Planning an East Coast USA beach vacation? Spending time on one of the best Florida East Coast beaches is a fantastic way to enjoy warm waters and lovely sea views. Located along Florida’s Atlantic Ocean shoreline, these beautiful beaches are known for gentle waves, white sand, and amazing sunshine.
Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or as a family, Florida’s Atlantic Coast beaches are filled with activities. You’ll love spending time relaxing under the sun or stringing up a hammock between huge palm trees. Active beachgoers can enjoy a game of beach volleyball, snorkeling, parasailing, or nature trails.
Ready to plan the ultimate Florida Atlantic Coast beach vacation? Find your next summer destination spot at one of these top-rated beaches on Florida’s East Coast.
Top-rated beaches on Florida’s Atlantic Coast
One of the most popular beaches in Florida, Palm Beach is known for its calm waters and sunny shores. Located in Palm Beach County, it’s one of the beach resort towns along the USA’s East Coast and a must-see.
Perched on a barrier island, this tropical beach is one of the top places to see around West Palm Beach. Snorkeling and diving are also amazing here as the waters are crystal blue. The white sandy beaches are perfect for relaxing and reading a book or for playing in the sand with the kids to the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore.
Art galleries are peppered throughout the sandy beach strip. For panoramic views of the city, stop by The Breakers Palm Beach Hotel. Partake in a historic tour and enjoy food and drinks.
If shopping is more your jam, head to Worth Avenue. Or rub elbows with the rich and famous by checking out the famous celebrity mansions in West Palm Beach across the Lake Worth Lagoon.
If you’re looking for the most famous beach on Florida’s East Coast, head down to South Beach. One of the top places to see in Miami, South Beach is famed for its lovely Art Deco buildings and lovely nightlife. The famous urban beach district sits on the southern tip of the city of Miami Beach.
South Beach has long been one of the most popular destinations in the USA for singles and young people. Along its famed Ocean Drive lie many restaurants & bars to drink and dance the night away.
Let’s not forget: Besides its architecture, dining options, and party scene, South Beach is also home to one of Miami’s best beaches, famed for its soft sand and turquoise waters. Snorkeling and boat tours are great ways to see the water and marine life.
Right in the center of Miami South Beach sits Lummus Park. The beachfront park has volleyball nets, walking and biking trails, and a large playground for the kids.
South Beach is also a popular place to spot famous athletes. You can even enter a swimsuit competition with them if you’re feeling fit and confident in your summer bikini!
Trying to find a more elegant beach vacation? Chilling on the sands of Vero Beach should be at the top of your list. The small barrier island is part of the Treasure Coast. With its interesting cultural attractions and fantastic restaurants, Vero Beach is one of the finest beach towns on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
Among the best places to see in Vero Beach is its beautiful sandy beach, chock-loaded with amazing places to fish, rent equipment for water sports, or even go deep-sea fishing. The miles of beaches are also a great place for an evening stroll or to take family photos. In the evening, head to Vero Beach’s historic downtown for a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
Sitting between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Delray Beach is famous for its main drag, Atlantic Avenue. The longest main street in Florida is home to many of the best places to go in Delray Beach, with upscale resorts, fancy shopping, local restaurants, and tons of nightlife options on offer.
If you’re looking for a small South Florida beach town with endless entertainment options, Delray Beach is near the top of the list. Be sure to visit during the summer or Christmas holidays to check out one of the beach festivals. And come hungry: There are always tons of food trucks, desserts, and wine stations.
Home to South Beach, Miami Beach is famed for its golden sand and pristine beaches with gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean. A separate city from Miami proper, Miami Beach sits on an island to the east of Miami’s city center.
If you’re an art fan, take a tour of the Art Deco District to see colorful buildings dating back to the 1930s. Many of the buildings hide some of the top-rated spas and hotels in Miami Beach.
Along with its beautiful public beaches, Miami Beach has sprouted a variety of sidewalk cafes and restaurants. Pull up a seat to eat some delicious food and people-watch while taking in stunning views of the Atlantic Coast.
If you slide up to North Beach, make sure to check out Haulover Beach. It’s known for having some of the best fishing, swimming, and golf around South Florida.
