13 Best Beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

The beaches along Florida’s Gulf Coast are some of the best in the United States, offering palm-tree-dotted shores and easygoing vibes that are perfect for a tropical getaway. You’ll discover soft white sand, sparkling emerald waters, and access to charming seafood restaurants and an array of memorable outdoor adventures. For unspoiled landscapes and stunning sunset views, head to one of these top beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Siesta Key
Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key

Why Come Here: To see its world-famous white quartz sand and picturesque sunsets.

Where to Stay: Tropical Beach Resorts | Hyatt Residence Club Sarasota

Consistently ranked in the top spot as the most beautiful beach in the United States, Siesta Key is the ultimate beach escape. An eight-mile barrier island with stunning natural beauty, this award-winning beach is known for its pristine sugary white sand that is often described as the finest in the world. Siesta Beach, Turtle Beach and Crescent Beach are the most popular along the barrier island, offering tranquil waters that provide a safe spot for swimming and snorkeling.

Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach

Why Come Here: Enjoy endless water activities and Sunsets at Pier 60.

Where to Stay: Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach | Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa

Clearwater Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the Sunshine State, and for good reason. Its white-sand beaches are alluring to even the most experienced beachgoer, lined with crystal blue waters that make for an excellent beach getaway throughout the year. Spend your days looking for shells and enjoying the ambiance of this award-winning beach, go on a pirate cruise, then visit Pier 60 for nightly sunset celebrations and live performances.

Fort Walton Beach
Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach

Why Come Here: A family beach with tons of kid-friendly attractions nearby. 

Where to Stay: Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach Destin | Holiday Inn Express – Fort Walton Beach Central, an IHG Hotel

Located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Fort Walton Beach is an idyllic Gulf Coast destination with 24 miles of picturesque shoreline. A family-friendly area with white sand beaches and emerald green waters, this fuss-free beach is a great place to soak up the sunshine. Dine on delicious Gulf-to-table seafood at local restaurants, take the kids to see the marine life at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park or go on a boating excursion at this year-round fishing destination.

Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach

Why Come Here: Savor the postcard-worthy views with sugar-white sands and emerald waters.

Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach | Hilton Pensacola Beach | Margaritaville Beach Hotel

Showcasing postcard-worthy views, beachgoers will find it tough to break away from the sugar-white sands and emerald waters of Pensacola Beach. Take a stroll along the Pensacola Beach Pier to indulge in fresh seafood and capture gorgeous sunset views. Head to the Naval Aviation Museum to see restored aircraft and watch the Blue Angels practice, or take a short drive to Perdido Key State Park for a day of crabbing, hiking and fishing.

St. Pete Beach
Clearwater beach, Florida

St. Pete Beach

Why Come Here: A long list of top Florida attractions nearby and plenty of fun in the sun available for all ages. 

Where to Stay: Barefoot Beach Club | Cambria Hotel St Petersburg-Madeira Beach Marina | The Don CeSar

A Gulf Coast gem, St. Pete Beach offers a solid stretch of undeveloped beach. Just a short drive from Tampa, this family-friendly destination offers immaculate sugar-sand beaches and a picturesque coastline. Enjoy the long list of activities here, whether you want to join water sports fun, head out for a dose of culture at the nearby Dali Museum, or admire the lush foliage at the Florida Botanical Gardens. Shoppers will want to take a stroll down Corey Avenue to browse the boutiques, restaurants, and galleries.

Sanibel Island
Bowman's beach at Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island

Why Come Here: World famous shelling, small-town charm, local dining, and a peaceful atmosphere.

Where to Stay: Sanibel Island Beach Resort | Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

One of the most beautiful towns in Florida, Sanibel Island offers visitors a combination of outdoor adventures and natural attractions. Boasting a small-town charm without chain restaurants, streetlights and traffic lights, Sanibel Island is home to 15 miles of beach and over 250 kinds of shells. Known as the “Shelling Capital of the World”, people travel from all over the world to scour the beaches every morning for the array of unique pieces that have washed up ashore.

Destin, Florida


Why Come Here: Soak up the sunshine at more than 6,000 feet of scenic shoreline.

Where to Stay: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Destin | The Henderson – A Salamander Beach & Spa Resort

Packed with sugar-sand beaches, Destin is a beautiful coastal gem on Florida’s Panhandle. Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, this area is a fisherman’s paradise with plenty of boating excursions available, while kids will delight in the action-packed Destin Harbor Boardwalk. Take a dip in the picturesque blue-green waters that lap its shores, or take a short drive to nearby Henderson Beach State Park for a day of relaxing among the swaying dunes and sand pines.

St. George Island
St. George Island State Park

St. George Island

Why Come Here: Miles of unspoiled natural beauty without the tourist crowds.

