Looking for the best beaches with clear water in Florida? You are in the right place. Known countrywide for their white sands, transparent waters, and captivating atmosphere, Florida’s beaches will leave you awe-struck with their immense natural beauty.
From Destin’s Henderson Beach State Park, where the sugar-white sands create a stunning contrast, and Dry Tortugas National Park has its emerald-green waters, to Clearwater Beach, known for its powdery sand – Florida boasts some of the most breathtaking clear water beaches in the world.
So, pack your swimsuit, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to discover the most pristine beaches with clear water in Florida. In this blog post, we’ve curated a list of Florida’s 20 best clear-water beaches, each with its unique charm and allure.
Quick Overview Of The Best Clear Water Beaches in Florida
- St. Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach
- Bean Point Beach, Anna Maria Island
- Inlet Beach, South Walton
- Clearwater Beach, Clearwater
- Destin Beach, Emerald Coast
- Smathers Beach, Key West
- Navarre Beach, Florida Gulf Coast
- Blue Mountain Beach, Santa Rosa Beach
- Honeymoon Island State Park, Gulf of Mexico
- Siesta Key Beach, Siesta Key
- Henderson Beach State Park, Emerald Coast
- Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys
- South Marco Beach, Marco Island
- Jupiter Inlet Beach, Jupiter
- St. Pete Beach, Pinellas County
- Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River
- Whitney Beach, Longboat Key
- Crab Island, Destin
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Florida Keys
The 20 Best Crystal Clear Water Beaches in Florida
St. Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach
Do you want to experience the clearest beach water in Florida? If yes, then stop by Panama City Beach, a waterfront town and a favorite among locals and tourists, for a perfect getaway. This beach is a great place to go fishing and enjoy the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.
However, the region is also home to St. Andrews State Park, a 1,200-acre state park located on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The park has a mile-and-a-half of sandy beaches graced with crystal-clear waters, making it the perfect place for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
The park also features nature trails for hiking and bird-watching and a playground for kids.
Additional information: The beach is known for its nightlife, with numerous bars and clubs lining the streets. We suggest you avoid this beach during peak season if you’re not into the party scene.
By Air: Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport
By Car: Major highways leading to the area include US Highway 98 and US Highway 231.
By Bus: Take the bus from Greyhound bus station, which operates bus services to Panama City.
Car Rentals: Renting a car is convenient, especially if you plan to explore the surrounding areas or want flexibility in getting around.
Bean Point Beach, Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria is a paradisiac barrier island on the coast of Florida’s Manatee County. The island is known for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful, clear-water beaches, ideal for well-deserved relaxation.
Make sure to visit Bean Point Beach, located at the northern tip of Anna Maria. This secluded beach features powder-soft white sand, extremely clear waters, and show-stopping views of Tampa Bay. So bring your book and sunbathe on the white sand beach, and enjoy this off-the-beaten-path gem.
An enthusiastic traveler, Michelle says, “The beach was lovely, expansive, and clean. It’s impossible to ask for more. I had a terrific excursion, observed birds, and found shells while I wasn’t really busy. I’m eager to come back.”
Additional information: Parking at Bean Point is limited, so arriving early in the day can help secure a spot.
From Tampa: Take I-275 South toward St. Petersburg, then take the exit for FL-64 West toward Bradenton. Cross the Anna Maria Island Bridge and follow FL-64 to the northern tip of the island, where Bean Point is located.
From Sarasota: Take US-41 North to Bradenton, then head west on FL-64. Continue on FL-64 to reach Anna Maria Island. Once on Anna Maria Island, follow the signs to the northernmost tip of Bean Point.
By Trolley: Anna Maria Island offers a free trolley service that runs from the southern to the island’s northern end. You can take the trolley to the City Pier and then walk to Bean Point Beach.
By Bike or Walking: If you’re staying nearby, consider renting a bike or walking to Bean Point.
Inlet Beach, South Walton
Located between Rosemary Beach and Carillon Beach, along the pristine stretch of Florida’s Panhandle, Inlet Beach is a hidden gem that embodies the essence of coastal beauty.
As you step onto the powdery sands, you’ll be greeted by a sight that will leave you breathless. Renowned for its white sand and crystal-clear turquoise, the Gulf of Mexico beach waters shimmer under the golden sun.
