Florida’s West Coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From the clear waters of Clearwater Beach to the powdery white sands of Siesta Key, this coastline offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, swim, or stroll along the shore, Florida’s West Coast beaches are sure to delight. With so many options, it can be tough to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you explore the best of what this stunning region offers. So pack your sunscreen, grab your flip-flops, and let’s dive in!
Clearwater Beach is famous for its pristine white sand, dubbed the “sugar sand capital of the world.” The soft, powdery sand is perfect for sunbathing, building sandcastles, and strolling along the shore. The beach is also home to many attractions, including Pier 60, which features nightly sunset celebrations and a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and water sports activities. If you’re looking for something more active, Clearwater Beach is a great place to go parasailing, jet skiingjet skiing, or paddleboarding. Or, if you prefer to explore the area on foot, take a walk along the Beach Walk promenade, which offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever your preferred activity, Clearwater Beach has something for everyone.
Treasure Island Beach: A Hidden Gem on the West Coast
Located just a short drive from St. Petersburg, Treasure Island Beach is a hidden gem on Florida’s West Coast. The beach features soft, white sand and crystal-clear waters, making it the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. For those who prefer more action, there are plenty of water sports opportunities, including parasailing, jet skiing, and paddleboarding. One of the highlights of Treasure Island Beach is the Sunset Beach Pavilion, which offers stunning views of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. The pavilion is a popular spot for weddings and other special events, and live music performances and other entertainment often occur here.
Pete Beach: A Popular Destination for Tourists and Locals Alike
St. Pete Beach is one of the most popular destinations on Florida’s West Coast, attracting visitors from all over the world. The beach features wide, white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports activities. The area also has plenty of restaurants, shops, and other attractions, making it a great place to spend a day or two. One of the highlights of St. Pete Beach is the Don Cesar Hotel, a historic hotel that has been a fixture on the beach since 1928. The hotel features a stunning pink facade and has hosted several famous guests, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Al Capone. Today, the Don CeSar is a popular spot for weddings and other special events, and visitors can also enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the hotel’s restaurants or bars.
Anna Maria Island: A Quaint and Charming Beach Town
Anna Maria Island is a quaint, charming beach town just a short drive from Sarasota. The island features several beautiful beaches, including Coquina Beach, known for its soft, white sand and calm waters. The island is also home to many restaurants, shops, and other attractions, making it a great place to spend a day or two. One of the highlights of Anna Maria Island is the historic City Pier, which has been a fixture on the island since 1911. The pier offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and is a popular spot for fishing and birdwatching. Visitors can also enjoy a meal or a drink at the pier’s restaurant, which features fresh seafood and other local specialties.
Siesta Key Beach: Voted the #1 Beach in the US
Siesta Key Beach is one of the most famous beaches on Florida’s West Coast, and for good reason. The beach features soft, white sand of 99% pure quartz, giving it a unique, sparkling appearance. The crystal-clear water makes it the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports activities. In addition to its stunning natural beauty, Siesta Key Beach is home to many restaurants, shops, and other attractions. The beach is a popular spot for volleyball, and there are often tournaments and other events. In 2017, TripAdvisor even voted Siesta Key Beach the #1 beach in the US, making it a must-visit destination for any beach lover.
Beach Activities and Attractions: What to Do and See Along the West Coast
In addition to its stunning beaches, Florida’s West Coast is home to several other attractions and activities. For nature lovers, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing, including at the nearby Everglades National Park. For those who prefer a bit more action, plenty of water sports activities are available, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. There are also plenty of cultural attractions to explore along the West Coast, including museums, art galleries, and historic sites. Some top attractions include the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, and the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.
Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants and Bars on the West Coast
Florida’s West Coast is home to diverse restaurants and bars, offering everything from fresh seafood to international cuisine. Some top spots include the Columbia Restaurant in Sarasota, known for its Spanish and Cuban dishes, and the Oyster Bar in St. Petersburg, which offers fresh seafood and live music. For those who prefer a more casual atmosphere, there are plenty of beach bars and seafood shacks.
Where to Stay: Accommodation Options for Every Budget
Whether you’re looking for a luxury resort or a budget-friendly motel, there are plenty of accommodation options along Florida’s West Coast. Some top spots include the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, and the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs. For those who prefer a more budget-friendly option, plenty of motels and vacation rentals are available.
Tips for Exploring Florida’s West Coast Beaches
When visiting Florida’s West Coast beaches, there are a few tips to remember to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. First and foremost, be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Finally, follow any posted rules and regulations related to beach closures, alcohol consumption, and littering.