Florida Beaches Are A Sunny Tulum Alternative
Thanks to its spectacular location overlooking the Caribbean Sea and being home to some breathtaking cliff-top Mayan ruins, there is no denying that Tulum, located on the Yucatan coast of Mexico is a great place spot to visit. But if you are not a big fan of ruins, palaces, temples, and pyramids that are synonymous with Tulum or you simply can’t make it to Mexico, there are plenty of Florida beaches that are famous for their incredible sunsets, soft sand, warm weather, and vacation-mode atmosphere that saturates the coastal towns.
Whether you are a sports enthusiast after catching the best wave, or nature lover who wants to watch hatching sea turtles and look for dolphins playing just offshore, there is every type of beach environment in Florida to quench the traveler thirst in you. There’s something enchanting about the ivory-sanded beaches and turquoise waters of the Caribbean that makes it a true paradise. The good thing is, you don’t need to break the bank on flights to go abroad because you can find your own heavenly spot in some of the best beaches in Florida that boast of pearly sand and waves in shades of sapphire that make you feel like you’ve sailed to the tropical south.
From Caribbean-like waters, to secluded state parks with diverse plant and animal life, and activity-filled boardwalks, here are the top three Florida beaches that are a must-visit.
3. Naples Beach
The city of Naples is well-known for its easily-accessible public and private beaches, miles of palm trees along the Naples pier and lush tropical foliage. Located along the Southern side of Florida is the beautifully preserved Naples beach. Naples’ beaches are some of Florida’s finest, which explains why waterfront properties such as five-star Ritz-Carlton, LaPlaya Beach, and Golf Resort have cult-like followings. Perched on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is also well known for being an affordable family destination that appeals to nature lovers and beach aficionados as well as for its high-end shopping, world-class culture, and sophisticated dining, including numerous art galleries.
What to Wear
Naples has a much more laid-back culture (think “hip”) to match the city’s cool vibes, graffiti-filled streets and underground nightclubs but don’t forget that it’s also synonymous with famous shopping spots like Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South in the historic downtown area with chic clothing boutiques and home decor shops. So, to match the chic-hip culture, pack a boho-chic or crochet bikini and a few flowing dresses, which you can wear either as a beach coverup or as a dress at night when going for dinner. The great thing is you can get a lot of wear out of a flowing dress when traveling with minimal luggage because the lightweight material makes a quick wash and dry clothing item.
Going to Hollywood Beach is more than a trip to sunbathe and swim. Being the crown jewel of Broward beaches, this is a place where you will enjoy resort-style living, various attractions, food, and culture. Hollywood Beach is as entertaining as it is beautiful. Enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk which runs two-and-a-half miles that is donned with everything from restaurants, boutiques, oceanfront resorts, quaint lodging hotels, oceanfront parks, sculptures, paintings, and unique pieces of architecture everywhere you look. You will also find the 1,500-acre Anne Kolb Nature Center coastal mangrove wetland that is well known for its fantastic fishing and boardwalk but also doubles as a great park to have a family picnic and to sightsee a wide variety of plants, animals and endangered species.
What to Wear
With perfect warm sunny weather and so many oceanfront resorts, boutiques, restaurants, including hidden finds everywhere you turn that lead to some surprisingly beautiful spots, makes packing for Hollywood Beach a breeze. The culture and atmosphere in this spot is a progressive so, you can enjoy wearing a bikini either for activities or for fashion. A breezy, loose top over a pair of jean shorts is great to wear on a cooler day or when you just want to spend most of your day lounging by the beach.
Situated in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Anna Maria Island is the place to visit if you are looking to experience Florida in all its glory but minus the crowd. Located about an hour and a half away from Tampa, this island boasts of natural beauty, 7-miles of pristine beaches near all major metro areas of Florida including the Tampa International Airport, the infamous Skyway Bridge and the Manatee River. Being a barrier island, you can enjoy the best of both offshore and inshore fishing, especially during the fall for fish like trout, flounder, redfish, cobia, and snapper.
With shining jewels like Bradenton and Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island is where you will find laid-back grocery stores, dockside fish joints and markets. It’s also home to colorful Cracker cottages, timeworn boats, and modest beach motels. But you will also be surprised to see gourmet restaurants that serve cutting-edge food that is fresh and locally sourced, here is also where you will find contemporary waterfront homes, modern boutiques, fine art galleries, custom-crafted jewelry stores, and elegantly cultured Rasta and reggae-inspired fashions for women, men and children.
About 300 feet over Sarasota Bay is the Historic Bridge Street Pier, a bustling two-block district of souvenir cottages, galleries, boutiques, bars and restaurants where you can bring your own fishing pole and try your hand at fishing or charter a boat to the Cortez Village for dolphin watching and sunset tours.
What to wear
The culture in Anna Maria Island is pretty laid back however, it tends to be warm during much of the year and have cooler evenings. So, pack your one-piece swimwear for back-to-back beach trips, a coverup for colder evenings, flip flops, and semi-formal clothing like flowing dresses or breezy lose tops.