A Guide to Florida's Best East Coast Beaches

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Stretching for 360 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, Florida's East Coast is home to any number of beautiful beaches. The Gulf Coast might be known for its powdery white sands, warm emerald-hued water and perennial blue skies, but the Florida East Coast has pretty much all this and more.

Admittedly the sand on Florida's East Coast beaches isn't quite as powdery and white, but we haven't heard too many complaints about the Atlantic Coast's fine golden strands. However, if you're after surf and sunsets then in this case west definitely isn't best. East Coast surfing hotspots such as Cocoa Beach and New Smyrna are ideal destinations for all levels of surfers.

The East Coast is also just that bit more cosmopolitan with upmarket jet-set resorts like Palm Beach, Amelia Island and perhaps the ultimate beach city - Miami.

  • Miami South Beach // Florida

    Miami South Beach
    ©sborisov / 123RF

    South Beach is perhaps the ultimate urban beach. It has it all; history, style, quirkiness, class and as much partying as you want, not to mention a vast swathe of white sand beach bordering clear blue ocean. This is where the beautiful and rich come to play in the sunshine before hitting the nightlife of Ocean Drive after dark. South beach is brash, colorful and even a little crazy - but this is part of the attraction. One day it can be a Caribbean carnival, the next there's a polo… read more »

  • Fort Lauderdale Beach // Florida

    Fort Lauderdale Beach

    Fort Lauderdale beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand that runs alongside the crystal clear blue waters of the ocean. It is quieter than Miami, with more of a family-friendly feel than a wild college party destination. The promenade that runs behind the beach is lined with palm trees and there is always plenty going on.

    This beach at Fort Lauderdale is clean with generally calm waters that are safe for kids. Also it's a big enough beach that even in the middle of the summer you won't… read more »

  • Haulover Beach // Florida

    Haulover Beach

    White sand, clear turquoise sea - nothing unusual there for a Florida beach. Oh, and clothes are optional! That's right, the northern third of Haulover is an officially sanctioned nude beach.
    But there is more to Haulover beach than getting naked - this beach has a fantastic array of amenities and things to do making it one of the best family beaches in the Miami area. Along with acres of picnic area, a concession stand, showers and plenty of restrooms there is a tennis center, golf course and… read more »

  • Hollywood Beach // Florida

    Hollywood Beach

    With its gorgeous white sand reaching out to turquoise waters, Hollywood Beach is a South Florida gem. Located between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, the beach here stretches for 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. A boardwalk runs the length of the beach and is lined with all kinds of cafes, attractions and shops. If that isn't enough, then there is a trolley to take you from the beach to downtown Hollywood. It's also a great place for just sitting on the beach and people watching.

    Hollywood Beach is popular… read more »

  • Miami Beach // Florida

    Miami Beach
    ©Alex Gresbek

    Located on a barrier island, Miami Beach is a continuation to the north of the white sands that Miami's South Beach is famous for. Miami beaches are said to be the best in the USA, and arguably the most famous.

    Miami Beach stretches from 21st to 45th Street and is a mecca for tourists, dog walkers, sunbathers and anyone wanting to see and be seen working on their tan..

    Stroll or jog along the boardwalk lining this strip of beautiful sand and blue waters and enjoy people watching as… read more »

  • Apollo Beach // Florida

    Apollo Beach
    ©Peter & Michelle S

    Located on Florida's eastern Atlantic coastline in New Smyrna, Apollo Beach is on the Canaveral National Seashore (National Park). Great for beach lovers, it has an endless strip of pristine golden sand and, being more secluded, it is one of the top nudist beaches in Florida. (This should not to be confused with the other Apollo Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast near Tampa!)

    Located on a barrier island, Apollo Beach is 10 miles south of New Smyrna Beach. The beautiful soft white sand stretches for 5 miles and… read more »

  • Cape Florida State Park // Florida

    Cape Florida State Park

    Cape Florida beach is set within the greenery of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and has perfect white sand which stretches along the Atlantic coast. The waters here are warm, and this beach has often been listed as one of the top 10 beaches in America. You will have just over a mile of beach that is open for swimming, but there is no lifeguard.

