Florida is known as the Sunshine State for a reason, and this is the perfect time of year for everyone to enjoy the sun while laying on the sand. South and Central Florida in particular have so many beautiful beaches, and I’m here to give you the rundown on the beaches you must visit and experience this summer.
All of us at Hotspots love South Beach. This is an area that has welcomed tourists for a century, and it also attracts its fair share of locals. South Beach is very gay-friendly, so keep that in mind if you want to get something to eat and drink before or after you lay in the sand. My favorite stretch of South Beach is Lummus Park’s public beach, which also includes a boardwalk for leisurely strolls.
Everyone loves the hotel and casino in Hollywood, but once you’re done there, you should definitely take a trip out to the beach. The calm waters of the Atlantic make this a great place to ride a jet ski or try parasailing for the first time. After you’re done playing in the water and relaxing on the shore, there’s the famed Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, which stretches for two miles. Many intimate seaside cafes dot the length of the walkway.
FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH
There are few beaches quite as picturesque as Fort Lauderdale Beach. It’s a place where you can be as active as you like: whether you want to rent a bike and take a fun trip down Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, or if you just want to bury your toes in the sand under a palm tree with a cool drink in hand, you can do all of that. Make a weekend out of it by staying at the many gay-friendly hotels and guesthouses in the vicinity, some just mere steps from the beach.
Sandwiched in between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, there’s Delray Beach, not as busy as its more prominent peers, and as a result many locals tend to overlook it. Tourists already know it’s a great place to mix fun and sun: the city and the beaches have been nationally recognized for their fun, carefree feel by USA Today. I recommend Highland Beach: rent one of their ubiquitous blue cabanas and let go of all your cares, and I bet you that you’ll want to return very soon.
If you want a ritzy getaway, Palm Beach has nearly every other destination in Florida beat. After you’re done shopping at the luxury boutiques and enjoying a nice drink at a cafe, head on down to Kreusler Park. Not only will you find some of the best fun and sun in Palm Beach County, there are so many amenities beachside (including convenient parking…who doesn’t love parking right where the beach begins?).
Orlando may be landlocked but it’s less than an hour’s drive to Cocoa Beach, where many Central Floridians go on the weekends to escape the city for a little while. There are many places for you to set down your towel, but I recommend Lori Wilson Park. You can’t miss it; it’s mere seconds from Ron Jon Surf Shop and “I Dream of Jeannie Lane.” Bring your pets too because this is a very friendly beach where you can make a day out of sunning yourself and playing with your pups.
One of the most in-demand public beaches in Central Florida, Clearwater is a beautiful place to get a tan or watch the sun set with a loved one. In fact, so many people love coming to the beach in the early evenings that the beach’s Pier 60 hosts many fun events during this time of day. Buy some one-of-a-kind trinkets from the numerous vendors, watch the street performers play with fire, and hear some live music, all while you’re steps from the sand.
Siesta Key is a barrier island with the Gulf of Mexico to its west and Sarasota to the east. On this island there are three distinct beaches that you’re sure to love. The main beach, Siesta Beach, was ranked the best beach in the U.S. by The Travel Channel, who raved about the sand (it’s cool to the touch — a relief during a hot Florida summer). Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach are more secluded, but they are great for water activities like boating and snorkeling.