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Best Florida beaches on the Gulf Coast

It is hard to argue with the incredibly beautiful sunsets along the West Coast of Florida, but the Gulf Coast beaches make it even more enticing to come here for a visit. They offer you the clearest looking water, the softest powdery sands, the best nature trails in the state, and probably the finest fishing in the U.S. When you plan your next beach vacation in Florida, be sure to add some of the best Gulf Coast beaches to your itinerary. To inspire you, we look at the top ten beaches in this area now.

Anett Victoria - Author of SeaSpiration

Written by Anett Victoria

When it comes to a beach vacation, Anett is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway, or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear, and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious about where She wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach counts an incredible 27 miles of sugary white sandy beaches, appealing beachfront hotels, family-styled attractions, for wild parties that make this location one of the most popular Spring Brake beaches in Florida. There are almost 100 public access points to this beach, making it easy to find a way to reach the quartz-like soft sand and swim in the pristine Gulf waters.

Panama city beach - Gulf Coast
Panama City Beach

If you are looking for a place where the whole family can have fun, Panama City Beach is certainly one of the best Florida beaches on the Gulf Coast thanks to the proximity of the St. Andrews Park where you can take in the undiminished natural vistas in a day full of kayaking, snorkeling, and bicycling.

Clearwater Beach

For those families with toddlers and small children in tow, this might be the perfect Gulf Coast beach around. Clearwater Beach offers shallower waters with whisper-soft sand, an unrivaled playground, the Beach Walk Promenade, rollerblading, walking, and bicycle riding paths.

Clearwater beach - Florida
Clearwater Beach

You will want to stay later for the celebration of sunset that takes place nightly on Fishing Pier 60. Street performers entertain the crowds while the sun decorates the skies in incomparable shades of yellow, orange, and pink, but often couples can be seen who choose a dramatic Clearwater Beach sunset as the backdrop of their Florida beach wedding.

Fort Myers Beach

The beach at Fort Myers lies along a small barrier island that is seven miles in length. With its gently sloping and wide stretch of famous sand, this is one of the best Florida beaches on the Gulf Coast. The best part is that you can afford to stay as the accommodations here are available in every price range.

Florida fort myers beach
Florida Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach draws in lovers of water sports like kayaking and parasailing along with your usual crowd of sun worshipers. When you tire of the attractions beachside, you can hire a fishing charter or take in a wave runner led dolphin eco-tour. There is plenty to do at and nearby this excellent beach and town.

SeaSpiration Tip: If you want to visit less crowded places, we tell you what are the best hidden Gulf Coast beaches!

St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach proves to be a true gem of the Gulf Coast with an impressive range of undeveloped sand. It is easy to reach as it lies in close proximity to Tampa. This family-approved destination delivers much more than simply powdery sand beaches and unspoiled coastline.

Kid is playing in the sand at St Pete beach
St Pete Beach

There are many fun things to do in St. Pete Beach; you can engage in countless water sports, go take in some art at the close by Dali Museum, or enjoy the Florida Botanical Gardens. Corey Avenue provides great boutique shopping complete with art galleries and restaurants.

Venice Beach

Venice, Florida is a town you will certainly hear about among the best Florida beaches on the Gulf Coast. It delivers big time on water sports, boating, and fishing. Yet the little town is justifiably famed for another attraction altogether.

Long sandy beach - Venice
Venice Beach

The town shops feature one of a kind souvenirs that are actually collected fossilized shark teeth that have turned up on the beautiful white pearly beaches here over the years. The downtown area is both historic and charming. You will certainly admire the town’s stunning architecture as you enjoy a fine meal at the fresh seafood restaurants and peruse the boutiques.

Anna Maria Beach

If you seek out peace and relaxation, then Anna Maria Beach is certainly one of the best Florida beaches on the Gulf Coast. This gem lies atop the island’s northern tip. It offers visitors an enormous sandy stretch wrapping all around the entire promontory of the island. This means that there will never be a shortage of beach towel space.

Anna Maria Island beach - Florida
Anna Maria Island Beach

The beach lacks facilities that are a two-edged sword. There will be less competition from the touristy types and families because of the au natural state of the beach. There is some terrific shade from the vicious Florida summer sun provided by a lovely stand of pine trees which line the beach.

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Captiva Island

Captiva Island at Sanibel is often mentioned among the most unique barrier island beaches on earth. The island is blessed by fantastic sandy beaches with an inordinate quantity of shells that have continuously won the island awards for being the world’s finest shelling beach and also among the finest beaches in all of the Sunshine State.

USA Today newspaper ranks this Sanibel Island shelling activity as the 7th greatest of Florida attractions. Besides the great sunbathing and beachcombing, the fishing and bird watching are also fantastic.

Captiva Island beach
Captiva Island Beach

There are few Florida beaches offering a more idyllic setting if you are looking for a backdrop to a romantic getaway. Stop by the marinas here to enjoy the many boats docked or walk into a restaurant for dinner, you will have a lovely time for sure.

Should you plan to stay longer time on Captiva Islands during your Florida beach vacation, you have choices of resorts here (our favorite is the South Seas Island Resort, make sure to check it out).

Bonita Beach

One of the little-known southwestern Florida towns is Bonita Springs. It offers an ample abundance of mostly unspoiled coastline for visitors who are looking to get a little further off of the proverbial beaten path. The beachfront town lies to the north of Naples and south of Fort Myers, and it is less overcrowded than either one.

Bonita beach - Bonita springs
Bonita Beach

Privacy comes standard here on these stretches of public beach that cover a few different keys. Here you will enjoy the famous Gulf Coast sand and year-round warmer water. The small-town atmosphere here does not disappoint visitors who love a more intimate setting for a vacation.

Pensacola Beach

For postcard picture-perfect vistas, the Gulf Coast beaches are hard to beat. Our personal favorite is Pensacola Beach with its requisite sugary white sands and emerald-hued waters of. You can walk down to the Pensacola Beach Pier and enjoy the experience of fresh seafood while you take in the incomparable sunset views here.

Pensacola beach - United States FL
Pensacola Beach

There is the Naval Aviation Museum if you fancy taking in the restored aircraft or watching the practice flights of the Blue Angels. It is only a little drive down to the Perdido Key State Park if you want to experience a fun day filled with crabbing, fishing, and hiking.

Siesta Key Beach

One of the unbelievably wide beaches gracing the Gulf Coast calls itself the world’s finest, whitest sand beach. It does boast over 99 percent quartz in its consistency, ensuring that it remains pleasantly cool even under the banking Florida sun.

There is not much of a crazy party scene here (though MTV’s Siesta Key might tell you otherwise), but instead it is a natural draw for the children, thanks in no small part to the sand sculpture artists providing cheap and excellent entertainment.

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Best Florida Gulf Coast Beaches