USA Flag   Florida Beaches

 

The best Florida beaches may be in the Panhandle but with hundreds of miles of beach to choose from, you may elect a location best suited to your tastes. Review pictures of many of Florida's coastal cities and their beaches.

 

Miles of Florida Beaches 

There are almost 700 miles of sandy Florida beaches out of the 1200 miles ofClearwater Beach, Florida - miles of white, sandy beaches, coastline wrapping the state from Perdido Key in the extreme west of the Panhandle to Amelia Island's Fort Clinch in Northeast Florida. Most of these beaches are composed of a fine-to-coarse grade sand. The remaining 500 miles of non-beach coastline area is comprised mostly of salt marshes and mangrove wetlands which are very shallow areas along the coast where grasses and trees dominate. While these areas can be wonderful for fishermen, boaters and naturalists they do little for those seeking sand and surf. Florida's lack of mountainous features also means there are no great stretches of rocky coastline areas, seen frequently in other USA locations. 

 

How Sandy Beaches are Formed and Maintained

Sandy beaches can be formed when there is readily available sand justFlorida Beaches - Barefoot Beach, south of Bonita Beach. offshore and a "wave action" or surf from the sea. In this operation the normal wave action or surf brings sand to the shore where some of it remains. We can think of this as a "sand deposit" and it is a slow, constant building process causing the beach to get higher in elevation and extend further into the sea. Many sandy islands, both large and small, have been formed by exactly this process. Larger waves, however, tend to remove sand from a beach. Very powerful storms, like hurricanes, make very large waves which are capable of eliminating beaches and islands entirely. After the storms, though, the beach building process usually returns to its normal, wave-after-wave, sandy build-up. At some Florida beaches, after a large erosion of sand, the beach is rapidly rebuilt by mechanical methods, usually consisting of giant barge-mounted pumps siphoning sand from the sea floor and depositing it on the beach.

 

Composition of Florida Beaches

While most people think of beaches as strips of sandy shoreline, beaches can be composed of mud, rock, shell, gravel, coral and other elements. Ocean currents constantly move enormous amounts of material from place to place along the ocean floor. As an example, rocks from a riverbed can be found tens or hundreds of miles away on the ocean bottom or the local seashore. Whatever has been deposited on the ocean floor justFlorida Beaches - Daytona Beach offshore will eventually be broken, crushed and ground into the main ingredient for the beach surface. 

 

Thankfully, Florida has many miles of sandy coastline and the composition of most of the beaches is predominately sand but it does vary significantly from location to location. The middle and western Panhandle has fine, white, powdery beach sand - over 100 miles of it. Many grade the beaches there higher than anywhere else in Florida. The Florida Keys have some fine, sandy beaches, particularly at Bahia Honda Key but the upper Keys' shorelines can be rocky and/or muddy and around Key West the beaches can be a mixture of  small coral and shell bits in the sands. Southwest Florida, from Marco Island to the Tampa Bay area has beaches that range from the fine quartz sand at Siesta Key to the more coarse sandy beaches with a mixed content of small broken shell bits found at Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach. The sands along many East coast beaches vary from a grayish-white to a reddish-brown, with many having a characteristic content of small gravel and broken shell bits. Some areas are also craggy and have small rocky outcrops in the sands. However, these are all predominately sandy beaches and neither the size or color of the sand nor content of shell bits or other imperfections are reliable indicators of the enjoyment to be had.

 

The Best of Florida Beaches

As with determining the best of anything, trying to establish the best FloridaScene on many Florida beaches. beach depends upon who is doing the rating. There are those who do rate beaches as scientifically as possible and come to some very sane and believable conclusions. However, they are trying to establish a "beach quality" and in many cases overlook some factors, particularly the human one.

 

If you are planning a Florida beach vacation, it may be far better for you to select a beach to visit based upon your own desires rather than someone's "best beach" selection. For instance, those looking to surf would probably concentrate on the upper-to-central East Coast beaches. The beaches themselves are not in the class of the west Panhandle beaches but the surfing is much better. At Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach, the atmosphere is much like a "Disney World by the Sea" with rides and attractions. The beaches there have a fine, white, powdery sand and Daytona permits the added thrill of driving and parking on the beach. Those desiring a more tropical beach destination would head for South Florida, either coast, where tropical palm trees,  flowering bushes and white, sandy beaches set the mood year round. 

 

Tips for the beachgoer

Pictures of beach houses in Florida

Florida Vacation Destinations featuring Florida's First Tourist

Feature Articles about Florida

Florida Historical Places, Maps, State and National Parks links

 

 

 

NORTH FLORIDA

Perdido Key

Pensacola Beach

Pensacola

Navarre Beach

Fort Walton Beach

Destin

Miramar Beach

Santa Rosa Beach

Blue Mountain Beach

Grayton Beach

Watercolor

Seaside

Seagrove

Panama City Beach

Mexico Beach

St. Joe Beach

Port St. Joe

Cape San Blas

Apalachicola

St. George Island

Alligator Point

TAMPA FL AREA

Cedar Key

Homosassa Springs

New Port Richey

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater

Indian Rocks Beach

Indian Shores

Redington Beach

Tampa

Madeira Beach

Treasure Island

St. Pete Beach

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Anna Maria Island

Bradenton

Longboat Key

Sarasota

Siesta Key

Venice

Hideaway Gulf Islands - Gasparilla

Englewood - Manasota Key

Rotonda

Port Charlotte

Punta Gorda

Boca Grande

Cape Coral

Fort Myers

Fort Myers Beach

Pine Island

Captiva Island

Sanibel Island

Bonita Beach - S. Ft Myers

Naples

Marco Island

FLORIDA KEYS

Key Largo

Tavernier

Islamorada

Marathon

Big Pine Key

Key West

NORTHEAST FL

Amelia Island

Jacksonville

Atlantic Beach

Neptune Beach

Jacksonville Beach

St. Augustine

St. Augustine Beach

Palm Coast

Ormond Beach

Daytona Beach

Ponce Inlet

New Smyrna Beach

Titusville

Cocoa Beach

Satellite Beach

Melbourne

Melbourne Beach

Vero Beach

Fort Pierce

Hutchinson Island

Jensen Beach

Jupiter

SOUTHEAST FL

Palm Beach Gardens

Boynton Beach

Delray Beach

Boca Raton

Pompano Beach

Lauderdale by the Sea

Fort Lauderdale

Hollywood

Miami

Miami Beach

ORLANDO/Central FL

Orlando

Kissimmee

Sebring

OTHER USA

ALABAMA

MAINE

NORTH CAROLINA

SOUTH CAROLINA

VIRGINIA

 

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