Atlantic Beach: Relaxing is easy on Atlantic Beach. It offers real small-town charm and is a short drive from Jacksonville, making it convenient for vacationers who want a short airport-to-beach commute. Beaches Town Center offers pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets with an abundance of restaurants, galleries, boutiques and frequent special events to enjoy.
Captiva Island: Captiva Island is one of Florida's "Shell Islands." Captiva Beach and Turner Beach are the perfect spots for a shell-hunting adventure. Be sure to leave any live shells on the beach or risk breaking the state's strict shelling laws. At sunset, head to Captiva Beach at the end of Captiva Drive to take in a spectacular sunset.
Clearwater Beach: Clearwater's Beach has a well-deserved reputation as being one of America's finest beaches. Clearwater Beach straddles the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and tranquil Tampa Bay to the east. This location between the two waters and Clearwater's proximity to Tampa, offer visitors ample activities like sunbathing, water sports, fishing, cruising or heading to a mainland museum or aquarium to enjoy.
Key West: Key West is beach lovers paradise, just off the coast of mainland Florida. According to musician Jimmy Buffet Key West is the place to change "latitudes and attitudes." Visitors can rent snorkel gear or a two-person glass-bottomed kayak from the concession area or stick to dry land and rent a bike to navigate the single bike path that winds beside the Key West shipping channel, around the fort, through a rocky secluded beach and countless picnic spots.
Naples: On one side of the beach are the rolling waves and on the other the mansions that make up Millionaires' Row. One of the most popular beaches is Naples Pier on 12th Avenue South. Another great beach lies a few miles north of Old Naples, at the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. This is a great place to spread out the family's beach blanket and camp out for the day as there are bathhouses and food stands on-site and rentals available for everything from umbrellas to kayaks to snorkeling gear.
Palm Beach: Palm Beach is exclusive and features a 14-mile-long, half-mile-wide island of wealth and extravagance. Winter home to the Vanderbilt's, Kennedys, the Rockefellers and a slew of newly minted millionaires, Palm Beach features some of Florida's finest hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as some truly beautiful beaches. The John D. MacArthur State Park offers a beautiful beach perfect for families as well as abundant marine life and rare plants to explore on a nature walk.
Sanibel Island: Sanibel is a unique barrier island that has earned the reputation as one of the "Shell Islands"—prime spots along Florida's coastline for gathering perfectly intact shells in every shape and size. Hit the beach with a bucket, shovel and small net and troll the beach at low tide to peruse the ocean's bounty of conch, cockles and scallop shells. Bowman's Beach is the quietest and most remote stretch of sand in Sanibel and features a historic lighthouse just off the rustic boardwalk at Lighthouse Beach.
Siesta Key/Lido Beach: Beach lovers flock to these silky shores to take advantage of the wide expanse of sand and the tranquil gulf waters. Siesta Key Beach is perfect for strolling, shell-collecting, or more active pursuits like renting a catamaran or kayak from one of the many beach concessionaires. This perfect family vacation venue boasts beachside picnic areas and playgrounds but is also home to candlelit restaurants ideal for a romantic getaway.
South Beach: South Beach is an international playground offering non-stop nightlife, sandy shores, unique architecture and plenty of eye candy, even the lifeguard stands are art deco masterpieces. The long, man-made beach stretches up the Atlantic for miles and is perfect for early morning runs and topless sunbathing. The water is as clean and clear as the Atlantic gets. The beach is also the best spot to view the city lights at night before exploring the legendary club scene.