Where to Stay: St George Inn | Gibson Inn

Home to St. George Island State Park, St. George Island is a 28-mile-long barrier island that lacks chain restaurants and high-rise hotels. Kayaking, cycling, and paddleboard are popular outdoor activities, while the clear Gulf waters make for a great day of fishing. One of the last preserved barrier islands in Florida, head here to enjoy its soft sugary sands that pair well with charming waterfront cafes and sunset cruises.

Sarasota Beaches
Lido Beach in Siesta Key

Sarasota Beaches

Why Come Here: Beach hopping opportunities and family-friendly attractions.

Where to Stay: Hyatt Residence Club Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach | Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection | Tropical Beach Resorts – Sarasota

A year-round vacation destination, Sarasota boasts a string of eight stunning islands tucked away on the Gulf Coast. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the perfect beach area to meet your needs, while family-friendly attractions like Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and Marie Selby Botanical Garden will keep the kids entertained. A favorite for its ecotourism philosophy and stunning sunset views, head to Lido Key for a day of sunbathing or get out on the water to go deep sea fishing, dolphin watching, or sailing.

Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach

Why Come Here: Family-friendly stretch of beach and day trips to see some of Florida’s most pristine landscapes.

Where to Stay: Boardwalk Beach Hotel | SpringHill Suites by Marriott Panama City Beach Beachfront | Hampton Inn & Suites Panama City Beach-Beachfront

Home to 27 miles of sugar-white beaches, family-friendly attractions, and alluring beachfront hotels, Panama City Beach has much more to offer than its Spring Break reputation. With nearly 100 public access points, this picturesque beach is perfect for relaxing on its soft, quartz sand, playing a volleyball game or swimming in its Gulf waters. For a quiet escape, take a day trip to nearby St. Andrews Park to appreciate its unspoiled natural beauty with a day of biking, snorkeling or kayaking.

Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach

Why Come Here: It’s home to family-friendly beaches and a fun range of water and land activities.

Where to Stay: Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach | Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Ft Myers Beach-Sanibel Gateway, an IHG Hotel | The Neptune Resort

Fort Myers Beach has the perfect combination of sun-kissed beaches and historic landmarks, family-friendly attractions and natural landscapes. Dig your toes in this picturesque stretch of beach and soak up the sunshine, or kick your vacation up a notch with an adventurous day of parasailing and kayaking. Its small-town charm is seen through its cottages and beachfront properties, while nature lovers will want to visit Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium to see bald eagles, hawks and owls.

Venice Beach, Florida


Why Come Here: For a chance to uncover unique treasures along the shore and browse its charming downtown area.

Where to Stay: Ramada by Wyndham Venice Hotel Venezia | Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Venice

Venice is an underrated Gulf destination in Florida, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy water sports, fishing, and boating, but this small town is famous for something entirely different. Take a walk along its shores and discover unique souvenirs, a collection of fossilized shark’s teeth that have washed up on its pearly white beaches. Afterward, explore the historic downtown area and admire the beautiful architecture, browse through the boutiques and dine at local seafood restaurants.

Naples, Florida


Why Come Here: The abundance of golf courses, the luxurious but still tranquil vibe, and activities for the whole family.

Where to Stay: Naples Grande Beach Resort | Edgewater Beach Hotel

A nature lovers’ paradise with white sandy beaches and gorgeous turquoise waters, Naples is an excellent Gulf Coast destination. Known for its luxury shopping, world-class golf courses, and family-friendly beaches, Naples is a great place to go dolphin-watching and fishing. Take a stroll along the shoreline and watch a colorful sunset, admire underwater marine life in the waters surrounding Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park or enjoy some fun in the sun with the entire family at Lowdermilk Beach.

On The Map

Travel Deals

Portugal | Air & 14-Nts in Algarve at Marina Club Hotel


Air & 9-Day Amazing Danube River Cruise


12-Day Croatia Tour | Save Up To 15%


Celebrity Infinite Veranda on Summer 7-Nt Med Cruise


Air & 13-Day South Africa & Dubai Adventrue


Air & 5-Nt Centara Mirage Beach Resort, Dubai


$300 Off per Couple | 9-Day Southern Italy Guided Tour


Air & 9-Day Moselle & Rhine River Cruise


8-Nt Danube River Cruise w/ 23 Freechoice Activities


9-Nt Greece Cruise | 2nd Guest Sails Free


Air & 5-Nt Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai


Air & 9-Day Islands of Thailand Small Group Tour


Air & 8-Day Korea Cherry Blossom Tour in March


9-Day Christmas Markets Tour | Save Up To 15%


Air & 9-Day Magical Rhone & Saone River Cruise