25 Best Beaches with Clear Water in Florida
There’s no doubt that Florida is home to some of the best beaches in the United States. From the emerald green coastline of Northwest Florida to the southernmost corner of the Keys, there’s a beautiful beach for everyone in Florida.
And while all of Florida’s beaches are beautiful, there are a few that stand out above the rest for their clear water.
As someone who has lived on the Alabama Gulf Coast my entire life (only 30 minutes from Florida), I have frequented Florida’s beaches often and have great knowledge of the Sunshine State’s best beaches.
Here are the 25 best beaches in Florida with clear water.
Map of the 25 Best Beaches in Florida with Clear Water
Here is a map showing the location of the 25 best beaches in Florida with clear water.
As you can tell by looking at this map, you’ll see that the overwhelming majority of beaches with clear water are in Northwest Florida, the Gulf Coast area (central and southern part of Florida), and the South Florida area.
You may be wondering why no beaches in the Northeast portion of Florida have made this list. This is because these beaches do not have that crystal-clear Caribbean water you are seeking.
You might find clear water on a rare day, but for the most part, these are not going to be the best beaches with water that is clear.
Northwest Florida Beaches with Clear Water
You don’t have to go too far into Florida for some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
You might be surprised that the beaches in Northwest Florida not only have clear water but the most beautiful emerald shade.
In fact, Northwest Florida is called The Emerald Coast for its clear, emerald-green water.
I’m lucky enough to live close to these Emerald Coast beaches making these a quick, easy day trip.
Here are the best beaches with clear water in Northwest Florida.
1. Pensacola Beach
Pensacola Beach, located in the Florida panhandle is known for its sparkling white sand and clear water.
This is a great beach for those looking to relax, swim, or try surfing or paddleboarding.
While in Pensacola Beach, be sure to check out the famous Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier. It’s a popular spot for fishing, strolling, and watching the sunset. You also just might see dolphins and turtles from the pier.
Another must-see in Pensacola Beach is Fort Pickens. This 19th-century fort was used during the Civil War and is now a popular spot for picnicking, fishing, and exploring. The beaches here at Fort Pickens are very quiet and secluded and of course, have that clear water you’re looking for.
There are many great restaurants to enjoy in Pensacola Beach. A couple of our family favorites include Flounder’s Chowder House and The Crab Trap.
Flounder’s Chowder House sits on Quietwater Beach, across from the Gulf of Mexico. This is a great restaurant to sit, relax and eat while watching the kids on the playground. The Crab Trap has an amazing view as it sits right on the Gulf of Mexico. It offers great food, live music, and an excellent view of that clear Gulf of Mexico water.
2. Navarre Beach
Navarre Beach is located next to Pensacola Beach but feels a world apart. Navarre Beach is Pensacola’s Beach’s quiet sister.
This beautiful stretch of beach in NorthWest Florida offers some of the clearest water you will ever see.
It’s the perfect beach spot for those looking for a quiet, less touristy beach destination.
Navarre Beach is a popular spot for lounging on the beach, swimming, and fishing. In fact, the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier is the longest fishing pier in Florida at 1,545 feet long.
Other fun activities you could try in Navarre are paddleboarding and bike riding.
When in this quaint beach town, you must visit the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. It’s a great place to learn about the work that is being done to protect sea turtles.
3. Fort Walton Beach
Working our way from west to east on the Florida Panhandle, we now come across Fort Walton Beach.
Fort Walton Beach is known for its gorgeous white sand beaches and water that is crystal clear. It’s also home to the popular Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Here you’ll see dolphins, penguins, and alligators. My favorite thing here is watching the dolphin show.
Fort Walton Beach is a great family beach destination in Florida for those looking for a more laid-back vibe, but close enough to the more lively activities in the neighboring town of Destin.
4. Destin & Miramar Beach
Next door to Fort Walton Beach, is the super popular tourist town, Destin. Destin is well known for its clear emerald green waters and sugary white sand beaches.
Destin offers no shortage of fun, entertainment, shopping, and dining options.
HarborWalk Village is a great place to stroll, dine, hop on a dolphin cruise or pirate boat, rent a jet ski or let the kids have fun at one of the many family-friendly activities here.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin is another great entertainment, shopping, and dining destination in Destin.
If your looking for some great shopping on your beach destination Destin has it. Head to Destin Commons, Silver Sands Premium Outlets, or Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.
Looking for a beach in Florida that has beautiful water, but also a waterpark? Big Kahuna in Destin is a fun waterpark for the whole family.
Destin, Florida is your beach destination if you’re looking for a family-friendly beach town with plenty of entertainment, dining, and shopping options, and of course that crystal clear emerald green water!
