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UPDATED: November 2023 Looking for the best clearwater beaches in Florida? Whether you want to spend the day lazing on the sand or experience some of Florida’s best activities, here are some of the best clear water beaches, not to be confused with Clearwater Beach, in the Sunshine State for your next vacation.
Clearwater Beach is definitely on the list but many people search for clearwater beaches in Florida simply looking for beaches that have the clearest water.
Florida’s clear water beaches provide stunning scenery and breathtaking views, and you will find some of the best beaches on the Gulf Side of the state. That does not mean there aren’t clear water beaches on the Atlantic side because there are.
Ready to find the best beach for you? Grab your swimsuit and go!
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Best Clear Water Beaches In Florida Gulf Coast
Grayton Beach State Park
This Florida state park is not only highly rated for things to do but is also home to a popular beach. Hike, camp, swim, fish, boat, kayak, paddleboard and enjoy any other outdoor sport you like.
Love to snorkel? Definitely put this park on your list. The artificial coral reefs are located about 780 feet from the shore. The reefs are created in the shape of a sea turtle.
Keep in mind, this is not a snorkeling spot that you can walk to during low tide. You also must be a strong swimmer to snorkel these reefs.
Get more information here: Grayton Beach State Park
Clearwater Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Florida. This is not only the perfect place to enjoy the crystal clear water, but it also provides unparalleled beauty along its white sand shores.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities including swimming, surfing, snorkeling, beach volleyball, and sunbathing.
With plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance of the beach, Clearwater Beach is an ideal destination for your next beach getaway.
Get additional information on vacationing in Clearwater Beach here: Clearwater Beach Vacations
Treasure Island Beach, located at the south end of Clearwater Beach, features soft white sand and gentle waves. The calm waters make it a great spot for families with small children.
At sunset, one can experience the breathtaking views from the beach or watch from an outdoor patio at one of the many nearby restaurants.
Depending on the season, you may also be able to catch a glimpse of manatees or dolphins in the water.
With its easy beach access and plenty of parking available close by, it is an ideal spot for a peaceful day by the ocean.
Check current rates and availability here: Treasure Island Beach Vacation
St. Pete Beach
Located in the same area on the Gulf of Mexico as the above two, you will find pretty St. Pete Beach. This is one of the best places for fun in the sun.
Plenty to do also at this popular destination including jet skis, volleyball courts, picnic areas, and more. Pack your bags, because St. Pete Beach and St. Petersburg are both waiting for your visit.
Check current rates and availability here: St. Pete Beach Vacation
Pass A Grille Beach
Another funky, old Florida beach town with a lot of heart, is located in the historic district of St. Pete Beach. Spend the day relaxing on the beach and the evening enjoying one of the fantastic restaurants and nearby shops.
Check current rates and availability here: Pass A Grille Beach Vacation
Beautiful Redington Beach and Redington Shores are located between Madeira Beach and Indian Shores and are breathtakingly beautiful. This is the perfect area for those who prefer to be away from the crowds.
Enjoy walking along the shore as you keep glancing toward the water watching for dolphins. This area also has fantastic restaurants as well as shopping.
Check current rates and availability here: Redington Beach Vacation
Sunset Beach is located near St. Pete Beach, on the southern tip of Treasure Island. A really fun, beach lovers community that welcomes all.
Fun fact, Sunset Beach is rumored to have played a role in inspiring Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville song.
Check current rates and availability here: Sunset Beach Vacation
Caladesi Island State Park.
Caladesi Island State Park is just a short ferry ride away from Clearwater Beach and offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a barrier island.
With its three miles of natural sandy beaches, it is one of Florida’s best examples of seashore ecology. Visitors can camp on the island or take part in activities such as sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.
Take some time to explore the park’s mangroves, hammocks, and tidal flats perfect for bird watching.
Get additional information here: Caladesi Island State Park Vacation
Honeymoon Island State Park.
Honeymoon Island State Park is a popular spot for newlyweds and others who come to the beach in search of that perfect romantic getaway.
Located on the west side of Clearwater Beach, the park features a stunning white sand beach and plenty of shaded areas for relaxing.
There are several nature trails as well, perfect for exploring the island’s wildlife and vegetation.
Visitors can also launch their boats from one of two boat ramps found at the park or take part in rentals such as barbecue grills and kayaks.
Get additional information here: Honeymoon Island State Park Vacation
Nearby Tampa Bay also offers some amazing clear water. The best areas of Tampa Bay are Egmont Key and Passage Key. Both of these islands are located at the mouth of Tampa Bay and are very popular boating locations.
Check current rates and availability here: Tampa Bay Vacation
Fort De Soto State Park
Fort De Sota State Park is the ultimate beach paradise for anyone looking to experience crystal-clear waters. This beautiful beach is located in Pinellas County.
The shoreline stretches for miles, making it a great spot for swimming, sunbathing and unbeatable views. Enjoy sitting on the beach or kayaking along the shore line of the largest park with this park system.
Fort De Soto Park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands all waiting for you to explore.
Get additional information here: Fort De Soto Park
Indian Rocks Beach
Also located in Pinellas County is a breathtaking public beach, Indian Rock Beach. Short drive from either Tampa or St. Pete. And the sunsets are out of this world!
Check current rates and availability here: Indian Rocks Beach Vacation
Sand Key Park Beach
Sand Key Park also in the area, has two white sand beaches with blue waters. There are seasonal lifeguards on site.
Sea turtles nest here between the months of April through October. Traveling with your fur friend? You will find a dog park for your fur family to let off some energy near the beaches.