Inlet Beach’s uncrowded shores provide ample space to spread out and soak up the sun, creating an idyllic setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Additional information: The beach is excellent for kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, and fishing.
By Car: If you’re driving, Inlet Beach is accessible via Highway 98.
By Air: The closest major airport is Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), located approximately 20 miles (32 km) away.
Clearwater Beach, Clearwater
Nestled between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Beach is often referred to as one of the best beaches in Florida, thanks to its sugar-white sand and gentle transparency, which make it perfect for swimming.
This beach offers an array of stores, restaurants, and recreational options, making it the ultimate destination. A lovely three-mile boardwalk is available, which is ideal for an evening stroll or early jog.
Clearwater Beach’s crystal clear waters create the perfect conditions for enjoying an array of water activities, such as swimming, parasailing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Visiting Clearwater for the first time? Have a look at the 8 Most Amazing Things To Do In Clearwater Beach!
Additional information: Pets are not allowed on Clearwater Beach. In addition, parking can fill up quickly, especially during peak times, so arriving early is advisable.
By Air: Tampa International Airport or St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport
From Tampa International Airport: Take FL-60 West, continue on FL-60 West, and cross the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Follow signs for Clearwater Beach.
From St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport: Head north on Roosevelt Blvd and follow signs for FL-686 West. Merge onto FL-688 West/Ulmerton Rd. Continue on Ulmerton Rd and cross the Bayside Bridge. At the end, follow the signs for Clearwater Beach.
From Downtown Clearwater: If you’re already in downtown Clearwater, head west on the Clearwater Memorial Causeway to reach Clearwater Beach.
By Trolley: The Jolley Trolley connects various points in the Clearwater Beach area, including downtown Clearwater, Sand Key, and surrounding attractions.
Destin Beach, Emerald Coast
On the hunt for the absolute clearest waters of Florida? Then, Destin Beach is the place to go. This beach is located in a coastal area called the Emerald Coast, which stretches about 100 miles through five counties in the idyllic Gulf of Mexico.
Visitors can embark on a thrilling sunset cruise and witness the sky ablaze with hues of pink and orange as the sun dips below the horizon.
Water sports like parasailing and jet skiing excite thrill-seekers, while those looking for relaxation prefer beach chairs and a warm sun.
Additional information: This beach is excellent for families and those who enjoy water sports. Further, beach chairs, umbrellas, and water sports equipment are available for rent on the beach.
By Air: The closest major airport is Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS), located about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Destin.
By Car: Destin is easily accessible by car. If you’re driving from the west, you can use Highway 98; if you’re coming from the east, you can take I-10 and head south.
Smathers Beach, Key West
Smathers Beach is the largest and most popular public beach in Key West. It is located along the Atlantic Ocean and offers crystal-clear waters that gently lap against the shore, providing a refreshing dip to cool off from tropical heat.
The warm, gentle breeze makes it an ideal spot for windsurfing or kiteboarding, allowing you to feel the exhilaration of gliding across the water. For a touch of adventure, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the coastal wonders that surround the beach.
Smathers Beach’s shallow, current-free waters make it a good place for snorkeling.
Additional information: There is something for everyone, such as volleyball courts, a playground, and a butterfly conservatory. Grab a beach umbrella or shade of your own.
By Car: Key West is a relatively small island, and you can reach the beach by driving along South Roosevelt Boulevard.
By Bike or Scooter: Key West is a bike-friendly community, and you can easily reach Smathers Beach by renting a bike or scooter.
Recommended Read: The 6 Best Key West Hotels
Navarre Beach, Florida Gulf Coast
Navarre Beach, located in the Florida Panhandle, boasts a 12-mile (19 km) pristine shoreline of snowy white sand and transparent emerald green waters. However, visitors can stroll and take advantage of the beach’s gin-clear waters, which are perfect for swimming, paddle boarding, and fishing.
Make sure also to visit the 1,545-foot-long Navarre Beach Pier, which stands 30 feet above the water and provides show-stopping views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Additional information: This beach is perfect for fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. During the nesting season (May to October), be mindful of sea turtle nesting areas marked with signs.
By Air: The closest major airport is Pensacola International Airport (PNS), located approximately 30 miles west of Navarre Beach.
By Car: If you’re driving from the west, you can use Highway 98, or if you’re coming from the east, you can take I-10 and head south.