5. Santa Rosa Beach (30A)
Santa Rosa Beach is the first beach we’re going to talk about located on 30A. If you’ve never heard of 30A before, let me spill the goods on one of the most gorgeous stretches of coastline in Florida. Let me rephrase, that… One of the most gorgeous stretches of coastline in the entire country.
The beaches of 30A are like nowhere else in Florida. There are no high-rises, no fast food restaurants… You’ll see families strolling around the towns on bicycles. In fact, biking is the most common method of getting around on 30A.
30A is nice, very nice. It definitely has an upscale, but casual vibe. Expect to pay a high price tag for accommodations.
Now that I’ve given you a little intro to 30A, let’s talk about Santa Rosa Beach. Santa Rosa Beach has that gorgeous emerald-green water you are seeking.
I love Topsail Beach State Preserve in Santa Rosa Beach. This is such a great beach for nature lovers. In fact, you might see some deer as your take the shuttle to the beach from the parking lot here.
6. Grayton Beach (30A)
Grayton Beach is another beautiful beach neighborhood on 30A, located next to Santa Rosa Beach.
This beach has that gorgeous water and sparkling white sand. It has consistently been ranked as one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the U.S.
In fact, Grayton Beach is also a Blue Wave Beach. A Blue Wave Beach means that the beach is clean and safe and the focus is on the protection of health and the environment.
While in Grayton Beach, visit Grayton Beach State Park to go hiking, biking, bird watching, camping, or fishing. You could also browse art galleries, and visit the funky dive bar, The Red Bar.
And of course, get out on that crystal clear water and go swimming or try paddleboarding or kayaking.
7. Seaside (30A)
Continuing moving on to the east on 30A you’ll come to the resort neighborhood of Seaside. Seaside is probably the most well-known of the towns along 30A.
Have you ever seen the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Story? If so, this happens to be the same town the movie was filmed.
Seaside is known for its unique architecture consisting of pastel color beach houses, its iconic post office in the center of the town square, and of course its crystal clear waters and white sands.
Seaside is a unique place to stay where you can enjoy its private beaches, shops, and art galleries. You’ve also got to grab food from one of the many Airstream food trucks.
8. Rosemary Beach (30A)
Continuing on past Seaside and further down 30A, you’ll come to the stunning Rosemary Beach neighborhood.
Rosemary Beach is known for its pristine white sandy beach, emerald green water, unique architecture, and town square.
What I love about Rosemary Beach is the cobblestone streets, winding paths, and the quaint town square with the shops and restaurants. Oh and The Pearl Hotel, it’s just beautiful!
Like the other towns along 30A, a bike is the best way to get around Rosemary Beach.
*This comes to the end of our 30A Beaches. You can’t go wrong with any of the four I have listed. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the beaches on 30A, they are all spectacular.
9. Panama City
Finishing out our Northwest Florida beaches in Panama City. Panama City offers stunning water, white sandy beaches, and plenty of activities.
St . Andrews State Park is the perfect place to go relax and swim in the beautiful clear waters of Panama City.
Pier Park is a fabulous shopping and entertainment center in Panama City. This is a great place to spend some time after a long day of being out in the sun.
There is no shortage of fun entertainment and attractions in Panama City. Some fun places to go are Gulf World Marine Park, Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
Gulf Coast Florida Beaches with Clear Water
Northwest Florida is not the only part of Florida with water that is crystal clear. Now, we’re going to focus on those Gulf Coast Florida beaches in the central and southern parts of Florida with amazing water also.
Here are my picks for the best Gulf Coast Florida beaches with clear water.
10. Honeymoon Island State Park
With a name like Honeymoon Island State Park, you know it’s got to be pretty amazing right?
Honeymoon Island State Park is located just north of Clearwater Beach and across from St. Joseph Sound.
It’s also home to one of the last remaining slash pine forests.
It has 4 miles of beautiful beaches to explore with plenty of seashells. It’s also a great place for swimming, hiking, and fishing.
Wildlife lovers will be happy to know it’s also a great destination to spot wildlife such as bald eagles, owls, tortoises, and armadillos.
11. Clearwater Beach
With a name like Clearwater, you better hope Clearwater Beach has clear water! 😆 And indeed it does!
Clearwater Beach has that beautiful clear blue water you’re looking for, along with soft, white sand.
It’s an excellent destination for water activities such as swimming, fishing, jet-skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, and parasailing.
What’s also great about Clearwater Beach is the Clearwater Beach Walk. This is a paved walkway that runs along the beach where you can walk, jog or bike and take in that breathtaking crystal clear water.
Pier 60 is one of the top attractions in the Clearwater/St Pete area. Every night Pier 60 offers fun entertainment such as musicians and dancers and a variety of crafts. If in Clearwater with kids, they will love the shaded jungle gym at the Pier.
