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Top Florida Beaches

Picking a top beach is a subjective task at best. In Florida, it is hard to go wrong with any beach.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
1200 S Crandon Blvd
Key Biscayne, FL 33149-2713
Phone: (305) 361-5811

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is located on Key Biscayne in Southeast Florida. Hours of operation are year round 8 a.m. to sundown. Visitors come to the park to sunbathe, swim, and picnic on over a mile of sandy Atlantic beachfront. Biking and kayaking are also popular activities. Anglers can throw in their lines from the seawall along Biscayne Bay for some of the best shoreline fishing in the region. Guided tours of the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper´s cottage are given twice daily, Thursdays through Mondays. The Boater´s Grill offers casual waterfront dining, or picnickers can reserve a pavilion and grill their own dinner. Bicycles, beach chairs, and umbrellas are available for rental. Overnight boat camping is allowed in No Name Harbor, and a primitive campsite is available for organized youth groups. Located at the southern end of Key Biscayne off the Rickenbacker Causeway, south of downtown Miami.

Over a mile of natural beach (voted among the top 10 beaches in the country), eight fishing platforms, and the oldest lighthouse in the South (built in 1825) are just a few of the attractions at Bill Baggs State Park. Eighteen covered pavilions provide sheltered picnic areas overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. A colorful stand rents everything an active beachgoer could want: bicycles, hydrobikes, in-line skates, ocean kayaks, windsurf boards, beach chairs, and umbrellas.

Caladesi Island State Park
3 Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, FL 34698-8561
Phone: (727) 469-5918

Caladesi Island State Park is located west of the city of Dunedin (north of Clearwater) on the Gulf Coast. Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to sundown, 365 days a year. Pets are not permitted in many areas. Saltwater fishing licenses are required in Florida. Admission fees are $4.00 for up to 8 people per private boat and kayakers $1.00 per person. Fees vary for parking at Honeymoon Island and ferry to Caladesi Island. Pavilion fees are $32.10 per pavilion with reservations two weeks in advance. Call 727-469-5918 for further information. One of the state's last undeveloped barrier islands, you'll feel a million miles away from civilization. Comprised of six islands with 650 upland acres and more than 1,800 acres of mangroves and grass flats, the park was opened to the public in 1972.

Captiva Island
Sanibel Island, FL 33957

Escape the daily grind at one of the state's most tranquil beaches. The island's changed since the causeway opened up in 1963, but not dramatically. One of the most underdeveloped beaches in Florida consists of unspoiled stretches of sand, and not much else. The spring-break crowd should look elsewhere, but those seeking peace and quiet will be rewarded amply. You'll soon come to realize why Anne Morrow Lindbergh was so inspired to pen her best-selling love letter, "A Gift From the Sea," while staying on the island. The surroundings are that stunning. Captiva's beaches, and those of surrounding Sanibel Island, boast an embarrassment of riches for shell-seekers. Known for the abundance of seashells that wash up on the shore every day, the posture adopted by treasure hunters has even garnered its own regional moniker. Don't miss the natural offerings: kayaking, canoeing and sailing are all available at area resorts. Getting to this island paradise is quite a trek—but worth the time and effort. Pack some goodies, fill up that tank and plan an hour and a half to two hours each way. Dr. Stephen Leatherman (also known as Dr. Beach) deemed Captiva's beaches among the most romantic in the nation. So this just may be the perfect place for a proposal or a cozy anniversary picnic.

Dunedin Causeway
Honeymoon Island
Dunedin, FL 34698

Egmont Key
4905 34th Street S., # 5000
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay and accessible by private boat only, this island features a reconstructed lighthouse, beautiful beaches and wildlife, and the historic ruins of Fort Dade. Although this park is primarily a wildlife refuge, it can be a personal refuge - a place to relax and collect shells along secluded, pristine beaches. Accessible only by private boat, Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history, including a lighthouse that has stood since 1858. During the 19th century, the island served as a camp for captured Seminoles at the end of the Third Seminole War and was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War. In 1898, as the Spanish - American War threatened, Fort Dade was built on the island and remained active until 1923. After touring the historic sites and trails, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking. Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort DeSoto Beach.

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
8899 Cape San Blas Road
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
Phone: 850-227-1327

Located near the coastal village of Port St. Joe in Gulf County, about 45 miles southeast of Panama City, the T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is a Florida beach favorite for vacationers looking for a picturesque location to relax and get away from the crowds. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the park year-round for its wildlife viewing, swimming, boating, fishing, snorkeling and scalloping.

Fort DeSoto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.,
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Park Office- 727.582.2267
Campground Office- 727.582.2267

Fort Desoto Park is located in South Pinellas County and open daily 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Pets are restricted to certain areas (there is a dog park). Saltwater fishing licenses are required in Florida. Reservations for camping must be made in person no more than 30 days in advance. Payment must be made at the time of the reservation. Call 727-582-2267 for further information. Beaches are the number one recreational destination for Americans. These sandy playgrounds that line our coasts are the most extensive natural parks in the country. Fort De Soto Park's North Beach heads the Top 10 Beaches list for 2005. The beach at Fort De Soto is ranked as America's Best Beach for 2005. It is the largest county park in the area, with 1,136 acres on five interconnected islands located at the tip of Pinellas County in Tierra Verde. It includes more than seven miles of beaches, boat docks, camp grounds, fishing piers, nature trails, a canoe trail, plus much more

An 800-foot-long boat launching facility with eleven floating docks. 2. A 238-site family camping area with facilities including picnic tables, grills, water, electricity, washers, dryers, sanitary disposal stations, modern restrooms, showers, play areas, and a camp store. Two fishing piers--one on Tampa Bay (500 feet long) and the other on the Gulf (1,000 feet long). Each pier has a food and bait concession. 5. Fourteen large group picnic shelters incorporating award-winning aesthetic and functional design features.

