• sparkfireswan

A&A Rate The Best Beaches In Florida, From Coast To Coast

End of Week #95


Crooked River State Park, St. Mary's GA > Savannah Oaks RV, Savannah GA > Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach SC


Miles traveled since last week's post = 316 miles


Total miles traveled to date = 12,811 with trailer



Around 19 of our past 95 weeks have been spent near a beach in Florida, and I can promise you we are already looking forward to coming back again later this year! Adam and I both absolutely love the beach, and although it's hard to pick favorites, I have compiled a list for you of the best beaches we have visited in Florida.


(So save this post for your next visit to the Sunshine State!)


I am purposely leaving out both the Miami area, and the Florida Keys - we have been to both, however not during our current RV travels.



Check it out, and see if your favorite Florida beach made the list!


A&A Rate The Best Beaches In Florida, From Coast To Coast


PANHANDLE


Destin Beach


This beach is in an area that is nicknamed the "Emerald Coast" for a reason - the water here is so shimmery and green! The sand was cool to the touch and there was plenty of beach space to sprawl out on. I remember this spot was good for making beach chairs right out of the sand too. The only thing I would have changed is the temperature, as it was a bit chilly for my likings in early November.


If you are in the area you can also checkout the downtown Destin boardwalk, restaurants and shopping area for a bit more exploring. There is a marina here, a lot of fishing and a lot of activities for the kids too. But please note, you will have to drive from the beach to the downtown area.


Parking: FREE


Overall rating: 9/10



EAST COAST


Jupiter Beach


I'm still in absolute shock by how amazing the water was here - it was pure turquoise just like I would imagine it in the Caribbean! I honestly had NO idea the water in the Atlantic could look like this, and it was not at all what I was expecting. The beach itself wasn't the best thing ever, and the sand was a little thin, but everything the beach lacked the water made up for! We swam in the water here, for the first time in Florida, because it was so warm and inviting.


It's also worth pointing out that the entrance to the beach here is enchanting! You walk through all kinds of jungle like greenery and access the beach via a boardwalk. We found the entrances to a lot of Florida beaches to be super unique, however this was one of my favorites.


Parking: Hourly, expensive


Overall rating: 9/10



West Palm Beach


I honestly am at a loss for words to accurately describe the water on the east coast. It truly is amazing and reminds me of the Keys! Even on a cloudy day it is still a deep beautiful color of blues and greens. This beach was a little better than Jupiter, and it had cabanas for rent right on the beach that you could just help yourself to, and a server would come by. There was also a lot of piers that you could only access if you paid to walk on them, with bars and restaurants at the entrances. The downside here is how expensive it was to park!


The plus side if you do pay a larger amount of money for parking is that there are other trails, parks, and areas to explore - all within walking distance from the parking lot. More bang for your buck!


Parking: Hourly, expensive - we paid around $9 for a few hours


Overall rating: 8/10



GULF COAST


Marco Island Beach (over Naples Beach)


To be honest, Marco Island and Naples beaches were not on the very top of my list, as they weren't very large, they were very crowded and we were experiencing a lot of red tide while we were there. But if I had to pick one out of the two beaches, I would say I like Marco Island better, as it's a lot bigger and a bit prettier, however it is extremely difficult to access - even in the winter. You will also have to watch your step in the sand as there are a lot of large sharp shells instead of fine sand.


There are only 3 designated parking lots for people to park in if they are not staying in a hotel on the island and you could drive around for hours just trying to find a place to park! This was also the most expensive beach parking we paid in all of Florida.


Parking: $12 for the entire day, even if you only stay a few hours, and only if you can even find a place to park...


Overall rating: 7/10



Fort Myers Beach (over Bonita Springs Beach)


Between Fort Myers Beach and nearby Bonita Springs, I would suggest going to Fort Myers as I feel it was prettier, larger and had more amenities and things to do nearby. But all in all it will depend on what you are looking for, as Bonita Springs is smaller and possibly quieter, and Fort Myers Beach is going to be more in on all the action, and it has a lot of beach bars and nearby places you can walk to.


We really enjoyed the atmosphere at Fort Myers beach and it is a place we want to try to spend more time in next year! The water is extremely shallow for a long way out and you can easily enjoy dips in the ocean without fear of the waves or shock of the cold waters (in the winter).


