Florida is known as the Sunshine State for a reason. With over 825 miles of coastline and average temperatures in the 70s, it’s no wonder this state is a top vacation destination. Sunshine and a beach with some of the clearest water in Florida is our kind of vacation. And what’s a beach vacation without crystal clear water?
Whether you are looking to relax on the beach, take a swim, go snorkeling, or scuba diving, you want to be sure to pick a beach with water that is as clear as possible, and Florida has no shortage of these types of beaches. The state is rather big, so to help narrow down your search, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best beaches with the clearest water in Florida.
1. Destin Beach
Destin Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Florida and is located on the Emerald Coast, and has some of the clearest water in Florida. The emerald waters get their color from the white sand that lines the bottom of the ocean. This beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. The crystal clear water in Destin is very calm and clear, making it ideal for snorkeling around the shore.
The photo above was taken with our drone while out on a boat exploring crab island. It was one our highlights of the trip, we suggest taking this tour out to crab island.
If you’re looking for a little more excitement, you can try your hand at parasailing or jet skiing. And when you’re ready to take a break from the water, plenty of shops and restaurants are lining the beach. You can find everything from souvenirs to swimwear to seafood. Destin has become a hotspot for vacationers from all over, and it’s easy to see why with its beautiful clear water and sugar-white sand beaches.
- Our Favorite Tour – Crab Island Sandbar Adventure on a Tiki Bar
2. Panama City Beach
PARTY! PARTY! PARTY! Panama City Beach is known for its nightlife, with numerous bars and clubs lining the streets. This beach is perfect for spring breakers or anyone looking to let loose and have a good time. I suggest avoiding this beach during peak season if you’re not into the party scene.
Adam and I both partook in spring break in Panama City Beach and had a blast as college students. If you want a chill Florida spring break with your kids, make sure to avoid March and early April.
During the day, you can enjoy the sun and the water with plenty of activities to keep you busy. There are parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides available. You can also just relax on the beach or take a walk down the boardwalk. You will have beautiful crystal clear water. However, the beach can occasionally be a bit dirty, but that is to be expected with such a high volume of visitors.
- Our Favorite Tour – Shell Island Snorkel. and Dolphin Catamaran Cruise
3. Clearwater Beach
Saving the best for last, or at least in my opinion. Clearwater Beach is my favorite beach in Florida, and it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sun. This beach has everything you could want, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and activities. There is a beautiful three-mile-long boardwalk that is perfect for a morning jog or evening stroll.
The water here is some of the clearest in Florida and is perfect for swimming or sunbathing. The sand is also incredibly soft and white, making it a joy to walk on. If you are looking for a beautiful beach with crystal-clear water and plenty of things to do, Clearwater Beach is the perfect place. If you ask us, it is one of the best beaches in Florida for families.
If you are a foodie, make sure to visit some of the best restaurants in Clearwater. One of our favorites, Frenchy’s Rockaway, is right on the beach with great sea views.
If you are looking for a gorgeous place for a honeymoon in Florida, check out The Don CeSar hotel. It is located about 45 minutes from Clearwater on St. Pete Beach.
- Our Favorite Tour – Clearwater Encounters with Dolphins Tour, this tour is super affordable, and it gets you out on the water to see dolphins in the wild
4. Caladesi Island
Caladesi Island is one of the few undeveloped barrier islands in Florida and is a true nature lover’s paradise. This island is only accessible by boat, but getting there is well worth the effort. You can take a ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park or Clearwater Beach. Another fun option is taking this tour, which is a kayak adventure out to the island in some of the clearest water in Florida.
Once you arrive, you’ll find miles of unspoiled beaches, mangrove forests, and nature trails. Caladesi Island is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and just relax in nature. We visited on our last Clearwater & St Petersburg family vacation. We spent the afternoon in the park. We could have easily spent the whole day. There are so many great things to do in Clearwater but if you have time, make the trip out to Caladesi Island.
There are no restaurants on the island, but there are concession stands where you can buy snacks and drinks. However, I recommend packing some food and making a whole day of the island. It is truly one of the most special places in Florida, with insanely blue waters and an abundance of wildlife.