Another fun family-friendly attraction in Clearwater includes the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This is where the famous dolphin Winter lived before it passed away in 2021.
12. St Pete Beach
St Pete Beach is located right next to Clearwater Beach. Since they are located right next to each other, St Pete has that beautiful white sand and stunning water also.
If traveling to or from one of the Orlando theme parks like Disney World or Universal Studios, St Pete would be a good beach stop.
St Pete is the more laid-back, less crowded, and more affordable of the two beaches.
When in St Pete Beach go swimming, paddleboarding, parasailing, or go on a glass bottom kayak tour.
13. Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is another stunning beach on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Its 7 miles of beaches are known for their sugary white sands and emerald green water.
This is a great beach for those looking for a laid-back beach vacation. There are no high rises and it has an Old Florida feel.
Its closest major city is Sarasota, which is about a 40-minute car ride.
Spend your days on Anna Maria Island relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, bicycling, paddle boarding, and fishing.
Head to Historic Bridge Street for some great shopping, dining, and art galleries.
14. Siesta Key
Siesta Key is a barrier island located off the coast of Sarasota, Florida on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
Ever seen the MTV show, Siesta Key? If so, you might be familiar with this beach town. Siesta Key is known for its beautiful white quartz sand and gorgeous clear turquoise waters.
Enjoy the beautiful Gulf of Mexico by swimming, jet skiing, parasailing, fishing, or taking a dolphin excursion.
Besides Siesta Key’s beautiful beaches, other attractions in Siesta Key include Siesta Key Village (where you’ll find shops, cafes, and restaurants), Sunset Pier, and the Siesta Farmers Market.
15. Sanibel & Captiva Island
Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are located in southwest Florida about 30 miles from Fort Myers. They are known for their beautiful beaches and clear blue-green water.
These destinations have a laid-back and quiet atmosphere; great for those who love nature and relaxation.
On Sanibel and Captiva Islands you can spend your town swimming, biking, paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling.
What’s interesting about Sanibel Island is that it has an east-west orientation, while most beaches have a north-south orientation. Sanibel Island is also known for its shells.
In fact, Sanibel Island is the top shelling destination in the country. People come here from all over the world for its shells.
Naples is a wealthy city located in southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico that is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches, high-end shopping, amazing dining, and world-class golf courses.
Oh, and they have that beautiful clear water too!
When in Naples, stroll the 1000-foot Naples Pier to take in a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico, or for a different view, visit the Naples Botanical Garden.
If in Naples with kids, you have to take them to the Naples Zoo.
For one of the best beach experiences in Naples or Marco Island, take a boat or water shuttle to Keewaydin Island. Here you’ll find eight miles of mostly deserted white sandy beaches, plenty of shells, and sea turtles.
17. Marco Island
Just south of Naples is Marco Island. Marco Island offers access to the stunning beautiful clear water of the Gulf of Mexico and also the mangrove islets of the Ten Thousand Islands.
One of the best beaches on Marco Island is Tigertail Beach. It’s a great place to relax, go swimming and hunt for some amazing seashells. Check out the clear tidal pools for the best selection of seas shells and sand dollars.
Tigertail Beach is also a great place to go bird-watching. You can find a variety of birds here including bald eagles, osprey, and pelicans.
Besides birds, keep an eye out for dolphins and manatees swimming in the Gulf. You never know what you just might see.
South Florida Beaches with Clear Water
Now that we’ve talked about Northwest Florida and the Gulf Coast area beaches, let’s now focus on South Florida’s beaches.
The South Florida and Miami area beaches are wonderfully different. For one they are located on the Atlantic Ocean.
Being so far south, these are great beaches to go to any time of the year if you’re looking to escape the cold.
Here are the best South Florida beaches with clear water.
18. Palm Beach
Palm Beach is a town located in South Florida known for its affluent lifestyle with stunning resorts, mansions, upscale boutiques, and galleries.
In fact, Palm Beach is said to be the most expensive place to live in Florida. What Palm Beach also has is some pretty amazing beaches.
Palm Beach is a long and narrow barrier island that stretches 16 miles in length. You’re sure to find your perfect part of the beach here to bask in the sunny Florida sun and enjoy the picturesque water with all of Palm Beach’s wonderful upscale amenities.
Jupiter, Florida is another south Florida town known for its wealth and beaches with clear water.
If you’re looking for a clear water beach that you can take your dog to, Jupiter Dog Beach would be the perfect beach for you. This is a 2.5-mile stretch of beautiful beach where your favorite friend can run around leash free.
When not spending time on the beach, there are many trails to hike and bike in Jupiter. If you are in Jupiter at the right time, you could go on a turtle hatchling walk. You also have to visit the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and take in the amazing view.
Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium is home to the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals spring training. You could catch a game if you are here during spring break.
