Summer officially ends on September 22, but for Floridians, we know there’s no such thing as “the end of summer” — summer in the Sunshine State lasts year-round.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that we have some pretty nice beaches. So nice, in fact, that not one, or two, but four of the nation’s top beaches are located right on Florida soil.
According to a new guide by Condé Nast Traveler, four of the 19 best beaches in the United States are in Florida.
“It should come as no surprise that some of the best beaches in the U.S. can be found in Florida,” says Caitlin Morton of Condé Nast Traveler.
She has a point.
So, which sandy beaches made the cut? They are Grayton Beach State Park, Caladesi Island State Park, Bowman’s Beach, and last, but not least, South Beach.
Grayton Beach State Park, Florida
Located on the panhandle of Florida facing the Gulf Coast, Morton writes, “Grayton Beach State Park, found on the lovely Gulf Coast, is one of our favorites, with more than 400 acres of fine, white sands and a wildlife-rich coastal dune lake.”
Besides visiting the beautiful white-sanded beach, she states visitors can also camp in the park, as well explore the reefs under water. “The state park happens to be home to the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA), the nation’s first permanent underwater sculpture exhibit, which lets travelers snorkel and scuba dive around seven larger-than-life pieces of artwork.”
Grayton Beach State Park is located at 357 Main Park Rd., Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. For more information, click here.
Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida
Located just north of Clearwater on the west coast of the Sunshine State, the island (which has a name that sounds like it should be a Game of Thrones character), is a hidden gem. Morton writes, “Accessible by pedestrian ferry boat, private boats, or a long walk from Clearwater Beach, Caladesi is well-worth the trek. The untouched, 3.5-mile-long island dazzles with its soft, crystalline quartz sand and cerulean waters, but visitors should also make time for kayaking and canoeing through the mangroves—the bird life here is quite prolific.”
Caladesi Island State Park is located at 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698. For more information, click here.
Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida
Just south of Captiva on the west coast of Florida is a “remarkably undeveloped” beach that’s like taking a step in paradise. Morton writes, “Easily accessible off the main Sanibel-Captiva Road yet remarkably undeveloped, this family-friendly beach lacks the crowds of neighboring stretches but promises all the pastel-hued sunsets and excellent shelling for which Sanibel Island is known.”
Plus, if you were looking for new additions to your seashell collection that sits on the countertop of your ocean-themed guest bathroom, look no further. “Pack a picnic, refreshments, and a bucket—and perhaps an aspirin or two to alleviate any aches and pains from doing the ‘Sanibel Stoop’ while collecting seashells along the sand.”
Bowman’s Beach is located at 1700 Bowmans Beach Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957. For more information, click here.
South Beach, Miami
Last, but not least, is the one and only, South Beach. Located in the southern half of Miami Beach on the east coast of the Sunshine State, the charm (or tourist clutter) of South Beach is one of a kind. According to Morton, “The siren song of Miami’s South Beach is undeniable. Beautiful people, flashy cars, Art Deco architecture: It’s all here.”
She continues, “The busiest—and most touristy—section runs parallel to Ocean Drive (between 5th and 15th Streets), so locals tend to hang around the quieter patches of SoFi (South of Fifth). But we say those famous white sands are worth bumping elbows with a few fellows.”
I’m sure many local residents would agree to disagree.
South Beach is located along the east shoreline of Miami Beach between 5th and 23rd Streets. For more information, click here.