With its combined total of over 700 miles of gorgeous beaches, It’s not easy to pick out the most beautiful clear water beaches in Florida.
So I have created a list of 16 most popular clear water beaches for people who want to spend their vacation time drinking up the sun, relaxing in the sand, swimming, and snorkeling.
This is one of the main reasons people love it so much, as they are truly spoilt for choice.
Not only does clear water provide more beautiful views for people who love the atmosphere of the ocean and the waves, but it allows for activities such as snorkeling, as you can see the marine life clearly.
There is nothing like a beautiful clear water beach on a clear sunny day, with the light bouncing off of the crystal blue water.
Below you’ll find some information on 16 of the most beautiful clear water beaches in Florida that we recommend you check out during your stay there.
16 Beautiful Clear Water Beaches in Florida You Must Visit
Of all of the clear water beaches in Florida, Jupiter is one of the most beloved. Thanks to the near proximity of the gulf stream, Jupiter is kept at a lovely seventy eight degrees throughout the entire year. This makes it one of the beaches that can be visited any time, as long as the weather is good.
Thanks to the calm, clear water and its temperature, Jupiter is known for being a beach for active people and is famed for its water sports. Activities such as surfing, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding are done here year round.
Jupiter also has one of the last beaches in the state that allows dogs, located between Ocean Cay Park and Carlin Park. Making this a great option for people who want to bring their furry friends for a day in the sun with them.
From March through October, you may also encounter nesting turtles around the beaches. Beach authorities request that people maintain their distance, but they are a lovely sight.
Top attractions in the area include the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, and DuBois Park.
Parking is available for free at places such as Jupiter Beach Park, DuBois Park, and Carlin Park, as well as street parking on the A1A corridor.
2. Crab Island
While it’s a bit off the beaten path, Crab Island, located right off of Destin’s coast, specifically on Destin Bridge’s north side, isn’t actually an island at all, as there’s no land.
It’s really a sandbar oddly plopped right there in the ocean. It’s such a unique place that it’s been featured on TV and various travel mags worldwide.
In order to get to Crab Island, you’ll need a boat but if you either don’t have your own or want to rent one, there are also numerous guided tours and shuttles.
There are also pontoon rentals, and water sports people engage in here include jet-skiing, paddleboarding, and more. There are also options for fishing as well as dolphin sighting cruises.
With waters ranging from 1 to 4 feet deep (depending on when you visit), it’s one of the most unusual and stunning clear water beaches in Florida.
Hotel accommodations include the Emerald Grande, the Henderson Park Inn, and the Hilton Garden Inn.
There are also plenty of restaurants such as Tailfins Waterfront Grill, AJs on the Harbor, and Anglers Beachside Bar & Grill, along with shopping, nightlife, golf courses, and more.
Speaking of Destin, it is usually cited as one of, if not the most beautiful, of all of the clear water beaches in Florida.
Located in the Florida Panhandle in an area between the famous Pensacola and Panama City, Destin’s beautiful blue water is the result of the Choctawhatchee Bay acting as a filter to darker sediment residue before the water gets to the Gulf. This is helped by there being only one channel that flows from the Gulf to Destin.
What’s left are breathtaking emerald water and sparkling sand, making it a true tropical paradise and one of Florida’s most picturesque views.
It also has a relatively low population, making it an ideal spot for people who want to take in the atmosphere without the overcrowding of some other beaches.
Destin offers all of the usual watersports available at the other beaches. Henderson Beach State Park in Destin is particularly recommended.
Destin also has a number of golf courses and attractions for the whole family such as Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Big Kahuna’s Water Park, and the Destin Harbor Boardwalk for all sorts of fun.
4. Fort De Soto
One of the most gorgeous and unusual clear water beaches in Florida is Fort De Soto, which is right off the coast of St Petersburg and provides not only the beautiful crystal clear water and sands of the other beaches but some history as well!
Covering 1,136 acres stretched over 5 separate islands, Fort De Soto Beach has miles of gorgeous vista to trek across as well as to relax on, along with, of course, water to swim in, as well as its namesake fort.
This is an actual historic fort from the Spanish-American War, which is now a museum filled with fascinating information.