20. Hollywood Beach
Hollywood Beach is one of the most beautiful and unique stretches of beaches in Florida. It’s located about 24 miles north of Miami Beach (between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida)
What I love about Hollywood Beach is the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. This boardwalk stretches about 2.5 miles along the picturesque Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a great place to walk, jog, ride a bicycle, or rollerblade while taking in the beautiful clear Atlantic Ocean water. Along the boardwalk, you’ll find restaurants, shops, and hotels.
We love to visit the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort while in Hollywood. It’s a great place to stay or dine and has amazing beach views.
21. Miami Beach/South Beach
Miami Beach and South Beach located in Miami, Florida have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
You can enjoy the white sand and beautiful crystal clear waters along with all of the glitz and glamour that the city of Miami is.
What makes Miami Beach and South Beach unique is the culture of Miami. Its culture is very Hispanic and Cuban-influenced. You’ll see it in the language and the food here. Spanish is widely spoken here and you’ll find delicious Cuban food all over the city.
Miami has everything! Art-deco architecture, dining, shopping, high-end hotels, and a plethora of activities.
I love Miami! If you’re looking for culture without leaving the U.S. with amazing beaches, Miami Beach and South Beach is your beach destination.
22. Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park is another amazing beach destination in South Florida. This national park protects one of the largest reef systems in the world.
What makes this national park different from others is that 95 percent of the park is underwater.
While at Biscayne National Park relax on the beautiful beaches, swim in the crystal clear water, go snorkeling, scuba dive, or cruise around in a boat.
At Biscayne National Park there are also great trails to go walking or biking. You’ll also have to get pictures of the iconic lighthouse.
Florida Keys Beaches with Clear Water
The Keys are a chain of islands off the southern coast of Florida that is known for its stunning water and abundance of water activities such as fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
The Keys might have amazing water, but they are not known for their beaches. There are however a few that are quite amazing.
Here are the best Florida Keys beaches with clear water.
23. Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park is an island located in the lower Florida keys between Marathon and Key West, Florida.
When you think of the Florida Keys, this is probably what comes to mind; beautiful beaches, tropical atmosphere, and crystal clear waters.
This state park has wonderful beaches where you can rent beach chairs and kayaking and snorkeling gear. You can also book a boat trip here to the reef for a snorkeling excursion.
Calusa Beach at Bahia Honda State Park is perfect for those with young kids because of the shallow waters. You’ll also get a great view of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge and the Overseas Highway from here.
24. Smathers Beach
One of the most popular beaches in the Keys is Smathers Beach. This beach is located on Key West and is known for its white sandy beaches and water that is crystal clear.
Smathers Beach is a great public beach with a beautiful sandy shoreline, which is hard to find in the Keys.
Here you’ll find public bathrooms, chair rentals, and water sports rentals and equipment.
Whether you want to relax on the beach, go for a swim, paddleboard, snorkel, windsurf or kayak you can do it here at Smathers Beach.
However, there will be so much you want to see and do in Key West, you might not spend so much time on the beach.
When in Key West, take a Conch Train Tour to discover the town. Visit The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, explore Duval Street, take your picture at the Southernmost Point, visit the Key West Aquarium, and head to Mallory Square for the best sunset in the Keys.
Oh, and you gotta eat a piece or two of key lime pie while in Key West.
25. Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles west of Key West. It’s known for its water which is crystal clear.
However, it’s not the easiest beach to go to. But once you get there you will not be disappointed. In order to get to Dry Tortugas you’ll have to travel by boat or seaplane.
Dry Tortugas is home to many different species of fish and coral making it an excellent destination for fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
Where in Florida has White Sand and Clear Water?
You will find white sand and beautiful water at all of the above 25 best beaches with clear water in Florida.
For the most amazing white sand though, head to Northwest Florida’s beaches anywhere from Pensacola to Panama City. The sand here is soft and sugar-like. In fact, it’s almost 100 percent pure quartz.
Which Side of Florida Has the Clearest Water?
The clearest water in Florida can be found on Northwest Florida’s beaches and going down the west coast of Florida. The South Florida area and the Keys also have very clear water.
I have found that the water on the East Coast of Florida is not very clear until you get down to Southeast Florida.
I have been to the St Augustine area in Northeast Florida and down to Cocoa Beach, Florida in central Florida, and have found that their water is not very clear.
Stick to the above list of 25 best beaches with clear water in Florida and you will be happy.
Conclusion: Beaches with Clear Water in Florida
I hope you enjoyed my guide 25 Best Beaches with Clear Water in Florida.
Florida has plenty of amazing beaches with clear water to go to! What beach destination you pick will depend on your vacation style and your budget.
I’m curious about which beach in Florida you are thinking about going to.
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