Florida's Atlantic Coast Beaches are as diverse as Florida itself. In the north part of the state, the beaches are natural have many areas where hardly a condo or hotel can be found. The sand is hard enough to drive and ride a bicycle, the seas are rougher and the shoreline is wind swept. In South Florida, beaches are influenced heavily by the Gulf Stream, the sand is soft, the water is warm and crystal clear seas glow with many shades of blue and green.
Daytona Beach & Ponce Inlet
vibrant shoreline, lined with hotels, motels, condominiums and houses, attracts over 8 million tourists each year. One of the best things about the beach is that you can drive on it.
Ponce de Leon Inlet
connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Halifax River and is located approximately 12 miles south of Daytona Beach, yet it's secluded and seems a million miles away. You can fish from the jetty, walk along the beach and even drive up to the jetty from the beach.
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Amelia Island is a lush beautiful island, with many miles of beaches and several state parks that have trails great for hiking, biking and nature watching. Fernandina Beach is the northern most city in Florida and has been an important seaport from early on, which is evident in its Victorian-era architecture and charming historic district. Amelia Island State Park is one of the few places on the east coast where you can horseback ride right on the beach it also offers riding tours along the shoreline.
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St. Augustine Beaches
The beaches of St. Augustine are located on Anastasia Island. There you will find a short pier extending into the Atlantic Ocean, as well as fishing and surfing. At nearby Anastasia State Park you can enjoy camping, nature trails, beach time, water sports, and an archaeological site where coquina rock was mined to create the nearby fortress, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Anastasia State Park, located just south of historic St. Augustine on Anastasia Island, has 4 miles of pristine beach, a tidal salt marsh, and maritime and upland hammock.
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Sebastian Inlet State Park is located south of Melbourne and is one of the most popular state parks in Florida. Sebastian Inlet is famous for surfing, fishing, skimboarding, snorkeling and swimming. Other park features include camping facilities, a bait and tackle shop that sells fishing licenses, The Sebastian Fishing Museum, The McLarty Treasure Museum, a boat ramp, the mile-long Hammock Trail, picnic areas, a restaurant and wildlife viewing opportunities. Sebastian Inlet State Park near Melbourne, Florida has so many things to do it sometimes it's hard to decide, luckily the park offers more than you can do in one day.
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Playalinda Beach - Canaveral National Seashore
Playalinda Beach is probably the best known of the three for several reasons. First is has thirteen numbered parking lots, second the shore north of Parking Lot #13 has for years been an informal nudist beach. For the record, nudity is illegal in Brevard County but the National Seashore administration won't spend money out of its own budget to enforce a local county ordinance, so enforcement is spotty and infrequent. The third reason it's so well known is that the space shuttle launch
facility is clearly visible from the approach to Parking Lot #1.
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The beaches of Fort Lauderdale are as beautiful as ever with clean Gulf Stream waters that cleanse the shores with warm tropical water. The crowds are diverse and make for interesting people watching with nearby eating and drinking establishments just off the sand. Parking is adequate during the weekdays while weekends can present a challenge for those looking for a beachfront parking space.
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Stuart is home to two of the most stunning and unique beaches in Florida, Bathtub Reef and the beach next to the House of Refuge. Bathtub Reef gets its name from the living reef found just offshore creating a calm area of shallow water resembling a bathtub. The area covers about 85 acres and runs from the St. Lucie Inlet north about 1.4 miles. The House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert's Bar in has a history of life savings that goes back to 1876, and the adjacent beach features a beautiful rocky shoreline.
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Ponte Vedra Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach is known for two things, posh resorts and pristine golf courses, but they do have great beaches as well. The beach there is wide and sandy, great for laying out getting a tan or looking for shells, as lifeguards watch over all guests.
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New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna's beaches are some of the best in the world, with over 13 miles of white sand that include many public parks. New Smyrna Beach offers excellent backwater and offshore fishing
, golf, historical sites and the chance to experience nature up close. Along with being able to do the usual beach things like, sunbath and build sandcastles you can also drive your car along the beautiful New Smyrna Beaches. The speed limit of 10 miles an hour is strictly enforced and you must stay off the dunes.
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Palm Beach has always been the winter playground of the elite like Henry Flagler, the Kennedy family and The Donald. However the beaches of Palm Beach are at their best in the summer when the winds die and the seas are calm.
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Lummus Beach - South Beach Miami
Lummus Beach it is also known as Glitter Beach to the locals. Lummus Park and the adjacent Lummus Beach stretch from 6th street to 14th street. South Beach is considered to be one of the most popular hotspots in Florida. Called SoBe by locals, it's known for its spectacular nightlife, fine dinning, Art Deco area, trend setting influence. Lummus Beach is the beach where models go and pose for fashion magazine photo shoots, and because of the European influence on South Beach, topless sunbathing is tolerated.
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Jacksonville Beach is a great place to spend a few days, as it will take you that long to see it all. The beaches are nice and wide so I guess that's why they made the pier's boardwalk so nice and wide. You can browse the shops at the boardwalk, ride your bike or rollerblade along, but be sure to watch for people, because this place is always crowded, day or night.
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Cocoa Beach is all about the beach. The small wave capital of the world is perfect for beginning and experienced surfers alike. There are so many great hotels on Cocoa Beach, you can stay on the beach at the end of your day of fun in the sun. If you're ready for some fun and a break from Cocoa Beach's fabulous beaches, the Orlando attractions and the airport are less than an hour to the west, Making Cocoa Beach, Orlando's closet beach.
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Jupiter Inlet - Dubois Park
This is a perfect place to plan on spending the day. You can swim at beaches watched over by lifeguards or surf and fish in one of the designated areas. Then you can picnic at one of the many tables there and use the grills or if you have a larger group, pavilions are available for reservation. They also have playgrounds and a volleyball area. Jupiter Inlet Park and Dubois Park are connected by a small foot bridge so you can visit both easily.
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By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com