Recommended Read: Best Pensacola Beaches
Blue Mountain Beach, Santa Rosa Beach
Blue Mountain Beach is a hidden coastal gem nestled on the stunning shores of Florida’s Emerald Coast. It gets its name from the rare occurrence of blue lupine flowers that bloom on the sand dunes, adding a touch of natural beauty to the surroundings. This beach is praised for its unspoiled beauty and tranquil Santa Rosa Beach Community ambiance.
Not by chance, it’s a fantastic destination for families or couples seeking a serene getaway. As you step onto the soft, sandy beach, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of the clear, azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Do you want a beach where you can relax? So, go here to get far from the madding crowds and enjoy the Gulf waters.
Additional information: Take advantage of the calm Gulf waters for swimming, paddleboarding, and other water activities.
By Car: If you’re driving from the west, you can use Highway 98, or if you’re coming from the east, you can take I-10 and head south.
By Bike or Foot: The Timpoochee Trail provides a bike-friendly route along 30A, allowing visitors to explore Blue Mountain Beach and neighboring communities.
Honeymoon Island State Park, Gulf of Mexico
Honeymoon Island State Park offers a unique and captivating beach experience. The island is a haven for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts thanks to its untouched natural beauty.
As you step onto the pristine shores, you’ll be greeted by the sight of crystal-clear waters that glisten under the warm sun. The beaches here boast powdery white sands, and the clarity of the water is simply breathtaking. Honeymoon Island State Park offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Unsure about the availability of water activities at the beach? For water sports enthusiasts, indulge in swimming, snorkeling, or simply basking in the sun on tranquil shores.
Additional information: Honeymoon Island has a designated “Pet Beach” area where dogs can play off-leash. The fee is $8 per car, $4 for a vehicle with just one occupant, and $2 for a bicycle.
By Car: You can reach the park via the Dunedin Causeway from Dunedin.
A travel lover, Natalia says, “If you’re searching for a place to relax, this place is ideal. It is tranquil and lovely! On the shore are many rocks, sand, water, and shells. The beach is smooth and white. There are lots of parking spaces, a gift shop, and a cafe. It’s worthwhile.”
Siesta Key Beach, Siesta Key
Regarded as one of the best places to visit in Florida, Siesta Key is a paradisiac island in the Gulf of Mexico. The island’s main beach is a coveted destination thanks to its dreamy white sand and shallow, crystal-clear water, ideal for a refreshing swim.
For those seeking adventure, Siesta Key Beach offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and sailing.
Additional information: It is a beach perfect for daily yoga sessions that are free. Siesta Key Beach can get crowded, especially during peak hours.
By air: From Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
By Car: From downtown Sarasota, you can get to Siesta Key by taking any route to S Tamiami Trail/US-41.
By Trolley: Siesta Key offers a free trolley service that runs on a loop, providing convenient transportation between Siesta Key Village, Turtle Beach, and Siesta Key Beach.
Henderson Beach State Park, Emerald Coast
Located on the magnificent Emerald Coast, Henderson Beach State Park offers a beach experience like no other. The beaches here are renowned for their beauty and for having some of the clearest water in Florida.
The water’s incredible clarity as you wade into the calm waves will amaze you. It reveals an undersea world rich with colorful seashells and marine life. Make sure also to take a leisurely stroll along the scenic nature trails, immersing yourself in the coastal dune ecosystem and observing the native flora and fauna.
Additional information: There are admission fees: $6 per vehicle (two to eight people) and $4 per single-occupant vehicle. Also, $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, and vehicle passengers with Annual Individual Entrance Pass holders.
By air: Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS)
By Car: Henderson Beach State Park is easily accessible by car. The park entrance is located off U.S. Highway 98 in Destin.
Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County
Experience the enchantment of Biscayne National Park, a natural wonder located in southern Florida. Tucked away in the vibrant waters of Biscayne Bay, this park showcases some of the most beautiful beaches in the Sunshine State.
Do you want to see the colorful marine life and intricate coral reefs below the surface? Biscayne National Park is known for its stunning underwater visibility. Let’s discover this underwater paradise up close by diving or snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.
You can also go on a glass-bottom boat tour and explore the park’s many islands and waterways.
Visitors can also enjoy numerous hiking trails that offer stunning views of the glittering Biscayne Bay.
