Selected for outstanding sand and surf, as well as their welcoming sense of community, here is the complete list of Florida’s 10 most outstanding beach towns compiled by Florida International University professor and coastal expert Stephen Leatherman, the renowned Dr. Beach:
- Clearwater. Soft, white sand and clear, clean water draw vacationers to this charming Gulf Coast paradise, making it a great beach for people-watching.
- Siesta Key. Dr. Beach’s 2012 choice for “best beach in America,” this Gulf Coast barrier island has “the finest white sand in the world.”
- Sanibel Island. A relaxing tropical oasis, this quiet Gulf Coast barrier island is Florida’s best spot for shelling.
- Pensacola Beach. Wide public beaches covered with sugar-soft sand, good swimming and plenty of family-friendly activities make this a favorite family vacation destination.
- Seaside. A planned community on the Panhandle’s scenic Emerald Coast, Seaside has an old-time sensibility that invites neighborly get-togethers.
- South Beach. Miami’s legendary celebrity gathering spot exudes its own funky vibe.
- Key West. Hanging at the end of Florida’s long island tail, Key West is crowded and crazy but the Margaritas are cold and plentiful.
- Cocoa Beach. Once the playground of America’s first astronauts, this Atlantic Coast beach town near the Kennedy Space Center offers a wonderful pier and legendary surf shop.
- Delray Beach. Charming shops in a cozy downtown and a lively nighttime bar scene make this Atlantic Coast beach town a great find.
- New Smyrna Beach. One of the few places where you can still drive on the beach, this laid-back mid-Atlantic beach town is a popular surfer hangout.
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