This makes Fort De Soto Beach a great area not only for families who want to enjoy the tropical atmosphere and to enjoy things such as dolphin watching, but to take in some culture as well.
It also has a huge campground with two hundred and thirty-six available sites. Amenities offered include picnic areas, grills, utilities, and even laundry facilities.
Due to its many unusual features, Fort De Soto Beach can get quite crowded on Saturdays and Sundays, especially during peak season, so we recommend you check it out on a weekday or less busy time of year.
Next up we have one that’s a bit of a hidden gem amongst clear water beaches in Florida. The main reason Rosemary Beach isn’t as well known is it actually isn’t a public beach that anyone can access.
You have to be either a resident of the town or staying at a hotel in the area, so this is important to know before considering a visit.
If you do, however, decide to stay at one of the local hotels, such as The Pearl Hotel or The Blue Lagoon, or to do a short-term rental or overnight stay at one of the beachfront homes, you gain access to this idyllic spot, boasting soft sand and breathtakingly clear water.
Because it’s a bit exclusive, the beach never gets too crowded, is maintained beautifully and kept clean, and has a variety of beach chairs available in order to enjoy the atmosphere in style.
And the local town is just as enchanting, the houses painted in distinctly candy colors with shuttered windows and lovely wrap-around porches.
Local restaurants include The Summer Kitchen Café, Gallion’s, and Paradis.
One of the best beaches in Florida with clear water is Panama City Beach. Like Destin, it’s located near the Chocawhatchee Bay, with twenty seven miles of gorgeous sand and water, and 2 state parks as added features to the typical beach activities.
As with most of the other beaches, people come to Panama City Beach for opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, lazing in the sun, and more. You can also enjoy the views via the many boat options in the area.
Restaurant options include Harpoon Harry’s, Schooners Last Local Beach Club, and Capt Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market.
One of the most fun, bustling shopping areas is the Shopping Pier Park Mall, an outdoor mall located on the beach that features shops, dining, a Ferris Wheel, and more.
Also similar to Crab Island by Destin, Panama City also has a nearby island, but an actual island rather than a sandbar. It’s a barrier island called Shell Island that isn’t inhabited but is a popular destination for boating and fishing, and for daytime exploration.
It’s named for the many shells that wash up on the beach, making it also a great place for people who collect them to have a fun day out, either as a family or for single people who enjoy the activity.
The next beach on our list is Beer Can Island, located in Longboat Key (note there’s also another a Beer Can Island in Tampa Bay, but that’s not the one we’re discussing here).
Yet another of the lesser-known of the clear water beaches in Florida, Beer Can Island is secluded and people often say how magical it feels.
This is due to a number of reasons. It has some of Florida’s most crystal-clear water, and the sand is so white, it almost looks like an idealized ideal of a fantasy island. It’s also famous for its driftwood which adds to its almost otherwordly fairy tale feel.
This is also helped by the fact that it’s not the easiest island to reach, which only adds to its allure. Your best bet is probably to park your car at Coquina Beach, which is near Longboat Key Bridge.
Cross the bridge on foot, and then walk down the road that winds through a neighborhood full of rich houses until you reach the beach.
Be aware that there is no shade along the walk and lots of bugs, so sunscreen and bug spray are your friends!
8. Dry Tortugas
Another of the most beautiful clear water beaches in Florida you will find is the Dry Tortugas Islands, which are seven islands covering one hundred square miles that make up the Dry Tortugas National Park (which was established in 1992).
Situated in the Gulf of Mexico, seventy miles to the west of Key West, you can only get there by plane, ferry, or boat, but it’s worth that inconvenience for the gorgeous water, picturesque white sandy beaches, the beautiful views, and opportunities for exploration, relaxing, swimming, and all other beach activities.
And you will definitely want to either snorkel or scuba dive, as it’s also home to the United States’s only tropical reef, which also happens to be the world’s 3rd largest!
Camping there overnight is also an option, which isn’t only fun but can make the trek out even more worth it.
And while you’re here, also make sure to check out Fort Jefferson, yet another 19th century fort, which provides breathtaking views of its brick and arch structure against the beautiful blue beach background.
