You know that our family was on a quest for the best East Coast beaches for families this year and I promised that we’d share our results after our long Florida beaches tour. We traveled from Northeast Florida all the way to Key West to compare beaches of Jensen, Jupiter, West Palm, Miami, Islamorada, Marathon, and Key West, Florida beaches. Whew! Which do you think we chose as the best East Coast beaches???
Best East Coast beaches
We were curious to discover the differences between the beach sand, atmosphere, shells, and water from one end of Florida to the other (Florida Gulf beaches, we’re coming for you next)! Our judging scale took into consideration the seclusion, sand, atmosphere, water clarity, and water color to choose the best East Coast beaches in Florida. More details about each beach will be at the very end!
After a couple family discussions, we’ve narrowed down the results of our best East Coast beaches contest:
It’s still incredibly surprising to us that Miami Beach was so unbelievably gorgeous and a place we are dying to revisit and spend more time. Our Miami beach time was cut very short because we were on a mission to arrive at our first Florida Keys resort that day. If we didn’t already have reservations further south, we could have definitely gotten lost on those white sandy beaches. Don’t worry, we’ll return for a longer Miami family vacation and let you know why families should definitely take a vacation to Miami Beach with kids.
I wasn’t sure Jensen Beach would be worth driving a few miles off the interstate to Hutchinson Island. We’d left the Florida Keys bright and early and were desperately searching for a great beach for the day.
We had already tried two beaches that ended in disappointment. Bahia Honda State Park (in between Key West and Marathon) had no beach access due to lingering hurricane damage. Jupiter Beach was had a rocky coastline covered in algae. Ewww!
Apparently it makes a huge difference which beach access you choose on Hutchinson Island. We weren’t technically at Jensen Beach Park but were just South of it – which was perfect! It was secluded, had a huge free parking lot, bathrooms, volleyball, picnic pavilions, and a lifeguard. As you can see from the image below, the sand was gorgeous and the water was crystal clear and the prettiest shade of blue. WooHoo! We parked at the Jensen Beach parking lot at about this address -> 4065 Ocean Blvd.
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KEY WEST BEACHES
Here’s the deal: one of the most amazing draws to the Florida Keys is the enormous coral reef that is world renown for diving and sportfishing. This incredible barrier is also what protects the Keys but makes waves and the culmination of sand almost impossible. It also creates a rocky bed along the seashore of the Keys and Key West.
I was determined to find white sandy beaches without a rocky seawall to access the beautiful turquoise waters of Key West. Like I talked about in Key West Vacation Ideas, Higgs Beach and Fort Zachary have good beaches – they just may be different than what you are picturing.
However, Smathers Beach (public) and the private beach behind Casa Marina Resort, although manmade, had stunning white sand and beautiful turquoise waters. We didn’t get to spend time at Smathers and I was so sad. It was gorgeous.
The stunning, private beach behind the Casa Marina resort was the destination to begin the Barefoot Billy’s Jet Ski Adventure. You’ll see in the footage below that the over 1,000 feet of private beach is full of swaying palm trees and luxury hammocks, as well as jet skis and other recreation. Closer to the resort has quiet lounge chairs and massage opportunities – even for those that are not guests.
One of our favorite east coast beaches
It was a little hot and exhausting as we searched for the best beaches that Florida has to offer on the East Coast. It was all worth it though when we did find the white, fluffy sand and crystal blue waters. There’s nothing like a beautiful beach!
Which one of these on our family’s Best East Coast Beaches list will you visit first? Share your experience with these beaches in the comments as well!
Know before you go
Miami Beach: 6261 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Jensen Beach: 4065 Ocean Blvd, Hutchinson Island, FL
Smathers Beach: 2601 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL
Casa Marina Beach: 1500 Reynolds St, Key West, FL