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12 Best Atlantic Coast Beaches in Florida

Born and raised in Orlando, I’ve explored Florida’s Atlantic Coast extensively. I’ve seen it all, from lively, packed shorelines to hidden gems where you can enjoy a slice of paradise to yourself.

The picturesque beaches along Florida’s 360-mile east coast shoreline give you plenty of opportunities to enjoy a day of fun in the sun. Whether you’re looking for the glitz and glam that West Palm Beach and Miami provide, or you prefer the easy-going atmosphere of Amelia Island and Vero Beach, you’re sure to find the perfect oceanside landscape to meet your needs.

From small surf towns to action-packed hotspots, wake up early for sunrise views at one of these top Atlantic Coast beaches in Florida.

Miami Beach Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Why Come Here: A lively beach destination with plenty of people-watching opportunities. 

A vibrant combination of diverse cultures and Art Deco facades, the beaches in Miami are great for people-watching and water-based adventures. South Beach is the lively mecca of luxury hotels and palm-lined beaches, while Miami Beach is a great place to enjoy a day of swimming, boogie boarding, and surfing. Take a day trip to the sun-kissed beaches in Key Biscayne, or go on a snorkeling adventure to the idyllic landscapes in Biscayne National Park. In addition to glitzy hotels, you’ll be surprised to find a collection of budget accommodations and family-friendly places to stay.

Amelia Island Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island
Credit: Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island by Madison Y Photo/shutterstock.com

Amelia Island

Why Come Here: A laid-back beachfront with a historic downtown area. 

Amelia Island and nearby Fernandina Beach are two of Florida’s most beloved destination getaways, a perfect area for those looking for a quiet landscape of picturesque shoreline. Spend your days collecting seashells on the white sand beaches, then exercise some retail therapy in the array of charming boutique shops that line the historic downtown area. If you’re looking for a romantic excursion, take a guided horseback ride at sunset along the golden-hued sands.

Fort Lauderdale Beach Fort Lauderdale
Credit: Fort Lauderdale by bigstock.com

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Why Come Here: It’s the perfect escape for outdoor lovers who enjoy water-based activities. 

Nicknamed the “Venice of America” for its abundant waterways, Fort Lauderdale is a haven for nature lovers, offering a wealth of outdoor adventures and beach activities. From glitzy yachts and mansions on Millionaires Row to the 23 miles of picturesque shoreline, sun-seekers will find plenty to keep them busy. Take a day trip to nearby Hollywood Beach for a family-friendly day of fun, where a charming beachside boardwalk is perfect for an afternoon of exploring on two wheels.

Jacksonville Beach Jacksonville, Florida
Credit: Jacksonville, Florida by Tono Balaguer/shutterstock.com

Jacksonville Beach

Why Come Here: A popular beachfront for families with kids, offering easy access to outdoor activities. 

The largest city by area in the continental United States, Jacksonville boasts a captivating combination of stunning beaches and family-friendly attractions. Its beachfront is perfect for a day of beachcombing, hiking, and fishing, while nearby Talbot Island State Park offers a unique landscape filled with washed-up trees. Take a day trip to nearby Atlantic Beach or Neptune Beach, where a tranquil ambiance makes for a pleasant day of pedaling on a beach cruiser.

Palm Beach Palm Beach
Credit: Palm Beach by Sean Pavone/shutterstock.com

Palm Beach

Why Come Here: It appeals to luxury beachgoers with its picturesque beaches and high-end shopping. 

If you’re looking for a luxury getaway in the Sunshine State, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach are great places to start. Lined with historic landmarks, upscale resorts, and sun-kissed beaches, spend your afternoon lounging along the shore, shop through the couture shops along Worth Avenue and walk along South Ocean Boulevard to admire the Mediterranean mansions. Clematis Street offers a lively nightlife scene, while the area’s upscale dining and luxurious day spas offer plenty of pampering opportunities.

