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15 Best Beaches with the Clearest Water in Florida

As a Florida native, I’ve dug my feet in the sand of many Florida beaches. But which beaches in the Sunshine State are known for having the most beautiful water?

While most travelers are well aware of Florida’s beautiful beaches, only a few savvy beachgoers know where to find the clearest waters. Standing above the rest, these white-sand beaches are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and other water-based activities. After soaking up the sunshine and watching the kids build sandcastles, you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of these scenic beaches. They’re an easy addition to your growing Florida beach bucket list.

*Take note – the clear waters at these Florida beaches can vary depending on weather conditions, the season, and the number of beachgoers, as well as red tide outbreaks.

Destin Destin, Florida
Credit: Destin, Florida by © Ruth Peterkin | Dreamstime.com

Destin

A popular getaway on the Emerald Coast, Destin is a family-friendly beach destination in Florida’s Panhandle. In addition to its sugar-white sands that are perfect for sandcastle-building, its coastline features emerald waters that are crystal-clear. You can see your toes as you walk through the waters, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot small fish or a sand dollar. The gentle surf is ideal for families with little ones, while those looking for a lively party scene can head to nearby Crab Island, where a raised sandbar offers clear waters and a collection of floating bars.

Siesta Key Beach Siesta Key, Florida
Credit: Siesta Key, Florida by © Felix Mizioznikov | Dreamstime.com

Siesta Key Beach

While the Sunshine State has plenty of award-winning white sand beaches, Siesta Key Beach consistently ranks as one of the best in the United States. Located on Siesta Key, this natural beauty is nestled on a barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, just a short drive from Sarasota. It’s famous for its quartz-crystal powdery sand that is soft to the touch, while its clear turquoise waters add to the allure of this local favorite. Add a charming town known for its grouper sandwiches, a free trolley, and endless water activities, and you can see why this is such a popular place to bask in the sunshine.

Santa Rosa Beach Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Credit: Santa Rosa Beach, Florida by © William Gibson | Dreamstime.com

Santa Rosa Beach

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, head to Santa Rosa Beach. This idyllic beach town on the Gulf Coast draws sun-seekers from across the globe who want to take advantage of its pristine white-sand beaches and emerald-green water that makes up one of the most beautiful coastlines in the state. It’s located on Florida’s famous 30A, which means you won’t find high-rise buildings or fast-food restaurants spoiling the view. In fact, most visitors get around the quaint town by bike, offering a laid-back getaway perfect for beach lovers. 

Grayton Beach Grayton Beach, Florida
Credit: Grayton Beach, Florida by © William Gibson | Dreamstime.com

Grayton Beach

Located along the Gulf of Mexico between Pensacola and Panama City is Grayton Beach, an eccentric Northwest Florida destination beloved by artists. Grayton Beach is home to a designated Blue Wave Beach and Grayton Beach State Park, where you’ll find 2,000 acres of incredible white sand beaches and crystal clear water. It’s the perfect place for swimming, sunbathing, and simply soaking in the warm Gulf breezes. How can you not love a charming Florida town with the unofficial motto, “Nice Dogs, Strange People”?

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key Bahia Honda State Park - Calusa Beach, Florida Keys
Credit: Bahia Honda State Park - Calusa Beach, Florida Keys by © SimonDannhauer | Dreamstime.com

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key

Bahia Honda State Park is one of the most stunning beach destinations in the Florida Keys. This island paradise has 500 acres of postcard-worthy views, home to three palm-lined beaches with gin-clear waters. It’s an excellent year-round destination for snorkeling, with outdoor activities like kayaking and boat trips on offer, so you can spot the fish and sea turtles swimming beneath the waves and bottle-nose dolphins making a splash. Be prepared, however, as the park does close when it reaches maximum capacity in its day-use areas, so it’s best to arrive early.

Navarre Beach Navarre Beach, Florida
Credit: Navarre Beach, Florida by © Michael Wood | Dreamstime.com

Navarre Beach

Set between the Gulf of Mexico between Pensacola and Destin, Navarre Beach is a jewel on Florida’s Emerald Coast. It’s the perfect place to unplug and recharge, offering powdery white sand beaches and clear blue-green waters amongst its unspoiled beach town that doesn’t include a backdrop of high-rise buildings. This small beach community has 12 miles of pristine shoreline, where relaxation is a top priority. Swim in the clear waters, dine on fresh Gulf-to-table seafood at a local restaurant, or hop on two wheels and cruise along one of the scenic bike paths.

Dry Tortugas National Park Dry Tortugas National Park
Credit: Dry Tortugas National Park by © Michael Gordon - Dreamstime.com

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is easily one of the most unique national parks in the United States. Along with its photogenic blue waters, this park has a 200-year history and is 99 percent underwater, located about 70 miles from civilization. The remote tropical location adds to the adventure, as it’s only accessible by seaplane or boat. The best way to see its natural beauty is on a snorkeling excursion, where you can get up close to the vibrant coral reefs, sandy shoals, and sea life.