Additional information: Bring or rent snorkeling gear if you plan to snorkel. The crystal-clear waters and coral reefs make for an unforgettable underwater experience.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys
Dry Tortugas National Park is a sparkling gem in the Florida Keys. It is located about 70 miles west of Key West and accessible only by boat or seaplane. However, the park is made up of seven small islands and 100 square miles of crystal clear waters, dreamy coral reefs, and lush gardens.
One of the top activities in the Dry Tortugas National Park is snorkeling. The park’s transparent waters provide the perfect environment to observe the Florida Keys reef system, the third largest in the world.
Additional information: Due to the limited availability of ferry tickets and camping permits, making reservations well in advance is advisable.
By Ferry: The ferry ride takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. Advanced reservations are recommended.
By Seaplane: Seaplane services are available for those seeking faster transportation to the park. Flights depart from Key West and provide stunning aerial views of the islands.
Recommended Read: The Best Florida Keys Resorts For A Memorable Vacation
South Marco Beach, Marco Island
Situated along the tranquil shores of the Gulf of Mexico, South Marco Beach offers a slice of paradise for beachgoers seeking serenity and natural beauty. For those looking for some peace and quiet or a refreshing swim, this beach is well-known for its crystal-clear, clean waters.
The powdery white sands stretch for miles, providing the perfect spot to lounge and soak up the coastal ambiance.
Additional information: Parking on the streets or swales in the South Beach region is not permitted. However, there are seventy parking spots with access to restrooms and a $8.00 parking fee.
By Air: Naples Municipal Airport
By Car: From the mainland (Naples area), take U.S. Route 41 (Tamiami Trail) south and then turn onto State Road 951 South/Collier Boulevard, which leads to Marco Island. Follow the signs to South Marco Beach.
Jupiter Inlet Beach, Jupiter
Jupiter Inlet Beach has a unique blend of natural beauty and coastal charm that will leave you in awe. Located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida in the town of Jupiter, the beach is famous among locals for its pristine, clear waters that shimmer under the radiant Florida sun.
What sets this beach apart is its breathtaking backdrop of the iconic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, standing tall and proud as a symbol of maritime history. Jupiter Inlet Beach offers a plethora of activities for beach lovers and adventurers.
In addition, cast your fishing line and try your luck at catching various species, or grab a surfboard and ride the rolling waves.
Additional information: One of the most excellent ways to watch the sunset at Jupiter Beach is to take yoga sessions on the Lighthouse decks every Monday.
By Car: From I-95, take the Indiantown Road exit (Exit 87A) and head east. Follow the signs to Jupiter Beach Road, which leads to the beach parking areas.
St. Pete Beach, Pinellas County
Situated on the enchanting west coast of Florida, St. Pete Beach boasts an idyllic setting with endless stretches of soft sand and crystal-clear water. This beautiful beach is lined with swaying palm trees, creating a postcard-perfect backdrop for your serene getaway.
Enjoy a refreshing swim or paddleboard along the shoreline, or try parasailing for a bird’ s-eye view of the coastline. Adventure seekers can snorkel nearby reefs or embark on a thrilling jet ski ride.
Vivian, a swimming lover, advises – “Adored this beach. Once I went there with my son in a fantastic rented car! Coming back would be a delight! Arriving early is recommended; parking and the location are affordable! Popular due to its beauty! I love the coastline, too.”
Additional information: Public parking is available along St. Pete Beach, and some areas may have metered parking or parking fees. If possible, try to arrive early, especially during peak periods.
By Car: Take the Corey Causeway (State Road 693) from St. Petersburg to reach the barrier island.
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River
Crystal River is an idyllic nature preserve with 20 islands and several small parcels of land. It is not exactly a beach along the Nature Coast of Central Florida. However, it does include some breathtaking blue spring-fed rivers and lakes surrounded by dense forests.
Scuba diving and kayaking in the turquoise waters are some of the top activities on Crystal River.
Known as the “Manatee Capital of The World,” the reserve also harbors between 500 and 1000 manatees during the winter and up to 100 in the summer. So, when visiting Crystal River, you’ll get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with manatees in their natural environment!
Additional information: At Crystal River NWR, the manatee season runs from mid-November to late March.
