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Best Gulf Coast Beaches in Florida For Your Next Vacation

UPDATED 06/2023. Ahhhh The emerald green and turquoise waters of the Gulf Coast Beaches in Florida instantly releases any stress from my body. Of all the bodies of waters I have had the pleasure of visiting and vacationing at, the Gulf Coast of Florida is by far my favorite. Picking my top five for the list of Best Gulf Coast Beaches in Florida? Not so easy.

Ready fellow beach lovers to explore Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches? The beaches along the Sunshine State’s West Coast are absolutely breathtaking.

I have visited a lot of beaches including those along the shores of Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, but nothing is as beautiful as Florida. At least in my opinion.

Grab your beach bag and make sure you have your sunglasses and sunblock because you will not want to leave these beaches. Beautiful emerald green turquoise waters and white sandy beaches you cannot wait to sink your butt onto the sand.

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You may think I’m over the top with my love of beaches, but I’m definitely not alone. Many beach lovers from around the globe also visited these Gulf Beaches year after year.

It’s really hard for me to pick my favorite beaches, but I was able to come up with my top five of the best Gulf Coast Beaches in Florida. Ready? Not in any order but you KNOW Panama City Beach is my number one, so I’ll start there.

At the bottom of this article, I have placed additional links to help you plan your Gulf Coast Vacation.


Ready? Let’s find your next favorite beach:

  • Panama City Beach. My heart lies in Panama City Beach, and it’s my number one for good reason. Not only are the beaches gorgeous, the people – both locals and visitors – are amazing. Lot of “Roll Tide” in the air but nothing that this Seminole and Buckeye fan can’t get over. Nothing better than beginning and ending the day on the beach in Panama City Beach. Beyond beautiful sunrises and sunsets. When you need to get off the beach for a while, there are plenty of other things to do from Pier Park to Marineland to fantastic restaurants and shopping.
  • Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola Beach. I’m going to put these three beaches together even though every one is amazing. Like PCB, beautiful emerald green waters and white sandy beaches along with your choice of outdoor activities from fishing to golfing to hiking.
  • Clearwater Beach. Moving down the coast, I really hate to skip over the beaches in between, but I’m limiting myself to only five. Next on my list is beautiful Clearwater Beach. Near Tampa/St. Pete, Clearwater Beach is easy to access from the Tampa/St. Pete Airport. Again the beaches are out of this world with their white sand and beautiful water. I have camped as well as stayed in beachfront hotels along with VRBO homes and have enjoyed every single visit. My favorite activity to date was a beautiful sunset cruise.
  • Siesta Key. Ah, Siesta Key. Rated the number one beach in the USA. And for good reason. Of course the beautiful sandy beaches may be the par of it. But there is so much more. Siesta Key is a barrier island off the Gulf Coast. Only about 8 miles long, this island is jam packed with fun things to do including many resorts, shopping, dining and outdoor activities. I don’t get to this beautiful island often enough, and it’s on my list for this year.
Best Gulf Coast Beaches in Florida
Clearwater Beach
  • My final pick may surprise you. It’s Key Largo which is the first of the Florida Keys. Ocean to the east and Gulf to the west, there’s nothing I don’t love about this slice of paradise. From the moment you hit the bridge that will take you into the Florida Keys, you’ll find yourself not only relaxing but enjoying the drive. And then you arrive. The west side of the island is on the Gulf and absolutely breathtaking. Even though this is an article about the best beaches on the Gulf, there’s nothing to sneeze about when you go across the island to the beaches on the Atlantic. So much to do on this little island as well. Be sure to visit Camp Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and enjoy snorkeling over the beautiful reef. Also fun is to rent a kayak or canoe and meander through the mangroves.

And my list actually goes on and on, but I’ll stop right here with my list of the best Gulf Coast Beaches in Florida. Pick one and go!

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About Denise

Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH.  Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise

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