My 3 Favorite Florida Beaches
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
I moved to Florida a little over 5 years ago and it's probably the best decision I could have ever made. I'm truly happier here in the sunshine state and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I can spend a lot of time at the beach, especially my 3 favorite Florida beaches!
How do I rate a beach you ask? Well, for starters, I should mention that I lived in Hawaii as a child, so basically any beach I ever see gets compared to those glorious oasis'. Not really fair, I know, but that's just how life goes sometimes...
Some other criteria I require for a good beach includes: cleanliness, privacy, shelling, water quality, marine life, and overall vibes.
So without further ado, let me introduce you to my 3 favorite Florida beaches.
Beach #1: Caledesi Island
Caledesi Island steals first place for many reasons. First of all, it's NOT a tourist trap. They only allow a certain number of people to take the ferry each day which helps keeps the numbers on the low end.
That leads me to my next point.
It's clean! A lot of beaches in the Tampa Bay area are absolutely filthy! Whether it's the tourists or the citizens, I'm not sure, but people like to leave their trash behind at most places and that makes for a disgusting experience.
On top of it being secluded and clean, it's got great shelling, a kayak trail, and crystal clear waters. Basically, that's as close to the perfect beach as Florida's going to get.
If you're looking for a little more, the island also has a marina, a cute restaurant, and bathrooms—that way you don't have to rough it while you're on the island.
There is ONE drawback to the beach. It's not free... Every person must pay entry to Honeymoon Island State Park which ranges from $8-$20 depending on how many people you're traveling with. But that's not all, the ferry ride is about $15/person as well, so if you're looking to make a trip to this beauty, be ready to shell out at least $20.
With that being said, Caledesi Island is still my top rated beach in Florida.
Beach #2: Indian Rocks Beach
Indian Rocks Beach is another beach that isn't usually crowded—although on holidays, like the 4th of July, it gets PACKED. But because this is a beach meant for the locals, there isn't a ton of parking. You can find small beach access points which have about 6 parking spots (for non-residents). Otherwise, you're going to have to make about a block or two trek to the sand.
That trek is worth it though! The water is clear here and there's quite a bit of wildlife. I've seen dolphins, manatees, fish, stingrays, crabs, and all sorts of birds.
Also, there are a fair amount of amenities surrounding this beach. There are numerous restaurants and bars if you need a break from the heat. A few of my favorites include Slyce, Jake's Cantina, and TJ's Italian Cafe.
If you're ever in the area, make sure you check out Indian Rocks Beach.
Beach #3: Cortez Beach
This beach is a recent discovery for me—as in, just found it this summer. Located in Bradenton, Cortez Beach has a lot to offer.
It's got easy access, you can pull into a parking spot right off the road and only have to walk a few feet before your toes are in the sand.
Once you're by the water, you'll see it's another nearly pristine beach that isn't very busy. Even though this is a fairly popular tourist destination, a lot of people opt for a nearby competitor.
Some other perks of Cortez beach include: wildlife, nearby restaurants, shelling, fishing, and calm waters.
A negative of Cortez beach is that it's a far drive for me. Over an hour. It's well worth the drive though and the best part is, it doesn't cost you a penny!
So whether you're ideal beach day includes lounging under an umbrella and reading a book, playing some sports in the sand, or splashing around in the warmer, these beaches are perfect for you—don't be afraid to visit these Florida beaches.
Know of any other great, secret beaches? Tell me all about them!
Photo by Ashley Satanosky on Unsplash.