Searching for a beach closer to Central Florida? Cocoa Beach is the most popular beach along Florida’s Space Coast. With the Ron Jon Surf Shop and its famous fishing pier, Cocoa Beach is one of the top Orlando day trips. It’s sure to keep your family busy for the whole day—or even an entire week.
Home to Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach is a top Florida East Coast destination for water sports such as surfing, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. Most of the beach entrance spots allow you to drive right on the sand. You can load your car up with all your beach gear—like umbrellas and beach chairs—and drive right up to the water. Thanks to facilities like restrooms, showers, and year-round lifeguards, it’s a fantastic location for families, too.
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One of the top Cocoa Beach attractions is the Kennedy Space Center. With its exciting interactive exhibits, you learn everything you ever wanted to know about NASA’s history and space programs. (If you time your visit right, you can even watch a live NASA rocket launch!)
If you’re in Northeast Florida near Jacksonville, head to Fernandina Beach. It’s one of the best beaches on Amelia Island. The historic town features unspoiled beaches, golf courses, and local boutique shopping. With 13 miles of beaches, there’s an activity for everyone in your group.
With its stunning aquamarine water, Fernandina Beach is quite picturesque. The light blue waters are amazing for snorkeling and diving; you can see straight to the bottom of the ocean floor.
Home to famous spas and huge resorts, Fernandina Beach is a great place to get pampered. Small beach rentals and quaint accommodations are also available if you want to soak in more of the laid-back Amelia Island vibe.
If you’re near Orlando, Daytona Beach is just a short drive from the city and is one of the best eastern central beaches. Its hard-packed sand makes it a top Florida East Coast beach. Visitors and locals alike love driving their vehicles to the water instead of fighting for a spot in the parking lots nearby.
Although Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches are more famous for surfing, you can catch some amazing surf in Ponce Inlet. Located just south of Daytona Beach and the Daytona International Speedway (home of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race), Ponce Inlet has clear blue waters and is one of the top surfing spots in Florida.
Ponce Inlet is also home to Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. At 175 feet, it’s the tallest lighthouse in Florida. (And one of the tallest in the USA.) Bring some comfortable shoes and climb to the top to get stunning views of the beach.
If you’ve got a little more time on your getaway, head further south to New Smyrna Beach. Climb the sand dunes at Smyrna Dunes Park, at the northern edge of the barrier island, to soak in a beautiful view of Ponce Inlet.
Or venture further down the coastline to take in a spectacular sunrise at the Canaveral National Seashore, one of the finest stretches of sand on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
The centerpiece of one of the most popular beach cities in the U.S., Fort Lauderdale Beach is a must-see gem. The central beach is also within a quick drive of several top South Florida beaches, including Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach, and Pompano Beach. All offer white-sand beaches and warm water year-round.
With its proximity to Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale’s popularity is ever-growing. Even still, it’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the much larger city of Miami. Not far from Fort Lauderdale Beach, you’ll find nature trails offering a perfect opportunity for walks to see Florida wildlife.
After a day of soaking up the sun rays and perfect weather on Fort Lauderdale’s finest beaches, head into Downtown Fort Lauderdale for an evening of excitement. Duck into karaoke bars, dancing clubs, and rooftop restaurants where you can witness incredible sunsets.
For one of the top beaches near Jacksonville, FL, take the short drive to Atlantic Beach. It’s far enough away from Florida’s biggest city to give you a quiet atmosphere but still close enough to experience Jacksonville’s urban vibes.
The only things most travelers will find in Atlantic Beach are sun, sand, and maybe a small beach house for rent, which is just enough for most beach dwellers.
Along the border of the north beach, you can go hiking, golfing, or cycling in Katheryn Abbey Hanna Park. Bring your surfboard: The waves at the park are perfect for beginners and advanced surfers. There’s also a nature center where you can learn about the local wildlife.
If you want to be closer to the city, check out Jacksonville Beach. One of the best beaches in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville Beach is the best place to see dolphins and other marine life.
Some of the top activities around Jacksonville Beach include boating, fishing, and collecting seashells in the soft sands. For active beach dwellers, there are also amazing spots to surf and play beach volleyball. Paddleboard and jet ski rentals are available at all the main beach access points.