Check current rates and availability here: Sand Key Park Beach Vacation
Anna Maria Island
This barrier island is a bit south of the Clearwater Area located in Manatee County. Longboat Key, which also has sugar-white sand beaches is at the southern end of this island.
Water for dolphins and sea turtles. Prefer to be more active? You’re at the right beach. Enjoy parasailing, kayaking, surfing and boating.
Check current rates and availability here: Anna Maria Island Vacation
Listed by many as the number one beach not only in the USA but the world. For good reason.
When you want the perfect beach day, Siesta Beach delivers. The water clarity is amazing. It has become quite crowded though.
I would be sure to not visit during the busiest times which are spring break and during the spring months.
Siesta Key Beach tends to be less expensive and crowded in the later summer months. Keep in mind this is also the hurricane season.
Check current rates and availability here: Siesta Key Vacation
Sanibel Island and Captiva Island
I do not want to leave these two beautiful off this list. However, this is the area that was hit in Southwestern Florida by Hurricane Ian.
A few of the best things about these islands are the seashells and marine life. Before planning your Sanibel Island beach getaway, check for updates.
Check current rates and availability here: Sanibel Island And Captiva Island Vacation
Panama City Beach
Moving up the Panhandle brings us to the gorgeous white sand beaches of Panama City Beach. If you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere, PCB is your destination.
North of the above listed beaches, the area features 20 miles of white sandy beaches fringed with coconut palm trees and shallow waters. The Florida Panhandle has some of the clearest water in the United States.
You might even spot sea turtles swimming nearby. I have been able to spot those as well as manta rays and other marine animals from the balcony of the places I’ve stayed in.
For the beach enthusiast, this is an ideal spot to spend some time exploring the nearby state parks or simply relaxing in the cool coastal breezes.
In addition to swimming and sunning, visitors that love water sports can take part in boat rentals and fishing charters as well as parasailing and Jet Ski rides.
Check current rates and availability here: Panama City Beach Vacation
Santa Rosa Beach
Also on the Florida Panhandle is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Santa Rosa Beach.
This beach is located on the Emerald Coast with crystal-clear water and white-sand beaches. Plenty to do here as well. Enjoy events, shopping and nature lovers will be head over heals for Topsail Hill Preserve.
Before we leave the best clearwater beaches in Florida on the Gulf side, I want to include Navarre Beach.
Check current rates and availability here: Santa Rosa Beach Vacation
Before we leave the Florida Panhandle and Santa Rosa Beach, we need to chat about Navarre Beach. It is located on Santa Rosa Island. This island is east of Pensacola Beach.
The natural beauty of this area will have you returning year after year. Turquoise waters and pristine beaches, makes this location one of the best Florida beaches.
Check current rates and availability here: Navarre Beach Vacation
Best Clearwater Beaches In florida Atlantic Ocean
You have probably figured out I prefer the Gulf Side of the state, but over on the Atlantic Ocean side of the state, the beaches aren’t quite as clear but still worth visiting. The top picks are:
When you want beautiful beaches AND nightlife, Miami Beach delivers. Check out South Beach, North Beach as well as Key Biscayne all nestled on the Southeastern part of the Atlantic Coast.
Check current rates and availability here: Miami Beach Vacation
Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Hollywood Beach
You will find these beautiful beaches in Broward County. My old stomping ground. I am partial to Hollywood Beach.
Again, not as clear as the Gulf beaches mentioned above, but these three beaches are beautiful as well. Many have picnic tables, grilles, pavilions, as well as lifeguards during season.
You can also find live music at many of the bars and restaurants that line the boardwalk and sandy beaches. Also, easy access onto the beach from a nearby parking lot make this area great for families.
Check current rates and availability here: Fort Lauderdale Beach Vacation
If you love to golf or play tennis, this is the destination for you. Enjoy the clear water and beautiful beach after you hit the tennis courts or squeeze in a golf game in the morning.
Located in Palm Beach County, this part of the Sunshine State offers some of the clearest water on not only the Atlantic Side but the state in general. A fantastic choice for those who love an active vacation.
Check current rates and availability here: Palm Beach Vacation
Vero Beach is about as far north on the Atlantic Side of the state for clear water. And then it depends. I have visited more times when it was clear versus when it was a murky steel gray color.
Vero Beach though has some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever visit. Plenty of things to do from water sports to golfing to shopping.
Check current rates and availability here: Vero Beach Vacation
Rounding off the list is the beautiful Florida Keys. Heaven on earth.
As soon as you leave the mainland, you feel like you are taking a step back in time. Your body immediately begins to relax.
You also get the best of both worlds as the Keys have the Gulf Coast on one side and the Atlantic on the other. Key Largo at the top of the Key chain is a great place to hit Gulf Coast beaches while in Key West, you will want the Atlantic Side.
Key West is entertainment defined! After spending the day at Smathers Beach enjoying the calm water, hit Duval and enjoy street performers, great food and drink as well as shops.
Before leaving Key West, I cannot emphasize enough hopping on a boat and heading over to spend the day at Dry Tortugas National Park. In addition to the history on these islands, the snorkeling is amazing.
Check current rates and availability here: Key West Vacation
That rounds up this list of Clearwater (Clear Water) Beaches in Florida for this year.
The following links will help you plan the perfect Sunshine State Getaway:
Top Vacation Rentals Panama City Beach
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Be sure to grab my travel tips to save you time and money. You’ll also be entered into the weekly drawings.
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