Best Beach Destinations in Florida – Top 5 (2020)

Florida beaches have everything a trendsetting traveler could want for a holiday getaway — unbeatable scenery, exciting activities and energetic crowds, and crystal clear water to match the white sand.

With so many beach options throughout the state, narrowing down a selection to visit may seem overwhelming, but rest assured — we’ve used Travel + Leisure Magazine’s ranking to help determine the most pristine beaches for travelers of all kinds. Selection was determined from scenery, location, and variety of activities in order to provide a diverse selection of options.

These are the 5 best beach destinations in Florida that must be visited the summer of 2020. 

1. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Key West

Looking for a shoreline with spotless blue skies, pure white sand, and translucent water that easily create beautiful pictures to send to all of your landlocked friends? Fort Zachary Taylor is the most instagrammable beach in Florida —maybe even in all of America!

Open from 8 a.m. until sundown every day of the year, this spot is one of the more unique beaches in Florida because it doubles as a historical monument. Since the beach is located in a state park, there are a variety of other immersive activities to do other than sunbathe along the shores, such as biking, hiking, snorkeling, or even bird-watching.

The Florida Keys provides the perfect backdrop for any activity, elevating Fort Zachary Taylor beyond the typical Florida beach experience of camping out along the shores with a beer and a book. There is a $4.00 entrance fee per vehicle and the closest airport is the Key West International Airport. Check out the best domestic flight deals.

Fort Zachary Taylor beach
The aerial view of Key West resort town beach in Fort Zachary Taylor park (Florida).

2. South Beach, Miami

Planning on traveling to Florida? No perfect Florida vacation is complete without a trip to South Beach, especially for the younger crowd. South Beach is not your grandma’s beach — so if you’re looking for a slow-paced beach with nothing but the sand and water, look elsewhere.

The appeal that South Beach offers is its vibrancy. Rollerbladers whiz by, groups of young locals gather to tan along the beach, sand flies as athletes dive for a beach volleyball — a day at South Beach is never boring!

It is easily one of the most popular beaches in Florida, and rightfully so. Located in Miami, a city full of nightlife and culture, South Beach ensures that any visitor will have easy access to entertainment on the beach and beyond. Miami International Airport is the closest option for flights to South Beach. Check out the best domestic flight deals.

South Beach Miami

3. Cocoa Beach, Brevard County

Cocoa Beach is one of the best surfing beaches in Florida but visitors should not feel daunted by the surf if they’ve never even ridden a board once in their lives.

Cocoa Beach’s untarnished scenery is breathtaking enough on its own to warrant a visit. Even more, the group of surfers floating in the water give Cocoa Beach an atmosphere that is markedly different from those of the larger party beaches in Florida.

Cocoa Beach has easy access to some of the best things to do in Cape Canaveral, such as the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the Lori Wilson Park.

Rather than visit a popular destination overcrowded with tourists and rowdy beachgoers, why not experience something with a distinctive flavor that can’t be found elsewhere? The closest airport is the Orlando Melbourne International Airport. Check out the best domestic flight deals.

Cocoa Beach Florida

4. South Beach Park, Vero Beach

One of the most iconic beaches in Florida for family vacationers, South Beach Park in Vero Beach is often instantly recognizable by name. Located in a quiet, residential town with suburban charm and a slow-paced lifestyle, the focus of South Beach Park isn’t on energetic boardwalk activities or crowds of young partiers, but rather on the sun, sand, and waves.

South Beach Park is the epitome of a great Florida beach and encapsulates the image people have about Florida perfectly. Some of the amenities that South Beach Park offers are picnic areas, food vendors, onsite lifeguards.

Access is available 24/7, so it’s easy to arrive for an early sunrise and appreciate the simple beauty of South Park Beach before other visitors start to come. The town of Vero Beach is known for golf, water sports, and a variety of other great activities.

The area has a large number of accommodation options, including a Disney Beach Resort, making lodging easy. There are plenty of fun things to do in Vero Beach and South Beach Park is just one of them!

The closest airport is the Orlando Melbourne International Airport and shuttles are available from Orlando to Vero Beach. Check out the best domestic flight deals.

5. Clearwater Beach, Clearwater

Clearwater Beach is one of Florida’s most popular beaches. The small-town atmosphere is charming and laid-back. Although there are undeniably crowds, they’re nothing like the rowdy groups of beachgoers who hit up popular Florida beach towns such as Ft. Lauderdale; instead, Clearwater Beach’s visitors are far more subdued, making it a perfect beach for relaxing or trying a new beachside activity.

The boardwalk has plenty of shops and sights to experience if you’re seeking a temporary escape from the sand and sun. Though marketed primarily towards families — and offering a variety of family-friendly fun to keep people of all ages occupied — the stunning clarity of the water and picturesque views can satisfy vacationers of all backgrounds.

Clearwater Beach is located near Tampa Bay, making it a perfect beach day destination for vacationers in the city to check out the thriving Cuban influences. The closest airports to Clearwater are the Tampa International Airport and the St.Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Check out the best domestic flight deals.

Clearwater Beach
Picture by Cody Board


Florida beaches are known throughout the country — and the world — for all-night parties, stunning scenery, and clear waters. This summer, check out the best beaches in Florida as the temperature rises and the restaurants open using the choices from our comprehensive list. Whatever Florida beach you end up vacationing at to beat the heat, rest assured that any of these options will ensure that you experience an unforgettable summer getaway.

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