Parking: $2 an hour in various lots


Overall rating: 8/10



Siesta Key Beach


Ding, ding, ding we might have a winner here! I honestly don't know what I could say bad about this beach, unless I just referenced it's popularity. Between the extremely cool, beautiful white sand - unlike any other sand you will find nearby - and the gorgeous teal waters, this place is just fantastic! Not to mention it is completely free to park here and they have the best beach concession stand, store, and restrooms I have come across in Florida! I can't prove it, but I swear the water also felt a few degrees warmer here than other gulf coast beaches we went to...


If you do make it to Siesta Key beach, make sure to check out the Pina coladas you can get from the concessions! They make them from scratch, with no chemical ingredients, and you can get one in a beach bucket.


Parking: FREE


Overall rating: 10/10



Bradenton Beach (over Anna Marie Island Beach)


Technically there is a whole string of beaches in a row here, but for point of reference I am going to be using Bradenton Beach. I would choose this area over Anna Marie Island as there is abundant free parking, it is close to a lot of shops, bars and restaurants, and it has a few beach concession stands too. There is also a beach market that happens a few times a week during the winter, which can be a lot of fun to check out. The water is beautiful and there are a lot of shells to be found here!


The only downside to this beach during our time visiting this area was that they were dredging the sand right off the beach for weeks on end. Each time we would visit they would have an area of the beach roped off to pour sand and the huge machines were not too far off the coast.


Parking: FREE


Overall rating: 9/10



Fort Desoto Beach (North Beach)


Fort Desoto Park really as it all - as you can camp here, use the facilities for the day, go to the south beach or the north beach, go to the dog beach, take a walk or a bike ride, go fishing, check out some old military ruins, and so much more! The opportunities here are endless and the park is huge! We camped here for a week and still went into the park another 5 times when we weren't camping here, and we still did not do or see it all.


If you do go to Fort Desoto just for a beach day, I recommend going to the north end of the island and hanging out there for the day. It's less crowded than any other Florida beach we went to, and it's quite expansive. We also found a lot of large shells and whole sand dollars when we went!


Parking: FREE, with park entrance cost of $5, or FREE with camping pass


Overall rating: 8/10



Egmont Key Beach


This is a bit of a unique beach to visit, as you can only access it by taking a ferry service over to explore the island - unless you have your own personal boat or one that you have rented. Located off the coast of Tampa Bay, further out than Fort Desoto, is one of the most magical places you can visit on the gulf. The beach is smaller, but the water is incredible, and you will likely find a lot of treasures in sea shells, and even shark teeth. You can also hang out on the gulf side, the bay side, or a little in between - depending on what you prefer.


If you were to want to step away from the beach for a moment, you can also explore the island and check out military fort ruins, an old lighthouse, and possibly run into some wildlife such as gopher tortoises.


Parking: Must take ferry or personal boat to access island


Overall rating: 10/10



St. Pete/Clearwater Beach


I think you could pick either of these beaches to go to and you would have an equally great experience at both. The most tricky situation at each will be finding a place to park, as there is limited "beach parking" at St. Pete, and it is far more popular at Clearwater. Once you do land a place to park (after following someone to their car if you have to), you will enjoy walking out into the beautiful crystal clear water for as far as you'd like and still have it only reach your waist.


At St. Pete beach you will be nearby to a lot of bars and restaurants within walking distance and can enjoy activities like sand volleyball. At Clearwater beach there are a lot of cabanas for rent or available to you through your hotel, and there is a fishing pier and activities for kids too.


Parking: Varies per lot, average of $3-$4 an hour, if you can find a spot


Overall rating: 8/10



Have you already been to any of these beaches in Florida? I'd love to hear your favorites if you'd like to comment below on this post! Have you been to an amazing beach in Florida that I have not mentioned? Tell me that too!




NEXT WEEK:


Tomorrow I will be posting a guide to RV camping in Florida, to finish up the week and my Florida reviews for the season. Starting next week I will post reviews on Cumberland Island and Savannah and I also plan to discuss in more detail about our route north and some of the stops we will be making in the next 5 or so weeks!



Amazon Storefront


I have recently become affiliated with Amazon, through the set up of my own storefront page. Here I am able to list and link all of the items I have purchased through Amazon and would recommend for various needs. I have lists set up for fulltime RVing, camping in general, traveling with cats, health and wellness, and even curly hair! Plus, as an added bonus, I will make a small commission on any items purchased through my link.

If you want to check out more of my storefront page, here is the link: Spark Fire Swan's Amazon

I will continue to add items as time goes on, as we are always finding something new on there that becomes quite useful to our lifestyle or for our feline friends. As a rule of thumb, I only ever link things we have actually purchased, kept, and use on a frequent basis!

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For more reviews, content, and other adventures, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Spark Fire Swan.

xoxo

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