The best time of the year to visit is between November and April, when the water is at its clearest due to there being fewer winds. Be aware there are no food options on the park, so make sure to eat first or bring a picnic with you!
9. Miami Beach
It may seem almost overly obvious to bring up Miami Beach on this list, given how famous and iconic a place it is, but given we’ve included so many off the beaten path ones, it felt like we should also include a well known one that’s easier to get to for people who want to experience the beautiful blue water without too much of a schlep.
Miami Beach, as well as nearby Fort Lauderdale, provides every beach activity you could possibly imagine, in addition to all of the shopping, dining, nightclubs, bars, and more you could possibly want. It has so many hotel and resort options that multiple articles can be written on them alone.
Not all of Miami will afford you views of the clearest water, however, so we do want to recommend South Beach, Haulover Sandbar, and the other various south bars located south of the beautiful Key Biscayne as the best spots to appreciate it.
South Beach in particular is a gorgeous popular spot that also provides numerous useful amenities such as gear rental and showers, as well as some nice additions for further fun beach activities such as volleyball courts in addition to water activities like snorkeling, and boat rental, and more.
The sand is also particularly beautiful due to being regularly cleaned by the tides as well as the marine life. This makes it also another great spot for collecting shells.
Back to lesser-known clear water beaches in Florida, Anna Maria Island is a lovely little beach located to the south of Sarasota that boasts sugar-white sands and beautiful, emerald green water that allows you to easily see to the bottom of the ocean floor, while also being able to have a less crowded beach experience.
With its gorgeous vistas and seclusion, it’s a great option for both families as well as couples looking for a romantic trip. At times, it practically feels like having your own private beach, and a huge one to boot, being over twenty-two miles long.
Additionally, there are a number of hotels and resorts, such as Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort, BridgeWalk, and Cedar Cove, in addition to beachfront cottages and other homes available for short and longer-term rental, in addition to camping.
The town also offers numerous shopping options and restaurants such as the Sandbar Restaurant and Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub, in addition to attractions such as museums, aquariums, boat rental,s and more. You can also get around the island via a trolley, making for a charming experience.
11. Smathers Beach
Located in Key West, a popular, famous area which is full of many beaches, Smathers Beach is one of the most special in the area due to being one of the very few that actually has sand.
And this is actually not a naturally occurring feature. The sand was brought there, but it‘s been done so organically, you’d never know.
It’s also one of the largest beaches in Key West, meaning there’s room for lots of beach activities and amenities, such as jet ski rental, volleyball, restrooms, and shower facilities.
At the same time, however, it has a more laidback vibe than most of the rest of Key West, which can be quite intense at times due to the crowds.
This is partially due to the fact that, unlike some of the other beaches, there aren’t as many attractions or huge hotels nearby. What it loses in that, however, it makes up for in relaxation.
There are also many shady areas, which makes it easier to escape the sun than some of Florida’s other clear-water beaches. Public parking is available for $5 an hour.
One of the most incredible, breathtaking, and unusually clear water beaches in Florida is Biscayne National Park.
Located south of Miami, the park is over two hundred and seventy square miles long and is 95% water, other than Elliott Key, an island formed of coral reef that has been fossilized. Many of the other islands are made of sand and coral.
Biscayne National Park is known for covering 4 ecosystems: a mangrove forest, Biscayne Bay, the Florida Reef, and coral limestone keys.
The various marine wildlife you may see there in its beautiful clear waters include fish, sponges, sea turtles, whales, and pelagic birds, as well as endangered species such as hawksbill sea turtles, smalltooth sawfish, manatees, and swallowtail butterflies, and a population of crocodiles and alligators.
Due to the park being mostly water, the best way to experience it is by boat, kayak, or paddleboard. You can bring your own or rent, and/or go on a tour.
One of the best being the Heritage of Biscayne Tour that shows you around and gives you information about the ten thousand years of history on display there, that stretches back to prehistoric tribes.
People also come here for diving, fishing, and snorkeling. It’s a place of great beauty and adventure.
Another park that is home to one of the loveliest clear water beaches in Florida is Honeymoon Island. Situated off of Tampa’s coast, Honeymoon Island is known for its turquoise water and sparkling white sand, giving the over 4-mile beach a true Caribbean feel.
