If you love a hot Florida beach that's less crowded than any other time of year, then come on down to the Sunshine State this summer! We recommend you come before July 4 for the best beach experience. Here are more tips for an easy, breezy Florida beach vacation.
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Believe it or not, there are some of us that like the really hot weather. I mean smokin' hot and humid. In Florida, summer is the time when the beaches provide the most beautiful water temperatures for swimming, if you like it hot. As long as you have a plan for sun safety and dealing with the heat, you can have a blast in Florida in the summer months.
The beaches on the Atlantic Ocean in Florida often have a wonderful breeze. This makes it feel a bit cooler on the coast. Although, in summer, cool may not be the right word. Still it can be more comfortable than the Gulf of Mexico beaches: their water temps can reach 90 F! Hot tub anyone?
Best Summer Beach Locations
We've traveled all over Florida and the following are some of our favorites to visit for a summer vacation. They are in the more central and northern regions of Florida peninsula. Therefore you can, in theory, avoid the sauna of southwest and southeast Florida. The reverse is true in the winter. You will get a warmer, more pleasant beach experience down south in the colder months.
Here are our best beach picks for a great summer vacation in Florida:
Emerald Coast: Destin, Panama City Beach, Navarre
We have been to all three Florida Panhandle beaches and it will be hard to top these stunning beaches in the summertime. Water activities on the Emerald Coast can't be beat at this time of year. Parasailing, riding the Screamer, jet-skiing and dolphin tours are everywhere. The calmest water can often be found in Destin, FL. However, if you want some waves and tons of family fun you can find it in Panama City Beach. Navarre Beach has a small-town vibe with a great pier.
Daytona Beach, Amelia Island, St. Augustine Beaches
Riding horses, mini-golf, bicycling on the beach. All this can be yours at many of these central and northern Florida beaches. If you love active, busy beaches then choose the Daytona Beach area. This includes Daytona Beach Shores, Ormond Beach, Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach. It has so much for families to do and in the summer the beaches are fantastic! Plus you can drive right on the beach.
Amelia Island offers a more peaceful alternative. Relax on Fernandina Beach or go shopping in the ecectic downtown. There's Fort Clinch and other historic museums to enjoy. Families will love the beach and couples will love the romance. Horseback riding is a special experience you can try on Amelia Island.
The beaches of St. Augustine are fantastic in the summer. The added bonus is the historic city offers lots of family fun. From old jail tours to trolley excursions, this city has something for everyone. We love Anastasia State Park on which has huge, white dunes and natural beauty to explore. The water is warm at this time of year. You can even get married on the beach there!
Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach
Feel like kayaking or paddling in calm, warm water? Maybe a dolphin tour at sunset is your thing. No matter what you choose, these Gulf beaches deliver beauty and relaxation. The Gulf of Mexico is hot in the summer with temperatures hitting the 90's! Who needs a bathtub when you can float in sparkling, clear water and watch the world go by. Come before the hurricanes get started and you can have a wonderful, Florida beach vacation. Click for more information on Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach.
Fiesta Key: The Florida Keys
Fiesta Key RV Resort is a 28-acre tropical paradise nestled in the heart of the Florida Keys. Situated on its own private island, this resort offers a unique vacation experience. With stunning ocean views, white sandy beaches, and lush palm trees swaying in the breeze, guests are transported to a world of relaxation and tranquility. The resort boasts a range of amenities to cater to every need. You can hook up your RV, rent a cabin or stay in their hotel.
Best Beach Gear for Summer Fun and Safety
If you're coming to Florida to enjoy the sun, then you need to be prepared for its intensity. Winter or summer, you can burn very quickly. We see so many visitors with burns during the year on the beaches. Sunburns are sneaky: you don't always see them until you get back to your hotel and undress. By then, it can be too late. You or your children will have an unpleasant night of discomfort and possibly illness. It's so easy to avoid this!
Beach Essentials for Sun Safety
Even Florida locals have to watch out for the sun. We get exposed as soon as we walk out the door or get in our vehicle. Don't laugh if you see us mowing the lawn or working in the garden in pants, long sleeves and hats. Oh wait - nobody mows their own lawn! We are obsessed with beach safety in the water and on the shore. Too much sun exposure is serious!
Beach Umbrella: sun protection that wont blow away!
If you're going to the beach you need a sun shade. There are so many types of sun shades to choose from. We personally like the Anchor™, a patented, safer beach umbrella for windy beaches. The Safety Shade Combo comes with the base, umbrella, a sand spade, plus a handy drink and snack tray! Order it here and use Code TTB28 for a 28% discount. If you choose something else that's okay. Here are a few pointers to help you choose a sun shade for Florida sun protection:
If you are at the beach and the wind is over 20 mph, it's probably not a good day to raise your umbrella. So choose a picnic table or park with trees to get out of the sun for a few hours. Sunburns are no joke in Florida!
Swim Shirts with SPF protection
If you follow any of our social media channels, like Instagram, then you will notice we are almost NEVER without a swim shirt and large hat on. Susan even wears a long sleeve shirt that covers her hands. Why? The sun is brutal and you can burn in minutes, especially in the summer. Honestly, SPF sun lotion is often not enough, even in the winter months. Called Rash Guard swim shirts, you can find them almost anywhere. Here are a couple we have purchased from Amazon:
Beach Accessories for the Sand
We were sent this beach towel by Tesalate to try out on our local beach. We were surprised that this large towel came in such a compact package! The Tesalate towel is engineered to dry in half the time of a regular towel. It's compact, light and easy to pack. Anything that makes our beach gear easier is a plus! The best part is the sand-free quality of this towel. No sand stuck to the towel, or us when lying on the sand with it! This is a beach towel for keeps. You can order it here - ships free in the USA!
Water shoes for the beach and water sports from Amazon
If you're visiting the Florida Keys you may encounter rocky beaches, like Sombrero Beach. Therefore, a breathable outdoor water shoes can be a lifesaver. This water also has the advantages sport shoes. It has drainage in the sole and upper which makes it great for swimming, kayaking and other water sports.
Beach Carts for Easy Hauling
Depending on where you stay during your Florida vacation you may need a beach cart. If you are in a beachfront hotel you likely won't need one. If you have to walk to the beach it could come in handy. A full day on the Florida beach requires drinks, snacks, towels, gear and toys!
Sekey Collapsible Foldable Wagon with 220lbs Weight Capacity. This heavy Duty Folding Cart with Big Beach Brake Wheels and Drink Holders could be exactly what you need at the beach. All terrain wheels are the key to getting across the sand. Available at Amazon.
This one can carry the kids! The Beach & Boardwalk Wagon features extra-wide wheels and a linked steering mechanism, which allows easy steering on sand. It has been named a Best Beach Wagon by Good Housekeeping. Available at Amazon.
What to Do Before You Visit Florida Beaches
No matter where you go in Florida, the beaches can have issues. High tides, rough surf, red tide, seaweed, dangerous marine life or other problems. We want you all to be safe at the beach and have a great time! Be prepared by checking a few sites listed below and reading our blog.
The State of Florida monitors the water and publishes results online with their Florida Healthy Beaches Program. Just click on the county and city of your desired Florida beach destination. Then the beaches button will show any advisory.
The FL511 system is Florida’s official travel source. It provides information on congestion, crashes, and construction activities on major Florida routes. There is a mobile app, a website in English and Spanish, Twitter messages, Facebook, Instagram, text alerts and more. This app is so much fun you might forget about going to the beach! Click here: https://fl511.com/.
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers. We write about Florida beaches on every coast. Our opinions only.