The Absolute BEST Beaches Along the West Coast of Florida & Why

Along the West Coast of Florida lies some of the best beaches in the United States. Florida is known for its year-round warm temperatures, pristine beaches, and the ultimate relaxing experience. Since moving to Tampa for the last couple of months I have been on the hunt to find the best beaches. Here are my top picks for the best beaches west coast Florida.

Clearwater Beach

Don’t miss: Walking the boardwalk

Clearwater Beach is consistently voted one of the best beaches in America and is currently among the top ten beaches in the world on Trip Advisor. This beach has a lively downtown area with eateries and shopping. Other than a small strip of land for cars to drive down, Clearwater Beach is an island.

The lively atmosphere is packed with visitors from all over the county. I met a couple from Ohio, who asked me to take a picture of them. They were visiting for a long weekend getaway to escape the cold. Even in December visitors still dip their toes in the water. Clearwater Beach is clearly on my top picks for beaches because of the beautiful white-sand beaches and activities for the whole family. Every Saturday they play movies at sunset, so don’t miss out on that either. 

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St. Pete Beach

Don’t miss: Visiting downtown St. Petersburg

For a beach town, St. Pete has a lot to offer. Downtown St. Petersburg is a quaint and adorable beach town. The Don CeSar is the place to stay for an elegant and luxurious beach escape. St. Pete Beach has a lively atmosphere and there are plenty of activities to partake in. Kayaking in St. Pete Beach is a great getaway from the crowds on the beach. Taking a kayak tour at Weedon Island Preserve with ECOmersion was one of my top experiences in St. Pete Beach.

Downtown St. Petersburg- Beaches West Coast Florida

Venice Beach

Don’t miss: The black sand beaches where you can find sharks teeth

Venice Beach is neither in Italy nor in California, but its certainly worth a visit. You can’t miss Venice Beach’s iconic lifeguard towers. Venice Beach is unique because of its black sand beaches and an abundance of shark’s teeth. Visit the historic downtown after a day at the beach for a shopping and dining experience. Additionally, there is a beach volleyball court so be sure to bring a ball and your A-game.

Venice Beach Florida - best beaches west coast Florida

Anna Maria Island Beach

Don’t miss: Getting a scoop of Joe’s Ice Cream

Growing up I came to Florida several times a year to visit my aunt and uncle. Anna Maria Island was always our go-to location. A lot has changed since then but the island is still a paradise. While driving I distinctly remember the long bridge to the island. Seven years have passed since my last time on the island, and I couldn’t be happier about coming back.

Anna Maria Island is perfect if you are hoping to escape the crowds and snorkel in translucent water. Watch the dolphins play at sunset. On the way back home, after a sweet retreat on the beach my aunt, cousin, and I stop by Joe’s Eats and Sweets. I distinctly remember going to Joe’s when I was younger. How could anyone ever forget the colorful two-story building with a glass display of a variety of unique flavors?

Anna Maria Island Florida

Siesta Key Beach

Don’t miss: Admiring the luxurious beach homes in Sarasota

Find your bliss in Sarasota. Sarasota has over forty miles of coastline. The white-sand beaches and clear water make it a tranquil adventure. Next to the beach entrance are large modern beach homes that look like they belong in Los Angeles rather than Florida. Unlike other beaches in Florida, Siesta Key Beach has plenty of places to park and easy access to the beach. Sarasota embodies an iconic beach town to the T.

Siesta Key Beach Florida

Sarasota Beach Florida

Honeymoon Island/Caladesi Beach

Don’t miss: The ferry from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Beach

Caladesi is practically a private island and offers one of Florida’s most exclusive getaways. Caladesi Island’s remote and unspoiled beaches offer a relaxing retreat for visitors.

On my visit, I arrive at Honeymoon Island mid-afternoon ready to take the twenty-minute ferry ride to Caladesi. The boat driver tells me to remain seated as I tried to capture one last picture of a pelican nearby before take off. After the boat starts I can’t help but begin to unwind. Arriving at the shore the beach is only a short five-minute walk away. I am shocked at how secluded Caladesi island is. After relishing in the sun-kissed beach and taking a dip in salty shoreline it is time to leave. The last ferry takes off at 5 PM. As I am packing up to leave the sun is going down and I catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming nearby.

Honeymoon Island/Caladesi Beach Coast

Caladesi Island- Tampa day trips

Fort De Soto Beach

Don’t miss: Exploring the ancient Fort De Soto

When I first planned on going to Fort De Soto I expected a typical state park, but Fort De Soto is much more. The turquoise green beaches and historic fort make this beach different from any other beach in Florida.

It is scorching on the day I visited Fort De Soto, so I get in the water as soon as possible. I see tiny fish through the translucent green water. Someone shouts “MANATEE”. Seconds later I see a manatee swim past me. After reading about the ‘sea cows’ for years I this was the first manatee I have ever seen.  I stand completely still and watched the manatee glide by me, shocked that I finally saw one in the wild.

Fort de Soto- best beaches west coast Florida Fort De Soto- best beaches west coast Florida

Ben T Davis Beach

Don’t Miss:  The walkway with views of Tampa’s skyline

Close to Clearwater Airport, Ben T Davis Beach is where nature and urban blend together. The best and most unique part of Ben T Davis Beach is the long walkway perfect for an evening jog. Additionally, Ben T. Davis Beach is great for a picnicking,  grilling out, and relaxing on Florida’s coastline.

Ben T Davis Beach

Florida is by far the ideal place for a beach day. I hope you enjoy visiting all of my picks for the best beaches along west coast Florida.

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