At night, enjoy one of the many open-air restaurants or have a drink at one of the waterfront bars.
For a long-time favorite beach among locals and tourists, drive over to Hollywood Beach. Located just south of Lauderdale, it’s a South Florida hotspot for everyone from spring breakers to families.
Besides the beach itself, you’ll love taking a stroll along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. At 2.5 miles long, it’s the perfect place to exercise off all those vacation desserts and drinks.
Cycle, jog or walk as you take in spectacular views of the ocean. Stop in at one of the several souvenir shops scattered along the boardwalk to pick a memento of your Florida Atlantic Coast beach vacation.
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Hollywood Beach also teems with great beachfront restaurants. There’s live music and trivia contests almost every night, perfect for enjoying a meal with friends or with the kids.
Located east of Jacksonville, Neptune Beach is a quiet beach with a relaxing atmosphere that’s perfect for solo travelers and couples. It’s also close enough to Jax to easily drive back into the city for more food or entertainment options.
Even with its small stature, the quiet beach town of Neptune Beach has everything you need for a laid-back vacation by the water. Spend the day in peace, relaxing in the sun or swimming in the gentle water. There are also several breweries where you can sit in the shade and enjoy a cold, locally brewed beer.
Neptune Beach is also a great base for exploring the natural beauty of Northeast Florida. From here, it’s a quick drive to top-notch destinations like Talbot Island State Park and Amelia Island.
Anastasia State Park
Spending time visiting beautiful St. Augustine on your getaway? Anastasia State Park is just a short drive from the historic downtown. Its sandy shores have been voted some of the best northeastern beaches in the United States. Full of historic landmarks and outdoor activities, Anastasia Island is one of the top places to go in St. Augustine, FL.
Strap on your hiking shoes and trudge through one of its many nature trails. The nature center in Anastasia State Park offers guidebooks and equipment rentals to help you explore the island. Kayaking and canoeing are other top activities.
If you want to be closer to wildlife, you can also camp in this beautiful Florida state park. Many of the campsites are right on the beach.
When you’re done with your adventure, slide further south on Anastasia Island to explore the charming town of St. Augustine Beach. Cast out a line at St. Johns County Ocean Pier to try your hand at fishing and take advantage of an array of amenities, from a children’s playground to volleyball courts.
Or lace up your boots for a walk on the nature trail at Ocean Hammock Park, one of the most famous nesting sites for sea turtles on Florida’s East Coast.
Traveling between Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach? Don’t miss out on Jensen Beach, a favorite stop on the Treasure Coast. If you love to do a little shopping while on vacation, Jensen Beach has incredible malls, boutiques, and local clothing stores.
Almost all the restaurants in the Jensen Beach area have fresh-caught seafood on the menu; there’s no need to bring your fishing pole to feed yourself!
Water sports are also a top activity here. Adrenaline lovers can go deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, surfing, or sailing.
If you’re visiting in March, carve out time for the annual Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival to enjoy some great music and food.
Located on the Space Coast, Melbourne Beach is a top Florida beach destination for sailing and golfing. With its warm and calm waters and miles of beaches, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for snorkeling, a sunset walk, or cycling.
Melbourne Beach hosts festivals almost every month. No matter your vacation date, you’ll find unique art or food festivals to browse after spending a day in the sun.
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The city of Melbourne is close to the Indian River Lagoon, a perfect place for kayaking and birding. Be sure to visit Melbourne’s historic downtown center, full of quaint restaurants and unique shopping.
Don’t want to deal with the crowds of Daytona Beach? Head slightly north to Ormond Beach. Although Ormond Beach lacks the activity options of Daytona, you’ll definitely find time in this friendly and welcoming town to relax in the sun without being disturbed.
Home to some of the best Florida East Coast beaches, Ormond Beach is only an hour away from Orlando; you can visit the small, welcoming beach town from the big city without a fuss. Rent a paddleboard to test your balance, or rent jet skis for the entire family for a little fun on the water.
Built up an appetite? Take a stroll along Granada Boulevard. It’s the perfect place to grab a simple meal or snacks in Ormond Beach.