At the Beach — April 7, 2014 at 5:00 am

A Guide to Florida’s Best Beaches

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Without fail, Florida manages to make a splash in the news each year regarding something ridiculous or just incredibly absurd, such the man that attacked his girlfriend with a banana or the human foot in a shoe found on the beach.

But, if you look underneath all the weirdness—the sunshine state has got it going on when it comes to the beach, boasting some of the most beautiful shorelines in the nation. Here are 8 Florida beaches you need to visit.

Palm Beach
It says a lot about why the rich choose to play here. Bathtub-warm water, soft sand and impossibly turquoise waves make this luxurious island the place to soak up the sun and escape the heat on a hot summer day. When you’ve had enough of the salt, traverse the shops and restaurants on infamous Worth Avenue and check out the nightlife on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach—you’ll never be bored.

Roger Wallstadt / http://www.flickr.com/photos/24736216@N07/3962899372

Roger Wallstadt / http://www.flickr.com/photos/24736216@N07/3962899372

Siesta Key
If you’re looking for wide-open beaches, silky white sand and calm, warm water then head to Siesta Key located on the Gulf of Mexico. This shoreline is perfect for a full day of beach enjoyment whether embarking on a relaxing stroll, shell collecting or renting a kayak for a paddle through the azure waters.

Jeffrey Pott / http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpott/6402543091

Jeffrey Pott / http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpott/6402543091

Ponte Vedra Beach
You can find this classy beach town tucked along the Jacksonville coast, and though the ocean here isn’t very clear or blue, the waves that kiss the northeast Florida shore are perfect for surfers and the beach is wide and hard packed-perfect for beach cruising. Grab a bike and zip down the shore to neighboring Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach for plenty of local restaurants, bars and beach shops.

Mark Kortum / http://www.flickr.com/photos/mutrock/7612323850

Mark Kortum / http://www.flickr.com/photos/mutrock/7612323850

Captiva Island
Located along beautiful Sanibel, this island is chock full of gorgeous shells of all shapes and sizes—particularly large shells that remain in tact. The currents here are known to be strong, but when it comes to shell hunting, you won’t be disappointed. When the day is done, head to Captiva Beach, known for sunsets bursting with bright colors that’ll take your breath away.

nikoretro / http://www.flickr.com/photos/bellatrix6/29124786

nikoretro / http://www.flickr.com/photos/bellatrix6/29124786

Naples
You get it all in Naples- crisp, white sand, warm aquamarine water and beautiful mansions that speckle the coast on Millionaire’s Row. This is a great place to vacay with the family, especially at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Bring along a picnic and snorkeling gear and spend the day exploring some of the best coastline Florida has to offer.

Julian Knutzen / http://www.flickr.com/photos/jknutzen/10082033824

Julian Knutzen / http://www.flickr.com/photos/jknutzen/10082033824

Clearwater Beach
This beach has been attracting visitors from all over the globe due of its unrivaled beauty and all around reputation as one of the nation’s finest shorelines. Clearwater beach straddles the Gulf Coast and Tampa bay offering a plethora of nightlife and shopping options close by and perfect beach conditions, deep sea fishing excursions and dolphin watching.

Jeremy Wilburn / http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremywilburn/3014696310

Jeremy Wilburn / http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremywilburn/3014696310

Pensacola Beach
For soft snowy sand and large, rolling dunes head to Pensacola beach nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay. This northwest gem boasts fewer crowds than most beaches down south and there is plenty to see and do around this panhandle city, from stand up paddle boarding to mini golf and snorkeling.

Innisfree Hotels / http://www.flickr.com/photos/riptidessportsgrill/6995020449

Innisfree Hotels / http://www.flickr.com/photos/riptidessportsgrill/6995020449

James Lee Park Beach
Little commercial development here means fewer people, cleaner beaches and serene settings. You can find James Lee Park Beach in Destin, FL along scenic highway 98. If you’re feeling more of a peaceful vibe and nature is calling your name, head to this pristine shore and leave your worries behind as you take in the shimmering water and squeaky clean white sand.

Ed Hart / http://www.flickr.com/photos/eh3k/5105185771

Ed Hart / http://www.flickr.com/photos/eh3k/5105185771

like panama jack

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