What Reviewers Are Saying: “I cannot put into words how much I loved Holmes Beach, a short walk from our villa—clear, 85-degree Gulf water; soft waves; a great sandbar; and marvelous sunsets. We could have easily used another week to fit everything in.”. Explore the big-city attractions of St. Petersburg and Tampa or the eclectic shops in Madeira Beach before returning to this small, private community for a peaceful walk along the beach; Indian Shores epitomizes the best of both worlds. Get out and explore the Nature Preserve on a guided biking tour to see the birds, butterflies, and mammals that call this place home. Gulf islands Situated just south of Tampa and St. Petersburg, the Gulf islands (Bradenton, Anna Maria and Longboat Key) are best explored with your toes in the sand and camera in hand. Think unspoiled beaches, salt water lagoons and protected wildlife refuges. The Dali museum is an absolute must.”. This side of the Sunshine State is popular thanks to its family-friendly appeal and the 3-S factor: sand, sunsets, and seashells. A hidden gem nestled on the east coast of Florida, Vero Beach is a nature lover’s paradise. Still, no two Florida beaches are alike. From state parks to spring training games and museums to mansions, Sarasota is a fitting destination for travelers who love historic and cultural attractions just as much as the waterfront. Managing to fly under the radar, this beach offers unspoiled, fine, white sand, modest crowds, and shallow emerald waters. West Palm Beach is what happens when old Manhattanites get sick of the cold weather and decide the only logical answer is to buy a mansion in Florida. If you’ve got little ones in tow, you’ll be drawn to the Gulf’s calm water and small waves, not to mention the wide, white beaches and powdery sand that make the west coast of Florida such a scenic place to park your beach chair. What Reviewers Are Saying: “This wonderful home is now included in my family’s top five places to vacation. Located at the north end of the Canaveral National Seashore, this Volusia County beach does contain areas that are clothing optional, but majority of the beach is family-friendly. Calypso Beach. As refined and cosmopolitan as it is charming, Naples is Florida’s destination for resort-style relaxation, high-class shopping and glitzy golf courses (not to mention spotless beaches with pavilions and facilities). Rosemary Beach is a neo-traditional town located on northwest Florida's gulf coast, between Panama City and Destin, at the eastern end of Scenic Route 30A. I loved that it was right on the beach and private, too. Don’t forget to pack your golf bag and tackle box; with 165 miles of waterways and seven golf courses, this area is as sought-after for its leisurely pastimes as its scenic beaches. Fancy a scuba-diving adventure? Navarre Beach is a picture-perfect beach that is situated just west of Pensacola Beach, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The most unique This small town on Anna Maria Island is known for its historic pier, a lovely spot to watch the boats and birds or cast your line, and free parking near the beach (a rare find!). We have found our summer retreat.”. If you’re pining for a getaway with less traffic, fewer people and an all-around slower pace of life, look no further than Florida west coast beaches. There were lots of amusing creatures in the area, from funny-looking bugs and box turtles to big, green iguanas.”. We rented bikes for the week and had fun exploring the island; the restaurants and stores were only a five-minute bike ride away. We watched the sunset at two different restaurants with outdoor seating.”. This stay was mainly for a fishing trip, and the location offers some great fishing—both at the private pier and in many surrounding areas. With so many great fishing charters in the area, you’d be remiss not to book a day out on the Gulf, where kingfish, bluefish, grouper and even sharks are all popular catches. Better yet, we crunched the numbers for you—by averaging the prices of the 10 most affordable destinations on each of the two coasts—and discovered that west coast Florida beaches are more budget-friendly overall. From our balcony, we saw manatees, dolphins, blue herons, ospreys and nesting parrots. Whether you prefer to spend the afternoon shopping or exploring the coast by jet ski, Madeira Beach has a wealth of boutiques and water sports available, not to mention uncrowded beaches and plenty of parking to go around. The soft sand and warm Gulf water aren’t the only perks in this crowd-pleasing beach town; fantastic restaurants, friendly locals and a touch of Southern hospitality make Fort Myers a knockout vacation spot. I’m so glad we did. The best part about this beach is the ease of access and privacy. Or a dolphin and seahorse-spotting trip? What Reviewers Are Saying: “Our lovely condo overlooked the canal, where a number of boats were docked. Our beaches are the perfect places to disconnect from the world and drift away on waves of happiness. 