St. Augustine Beach St Augustine Beach
Credit: St Augustine Beach by © Paul Brennan - Dreamstime.com

St. Augustine Beach

Why Come Here: Kids will love the access to endless historic attractions and wide beaches. 

The oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is a popular family-friendly destination filled with historic landmarks and fascinating cultural attractions. The city’s beaches stretch from Vilano Beach to Crescent Beach, where idyllic state parks and public beaches provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy its wide sands, peaceful atmosphere, and diverse wildlife. Spend an afternoon at the unspoiled Anastasia State Park, where its scenic trails and 4-mile beach are the perfect escape from reality.

Cocoa Beach Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Why Come Here: It’s a surfing hotspot with a laid-back setting. 

Known for its surf-worthy waves made famous by pro-surfer Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach is equally as popular for its laid-back ambiance, lined with cool waterfront bars and a fishing pier. The beach’s sandbanks, along with sea oats and rolling dunes, create the perfect spot to lounge in between surf sessions or head to the pier to soak up the Atlantic Ocean views at a beachfront restaurant.

Melbourne Beach Melbourne Beach, Florida
Credit: Melbourne Beach, Florida by Daniel Piraino via Flickr

Melbourne Beach

Why Come Here: For its unspoiled beach landscapes and turtle sightings. 

Home to miles of picturesque shoreline, Melbourne Beach is a gem situated on the Space Coast. You’ll find peaceful, unspoiled beaches that unlock access to an array of outdoor activities, from snorkeling to fishing, while historic downtown Melbourne is filled with shops and restaurants. Considered the most important nesting area for loggerhead turtles, take a day trip to the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge to learn about sea turtle conservation, or try your hand at surfing at the iconic Sebastian Inlet.

New Smyrna Beach New Smyrna Beach
Credit: New Smyrna Beach by © Javier Cruz Acosta | Dreamstime.com

New Smyrna Beach

Why Come Here: An easy-going beach town with oceanfront accommodation. 

Home to 13 miles of wide, white-sand beaches, New Smyrna is a quaint beach town lined with mom-and-pop restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and laid-back beachside accommodations. Its golden sands offer a quiet respite that is perfect for a day of beachcombing, surfing, and kitesurfing. If you can peel yourself away from the soft sand beaches, take a scenic eco-tour of the Indian River Lagoon, or pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoor landscapes at Lake Ashby Park.

Vero Beach Vero Beach

Vero Beach

Why Come Here: It’s an ideal beach getaway for nature and seafood enthusiasts. 

Vero Beach is a breath of fresh air, as this barrier island’s lack of tourist crowds and tranquil ocean landscapes make it an appealing destination throughout the year. This sophisticated coastal hamlet on Florida’s Treasure Coast is home to quaint cultural attractions and natural wonders, where its picturesque beachfront is filled with pelicans, sandpipers, and turtles. Seafood lovers will delight at the array of fresh offerings available, while the historic downtown is lined with boutique shops and art galleries.

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach
Credit: Daytona Beach by bigstock.com

Daytona Beach

Why Come Here: It’s a popular beach with easy access to top Florida attractions. 

Most know Daytona Beach for its enthusiastic race fans, as the Daytona International Speedway hosts thousands of visitors ready to watch the iconic Daytona 500 NASCAR race. While a visit to this iconic attraction is a must on your Florida itinerary, the beaches in Daytona also are a popular place to soak up the sunshine. Take a short drive south to Ponce Inlet, where its surf-worthy waves are ideal for both beginners and experts alike, and the colorful shells that line the shoreline make great souvenirs.

Delray Beach Delray Beach
Credit: Delray Beach by Tono Balaguer/shutterstock.com

Delray Beach

Why Come Here: For its hidden gem coastline and fun beach activities. 

Dubbed the “Most Fun Small Town in America by USA Today, Delray Beach boasts an easy-going atmosphere and a collection of picturesque beaches. Surfing, sailing, and kayaking are all popular outdoor activities that should be on the top of any itinerary, while those in need of a dose of culture can explore the colorful Japanese-inspired landscapes at the nearby Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens.

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