People flock to Florida for the promise of crystal clear waters & bright sandy beaches, few are ever disappointed. No matter what your taste, the costal regions are so diverse that there is always something for every family. From relaxing beach side resorts, to action-packed watersports – below are some Florida’s most popular coastal destinations.
Located in the Florida Panhandle, Destin on the Emerald Coast is a postcard-perfect setting thanks to its white, sandy beaches and glistening emerald waters. Originally a small fishing village, visitors now flock to the Destin to experience its natural beauty and beach side watersports.
Spend the day in style aboard a 31-foot sailing yacht. There’s a whole host of trips to choose from, including Crab Island cruises, dolphin-spotting and early morning or sunset trips. No matter which you choose, you’ll get private hire of the yacht, making this a luxurious way to see the sights.
John C. Beasley Park
Lined by its very own shore, Beasley Park is the perfect place to while away an afternoon. Within the park, wildflowers bloom and picnic spots cry out to be used. Meanwhile, the beach invites visitors to take a dip in the iconic emerald green waters, or stay on land and spot clams, fish and even ghost crabs if the time is right.
Journey into the chic heart of Florida, and experience the Gold Coast in all its glory. West Palm Beach was the upmarket resort created by Henry Flagler in the late 19th century, when his railroads opened up the state to tourism for the first time. This was where the well-heeled and the well-to-do came to escape the northern winters, and now it is home to a wonderful mix of shops, restaurants and culture, with the added bonus of great beaches along the palm-fringed Atlantic shores.
Head on over to man-made Peanut Island which is a local institution, as is the massive edifice of The Breakers, an original Flagler hotel that maintains its prestigious style to this day. Palm Beach is also about stylish shopping, and there is a super-abundance of upscale choice in the city, notably along ritzy Worth Avenue, the Rodeo Drive of Florida. Peanut Island Park also features great snorkelling as well as 80 acres of tropical park with paved walkways, beach and water-sports.
Virtually the whole of Florida’s west coast is one long, beach-laden playground. From Crystal River on the northern fringe, all the way 230 miles south to Naples and Marco Island, this is the Gulf Coast that attracts beach devotees from far and wide, as well as lovers of great food, blissful resorts, Florida wildlife and the performing arts. It has vibrant cities like Tampa, Bradenton, Sarasota and Fort Myers; stunning beaches in Siesta Key, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Clearwater Beach and Sanibel Island; fabulous natural attractions like Myakka River State Park and JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; and some real surprises in places such as The Ringling Estate (Sarasota), Naples Botanical Garden, and Greek-influenced Tarpon Springs.
On this part of the coast, there is an almost limitless supply of watersports on offer, from jet-skis to paddle-boards. Fishing is omni-present, both inshore and deep-sea varieties and, in the summer months (July to September) you can try your hand at scalloping. On the beaches the Florida manatee can also be seen all along the coast at different times of the year, notably in the intra-coastal waterway between the mainland and the string of barrier islands just off the coast. Nowhere is this better seen than at Crystal River, where November to March is manatee ‘season’ and hundreds of these wonderful creatures pack the rivers and springs.
The Atlantic coast can also be surprisingly good for surfing, with regular events – and lessons – in places like St Augustine, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach, Sebastian Inlet and Boynton Beach. Alternatively, water-skiing devotees, and for those keen to learn, will find the Orlando Watersports Complex the perfect place to try their hand, as well as the chance to try wake-boarding and knee-boarding.
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