By Lauren Tjaden
Seek out the six most adventurous sands in the Sunshine State.
Love the beach, but get bored quicker than a goldfish can blink? These six fun Florida beaches offer a boatload of adventure, sports, events, parties and nightlife.
1. Clearwater Beach
First on our list of fun beaches in Florida, the soft sands of award-winning Clearwater Beach will have you twirling your beach towel with joy. Swim, sun or roll into fun on a Segway tour. Protect the treasure on a pirate cruise or thrill to a dolphin encounter. Visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and immerse yourself into the world of marine life rescue. Stroll, jog or skate the red sidewalks of the Beach Walk. Paddle over to Pier 60 for the daily Sunset Celebration: the festivities include artisans and street performers like fire-breathers and magicians, but none can top Ma Nature’s spectacular show.
2. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach, one of the most fun beaches in Florida, is anything but a yawn! Indulge in a plethora of watersports; sign up for the Richard Petty Driving Experience and roar around Daytona International Speedway in a stockcar; surf or play on the waves; polish up your ride and take a slow-paced spin on the beach’s famous stretch of sand. Remember to pack your dancing shoes, because the action doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. The beach town is renowned for its world-class nightlife and abundance of restaurants offering tasty fare.
3. Jacksonville Beach
Jacksonville Beach boasts 22 miles of sandy shoreline that will leave the pickiest beach-bunny smiling. Surf the sweet waves by the famous pier – nearly a quarter of a mile long -- or hook into some fishing fun atop it. Try to spot dolphins off the coast year ‘round or even whales in winter. SCUBA dive the huge manmade offshore reef system, or explore an underwater wreck. Soak up the atmosphere (in season) at Adventure Landing Jacksonville Beach: they offer an arcade, go-karts and a waterpark. Boogie-down to Sea Walk Pavilion, where concerts or festivals occur nearly every weekend from April through October.
4. South Beach
As far as fun Florida beaches goes, Miami’s South Beach sizzles. The mood is jet-set; the people are pretty; the action never stops. Glimpse dolphin, explore islands and admire elite homes on a jet-ski tour. Rent a scooter, try a Bike-and-Roll Art Deco Tour or rise above the turquoise surf in a helicopter or parasail. Shop trendy boutiques on Ocean Drive, indulge at decadent restaurants, and pretend you’re a rock star – or try to spot one – at an exclusive nightclub.
5. Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach rocks like a horse – a sea-horse, that is! Dive into fun on its 27 miles of white sand beaches snuggled against the clear, emerald-colored waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Catch some rays, take a refreshing dip and enjoy an abundance of watersports like fishing, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, SCUBA diving and snorkeling. Surf over to Pier Park, nestled smack-dab in the heart of the seaside city, for one million square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment action. That's what fun Florida beaches are all about!
6. Key West
You’re not going to get sleepy in Key West! Slather on the sunscreen and relax or stroll at Smathers Beach – or add some spice with water sports like windsurfing, kite boarding, Jet-Skiing and parasailing. Offshore, snorkel North America’s longest living barrier reef, hook into some fishing fun or brave a “Power Adventure.” Explore art galleries and museums; dance until the wee hours on legendary Duval Street; celebrate the sunset at Mallory Square.