A Locals Guide to Floridas best Beaches

Best Florida Beach Vacations

My best picks for great Florida beach vacations are Clearwater Beach, the beaches of Sanibel/Captiva Island, Daytona Beach, and Miami Beach.

The most prominent beaches in Florida are: Bradenton Beach, Clearwater Beach, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fort Myers Beach, Jacksonville, Key Largo, Key West, Miami Beach, Naples, Pensacola Beach, St. Augustine Beach, St. Petersburg Beach, Sarasota, West Palm Beach, and Florida Beach Sand.

Of all beaches in the United States, Florida’s beaches are the warmest. Surfs are higher on the Atlantic coast, than in the Gulf where the surfs are small in comparison. The warmest Florida waters are in the Gulf.

There are also different types of sand on beaches. Northwest in the Gulf – Pensacola, Panama City, Clearwater – the sand is fine and very white. Atlantic beaches have coarse sand, which is light beige in color. Daytona’s beach is packed sand that you can drive on.

I picked Clearwater for the Clearwater Jazz Festival held there every October in Coachman Park. It will be held this year on October 18-21, 2007. It is a Free Live Jazz Concert – 4 days and 4 nights of cool Jazz also called the Marine Max Clearwater Holiday. Performance schedule will be available August 1, 2007.

The Clearwater Jazz Festival is the largest outdoor concert in Southeast U. S. Jazz lovers, poets, and writers from around the world flock to this festival every year to hear their favorite jazz artists. www.clearwaterjazz.com

Another attraction for Clearwater is the Clearwater Beach International Hostel, where many of the jazz listeners congregate together to talk about their interests in Jazz and Poetry. You can have a dorm room there for 17 dollars a day or a private room for 29 dollars a day. A great savings for the holiday beach traveler.

Clearwater Beach is part of the Pinellas coast consisting of Barrier Islands- Sand Key Park, Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach, Pass – A – Grille and Fort de Soto Park.

My next favorite pick is the Sanibel Captiva beaches in Southwest Florida in the Gulf of New Mexico. This is part of the Fort Myers complex of beaches including Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Captiva, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Pine Island and Boca Grande.

Fort Myers is known as the City of Palms for all the Palm Trees along its streets.

To get to Sanibel Captiva from Fort Myers, there is a long causeway. No buses to Sanibel. And the cab ride will cost about 40 dollars. But the trip is well worth it. You are still in the U.S, but feel like you are in a tropical island and it is a tropical island, but the experience is one of not quite being in the U.S. until you see the U.S. postal trucks and the U.PS. (United Parcel Service) trucks. Then you know you are still in the U.S.

You really don’t need a car in Sanibel Captiva. There are bike trails all over the Island. You can bike from one end to the other end. There is only one main road in Sanibel – Periwinkle Drive. This is where you will see cars. All other roads are sand roads. Very interesting sand roads imbedded with seashells.

Sanibel Captiva is the place for people looking for beautiful seashells – hundreds of them wash up on the beaches.

Sanibel is also the place for wildlife at the JN’ Ding Darling Natural Wildlife Refuge where you can see Hawks, Herons, Sandpipers, Pelicans, and Alligators. Many birds are also all over the Island such as the Osprey who often live on the top of tall light poles.

There are many wonderful restaurants on Sanibel Island. One restaurant is part of their supermarket, which is set in the back of lush tropical trees, and cages of parrots that you can talk to and they will talk back. When you get there maybe you could try Gasparelli’s Grill. I’ve heard they serve excellent Italian cuisine. There are quite a lot of Italian restaurants on the Island and also magnificent seafood restaurants where you can order the fish of southeast Florida – Grouper; or delicacies such as Alligator. Haven’t tried that myself – not much of an Alligator eater. And there is the Mucky Duck restaurant right on the beach where you can listen to songs like “Wasting Away in Margaritaville” by a guy strumming a guitar outside on the beach while watching the beautiful Captiva sunset.

Daytona Beach on the Atlantic Ocean consists of 23 miles of packed sand beach that is 500 feet wide. It was once the first speedway when cars first came into fashion. You can still drive on the beach but not faster than 10 miles per hour.

Daytona is home to the Daytona International Speedway and Daytona USA – NASCAR.
There is also the Klassix Auto Museum.

Miami Beach is at the Southern tip of Miami. Known for its great beaches and old style architecture. Miami is the biggest city in Florida with a diverse ethnic population. You can get a great glimpse of the city riding the metro rail, which takes you around the city in one continuous loop.

For more information about Florida beaches go to www.awesomeflorida.com/florida-beaches.htm