Anna Maria Island Anna Maria Island, Florida
Credit: Anna Maria Island, Florida by © Mark Winfrey | Dreamstime.com

Anna Maria Island

One of Florida’s most inviting laid-back getaways, Anna Maria Island has soft-sand beaches and clear waters without the crowds. Its tiny seven-mile strip of beautiful beaches line the barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and peninsular Florida, with Coquina Beach one of the most popular spots to enjoy the sunshine. Anna Maria Island is also one of the most charming destinations in the state with an Old Florida feel, offering excellent dining (with lots of fresh seafood options) and opportunities to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and fishing.

Panama City Beach Panama City Beach Florida
Credit: Panama City Beach Florida by © Terry Kelly | Dreamstime.com

Panama City Beach

You’ll find 27 miles of brilliant white sand beaches in Panama City Beach, with clear waters that draw in beachgoers looking for a relaxing day of swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and boating. What makes Panama City Beach so great is its long list of activities on offer, home to two state parks (St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park), almost 100 beach access points, multiple waterfront restaurants, and plenty of kid-friendly attractions to keep the whole family entertained. Don’t forget to add a trip to Shell Island to your itinerary, a secluded island getaway only accessible by boat.

Sombrero Beach, Marathon Sombrero Beach, Marathon, Florida
Credit: Sombrero Beach, Marathon, Florida by © SimonDannhauer | Dreamstime.com

Sombrero Beach, Marathon

Head south to Sombrero Beach to enjoy one of the best-kept secrets in Florida. With its soft sands and stunning turquoise waters, this Middle Keys gem is located near Mile Marker 50. Best of all, thanks to its remote location, it’s often less packed than other beach getaways in Florida and includes free parking and a children’s playground. Bring your snorkel gear, as the gentle waters along the sandy strip are perfect for exploring. From April through October, it’s also one of Florida’s many designated sea turtle nesting zones.

Fort Zachary Taylor Park Beach, Key West Fort Zachary Taylor Park, Key West
Credit: Fort Zachary Taylor Park, Key West by © SimonDannhauer | Dreamstime.com

Fort Zachary Taylor Park Beach, Key West

Combining Florida’s rich history with its natural beauty, the beach at the southern end of Fort Zachary Taylor Park offers crystal-clear waters. Often dubbed the best beach in Key West, it gives beachgoers access to the area’s colorful marine life. Swim and snorkel and you might spot tropical species like parrot fish and schools of yellowtail snapper, or bring a pole and catch dinner off the west rock jetty. You can rent an umbrella and lounge chair at the beach or combine your trip to the coast with a visit to Fort Taylor, a National Historic Landmark with Civil War cannons.

Singer Island & Riviera Beach Aerial view of Peanut Island and Singer Island, Florida
Credit: Aerial view of Peanut Island and Singer Island, Florida by © Kevin Kelly | Dreamstime.com

Singer Island & Riviera Beach

Singer Island and Riviera Beach, which is part of The Palm Beaches, is a quiet beach getaway in Florida. Here you’ll discover azure waters and a beautiful patch of sand backed by local restaurants and beach bars. Water taxis to Peanut Island offer access to 80 acres of family-friendly beaches and clear waters for swimming and snorkeling, while John D. MacArthur State Park is also a great spot for outdoor adventures, with almost two miles of beautiful beaches. For a bucket list-worthy underwater adventure, head to the Phil Foster Park snorkel trail to see thriving reefs, historic wrecks, and diverse marine life.

Fort De Soto, St. Petersburg Fort De Soto
Credit: Fort De Soto by Pinellas County via Flickr

Fort De Soto, St. Petersburg

Covering more than 1,100 acres on the Gulf of Mexico, Fort De Soto Park is a beloved county park with miles of award-winning beaches. With soft sands and azure waters, it’s easy to spend a day relaxing on Fort De Soto’s sun-soaked coastline, but this family-friendly destination also features a pirate ship playground, a large tidal pool, and colorful seashells along its shore for shelling. Explore the park’s historic fort or follow scenic walking trails, then hop in a kayak and paddle past turtles and wading birds. For excellent snorkeling, catch the ferry from the fishing pier to the nearby Egmont Key.

Jupiter Jupiter, Florida
Credit: Jupiter, Florida by facebook.com

Jupiter

Jupiter’s beautiful beaches have been a hotspot for surfers and beachgoers for decades, offering calm, clear waters for swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, and snorkeling. Head to the massive Carlin Park to swim in its sparkling waters, or plan a trip to Dubois Park to enjoy its shallow coves, tranquil lagoons, and Jupiter Lighthouse views, set right at the mouth of Jupiter Inlet. The city even has dog-friendly beaches, with a 2.5 stretch from beach marker #26 at Marcinski Road to beach marker #57, where you can enjoy the sunshine with your pup.

Delray Beach Delray Beach
Credit: Delray Beach by © Lunamarina | Dreamstime.com

Delray Beach

One of Florida’s most charming beach towns, Delray Beach is famous for its beautiful coastline, lively Main Street, and booming arts scene. Once dubbed “Most Fun Small Town in America by USA Today, this is a great spot to bring the entire family. The two-mile stretch of public beach is comprised of white sands and turquoise waters that are typically calm, making it perfect for little ones to make a splash. You can also venture to the nearby Atlantic Dunes Park and Delray Municipal Beach for more fun in the sun.

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