- Our Favorite Tour – Kayak Adventure at Caladesi Island
5. Navarre Beach
Navarre Beach is located on the Florida panhandle and is well known for its beautiful, sugar-white sand beaches and emerald green waters. Navarre beach is the perfect spot for those looking for a tucked-away beach vacation. This beach is less crowded than some of the more well-known beaches in Florida, and its clear water makes it ideal for swimming, fishing, and snorkeling.
You will have 12 miles of coast in Navarre with plenty of biking and walking trails to explore. You can also find a number of restaurants and bars in the area if you’re looking for a bite to eat or a refreshing cocktail. I love packing a picnic to spend the whole day at the beach and taking advantage of the many tables scattered along the coastline.
If you are planning a spring break in Florida, you might be looking to stay in Destin or Pensacola. Navarre Beach is halfway between Destin and Pensacola, so it is easy to visit this beach when staying in either of those cities.
- Our Favorite Tour – Night Glow Kayak Paddle in Navarre Beach
6. Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is located about 70 miles west of Key West and is only accessible by boat or seaplane. This national park is made up of seven small islands and is home to one of the largest collections of coral reefs in the world. The clear water makes for excellent snorkeling and scuba diving, and there are plenty of fish to see.
The area’s biggest attraction is Fort Jefferson, which was formerly a penitentiary in the Civil War. Learn about its history and participate in a variety of activities with one of our guides. After learning about the island’s history, check out some of the secluded beaches and explore the crystal-clear waters. After a long day of exploring, you can set up camp on the beach and sleep under the stars.
When planning out what Key West attractions you want to see/do, you must set aside an entire day to visit Dry Tortugas.
7. Siesta Key
Siesta Key Beach is located on the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota and is well known for its fine, powdery sand and some of the clearest water in Florida. The sand is so soft that it actually squeaks when you walk on it. Siesta key beach is a long stretch of crystal clear water and is perfect for family fun. Build sandcastles, kick the soccer ball around, or just relax on a beach towel and enjoy the views.
Siesta Key is one of the most popular beaches in Florida. It can get pretty crowded during peak season. If you’re looking for a more secluded spot, stick to the beach’s southern end. But no matter where you go on Siesta key, you’re sure to enjoy the clear water and beautiful sand.
8. Smathers Beach
With palm-lined pathways and thatched roofs, Smathers Beach looks like it’s out of a postcard. Smathers Beach is located in Key West and is the perfect place to relax and soak up some sun. You can find plenty of chairs and umbrellas for rent, or you can just lay out a towel on the sand.
Key west beaches are all quite small, but Smathers beach is the largest at nearly a mile long. This beach has something for everyone: volleyball courts, a playground, and even a butterfly conservatory. You can also take a stroll down the pier to enjoy some spectacular views of the water.
9. Rosemary Beach
Looking to live like a Florida local? Then Rosemary Beach is the place for you. This beach is located on the Florida panhandle in Walton county and is one of the more secluded beaches in Florida on this list. The community is extremely close-knit and brings the feeling of family when you are here.
Rosemary Beach feels like a dream with the promenade that leads you right to the beach and wrap-around porches for you to enjoy a cup of joe or an evening cocktail. A day at the beach is perfect with white sand and crystal clear water, making it perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or just taking a walk.
10. Jupiter Inlet Beach
Jupiter Inlet Beach is located on the Atlantic coast of Florida in Jupiter. Jupiter is a great place for some water sports with warm, calm waters. You can go kayaking, paddle boarding, and even windsurfing. If you’re looking to just relax on the beach, there are plenty of chairs and umbrellas for rent.
This beach is also great for fishing, both from the shore and from a boat. You can catch a variety of fish, including snapper, grouper, and catfish. DuBois Park is one of my favorite places to explore because it contains numerous shallow coves and lagoons that are unlike any place else in the area. Jupiter is rather small compared to the other places on this list, but there are so many nooks and crannies to explore that you’ll never be bored.