend the day on the impeccable beaches, grab a bite at one of the many delicious restaurants in the area!

Check out this awesome dolphin sightseeing boat tour on Marco Island, where you can see a whole different side of the island!


Book Your Dolphin Boat Tour

5. Unwind at Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach

Another West Coast beauty, Fort Myers Beach is an absolute South Florida beachy gem.

Crystalline water, white sands, incredible biodiversity, coastal birds, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, sting rays, and more all await you at this gorgeous South Florida beach.

Aside from the beaches, there is so much to do in Fort Myers, making it the perfect vacation destination.

If you want to get to know the natural landscape better on your trip, check out this awesome adventure tour where you can explore mangrove forests, kayak with manatees and dolphins, sea turtles, and more!


Book Your Manatee Kayak Adventure

6. Fall in love at Lovers Key State Park

couple taking a walk on the beach at sunset

Another Fort Myers gem, Lovers Key State Park is one of the best beaches in South Florida for couples!

However, couples aren’t the only ones who can enjoy this beautiful beach. Everyone will absolutely swoon at the beauty of this incredible little subtropical island!

Lovers Key State Park is a tiny island with tons of hiking trails, and places to swim, kayak, snorkel, and explore!

There is a gorgeous and shaded boardwalk that goes through a mangrove-lined channel and then opens up to just breathtaking views of the Gulf Coast.

This pristine beach will just steal your heart!

boardwalk among lush bushes

A Southwest Florida nature lover’s paradise, Barefoot Beach Preserve is another one of the best beaches in South Florida.

Barefoot Beach County Park Preserve has gorgeous nature trails, butterfly gardens, and a lush-shaded boardwalk.

This stunning barrier island is worth checking out for anyone who appreciates pristine, undeveloped nature and gorgeous beaches.

If you’re looking for things to do in Naples or nearby Barefoot Beach Preserve, check out this awesome clear kayak guided tour in the area. This is a super fun experience for anyone who wants a deeper look into wild Florida.

Plus, what’s cooler than a clear kayak?


Book Your Clear Kayak Tour

8. Relax at Venice Beach

entrance to Venice beach

Yet another beautiful West Coast beach, Venice Beach offers all of the charm that the tropical Gulf of Mexico has to offer!

Originally a small fishing and farming village, Venice Beach has expanded to be one of the most popular beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Common activities in Venice Beach? Splashing around on the beach, enjoying the pristine beaches and impeccable views, hunting for prehistoric shark teeth, shelling, and more!

Known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of The World,” Venice Beach is the perfect place to go with the family and keep the kiddos entertained for hours on end!

Venice Beach also offers some of the best craft beers in the state! So what are you waiting for? Grab a craft brew and head to the beach!

9. Get the classic Miami experience in South Beach

white sand beach and lifeguard tower

This list would be incomplete without paying homage to one of Florida’s most famous and best beaches: South Beach, Miami!

Whenever you see any TV show, movie, music video, and the like filmed in Miami, it is usually on South Beach.

South Beach is home to a lively nightlife scene, amazing food, and of course, one of the best beaches in Miami.

This iconic South Florida beach has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for an elevated, classy, luxurious experience, a more kitschy spring break experience, or a relaxing beach day, South Beach has it all.

A more lowkey and nature-forward beach in Miami is Crandon Park Beach which is one of my personal favorites. Complete with picnic tables and picnic areas, this is a great place to go with friends or plan a picnic.

If you’re looking for exciting adventures in South Beach, check out this awesome jet ski experience on Miami Beach!


Book a Jet Ski Adventure in South Beach

10. Visit Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park

aerial view of johnson state park and boats around it

This is my personal favorite beach in South Florida, so I am biased when I say it’s one of the best beaches in South Florida. (It totally is, by the way. At least on the East Coast!)

Located next to Dania Beach, this pristine, untouched state park offers the most incredible perspective into what Florida’s coasts looked like before colonial settlement and development.

With a tidal estuary river on one side and a beautiful crystal clear ocean on the other side, with dune sunflowers, palm trees, and other incredible local flora and fauna, this is an absolute South Florida beach gem!

South Beach beaches are very developed and often super crowded. They lack the integrity they once had as natural spaces, and now have become more of a manicured and domesticated version of what they once were.

That’s why I prefer visiting untouched, wild, and remote beaches in South Florida to get a relaxing and authentic experience of what Florida’s coast is really made of.

Right next door, you have the more crowded Dania Beach, which has an awesome fishing pier with a restaurant, so you don’t have to travel too far if you get hungry!

11. Check out the popular Fort Lauderdale Beach

aerial view of Fort Lauderdale Beach

Fort Lauderdale Beach is great for those looking for a more lively beach experience along a busy promenade with bars, restaurants, and even some nightclubs.

While this beach can get crowded as it is a popular spring break location, Fort Lauderdale Beach is worth checking out just to see what all the hype is about.

It’s also really nice to walk along the promenade, with the beach and palm trees on one side and plenty of restaurants and shops on the other.

Keep an eye out for street vendors selling fresh coconuts! There is nothing better than sipping some refreshing coconut water on the beach!

Fort Lauderdale Beach truly makes you forget you are in the US! Another great beach in the area is Lloyd Beach State Park.

Aside from the beach, one of the most beautiful parts of Fort Lauderdale is the incredible waterways and the lit skyline at night. On this tour, you can get some incredible views of the Ft. Lauderdale skyline from the gorgeous waterways.


Book Your Evening Cruise

12. Put your toes in the sand at Hollywood Beach

aerial view of Hollywood beach

Another excellent southern Florida beach, Hollywood Beach is a great beach to spend the day, splash around, and soak up the sunny rays.

