No matter how old we get, where we come from, or what's going on in our lives, we can all agree that beaches are the best. There's nothing quite like walking along a beach, feeling the soft sand wrapping around your toes and listening to the sound of happy playing children and gentle waves lapping up on the shore. Every beach is different, with each one having its own stories and features, but some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet are the ones with paradisiacal white sands and crystal clear waters.
White sand beaches are found all around the world, but the state of Florida is especially rich in these kinds of beaches. The white sands of Florida's Gulf Coast are mostly made up of microscopic quartz crystals that have been washed down into rivers, out into the Gulf of Mexico, and then up onto the shores of the Sunshine State. Tiny pieces of shell and sediment add to these little crystals, making Florida's white sand beaches some of the prettiest in all of North America.
Best White Sand Beaches in Florida
Florida is famous for its theme parks and family attractions, but it’s also well-known as one of the United States’ very best beach destinations. The Sunshine State enjoys warm weather all year long, so there’s never a bad time to visit, and it has one of the longest coastlines of any American state, with an immensely long list of beaches to explore and discover. If you’re looking for the very best white sand beaches in the state of Florida, read on to learn all about them.
- Siesta Key Beach
Also known simply as Siesta Beach, this is the perfect example of a white sand Florida beach. Siesta Key Beach has actually won awards for its sand, which has been rated as being among the whitest anywhere in the world. Scientists have analyzed the sand and found that it is made up of 99% quartz, meaning it's exceptionally pure and feels really soft and smooth as you walk along. The quartz that makes up Siesta Key Beach can be traced all the way back to the Appalachian Mountains, meaning it eroded over the years and was washed all the way down into the Gulf of Mexico and onto the key. The waters here are also very beautiful and clear, with gentle waves providing perfect conditions for swimming. Lifeguards are always on duty too, and Siesta Beach is ranked as one of the safest beaches in Florida, so it's a nice spot for families to go.
- Clearwater Beach
Down in Pinellas County, Clearwater Beach is named after the gorgeous turquoise waters that lap against its shores, but the sands here are also particularly white and beautiful. The beach stretches out for over 2 miles in length, offering a lot of space for everyone to enjoy, and Clearwater, like Siesta Key Beach, has won awards for its beauty and picturesque nature. Many beach-goers at Clearwater Beach tend to gather around Pier 60, which features a nice play area and fishing pier, as well as live entertainment. Many restaurants and hotels can also be found nearby and there's a beautiful Beach Walk area for evening strolls.
- Destin Beach
If you have an angler in your family or want to enjoy some fishing while also appreciating one of the prettiest white sand beaches in the Sunshine State, Destin is the place to be. Nicknamed the 'World's Luckiest Fishing Village', Destin is a hugely popular spot for sport fishing, but is also wonderful for folks who just want to lie back and let the soft, smooth sands envelop them as they sunbathe and relax. The warm waters here are just right for swimming and paddling, and there are various fun activities to be found nearby at places like Henderson State Park.
- Perdido Key
One of the most northwesterly coastal points in all of Florida, Perdido Key is a top white sand beach on the Florida Panhandle. This long, slim key has a lot of sand to enjoy, so there's always plenty of room for everyone, even on the busiest of days. Fortunately, the key never really gets too busy anyway, even in the middle of summer, with many tourists preferring to locate themselves further east along the coast or down on the peninsula. The sands at Perdido Key are really smooth and welcoming, and there are various dunes to explore too. Visitors to this beach will also have a great chance of spotting some wildlife, with dolphins often being spotted out in the water.
- Pensacola Beach
Right by the city of Pensacola on the Gulf Coast barrier island of Santa Rosa, Penscaola Beach is another of Florida's breathtaking white sand beaches. With crystal clear waters and sand that looks just like sugar, you'll be blown away by the simple sight of this beach and feel right at home as you take your first steps onto some of the softest sand in the world. The Pensacola Beach pier stretches out into the water, offering a great place to sit, relax, and watch the waves or observe the sunset in the evenings. Swimming and snorkeling are very popular here too.