The Gulf Coast of Florida has often been associated with fun spring breaks. However, its fabulous beaches dressed in pure, white-sugar sand, and calm, shallow waters are irresistible to families with kids and couples too. The waves are not ideal for surfing but they’re perfect for a multitude of other aquatic activities, such as kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and windsurfing. Due to the mild winter weather, the Gulf Coast is the ideal destination for sunbathing all year long. Moreover, Florida’s Gulf Coast enjoys a dynamic creative culture and a serene atmosphere, creating the perfect setting for a fun, relaxed beach vacation.
Fort Myers Beach
This splendid beach is often present in the tops dedicated to the best beaches in Florida. A popular beach situated on Estero Island, Fort Myers is caressed by crystal clear water, ideal for swimming. Sun worshipers flock to the seven-mile strip of powdery-sand, eager to spend the entire day lounging on the sand and thinking about absolutely nothing.
The town of the same name is situated only a 35-minute drive from the beach and is often visited by water sports enthusiasts eager to go kayaking and parasailing. Fort Myers has that small-town ambiance, where people reside in charming cottages and one-story beachfront properties. You’ll find plenty of state parks in the area, such as Lovers State Park, a great destination for biking and hiking. Nature lovers will definitely want to visit Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium for a chance to encounter hawks, owls, and bald eagles.
Anna Maria Island
Originally settled by Native Americans who hunted and fished in the Gulf of Mexico, Anna Maria Island is now an idyllic destination for travelers who want to enjoy the soft sand and calm waters of the Gulf Coast away from crowded resorts and towering condominiums. The island is still unspoiled and virgin, a perfect little corner of paradise on the lively Golf Coast. The sand is white, the waters are warm and shallow, and the accommodation is quirky and elegant. You can spend your vacation either in a beachfront cottage or a lovely villa that offers beautiful sea views.
No one hurries anywhere in any of the three small cities on Anna Maria Island. Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria welcome visitors with open arms and a slow-paced daily rhythm. As you drive in, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time to Old Florida where rows of colorful cottages are smiling at the sun. The island charms birdwatchers with a variety of bird species, including pelicans, egrets, sandpipers, and herons. The superb Robinson Nature Preserve is located just 10 miles away and is a lovely destination for hiking and biking.
Known for its picture-perfect beaches, Siesta Key is a barrier island between Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Siesta Key Beach boasts pure quartz sand, powdery and smooth, perfect for sunbathing, reading, and listening to the delicate waves that caress the shore. The perfect beach to touch Nirvana, Siesta Key mesmerizes travelers with a beautiful contrast created by the white sand and its bright blue waters that turn turquoise when a summer rain decides to drop in.
Siesta Key Village is the perfect retreat after spending your day in the sun. Don’t expect tourist crowds and noisy streets. The atmosphere is laid back and the streets are lined with cozy restaurants and beach shops. You’ll also find a playground for kids and rental centers for those who want to try paddleboarding, jet skiing or boating.
One of the most popular beaches on the Golf Coast of Florida, Clearwater welcomes mostly tourists from Tampa and Orlando eager to be lazy on its soft sand and swim in the spectacular clear water. The drawback to its popularity? It often gets crowded and this might not be very appealing to some tourists. However, if you’re visiting on a weekday, you have all the chances to enjoy a quiet, relaxing beach day in Clearwater.
Remarkable due to its historic pier, breathtaking sunsets, and, of course, its crystal clear water, this beach creates the perfect backdrop for unforgettable beach days. From boat tours, dolphin watching tours, and pirate-themed cruises to stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, and parasailing, all the activities available in Clearwater will always keep you close to the water and happy. The superb palm tree-lined promenade is surrounded by resorts and offers marvelous views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Also known as “the world’s luckiest fishing village” due to the abundance of fish that can be found in its clear blue-green waters, Destin is a favorite of anglers and families with kids. It’s also a great destination for golfers and water sports fans. A beautiful coastal destination situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin is home to powdery-sand beaches, the impressive Big Kahuna water park, and the beautiful Henderson Beach State Park, where visitors will discover natural dunes, sand pines, and a beautiful three-quarter mile nature trail.
A popular vacation spot, attracting about 80% of the Emerald Coast’s tourists, Destin features modern and luxurious accommodation, as well as numerous seafood local restaurants. Destin Commons and Harborwalk Village are great choices for souvenir shopping, while the Village of Baytowne Wharf is always ready to welcome visitors with a variety of boutiques, dining venues, and nightclubs.
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