It also boasts one of the world’s last virgin slash pine forests, as well as a 3-mile-long trail through it, making it a great place for exploration through nature, not to mention some unique selfie opportunities.
Additionally, Honeymoon Island is a birdwatcher’s dream, being home to a number of wild birds such as great horned owls, osprey, eagles, and pelicans, in addition to ground animals such as armadillos, raccoons, and gopher tortoises.
Activities people tend to do here include swimming, collecting seashells, hiking, fishing, and biking, as well as visiting their lovely Rotary Centennial Nature Center to learn about the history of the area and in-depth information about all of the natural beauty that exists there.
The park also has a concession area as well as a café for food, a dog-friendly beach if you want to bring your pets along for the day, a picnic pavilion, and a playground for the kids.
14. New Smyrna Beach
Another popular destination for people looking for the best clear water beaches in Florida is New Smyrna Beach, a city located in Volusia County on Florida’s central east coast.
The city has seventeen miles of beaches with awe-inspiring crystal blue water and white sand, and the unique ability to be allowed to drive your car onto the beach itself.
New Smyrna Beach is also known for having some of Florida’s best waves, so along with all of the usual activities you’d find on a beach, such as scuba diving, sailing, and swimming, it is particularly famed for its surfing and kitesurfing.
In fact, Surfer Magazine ranked it the 9th best surf town in the United States in 2009, and National Geographic named it one of the top 20 in the world in 2012.
Other activities available on the beach include fishing, motorboating, and hiking.
Away from the beach but nearby you’ll find a quirky small town that is bursting with culture, boutiques, shopping, dining, and more. Popular attractions include the Marine Discovery Center and the Ponce Inlet & Lighthouse Museum. Popular restaurants include Boondocks Restaurant, Aunt Catfish’s On the River, and The Garlic.
It’s also an extremely pet-friendly area. Not only are dogs allowed on the beach but in many of the local shops, restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and more!
15. St Augustine
In northern Florida is a small, charming town called St Augustine that was founded in the mid-1500s by Spanish explorers, and has continued to leave an impact in terms of architectural design.
The town is full of historical Spanish architecture (as well as new architecture inspired by it) along with cobblestone streets.
Most interestingly to us, of course, it’s also home to breathtaking, clean beaches that offer all of the sorts of water sports and activities we’ve talked about throughout this article, as well as attractions such as a historic lighthouse you can climb up as well as yet another fort.
St Augustine is also home to the St Augustine Wild Reserve, the St Augustine Aquarium, and the Alligator Farm Zoological Park.
All of these make it a great option for a family vacation in Florida that provides some of the excitement of Orlando but in a less overcrowded, more lowkey, and more affordable manner.
16. Crystal River
One of the most magical recommendations we can think of to close out our list of clear water beaches in Florida is Crystal River, which isn’t only special for its sandy beaches and gorgeous clear blue water but the fact that it’s known as the “manatee capital of the world”!
This endangered species is drawn there partly due to how clear the water is, particularly during the winter, which is why we suggest that you make that the time of year to plan your trip.
Paddleboards, tubes, and kayaks are available to rent so you can see the manatees up close, and even swim with them if you’d like!
If you don’t want to actually get that close, there’s also a lovely boardwalk with dedicated outlook posts where you can observe the gorgeous views and wildlife. Guided tours are also available.
We also recommend the area’s Hunter Springs Park, which also has a playground for younger children, and is a good place to rent your kayak.
To stay in the area, there are numerous hotels, bed and breakfasts, house rentals, camping and RV options, and more. The area also has a great deal of fine seafood dining at places such as Charlie’s Fish House, The Cove Pub & Grub, and more.
There’s also golfing, all sorts of hiking opportunities, and culture in the form of museums and galleries, along with shopping, and attractions like the Three Sisters Springs Center, Florida Tree Top Adventure, and Monkey Island.
There are just so many options in Florida to experience beaches with crystal clear blue water through which to view breathtaking sights on the ocean floor, and our list has only been a veritable drop in the bucket.
We do hope, however, that it’s been a good sampling to start you off on your next travel adventure!