    Situated on the southern tip of Key Biscayne, just a sone's throw from Miami, Cape Florida has a long and fascinating history. It was… read more »

  • Crandon Beach // Florida

    Crandon Beach

    Crandon Beach is part of Crandon Park, a former coconut plantation, in the middle of exclusive Key Biscayne barrier island. It is frequently listed as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the USA.

    The white sandy beach is truly idyllic, facing east and protected from the rough surf by an offshore sandbar. This allows the Atlantic waves to break gently along the shores of this 5-mile-long barrier island which backs onto Biscayne Bay. The clear blue waters are ideal for wading and swimming but the park does not permit any… read more »

  • Hobe Sound // Florida

    Hobe Sound
    ©Erik Cleves Kristensen

    Situated on Jupiter Island on Florida's Atlantic facing "Treasure coast", Hobe Sound oozes natural beauty. Something of a rarity on this stretch of coast, Hobe Sound is one of the few public beaches in Martin County. To either side are the enclaves of the very wealthy - this is one of Florida's most exclusive neighborhoods.

    Being on the Atlantic coast, Hobe Sound picks up a fair bit of swell and surfing is popular. You will also often see anglers casting from the beach here.

    There are lifeguards on duty, and whilst the… read more »

  • Blind Creek Beach // Florida

    Blind Creek Beach
    ©William "Patrick" MacFall

    This pristine stretch of sand is located on Hutchinson Island on Florida's Treasure Coast. Set about as far away from any of the crossings from the mainland, it is probably no coincidence that Blind Creek is an official clothing-optional beach. Far away from prying eyes and coastal development this is the perfect place to relax and work on that all-over tan.

    This is a beach with a wonderfully natural feel to it but you won't find much in the way of facilities at Blind Creek. Miles of pale golden sand and… read more »

  • Cocoa Beach // Florida

    Cocoa Beach
    ©Rusty Clark

    This six-mile long stretch of biscuit-coloured sand sits at the heart of Florida's Space Coast. It's well known for its watersports scene, with surfers flocking from far and wide to ride the waves here - it's even where 11-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater learned his craft. 

    Cocoa Beach is also home to the world's biggest surf shop, Ron Jon's and you'll find surf schools are dotted along the beach. If you prefer something a little more laidback when the waves aren't up, there's paddleboarding and kayaking on the cards too.

    And… read more »

  • Playalinda Beach // Florida

    Playalinda Beach
    ©Peter & Michelle S

    Playalinda Beach is one of Florida's top spots for naturists. Part of the Cape Canaveral National Seashore near the Kennedy Space Centre, the beach is managed by the National Parks Service and there is a $20 admission fee per vehicle which is valid for one week.

    The four mile-long beach has 13 parking areas, each with a restroom and the last one heading north (#13) is favoured by naturists as it is the most secluded. It is worth noting this is an unofficial nude beach and there is… read more »

  • New Smyrna Beach // Florida

    New Smyrna Beach

    You'll find the pearl-white sands of New Smyrna Beach just 15 miles south of the better known Daytona Beach, on Florida's East Coast.

    The 17-mile strip of sand is a big hit with surfers, thanks to its plentiful wave breaks, with both amateurs and experts taking to the waters here.

    In fact, it's been named as one of the top 20 surf towns anywhere in the word by National Geographic. A word of warning though - it's also been unofficially called the shark bite capital of the worldread more »

  • Daytona Beach // Florida

    Daytona Beach
    ©Paul Brennan

    This waterfront city on Florida's Fun Coast is probably best known for its international speedway circuit, where NASCAR'S most famous race, the Daytona 500, takes place every year.

    But for beach fans, it's the 23 mile stretch of soft white sands that keeps them coming back. At low tide, the shoreline expands to a width of nearly 500ft, so there's plenty of space to spread out and catch some rays in the sunshine state, without feeling on top of people.

    As with most of the beaches on Florida's East Coast, there's… read more »

  • Blackrock Beach // Florida

    Blackrock Beach
    read more »