In this guide, I will share with you my top picks for the best beaches in North Florida. Whether you are a family looking for a fun and safe beach, a pet owner who wants to bring their furry friend along, a shell collector in search of unique finds, or a surfer ready to ride some waves, there is a beach in North Florida that is perfect for you.
Exploring North Florida’s Coastal Gems
North Florida is home to some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in the country. With miles of pristine white sand, crystal clear waters, and a laid-back vibe, North Florida beaches are the ultimate coastal escapes. Here are some of the top beaches in the region:
St. Augustine Beach
|4 miles of pristine beach, fishing pier, volleyball courts, playground, picnic areas, and nearby restaurants and shops
St. Augustine Beach is a popular destination with both locals and tourists. With its wide expanse of beach, ample amenities and nearby attractions, it’s the perfect spot for a fun-filled day at the beach.
|13 miles of pristine beach, historic downtown district, nearby state parks, and unique shops and restaurants
Fernandina Beach, located on Amelia Island, is a charming and quaint destination with plenty of things to see and do. Spend the day lounging on the beach, exploring the historic district, or indulging in some retail therapy at the local boutiques.
|12 miles of pristine beach, Navarre Beach Marine Science Center, nearby Gulf Islands National Seashore, and miles of walking trails
Navarre Beach is a hidden gem located on the quiet side of the Emerald Coast. With its stunningly beautiful beaches, nature trails and abundant wildlife, it’s the perfect spot for a peaceful getaway.
No matter which beach you choose to visit, North Florida’s coastal gems are sure to provide the ultimate beach experience.
Family-Friendly Fun in North Florida Beaches
As a parent, I know firsthand the importance of finding a family-friendly beach destination. Fortunately, North Florida boasts several beaches that cater to families with young children, offering a wide range of amenities and activities suitable for all ages.
One such beach is Amelia Island, located just off the coast of Jacksonville. With its calm waters and gentle surf, it’s the perfect spot for families with young children to wade and play. Plus, its nearby restaurants and tourist attractions make it an ideal place to spend an entire day.
|A calm beach with gentle surf, ideal for young children to wade and play.
|Restaurants, nearby attractions
|St. Augustine Beach
|A popular, family-friendly beach with a variety of amenities and activities.
|Picnic areas, playgrounds, restrooms, showers
Another great family-friendly beach is St. Augustine Beach, which offers a variety of amenities including picnic areas, playgrounds, restrooms, and showers. This beach is also a popular spot for fishing and surfing, making it a great choice for families with older children.
Overall, North Florida beaches offer a fun and safe environment for families to enjoy a day by the sea. Whether you’re looking for calm waters for young children, or a place to fish and surf with older kids, North Florida has you covered.
Wagging Tails Welcome: Dog-Friendly Beaches in North Florida
If you’re a dog owner looking for a beach getaway in North Florida, you’re in luck. This region offers a number of dog-friendly beaches, where you and your furry friend can enjoy the sun, sand, and waves.
|Fort De Soto Park
|Dogs allowed on all areas of the beach, must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times
|St. Augustine Beach
|Dogs allowed on the beach before 9am and after 5pm from May 1st to October 1st, and all day from October 1st to April 30th, must be on a leash no longer than 7 feet
It’s important to note that some beaches have specific rules and regulations for pets, so be sure to check before you go. Also, don’t forget to bring plenty of water and clean up after your pet to help keep these beaches clean and enjoyable for everyone.
Shells Galore: Beaches in North Florida for Shell Collectors
If you’re an avid shell collector or just enjoy a relaxing stroll along the beach, North Florida’s beaches are the perfect destination. With a variety of shells to discover, the region is a popular spot for many shell enthusiasts. Here are some of the best beaches in North Florida for shell collecting.
|What to Expect
|St. George Island State Park
|St. George Island
|Shells in all shapes and colors are abundant, especially after high tide
|Panama City Beach
|Panama City Beach
|For the best shelling experience, visit during low tide and after a storm
In addition to these popular beaches, there are also several lesser-known spots that offer great opportunities for shell collecting, such as the beaches around Cedar Key and the tiny island of Honeymoon in Dunedin.
When collecting shells, keep in mind that it is illegal to collect certain shells, such as live sand dollars and queen conch shells. Always be respectful of the natural environment and only take what is allowed.
Overall, North Florida’s beaches are a shell collector’s dream come true. With so many beaches to explore and shells to discover, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular activity in the region.
Riding the Waves: Surfing Beaches in North Florida
If you’re a surfing enthusiast, North Florida offers some amazing opportunities to ride the waves and catch the perfect swell. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to learn, these top surfing beaches in the region have something to offer.
Located in the heart of Jacksonville, this beach offers consistent waves and a fun atmosphere. The long pier creates a break that produces some of the best waves on the East Coast, and there are plenty of surf shops and schools nearby for beginners. Be sure to check the surf report before you go and be mindful of the crowds on weekends and holidays.
New Smyrna Beach
This popular beach town is known for its consistent waves and laid-back vibe. The north side of the inlet is a favorite spot among locals, while the south side is home to some great surf schools and rental shops. The beach is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along for the ride.
If you’re looking for a challenge, Ponce Inlet is the spot for you. The waves are big and powerful, and the current can be strong, making it best for experienced surfers. The beach is located in a quiet residential area, so parking can be limited. But if you can find a spot, the waves are worth it.
Remember to always surf with caution, respect the locals, and follow all beach and surfing regulations. With these top surfing beaches in North Florida, you’ll be sure to catch some amazing waves and create unforgettable memories.
Camping by the Coast: Beaches in North Florida for Outdoor Enthusiasts
For those who love the outdoors and want to experience the beauty of North Florida beaches up close, camping is a great option. Not only does it allow you to fully immerse yourself in nature, but it also provides convenient access to the beach and nearby outdoor activities.
|Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
|RV and tent sites available
|Showers, laundry facilities, hiking trails, playground, beach access
|Yes, reservations required
|Fort Clinch State Park
|Tent and cabin camping available
|Showers, picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing pier, beach access
|Yes, reservations required
At Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, visitors can choose from RV and tent sites, both of which offer stunning views of dunes and white-sand beaches. The park also features hiking trails, a playground, and beach access. Those looking for a more secluded camping experience can opt for Fort Clinch State Park, which offers tent and cabin camping options. In addition to beach access, the park features hiking trails, a fishing pier, and picnic areas.
It’s important to note that both parks require reservations, so it’s best to plan ahead. Additionally, there are rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety and preservation of the parks and their wildlife. Visitors are encouraged to review these guidelines before their trip.
In addition to these parks, there are several other beaches in North Florida that offer camping options. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the experience, camping by the coast is a great way to enjoy all that North Florida beaches have to offer.
North Florida Beaches: An Unforgettable Coastal Escape
As our guide to North Florida beaches comes to a close, I hope that you are left inspired to plan your own coastal escape. Whether you are a family with young children, a surfer looking for the perfect wave, or a shell collector on the hunt for treasures, North Florida beaches offer something for everyone.
From the top beaches with pristine white sand, to hidden gems off the beaten path, these coastal destinations are sure to leave a lasting impression. And for those who love the great outdoors, the camping opportunities at some of these beaches provide a unique way to experience the natural beauty of the region.
So why not pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and head to North Florida for an unforgettable coastal adventure? With so many options to choose from, there is no doubt that you will find your perfect beach escape and create memories that will last a lifetime.