By Car: From the Tampa Bay area, take U.S. Highway 19 North to reach Crystal River.
Recommended Read: The Best Natural Springs Near Orlando, Florida
Whitney Beach, Longboat Key
Whitney Beach offers a serene escape for beach lovers, tucked away on the northwesternmost tip of Longboat Key, away from Florida’s hustle and bustle. This beach, a quarter-mile-long stretch of pristine sand and crystal-clear waters, is breathtaking.
Take a leisurely swim in the crystal-clear waters, go snorkeling to explore the colorful marine life beneath the surface, or simply relax on the shore. The beach is a hidden sanctuary where you can unwind, connect with nature, and create lasting memories in a peaceful and captivating setting.
Additional information: If you’re interested in shelling, consider visiting during low tide when more shells may be visible along the shore.
By car: Take Gulf of Mexico Drive (State Road 789) from the mainland to reach the island. Whitney Beach is located on the northern end of Longboat Key.
Crab Island, Destin
While technically not a traditional beach, Crab Island is an iconic sandbar that emerges in the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The water here is very shallow and, at high tide, is so transparent that you can see the abundant marine life, including colorful fish and playful dolphins, swimming beneath the surface.
Crab Island boasts an array of activities to enjoy. Rent a paddleboard or a kayak and explore the waters at your own pace, or simply relax on a float and soak up the sun while sipping a refreshing drink. The atmosphere is vibrant, with floating food vendors, live music, and a sense of vibrancy as people come together to enjoy this unique experience.
Additional information: If you don’t have your own boat, consider renting one from local marinas or boat rental services.
By Boat: You can only get to Crab Island by boat.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Florida Keys
Situated along the Florida Keys, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park will leave you mesmerized. The park spans 70 nautical square miles of Atlantic Ocean waters and features white sand beaches that offer a gateway to an underwater paradise.
You can snorkel or scuba dive in the park’s transparent waters to explore Florida’s dazzling tropical reef, colorful fish, and fascinating marine species. If you prefer to stay dry, take a glass-bottom boat tour and marvel at the magical world beneath your feet.
Other water activities available here include kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing, which allow you to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the park’s mangrove-lined waterways.
Additional information: Make reservations in advance, especially during busy seasons, if you intend to go camping, diving, or snorkeling.
By Car: Visitors can reach Key Largo on the Overseas Highway (U.S. 1). Once in Key Largo, follow the signs to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
By Boat: Boaters can also reach the park by navigating through the waters surrounding Key Largo.
Does Clearwater Beach have blue water?
Yes. Clearwater Beach has transparent blue waters that are perfect for swimming,
Does St Augustine Beach have clear water?
While St. Augustine doesn’t have the crystal-clear waters of areas like the Florida Keys, Florida’s Emerald Coast, and the Florida Panhandle.
Is the water clear on Amelia Island?
Amelia Island is not particularly known for its clear waters. If transparent water is your criteria then you will do better in the Gulf Coast and the Panhandle areas of Florida.
Why is the water so clear in Destin FL?
The waters of Destin Beach (and other Emerald Coast beaches) stay clear and clean thanks to the protection from Choctawhatchee Bay.
Destin Beach is also far from the Mississippi River entrance, which also helps the water stay crystal clear.
What beach has the clearest water in Florida?
Destin is commonly referred to as the Florida beach with the clearest water.
What is the cleanest beach in South Florida?
Cayo Costa State Park, along the Gulf Coast, is one of South Florida’s cleanest beaches.
Is Clearwater Beach free?
Yes, Clearwater is a public beach, and therefore it’s free to enter.
Are there any clear-water lakes in Florida?
Yes, Florida has clear freshwater lakes, which are spring-fed. Some of the best are located in the Ocala National Forest.
Where in Florida has the prettiest beaches?
The most beautiful beaches in Florida are located along the Gulf Coast, the Emerald Coast, and the Florida Panhandle.
What makes Florida water so clear?
Many of Florida’s beaches have shores with shallow waters, which often result in sandbars. When the sun reflects off the white ocean floor and the surrounding microscopic plankton, this creates the gradient effect of transparent, emerald, and azure waters. This phenomenon intensifies as you progress further out into the Gulf.
Does South Beach have clear water?
Miami Beach and South Beach water is relatively clear. You can expect 30-50 ft water visibility year-round.
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