My Florida Beach Guide
Florida Gulf Coast Beaches
Hi! In this article I will be sharing my photography of but a few of the many beautiful Gulf Coast beaches Florida has to offer along with a few highlights of area. One of the biggest tips I can give you to make your beach day more enjoyable is sunscreen, apply generously and reapply often! I cannot stress this enough, the Florida sun can be very unforgiving and we are called the Sunshine State for a reason, with temps in the 80's in the spring and high 90's during the summer. You don't want to spend your vacation nursing a bad sunburn! I also recommend taking a cooler with plenty of drinks to keep you hydrated and lunch/snacks. If possible purchase a beach sunshade or beach umbrella so you can take a break from the sun, eat lunch and enjoy the view!
All images are my original photography and copyrighted.
Caladesi Island State Park
Located on Florida's West coast north of Clearwater, this is one of my favorite beaches. You can access this beautiful beach by ferry through Honeymoon Island State Park. Entry to park gives you access to Honeymoon Island Beach, the Dog beach and to ferry area to Caladesi Island.
The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year
$8.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
$4.00 per vehicle: sunset fee, starting one hour prior to sunset.
Picnic Pavilion Rental Fees:
$30.00 per day, plus tax.
Follow the signs once you enter this park to catch the ferry to Caladesi.
Departures from Honeymoon to Caladesi begin at 10:00 a.m. every half hour mid-Feb. to mid-Sept (departs hourly rest of the year). Fees are $14.00 for Adults round trip, Children(6-12) $7.00 and children 5 and under are free. The ferry trip is about 20 minutes, scenic, relaxing and you may even see some dolphins! The whole experience is well worth the expense. There are nice restroom/changing facilities on Caladesi Island, picnic areas, trails and a small store where you may purchase some snacks and souvenirs.
Siesta Key, Florida
Across the Bay from Sarasota you will find Siesta Key. It has soft sand, beautiful, vivid sunsets and numerous hotels along the beach area and you may even see and hear wild parrots chattering in the trees!
There is a fun Drum Circle on the beach Sundays starting about an hour before sunset just south of the main pavilion between lifeguard stands 3 and 4 on Siesta Public Beach. Just follow your ears. This weekly Drum Circle is not a commercial event but a local phenomenon that began spontaneously and draws people from all over the beach to dance, watch the breathtaking sunset and listen to drums.
If you're staying at a hotel on the beach there are restaurants and shops within walking distance of many of the hotels. I recommend the Tropical Beach Resorts on Sara Sea Circle with private beach access to Crescent Beach area on Siesta Key. Don't forget to stop at the Orange Octopus on Stickney Road for some yummy ice cream treats!
How to get there
Locations for beaches.
About an hour south of Sarasota you will find Englewood. When I visited this gem last year it was in February for a short romantic getaway. It was too cold for us Floridians to swim, I won't get in the water till it's at least 80 degrees.
I'm almost hesitant to share this hotel it was such a find, but for you I will do it! :) I stayed at the Pearl Beach Inn on Manasota Key and absolutely loved it! It had great views, was quiet and right on the beach allowing me to get some great photos.
This beautiful beach has hidden treasure, shark teeth! l found one and was hooked, I spent the next few hours scouring the beach and found lots of shark teeth, I even made jewelry out of them! If you visit in early spring the weather is beautiful and you will almost have the beach to yourself.
Here you get to stay away from the hustle and bustle but don't have far to drive when you get hungry and want a great seafood dinner somewhere like Gulf View Grill on Beach Road or want to go buy a souvenir to take home.
Sugar Sand Festival
Clearwater Beach, Florida
Clearwater Beach has lots of fun things to do on and off the water. Lots of hotels, restaurants, shops and nightlife to explore. I recommend Barefoot Bay Resort and Marina. Beautiful views and quaint rooms. You can walk to Pier 60, shops and restaurants. Check out Pier 60, in the evening it comes alive offering a beautiful sunset and a variety of vendors for souvenirs and food.
Clearwater is host to many yearly events such as Sugar Sand Festival in April where numerous artists take days to create amazing sand sculptures. Clearwater is also home to Winter the famous dolphin from Dolphin Tale at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Sand Key Park is right past the busy resort area of Clearwater Beach. Go over the Clearwater Pass bridge and Sand Key is on the right. There is metered parking. If you're looking for a quieter area of Clearwater Beach you will love this park.
Anna Maria Island, Florida
Get away and unwind
If you want somewhere to relax and unwind try the Rod and Reel Resort on Anna Maria Island, Florida. I recommend the waterfront rooms with a patio.
At the Rod and Reel Pier right outside you can get a great Grouper sandwich go back to your room, open the sliding glass door to let the evening breeze in, have dinner and watch the sunset. You will forget about everything but the sound of the waves lapping at the raised patio.
You will need to go to the Public Beach access to swim but it's worth it. Anna Maria Island has warm breezes, calm water and beautiful beaches.
There are plenty of shops and other places to eat in town but I stopped at the shops when I was leaving Anna Maria Island to go back home, I was so relaxed I didn't want to leave the hotel!
What do you think of Florida's Beaches?
Till next time..
If you're a history buff check out Fort Desoto State Park in Tierra Verde near Tampa. It is listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Lots of beach areas to explore within the park, fishing, trails, kayaking, camping, and the Fort area of course, this park has something for everyone.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour through a few of my favorite Florida Gulf Coast Beaches. There are so many! I will post an article soon on the East Coast of Florida with tips on fun places, hotels, surf spots and more photographs of our beautiful Florida beaches. Keep your flip flops handy and plenty of ice in your drink, it's time to go to the beach!
- SUNSETS AT PIER 60 - Clearwater Beach, Florida
SUNSETS AT PIER 60 - Clearwater Beach, Florida
- Little Bit of Old Florida | The Rod and Reel Pier
Anna Maria Islands hidden treasure dining experience. Tucked away on the far North end of Anna Maria, it is a
- Rod and Reel Resort :: Anna Maria Island Florida
The Rod and Reel Resort is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, overlooking Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Anna Maria Island, Florida, USA
- The Pearl Beach Inn Resort in Manasota Key - Home Page
The Pearl Beach Inn Resort in Manasota Key
- tropical beach resorts sarasea circle - Google Search
- Barefoot Bay | Clearwater Beach Florida
© 2015 Sylvia Acosta J