10+ Unique Beaches of Florida: The Suncoast Keys and Southwestern, FL

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Once you’ve been to the beaches of the Suncoast Keys and Southwestern Florida, it will spoil you for the rest. Crystal blue waters that you thought only existed in the Caribbean, can be found here. These beaches are all the most popular beach spots on the west coast of Florida (and some secret ones too). Beaches where you can look for shark teeth, a world-famous beach, a beach where you can find Sand Dollars and other fun adventures! 

Suncoast of Florida: Beaches to visit.

So grab your floppy hat, a cool drink, and get ready to enjoy some beautiful beaches and fun in the sun in Florida!

Where to stay? Check out these Florida Beach Vacation Rentals with Private Pools.

The Suncoast Of Florida

The beaches of the Suncoast Keys and West Coast Florida offer visitors so many different experiences and adventures. It’s one of the things I miss about living there. Living in the Upstate is the furthest I’ve ever lived from the sea., and it makes me appreciate my time near the ocean even more. It sounds cliche, but once you’ve experienced the crystal blue water and powder-like sand of Florida, you’ll have a hard time going anywhere else. 

When my family first visited before moving there, my mother brought back a container of sand. People she showed that sand to accused her of lying because the sand looked like cake flour. It still does, and if you’ve only ever experienced the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, you are in for a treat!

Billboard of Siesta Beach in Florida

Beaches Near Sarasota, Florida

Don’t forget to Earn Prizes Using the Beach Pass on Visit Sarasota App, while on vacation! The app will help you locate new spots and earn you discounts for dinner and souvenirs to bring home.

Siesta Beach – The best beach for just relaxing!
Usually listed at the top of any beach list, is this gem in the crown of domestic beaches. The sand on Siesta is like cake flour and the water is often a tropical blue hue. Growing up with this as the beach where we would spend our weekends, has pretty much ruined me for other beaches. 

Travel to Sarasota, FLorida

Traveling to Sarasota, Florida? Don’t miss our extensive guide to the area, full of things to do, places to stay, and where to dine.

Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island – The best beach for escaping it all 
Sanibel Island is where you go when you want to escape from the world. It’s quiet and if you cross the bay to Cayo Costa State Park, you will find even more tranquility. 

Looking for seashells on Bowmans Beach in Florida

Coquina Beach – The best beach for shell combing!
Named for the tiny mollusks that burrow into the sand, Coquina Beach is a great place to look for the remains of those tiny creatures. If you find one intact they resemble a little butterfly and come in a rainbow of colors. 

  • Free Parking
  • Bathrooms
  • Picnic area
  • Grills 
  • Lifeguards
  • Outdoor shower

Caspersen Beach – The best beach for finding sharks’ teeth!
The beaches of Venice are famous for being the place to go to when you want to hunt for fossils. I’m not sure what makes the sharks’ teeth more likely to wash up on the shores of Venice area beaches, but they do!

  • Free parking
  • Canoe Launch
  • Fishing Pier
  • Picnic area
  • Playground
  • Bathrooms

Beaches Near Tampa, Florida

Madeira Beach – The best beach for finding Sand Dollars!  
The Gulf of Mexico is a road-school trip in marine biology! Just off the shore, you’ll find a furry round creature buried in the sand if you feel around with your foot. Scoop it up and you’ll see a live sand dollar! We loved playing with these as children, the trick is to not let them pee in your hand because it temporarily stains your skin neon yellow!  This west-central Florida beach is truly magnificent.

  • #9 on Tripadvisor Top US Beaches (2021)
  • Metered parking
  • Bathrooms
  • Outdoor shower
  • Chair and umbrella rental 
  • Lifeguards on duty 
Playing in the sand at Caspersen Beach in Florida.

Keaton Beach – The best beach for going scalloping!
If you are a fan of fresh shellfish, it doesn’t get any fresher than this, or cheaper! During the scalloping season of June through September, people are permitted to harvest 2 gallons of whole scallops per day. Then you just have to clean them and eat ‘em! You don’t even need a fishing permit to do this! 

  • Free parking 
  • Playground
  • Bathrooms
  • Outdoor shower
  • Fishing Pier
  • Picnic Area

Upham Beach – The best beach for sun during the day and fun at night
Located conveniently near the coast and big-city nightlife, St. Pete beach is the best of both worlds. You can spend the day lounging on the beach and then head to the Pier downtown to eat and find entertainment. A short drive over Tampa Bay will bring you to the heart of Downtown Tampa. 

Clearwater Beach – The best beach for active families
Nearby accommodations, attractions, dining, and more, make the white sand beaches of Clearwater Beach a great spot for a family that wants to experience more than the beach on their vacation. This Gulf Coast beach is a top beach for a reason.

Caladesi Island State Park – Best Beach for families with older children
Only accessible by boat, this beach is best saved for families that don’t have to pack and carry a bunch of things along on a beach trip. Plus, this barrier island is one of the few islands that is close to pristine.

  • #4 on Dr. Beach’s Top Ten (2023)
  • Shower station
  • Canoe launch
  • Campground
  • Playground
  • Restaurant
  • Picnic Shelter

Honeymoon Island State Park – Best for beachcombers
This State Park was once part of a larger island that was split in half by a hurricane. The other half is now known as Caladesi Island State Park. The 15-minute ferry ride to Caladesi departs from Honeymoon Island, and both offer terrific shelling opportunities, paddling, and more.

Beaches in the Suncoast Keys

John Pennekamp State Park Beaches– Best for Nature Lovers
The State Park becauses here are full of rocks to explore, sea life to view, and is a great place to rent snorkles for a guided tour or kayaks to take out onto the calmer waters of the coast. The park is home to a stunning coral reef, so if you have older kids that enjoy getting out and exploring the beauty of the ocean, this is the place! Plus, there is a fun indoor nature center to explore, complete with a coral cam.

There are so many beach access options on the Florida Coast! These are just a few of the choices that offer visitors a unique experience.

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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