Need-to-Know Info: Find Your Perfect Florida Beach

By: Lauren Tjaden


Florida beaches.

They beckon like shimmering beacons of hope in a wintery world of ice, snow, and misery. They promise light, warmth and short sleeves.

Florida beaches can fulfill those promises—but you need to know a few simple facts about how to pick that perfect destination that will leave your whole gang smiling.

Consider the Coast:

  • Gulf of Mexico beaches tend to have white sand and calmer waters that are great for young children or for those timid about the water.

Mexico Beach, on the Gulf, features white sand and calm waters.

  • Atlantic beaches tend to have golden brown sand and waves for surfing and other fun.

Flagler Beach, on the Atlantic, features cinnamon hued sand and waves.

  • The Florida Keys offer superb scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing, but are not renowned for their beaches, with the exception of beautiful Bahia Honda.  Many of the Florida Keys’ beaches are manmade, or are just a layer of sand over a sliver of limestone.

Bahia Honda State Park, in the Florida Keys, is home to its finest beach.

Weigh the Weather:

  • The north is almost always cooler than the south, something to remember in both summer and winter. To find out the average temperature of a destination, just look at the top of VISIT FLORIDA’s home page. You’ll find a place to enter the city’s name plus the month.

  • As far as water temperatures go, as a general rule, the water anywhere in Florida will be warm enough to swim between April and October. During the cooler months, the farther south you go, the warmer it will be. Fort Lauderdale, Miami, the Keys, Marco Island and Naples will have the warmest water during the winter.

Go south for warmer waters; go north for a more refreshing dip. This is Siesta Key in Sarasota.

Mull over the Mood:

Do you want a sophisticated city? A charming little town with shopping and cafes? A beach where you see almost nobody else? Someplace upscale? Someplace old-fashioned? Florida features beaches on both coasts in all these varieties. The following articles can help guide you.

You can also take a virtual tour of Florida Beaches, on our Florida Beach Finder.

Delray Beach, snuggled against the Atlantic in southest Florida, is perfect for folks who like all the ammenties of a big city wrapped up in a cute village.

Always Ask:

If you have another question, you can write to us here, and we'll get back to you quickly with personal advice.  Remember, the more details you provide -- like when you’ll be visiting, what kinds of activities interest you, and if you’re looking for a luxurious getaway or a family friendly one – the better answer we can provide.

Cape Sand Blas, located on Florida's Forgotten Coast in northwest Florida, is the perfect getaway for those seeking peace and quiet.

All pictures by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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Dog friendly beach in or near Coral Cove at the beginning of April?
We would like to visit South Florida in mid April but are overwhelmed with the choices. Our preferred beach vacation is on Hatteras Island, NC in a rental house. We are not into large cities. Could you give us some suggestions for South Florida communities that might be similar to the Outer Banks of NC, as in, not crowded or overdeveloped? Thanks.