Gulf Coast Beaches are known for their calm clear waters and soft white sand. Shelling is also very popular in the area. Some of the beaches are full of activities and party spots, others are private and secluded. Whatever you're looking for there's a Gulf Coast beach for you.
Unlike most beaches that are made up of crushed shells, rocks or lava, this sand is pure white and has a finer texture than most refined sugar. The sand has been described as "dazzling" and it has been said that it never feels hot, which is amazing for summer sand in Florida. After a morning of building sand castles and playing in the surf, discover what gives Siesta Key it's name; stretch out on the powder soft sand and just try not to succumb to the urge to nap....
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Sanibel Island is a beautiful little place located on the west coast of Florida, near Fort Myers. Sanibel is actually made up of two Islands, Captiva and Sanibel. These two islands are the perfect place for either a romantic or family vacation. Shelling is what Sanibel Island is especially known for because of all the wonderful shells that wash up on shore there. Sanibel Island is unique because it runs east to west, which is different from most islands which run north to south; this positioning allows it to catch the many different kinds of sea shells that the Gulf of Mexico moves to its beaches.
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The best way to experience Clearwater Beach is by boat, as there is every type of boat adventure imaginable at the marina. Cigarette boats, fishing boats, nature tours, snorkeling boats, paddleboats, and even a pirate ship are tied up at the docks. You can parasail, fish, watch nature, dolphin hunt, snorkel or go shelling. You can rent jets ski's, hire a catamaran for the day, rent beach chairs to lounge in or go on a pirate adventure. The Sunset at Pier 60 is a nightly celebration that takes place on Clearwater Beach and is simply a time when the city pauses to watch the spectacular display as the sun goes down.
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Lido Key is a beautiful little spot right near Sarasota, Florida. This is a place where you can shop in trendy St. Armands Circle, find fabulous Florida seafood, go fishing and boating, or if you choose, simply relax on the vast expanse of white sand beach. The beach here is divided into three sections: North Lido Beach, Lido Beach and South Lido Beach. North Lido Beach is located one quarter mile northwest of St. Armands Circle, off of John Ringling Blvd. The beach is easy to get to and very private, but there are no lifeguards, which isn't a problem, but be aware of the currents that tend to move fast.
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Fort Myers Beach
Emerald green waters and sugar-white sand make up the main attraction to the island of Fort Myers Beach. Dubbed 'the world's safest beach' because of the gentle waters, this area is known for small waves and calm seas; it also has gentle slopes and sand bars in the waters near shore. The community of Fort Myers Beach is made up of Estero Island and its sister island, San Carlos. It used to be a remote stretch of green, edged with sand and accessible only by boat. Today, there are more than 30 beach access points that are marked with colorful beach access signs that take you to developed, as well as secluded, pristine stretches of shoreline, many of which are near restaurants and outdoor cafes.
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Lovers Key is a pristine barrier island and a state park
, which gives it solitary beaches and long nature trails. For years the only way to get there was by boat, which kept it remote and a great place to steal away and spend some time with your significant other. It hasn't been developed, so there are still a lot of secluded romantic places to relax and unwind, for just the two of you.
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Fort De Soto
Fort De Soto Park is made up of five offshore islands, or 'keys', known as Madelaine Key, St. Jean Key, St. Christopher Key, Bonne Fortune Key and the main island, Mullet Key, which are located at the southern tip of St. Petersburg and are accessible by a toll road from the mainland. The park is open year - round and has many things to enjoy, such as two piers where you can fish out of the Gulf of Mexico; both sell bait and tackle and have food concessions. There are two swimming areas, North Beach and East Beach, picnic areas and a camping area.
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Longboat Key is south of Anna Maria Island, between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as being north of Lido Key. Much of Longboat Key is privately owned and developed land with a few resorts, but there is still a good stretch of beach where you can hang out and relax.
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Anna Maria Island Beaches
On Anna Maria Island, you have Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach. Each of the island's three cities give you access to spectacular beaches and fun in the sun while at the same time offering a unique selection of shops, restaurants, and recreational opportunities.
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Touted as "The Treasure of the Gulf Coast", you'll find Treasure Island on Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast near St. Petersburg. Three miles of beautiful sandy beaches make up Treasure Island's best known attraction. You can walk along the beach or choose to stroll along the nearly mile length of the Treasure Island Beach Trail. This paved walkway along the east side of the beach offers easy access to the motels, restaurants and bars, condos, playgrounds, volleyball courts and many beach accesses that make up the heart of Treasure Island's hotel district.
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By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com