Fred Howard Park
1700 Sunset Dr.
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Fred Howard Park consists of 155 acres and is located on the Gulf of Mexico. Since the parks dedication on April 16, 1966 the parks popularity has continued to increase. Almost 2 million visitors enjoy the park and its facilities annually.

Howard Park's location provides access to the Gulf of Mexico by a 1-mile long causeway. The white sandy beach is a very popular north county swim area and also provides a perfect location for visitors to enjoy many spectacular sunsets. Nesting ospreys and eagles may be viewed by park visitors as they fish for food in the surrounding waters. Dolphins, and occasionally manatees, are seen in the area. The causeway is used for sunbathing, fishing and exercising.

Gulfport Beach Park
Shore Blvd.
Gulfport, FL 33737

Gulfport is a quiet, cozy bayside village established in the early 1900s. Its picturesque location on Boca Ciega Bay, looking west to St. Pete Beach, makes this a perfect spot to relax and unwind away from the commercial activities, yet close to all. Spectacular sunsets from the beach are a daily occurrence.

Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area
1 Causeway Blvd.
Dunedin, FL 34698

Just north of Dunedin via a causeway, this is a great spot for sunbathing and swimming. There?s also a unique Osprey Trail where you can see these regal birds in the wild. If you are very quiet and observant you may catch a glimpse of the Great Horned Owls that use the woods here to nest. There is a pair and you have to look very carefully as they are excellent at camouflaging themselves to match the slash pine trees where they sit. Owls are nocturnal so during the day, you may find them resting before a busy night of hunting. The Great Horned Owls are one of the top predators and have been called Winged Tigers for their excellent hunting skills. We hope that you are lucky enough to see these magnificent creatures!

Sand Key Park
1060 Gulf Blvd.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
Relax on this beautiful beach just south of Clearwater, ranked among the best anywhere. Sand Key Park was opened to the public August 1984. Ninety-five acres are located on Sand Key, a barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida mainland. Clearwater Pass, leading from the Gulf to the Intracoastal waterway, separates the park from the popular resort area of Clearwater Beach. The park welcomes more than one million each year.

Sand Key Park’s natural communities include a beach where sea turtles annually deposit eggs. The nearby Clearwater Aquarium takes responsibility for these nests and keeps statistics. Additionally, a representative of the Aquarium participates in the park’s annual ‘Sea Turtle Interpretive’--six (6) Friday evenings May thru August, utilizing a slide show, a Q&A session, and taking visitors to the nests. In July 2002, the media chronicled 84 hatchlings from a rare Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle making their way to the Gulf of Mexico. A salt marsh with viewing benches further enhances the park, where heron, roseate spoonbill, great horned owl, anhinga, and common moorhen nest and feed. The park has nine boardwalks leading to the beach, also perfect for the stunning beach sunset weddings performed each year.

Clam Pass Beach
410 Seagate Drive
Naples, Florida 34103
Phone: (239) 353-0404

In Clam Pass County Park, natural resources abound. The Park consists of 35 acres of mangrove forest, coastal dunes and 3200 linear feet of beach on the Gulf of Mexico. There are 182 parking spaces available. Clam Pass was voted as one of the top 20 beaches in the United States, and is close to many Naples Florida Hotels.A concessionaire rents kayaks, canoes and sailboards, and the beach is rarely crowded.

Perdido Key State Recreation Area
12301 Gulf Beach Highway
Pensacola, FL 32507
(850) 492-1595

Perdido Key State Recreation Area is a 247-acre barrier island near Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico. The wide, white sandy beaches and the rolling sand dunes covered with sea oats make this a pristine oasis along the rapidly developing panhandle. This gorgeous 2.5 mile stretch of sugar-sand can be reached from two parking area located on the south side of State Route 292. Each offers picnic pavilions and modern bathhouses. During the summer weekends, this park is usually filled to capacity. Anglers are invited to surf fish anywhere along the coast. Usual catches include speckled trout, sheepshead, flounder, bluefish, and redfish. People come to this fabulous beach to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, canoeing, saltwater fishing, picnicking and partake in seasonal bird counts or sea turtle programs. Many of the activities are in cooperation with Big Lagoon State Recreation Area.

St. George Island State Park, (St. George Island, FL)
Nine miles of undeveloped beaches and dunes, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay, provide the perfect setting for a quiet getaway.

St. Pete Beach
155 Corey Ave.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

The City of St. Pete Beach offers a wide variety of parks and recreation amenities. In addition to our miles of sandy beach and water we offer picnic facilities, basketball and tennis courts as well as baseball fields and covered pavilions.

Treasure Island
120 108th Avenue
Treasure Island, FL 33706

Treasure Island is a special tropical community which engages nature and the water environment at every opportunity. The brilliant sun, white sandy beaches and glorious sunsets are parts of everyday life.

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