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Florida is famous for beaches but all Florida beaches are not the same. Florida’s East coast beaches on the Atlantic Ocean have waves and are popular for surfing, surf fishing, and swimming.
Beaches on the west coast of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico typically have calmer waters that are great for swimming. And many of the Florida west coast beaches such as Sanibel and Captiva are famous for excellent shells. Fishing is also excellent on the west coast.
Miami Beach and South Beach
Miami Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world and has beautiful blue water, white sand and fantastic hotels. About 45 minutes away you have Matheson Hammock, which has a beach, protected swimming area, and boat ramps.
Out on the tip of Key Biscayne is Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which has a great beach directly on the Atlantic Ocean.
North East Florida Beaches
Crescent Beach in St Augustine is really wide, so wide that cars are allowed to drive and park on the beach. Crescent beach can have excellent waves and is great for playing in waves, body surfing or playing in the sand.
About 30 minutes north of Crescent Beach is Ponte Vedra Beach, which has great waves, sand filled with coquina shells, and is a good place to find sharks teeth at low tide.
There are several excellent beaches in Jacksonville including Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach. One nice feature of these Jacksonville beaches is that they are within walking distance of restaurants, shopping and in the case of Jacksonville beach a boardwalk.
All the beaches in the Jacksonville area are fairly wide and have good waves.
The beach in Hanna Park is huge, wide, and with a very gradual slope is excellent for swimming in shallow water. There is also a great surf spot on the north side of Hanna Park called Poles.
Beaches in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are not famous for beaches but rather crystal clear water and excellent fishing and diving - both snorkeling and scuba diving.
There are beaches in the Keys, they are just not as nice as the wide sandy beaches found in other areas of Florida.
Although surrounded by water Key West has only two main beaches - Smathers Beach and at Smathers Beach you can play volleyball, go parasailing, and rent a Hobie Cat.
Florida West Coast Beaches
The barrier Islands of Sanibel, Captiva, North Captiva, and Cayo Costa are on the west coast of Florida, west of Fort Myers. These Islands have beautiful sandy beaches, tons of sea shells and sand dollars.
Treasure Coast Beaches
The Treasure Coast is on the east coast of Florida. It includes three Florida Counties - Martin County, St Lucie County, and Indian River County.
Treasure Coast beaches are wide and sandy and many of them are Guarded Beaches, which means that Turtles nest on them and there are specific rules to protect the turtle nests.
Martin County Beaches
Martin County is just north of Palm Beach and includes great beaches such as Hobe Sound, Stuart Beach and Jensen Beach. Hutchinson Island is a barrier Island that is basically one long beach.