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Articles on Orlando-Florida Beaches
Articles on
Articles on Orlando-Florida Beaches Florida Beaches Writen by - Diane Slawych

Experts Pick Best Beaches in Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg

For the quintessential Florida experience, pack a towel and suntan lotion and head for the beach! When youve found the ideal stretch of pristine sand and crystal clear water, spread out your towel and consider the options: swimming, surfing, kayaking, fishing, snorkelling, or shell collecting -- to name a few.

Whether youre looking for a lively social scene, or a quiet retreat, theres a beach to suit every mood. Just ask Park Puterbaugh and Alan Bisbort, two self-described beach bums, who have spent most of the past 25 years visiting and writing about every accessible public beach in the lower 48 states.

Were quite certain no one has covered the subject as exhaustively, asserts Puterbaugh, who has a degree in environmental science with an emphasis on coastal geology.

One of their books, Florida Beaches, took a whopping three years to research (two years longer than anticipated). Thats not surprising considering they visited nearly 400 beaches in the states 35 coastal counties.

The just-released third edition of Moon Florida Beaches: the best places to swim, play, eat and stay (Avalon Travel Publishing), is a candid, highly entertaining, near encyclopedic guide. So it seemed apt to consult the authors on some of their top picks in two popular destinations for Canadian travellers: Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg.

Caladesi Island St ate Park
Youll need to take a boat to get here, but its worth it. One of the top 25 beaches in all Florida is a 5.6 kilometre-long stretch of fluffy, fine-as-flour white sand in the Gulf of Mexico, north of St. Petersburg. Swimming, hiking, beachcombing, kayaking through mangroves, and fishing from shore can all be enjoyed here. A passenger ferry runs daily from Honeymoon Island State Park.

Pass-a-Grille Beach
One of the best beaches along the entire St. Petersburg-to-Clearwater stretch is often overlooked. Pass-a-Grille has white, powdery sand and emerald waters that are warm and inviting. Best of all, its easily accessible with angle-in parking stretching for 20 beach-hugging blocks -- all mercifully devoid of high-rise development. Numerous bistros and cafes offer a bite to eat near the water.

Treasure Island Beach Access
Its touted as the largest white sand beach on the Gulf Coast. Its so wide you feel like Lawrence of Arabia sometimes, observes Puterbaugh. Theres a by-gone-days vibe about the place with its old-fashioned motels reminiscent of a beach vacation in the days before rental condos and time shares.

Fort De Soto Parks North Beach
The sand doesnt get much better than this. But theres more than beach to enjoy at this island park south of St. Petersburg. For nature lovers theres bird watching, trail hiking and ample space to beat the crowds. Boating and fishing is also possible and theres an historic fort you can visit. The Parks East Beach is also highly rated.

Madeira Beach
Vibrant and lively Mad Beach is a favourite haunt of the young and restless, though its the kind of place where everyone feels welcome. Its popular with the surfing crowd from Tampa and Clearwater and visitors who enjoy the many tiki bars and fabulous sunsets. The beach is at the southern end of 22-kilometre-long Sand Key, west of St. Petersburg.

Fort Lauderdale City Beach
Welcome to one of the best municipal beaches in the U.S., thanks to local laws that forbid development on the ocean side. A fun place thats great for people-watching, playing volleyball or surfing. The the central and south areas are the prime places to be on this six-kilometre stretch. If its quiet you seek, try the deserted stretch down by the jetties at Port Everglades. Over the years the beach has become more upscale and less like a spring break destination. Lots of good restaurants can be found along Atlantic Boulevard.

Clearwater Beach
A popular family destination, this gorgeous crescent-shaped beach with lifeguards year-round, also offers plenty of outdoor entertainment. At the end of the day youll find live music, jugglers, and offbeat performance artists reminiscent of Key West. What sets Clearwater apart from a lot of other beaches is the nightly sunset-watching ritual at the pier. The beach is on the west coast so the sun goes down over the water producing stunning reflections.

Siesta Key Public Beach
This quintessential west coast beach is a magnet for people who want to get away from urban stresses. The sand is fine-grained, white and therefore highly reflective which means you wont singe your feet when walking across it. You can surf or snorkel, at this sociable beach that never seems to get crowded because its so big.

Sunwing makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein and cannot be held responsible for changes, errors or omissions.