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

    By Lauren Tjaden

    Some folks yearn for white sand and crystal waters, while others prefer waves that are perfect for playing. Some are searching for a soul-soothing escape, and some would rather vacation in a vibrant city. But whatever you're looking for in a beach, you're sure to find it in the Sunshine State, where the beaches offer a vast array of choices. Read on to discover how to find the ideal stretch of sand for you.

    I wondered why Mexico Beach was empty on such a perfect day-- until I spotted the gator.

    Gulf Coast beaches feature white sand and calm waters.

    - Lauren Tjaden

    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.
    • Atlantic beaches tend to have golden brown sand and waves for surfing and other fun.
    • 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.
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    Flagler Beach, on the Atlantic, features cinnamon hued sand and waves.

    - Lauren Tjaden

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

    - Lauren Tjaden

    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.

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

    - Lauren Tjaden

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

    - Lauren Tjaden