There’s plenty of waterfront sand in Florida . Between the peninsular coastlines, the panhandle beaches, barrier islands, and the archipelago of the Florida Keys , when in Florida you’re never more than a couple hours away from an afternoon of castle-building, shell-collecting, or simply whiling away worries. For an exceptional day at the beach, head to one of these surf-and-sand spots:
Bill Baggs State Recreational Area  (Miami): There’s a mid-19th-century lighthouse at this park, but despite the allure of historical exploration, most visitors to this Key Biscayne park head right for the calm, blue waters and mile-long beach.
Fort Lauderdale Beachfront (South Florida): With broad stretches of sand, blue-green Atlantic waters, and ample facilities, the city oceanfront understandably draws the crowds, but they don’t detract from the beach’s beauty.
Blind Creek State Park (South Florida): At the end of a nearly hidden driveway along A1A south of Fort Pierce is a tiny parking lot for Blind Creek Park. There’s a 335-foot beach here that’s usually quite empty, which is surprising given the tropical blue waters and wide stretch of sand.
Bahia Honda State Park  (Florida Keys): The Keys may seem to be lacking in the beach department — that is, until you hit Bahia Honda, one of the best beach areas in the state. The park offers three gorgeous beaches and snorkeling just a few hundred feet offshore.
Cayo Costa State Park  (South Gulf Coast): This beach consistently pops up on statewide (and even national) “best beach” lists…and here it is again. And though the soft white sand and crystal-blue Gulf waters are certainly a huge part of Cayo Costa’s appeal, the fact that it’s only accessible by boat nearly ensures that a day spent here is a special day indeed.
Fort Myers Beach  (South Gulf Coast): Although there are many isolated and beautiful beaches along the Gulf coast, those looking for a little more activity will enjoy the casual and welcoming atmosphere at Fort Myers Beach, which couples large and accessible swathes of white sand and a laid-back, beach-bum vibe.
Siesta Key  (South Gulf Coast): The curving coastline of Crescent Beach at Siesta Key is legendary for its white sand and wide and spacious stretches. It’s quite popular, thanks to those expanses of sand and gentle, blue Gulf waters that are shallow and calm.
Caladesi Island State Park  (Tampa Bay Area): The four miles of beaches on Caladesi Island are only accessible by boat, and such limited access would make it a prime beachgoing spot, even if those four miles weren’t some of the most beautiful and pastoral stretches of white sand you’d ever seen.
Canaveral National Seashore  (North Atlantic Coast): There are 24 miles of undeveloped beach in this government-owned park; you can thank the security needs of NASA (Kennedy Space Center ’s launchpads are visible from the southernmost beach) for the isolation.
Destin Public Beaches (Northern Florida and the Panhandle): Among the excellent beaches along the Florida Panhandle, those in the city of Destin are the best, with the white sands and warm, blue waters the area is known for, along with a mellow and welcoming vibe.