Known as the ‘Sunshine State’, Florida is a popular place to visit as it borders both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, it’s no surprise to learn that the southeastern most state in the United States is blessed with a plethora of stunning beaches.
Our team with the help of expert opinions and user votes, ranked the Best Gulf Beaches In Florida. Its major cities, such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Pensacola, are home to a myriad of fantastic restaurants, hotels and nightlife, and its idyllic location next to sparkling turquoise waters only adds to its appeal. In addition to this, Florida is also known for its plethora of amusement parks, with Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World being among the most popular.
In addition to its bustling cities, the state’s incredible natural parks and Best Gulf Beaches offer an amazing array of outdoor activities and water sports for visitors to try.
With world-class attractions right next to a glut of world-class beaches, Florida offers the best of both worlds, which is what makes it such an attractive vacation destination.
The Top 10 Best Gulf Beaches in Florida:
1. South Beach
One of the most popular cities to visit in the entire United States, Miami Beach is home to plenty of fabulous Art Deco buildings, a vibrant nightlife scene, and of course, the dazzling white sands of South Beach.
Although many people think of it as part of Miami proper, Miami Beach is located on a barrier island just a short distance from it, with the sparkling Bay of Biscay halfway between the two. As such, there are plenty of fantastic water sports for visitors to try, as well as a plethora of incredible hotels and restaurants overlooking the ocean.
In addition to its stunning architecture and dazzling nightclubs, South Beach also has a thriving cultural scene after a day of lounging on the beach, visitors can always head to one of its world-class museums or theaters.
A lively and fashionable place, South Beach looks spectacular, with its swaying palms and towering peaks surrounding it. Its attractive sands are considered one of “the best beaches in the country”.
2. Fort Lauderdale Beach
Although it is often called “the Venice of America” for all the canals that can be found in the city, Fort Lauderdale’s main attraction is its glorious beach that stretches endlessly to the shore.
In many ways, its fine white sands closely resemble those of its famous neighbor, Miami South Beach. A plethora of hotels, restaurants and bars line the beautiful beach. There is a very relaxed vibe in the area, and its ‘Strip’ has plenty of nightlife and entertainment for locals and tourists alike to enjoy.
Aside from simply lounging on the warm sands of Fort Lauderdale Beach, there are also plenty of great water sports to try, such as scuba diving, jet skiing, and snorkeling, among others.
3. Bahia Honda Beach
Located in the heart of the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park is an ideal place to immerse yourself in nature, and the scenery is simply stunning.
Its three wonderful beaches are blessed with sparkling white sands and crystal clear waters that are ideal for swimming or snorkeling.
Home to a diverse array of wildlife, it is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and dolphins, sea turtles and rays can be spotted offshore from time to time. One of its most impressive sights – apart from its wealth of natural delights – is the old abandoned railway bridge that juts out from one end of the island.
With some of the best beaches in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda is well worth a visit. You can even camp inside the national park if you want to wake up to a spectacular sunrise over the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico.
Although the small, quiet town of Grayton Beach doesn’t have much in the way of entertainment or nightlife, it is blessed with some of the most incredible beaches in Florida.
Grayton Beach State Park covers a vast area and contains some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see. Exploring the small trails and paths that wind through the dunes is a delightful experience, and there are plenty of outdoor activities for visitors to participate in.
In addition to the brilliant diving and snorkeling that can be done in its inviting waters, it is also home to the unique Underwater Art Museum, which visitors can explore.
5. Bowman’s Beach
Stretching along the west coast of Sanibel Island, Bowman’s Beach is delightfully undeveloped compared to most other Florida beaches, making it ideal for people looking for a quiet getaway.
There is a very unspoiled feel about the place, so you won’t find a hotel in sight. The main thing to do here is to enjoy the incredible scenery and visit some of the pristine natural parks nearby.
Primarily popular with families, birdwatchers and shell collectors, Sanibel Island and its great natural views are located not far from Fort Meyers, if you ever feel the need to enjoy the perks of city life for a while.
6. Pensacola Beach
The city of Pensacola Beach, located on a thin barrier island off the coast of mainland Florida, is a great vacation destination where there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Of its beaches, Casino Beach is undoubtedly the most popular, as it has the most amenities, as well as a beautiful pier to stroll along while watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico.
If you ever have enough time to lounge on the sand and soak up the sun, Fort Pickens is worth a visit and is the town’s most popular attraction after its beaches. Built in the 19th century to protect Pensacola from attack, the fort, now in ruins, looks impressive and is a major historical landmark.
7. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Located on the southern tip of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs is surrounded by the beautiful and wild Cape Florida State Park. As such, the beach is in pristine condition as it is untouched.
In addition to lounging on its glorious sands, there are lots of lovely little trails crisscrossing the island for you to explore. When biking or hiking, you’ll be met with breathtaking views and panoramas, with some trails leading to a breathtaking view of Miami itself far off in the distance.
At one end of Bill Baggs, you won’t fail to notice the towering Cape Florida Lighthouse, which really stands out among its surroundings. It makes for some great photos as you look out over the surrounding waters.
8. Siesta Beach
With some of the best powdery white sand in the world, Siesta Beach looks like it was plucked out of a travel catalog. No wonder it has won several international awards for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The dazzling shimmering quartz beach is wide and expansive and fringed by the luscious emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The barrier island is located just off Florida’s Treasure Coast and has a wealth of water sports, leisure activities and entertainment options for visitors to choose from, as well as a lively nightlife once the sun sets over this beautiful beach paradise.
9. St. Andrews Beach
A popular tourist destination, Panama City Beach is home to a plethora of beaches stretching for more than 30 kilometers, undoubtedly the most impressive of which is St. Andrews Beach. The thin strip of land it rests on is bordered by the calm waters of picturesque St. Andrews Bay on one side and the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the other.
There are plenty of fun water sports to try and some fantastic diving spots among the artificial reefs within walking distance. In addition, the town has many attractions for the whole family, such as a marine park, an amusement park and sightseeing cruises along the coast.
10. Clearwater Beach
A beach gem to visit, Clearwater Beach is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is a short drive from Tampa if you want to combine your trip to the beach with a visit to the city.
One of the most spectacular beaches in Florida, if not the nation, Clearwater Beach has beautiful white sands for you to lounge on. Each evening, the shimmering waters around it are bathed in a glorious sunset. Head to Pier 60 for the best view of the sunset.
As a popular seaside resort, there’s plenty to see and do, with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium being one of its main attractions. A very family-friendly place, there is a wide range of delicious restaurants, stores and resorts for visitors to choose from, as well as many water sports on offer.