Although people planning a vacation in Florida often concentrate on places like Walt Disney World, Miami Beach and Palm Beach, there are miles of white sand beaches which lie along both the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast of Florida. Unlike other Atlantic Coast beaches, Florida's sandy stretches are actually increasing in size rather than decreasing due to erosion. If you were to walk the beaches of Florida at the rate of one mile per day, you would be enjoying the beaches for more than two and a half years. Although this sounds like an enjoyable way to visit the beaches of the state, for most people this is not feasible. Instead, most choose to visit the major beaches, arriving by automobile and spending a day of beach combing, observation of flora and fauna, or just enjoying the sun and the water.
Just a few of the Atlantic beaches of Florida can be noted here. Some are very well known, others are hideaway type expanses of beach where you can walk for miles without seeing another person. Traveling from north to the southern tip of the state, here are some favorite beaches.
JACKSONVILLE/AMELIA ISLAND/AMERICAN BEACH
Beaches in this area are generally wide and sand. They're typically lined with sand dunes and have a rich natural history including bird locations such as at Huguenot Memorial Park and Fort Clinch State Park. Most beaches in this area do not require access tags. Specific beaches of interest are those near Jacksonville and Little Talbot Island State Park. American Beach is a well known historic and cultural landmark. Founded in 1920 by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, it is a mecca for blacks from across the South as a vacation site.
Accommodations and food are plentiful in the area especially along the main north-south route. You can find everything from Victorian tearooms to high rise resort developments in this section of the coast.
DAYTONA BEACH/NEW SMYRNA BEACH
This 23 mile stretch of the North Central Atlantic Coast is known for its fascinating mix of bustling action and quiet stretches of beach perfect for vacationing families. Most communities have streets that provide beach access. Ormond-By-the-Sea is an example of the largely residential beach community where you can enjoy the sand and surf. Ormond Beach is the location of the Birthplace of Speed Park where the first American timed trials took place.
Daytona Beach of course is well known for the emphasis on racing action, but this beach features an old-fashioned boardwalk, pedestrian only zones and lots of surf fishing and para-sailing.
Canaveral National Seashore provides a barrier island environment with more than twenty miles of undeveloped seashore. You can visit the Eldora House Historical Site and the Turtle Mound Archaeological Site.
There are plenty of accommodations in this stretch, suitable for families with children and mature beachcombers as well.
The beaches are wide and flat, lined by gently swaying palm trees and with sparkling white sand. This stretch is a nesting area for sea turtles. Until recently Jupiter Beach has been known only for sand dunes covered with sea grapes and Australian pines. It is now well on its way to being a prime resort area with developed beach areas, some wheelchair accessible areas, plus plenty of well-appointed lodging places and trendy restaurants where you can find any type of cuisine you desire.
Many of the beaches in this area feature lifeguards, picnic grounds, nature trails and even boardwalks where you can enjoy rollerblading or bicycling.
Although Palm Beach itself is known mostly as a playground for the wealthy, you can find much in the area for families on a budget as well. Anyone who considers shopping a recreational activity will be certain to enjoy this stretch of Florida's Atlantic Coast.
Long known as the destination for college students on spring break from winter bound campuses in the north, the character of Fort Lauderdale has changed in the past few years. Strict policing of the miles of warm sands in the area have resulted in the beaches once again being suitable for families and young children. The wavewall and the promenade along the beach front is the perfect location for soaking up the atmosphere of the old city.