1. What Reviewers Are Saying: “We used our condo as a home base for exploring the Keys and the Everglades, and we were very happy with the beautiful, central location and easy access to the main highway. From the crook of Northwest Florida to the Dry Tortugas, the calm west coast seas attract everyone from sunbathers to shell hunters to spring breakers to scuba divers and everything in between. ‘Tis the season to ditch your all-white palette in favor of something a little bolder and brighter. Florida’s western coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. What do you want from living in my state? 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. © Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. What Reviewers Are Saying: “This rental had everything we needed for a stay with my family and my parents. Clearwater Beach is an immaculate white sandy beach with beautiful calm blue waters that are perfect for swimming, located in the resort region on the Gulf of Mexico. Naples Beach is popular because of its panoramic views. North of Miami and Miami Beach, clients often take a look at Sunny Isles Beach, Bay Harbor Islands, Surfside, and Bal Harbour, says Karen Matluck, a … I would definitely recommend this place.”. Learn how to season this Southern kitchen staple in five easy steps. What we are doing is embarking on a whirlwind tour of affordable beaches and incredible coastal rentals on both sides of the Panhandle, and our next stop is the Gulf (West) Coast. Since we didn’t have to go out to eat all the time, we saved money for other activities around Panama City Beach.”. Coordinates: … The complex is located about 10 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg, which is a good place to go for an evening walk. What Reviewers Are Saying: “Our condo was close to everything, and the beach was literally right outside the door. The Ten Thousand Islands. Even manatees and other finicky forms of sea life are drawn to Gulf Coast beaches and … Want to avoid Memorial Day weekend crowds but still need to put your toes in the water? It was so much better than an impersonal hotel room! Clearwater Beach Hotels (73.99 mi) Clearwater Hotels (75.86 mi) Lakeland Hotels (82.26 mi) Davenport Hotels (85.18 mi) Clermont Hotels (68.2 mi) Indian Rocks Beach Hotels (80.33 mi) Dunedin Hotels (70.46 mi) Brandon Hotels (79.74 mi) No need to bring anything but your swimsuit.”. Shopping is spectacular in Naples; don’t miss Fifth Avenue’s shops and restaurants! What Reviewers Are Saying: “This is a great location if you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing spot just a short drive from Key West. Come to Key Largo for the sunshine and sugar-fine sand; stay for the snorkeling, hiking and natural wonders on display at local parks like John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. View pictures, check Zestimates, and get scheduled for a tour of Waterfront listings. Rent a boat, kayak or stand-up paddle board to explore the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway or a quiet inland tributary. Prices below reflect the average cost for a weeklong stay in a two-bedroom rental property booked on TripAdvisor Rentals during Summer 2016. The beach was so nice—white sand, birds, fish and beautiful sunsets—and so close to our rental that we could see dolphins swimming through the front window. Find your perfect beach . Casino Beach and Quietwater Beach are two of the more popular bathing spots. What Reviewers Are Saying: “This was a really relaxing Florida vacation close to all the things we love—the waterfront, restaurants, shopping and even an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The views from the balcony are breathtaking, especially at sunset; the beach and pool are just steps away. This is the perfect time of year for the snow birds to escape to Miami. Named the No. Here you’ll find everything from family-friendly Northwest Florida beaches (replete with lifeguards and other amenities), to far more secluded areas. We’re not taking sides in the spirited battle of the beaches between Florida’s east and west coasts, because—let’s face it—there’s no bad destination in the land of bottomless orange juice and year-round sandal weather. But this ultimate beach escape is also one of Florida’s great cultural hubs, offering museums, galleries, performing arts and exceptional shopping and dining. 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