Nestled right between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, this is a great blend of both S. Florida beach cities.

This is a great beach for watersports, swimming, relaxing on a nice sandy beach, enjoying the Atlantic Ocean, and grabbing a beachside bite to eat.

The main attraction on Hollywood Beach is the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, lined with tiki bars, fresh seafood restaurants, a beachfront amphitheater, and bicycle rentals.

13. Explore the Palm Beach area

aerial view of Palm Beach

Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach all have excellent beaches that make for the perfect beach day.

With coral reefs, soft sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and gorgeous azure waters, Palm Beach is one of the best places to go for some beachy fun on Florida’s East Coast!

Phil Foster Park offers incredible snorkeling and scuba diving. This area is a man-made park in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway under the Blue Heron Bridge that is home to some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the continental United States.

No matter your budget or preferences, Palm Beach has something for everyone.

North Palm Beach is also home to Macarthur Beach State Park, which is one of the most incredible beach state parks in the area. This is a great beach for paddle boarding, fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling because of the crystalline waters.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Palm Beach, check out this historical sightseeing catamaran boat tour! Feel the wind in your hair and check out the onboard bar!


Book Your Catamaran Boat Tour

14. Swim in the azure waters of Juno Beach

aerial view of Juno beach and pier

One of the most beautiful beaches in S. Florida is Juno Beach and Loggerhead Park. This incredible park has a marine center that works toward the preservation and conservation of sea turtles.

This beach is one of the best beaches to see sea turtles in the world, as it is the busiest nesting area for sea turtles!

This is a great place to learn about marine ecosystems, a sea turtle rehab, see an aquarium, and spend the day learning about the incredible marine life in Florida’s waters.

Also, check out the Juno Beach Pier on your visit!

15. Relax at Deerfield Beach

people playing volleyball on the beach

This serene, beautiful beach is ideal for families and anyone looking for a heavenly beach in S. Florida.

Deerfield Beach is perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway, families looking to create fun memories, and the adventurous looking to explore the great outdoors!

There is also a beautiful pier with plenty of restaurants for some good beachside dining and enjoying some fresh seafood!

16. Visit Delray Beach

aerial view over Delray beach

Delray Beach is a beautiful beach on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

This is one of the least developed beaches in S. Florida. The oceanfront is in its purest natural state, and offers visitors an excellent opportunity to explore the wild Florida coastline.

This Atlantic Ocean beauty is an excellent place for unwinding, soaking up the sun, and enjoying a lovely sugar sand beach.

With adorable boutique shops, excellent restaurants, and stunning soft white sand, Delray Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in S. Florida!

17. Splash around on Jupiter Island

blowing rock preserve beach rocks

Jupiter Island is one of the most beautiful places to visit in sunny Florida.

With crystal clear blue waters, incredible flora and fauna, gorgeous marine life, and incredible views, Jupiter Island should be high on your list of places to visit.

Blowing Rocks Preserve is one of the best beaches in this area, with a dramatic landscape and incredible natural limestone formations!

During low tide, you can climb around these incredible limestone formations, and at high tide, you can see the water crash through the formations creating “blow holes.”

The golden sand and incredible snorkeling makes this one of the best beach destinations in S. Florida.

18. Take in the views at Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park

Home to one of the most beautiful beaches the Florida Keys have to offer, Bahia Honda State Park is easily one of the best beach destinations in Florida.

Bahia Honda is one of those breathtaking places you visit where it’s easy to have a ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ moment.

People of all ages come to visit this park to get in some real R&R, and all these people have two things in common: they love nature and a good beach. Plus, this beach has some of the best snorkeling in the country!

NOTE: Since this is one of the most popular destinations in the Florida Keys, keep in mind that the parking does fill up quickly, especially on the weekends. To avoid getting turned away due to being at capacity, try to get there as early as possible!

19. Take a dip at Fort Zachary Taylor Beach in Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach

Key West is world-famous for many things. The incredible beaches, historical significance, the Hemingway House, its proximity to Cuba (it’s actually closer to Cuba than it is to Miami!), and so much more!

Many people are disappointed when they visit Key West because they have a difficult time finding a good beach. Well, that’s where I come in with the best local knowledge on the most beautiful beach in Key West!

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is an absolute gem when it comes to Key West. With stunning turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and incredible views, this is by far one of the beaches in the country.

Come here to celebrate a significant event, unwind on a tropical beach, have a romantic getaway, or a family excursion on this incredible beach where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of Mexico!

If you want to go snorkeling while you’re in Key West, look no further than this incredible tour that will take you to the best snorkel spots in the area.


Book Your Half Day Snorkel Tour

FAQs about best beaches in South Florida

people on the beach with buildings in the background

🏖️ What are the best beaches near Miami?

What is the prettiest beach in South Florida?

🌊 What beach in South Florida has the clearest water?

Many people will give you different answers to this question because it entirely depends on the weather, and a number of other factors, however Palm Beach, Marco Island, and Miami Beach are said to have the clearest water in South Florida.

🌴 What is the best beach for swimming in South Florida?


lifeguard house on the beach at sunset

While it’s hard to pick the absolute BEST beaches in South Florida, I am pretty proud of this list because I was able to hit all the major and hidden gem beaches in S. Florida!

As a Florida local, I’ll be the first to say that we have some of the best beaches out of anywhere in the United States.

Whether you are looking for a luxurious beach getaway, a kitschy beach experience, or a relaxing, tranquil, nature-forward beach to tap into your center and feel realigned, S. Florida has it all!

I hope you enjoyed this list and experience the beauty and magic that S. Florida has to offer!

With Love and Gratitude,

Amira G.

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Best beaches in South Florida PIN 2

Pin it for later!

Best beaches in South Florida PIN 1


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