18 Best Beaches with the Clearest Water in Florida

If you’re dreaming of a beach vacation with sugary white sand and crystal-clear waters, you may think you have to travel all the way to a Caribbean island. However, that’s not the case. Beautiful beaches are sitting much closer to home right in the state of Florida.

Florida boasts so many amazing beaches that they often rival those located in exotic parts of the world. So, if you’re searching for the best Florida beaches with clear water, you’re in luck!

In this post, we are listing the best places to visit in Florida to find clear waters and soft sand. Whether you’re interested in taking a trip to the gulf coast of Florida or you want to spend your time in the Keys, our list has plenty of clear water beaches for you.

We’ve even included some beaches on the Atlantic coast that offer surprisingly clear water to enjoy. So, continue reading below for the best clear water beaches in Florida!

Florida Beaches with the Clear Water

In my years of traveling both domestically and internationally, I have become somewhat of a beach snob. You can ask any of my family members, and they will tell you I’m always on a quest to find beaches with crystal clear water.

We have traveled to numerous destinations that offer stunning beaches, including multiple islands in the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Mexico. Yet, some of the best beaches I have ever had the privilege of visiting are in the Sunshine State of Florida.

beach pictures with text 18 Florida Beaches with Clear Water

Whether you’re interested in finding the clearest water to enjoy from the sand or you’re hoping to view marine life while snorkeling, the perfect place for you is featured in the list below.

Every beach in our list offers a great location in Florida to enjoy crystal-clear water. So, continue reading below for the best beaches in Florida that feature the clearest water you can find!

Watercolor, Florida

Since the state of Florida offers so many beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, it’s difficult to find a place to start. So, I’m going to start the list of best clear water beaches with my personal favorite spot.

Watercolor, Florida is located on the Florida panhandle between Panama City Beach and Destin. This planned resort community is full of adorable cottages, a luxurious resort, and lots of walkable shops and restaurants.

If you’re looking for an ideal place to spend a family vacation, you can’t get much better than Watercolor. The beaches here offer fluffy, white sand and clear ocean water.

clear ocean water in Watercolor, Florida

Plus, as a guest in the Watercolor community, you get exclusive access to the resort’s Beach Club that features multiple oceanfront pools and restaurants. Additionally, guests can visit Camp Watercolor, which is a favorite for kids.

This massive pool area includes water slides, a lazy river, and multiple pools. For more activities to experience in this picture-perfect community, we recommend checking out our post on the Best Things to Do in Watercolor!

Watercolor Pool
Pool at Watercolor Beach Club

If you’re planning a vacation to the Watercolor, Florida area, we highly recommend checking out the Watercolor Inn. This beautiful hotel is located directly on the beach in Watercolor, and it’s within an easy walk to local dining options in the town of Watercolor and neighboring Seaside, Florida.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria Island is a barrier island off the gulf coast of Florida. This beautiful vacation destination sits just west of the town of Bradenton, Florida. Anna Maria Island is a great spot for those looking for a low-key trip to the beach.

beach with clear water

This quaint community features clear ocean water that stays warm well into the fall months. With mild temperatures even during the winter, Anna Maria Island is also a good place to visit in February or March for a long weekend or spring break.

Even though the water may not feel like bathwater during this time, the temperature outside should feel fairly hot, which means they’re perfect for a day at the beach.

Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida is a popular destination for spring breakers. But this town also offers lots of family friendly fun as well. Families traveling to the area should check out Pier Park, which offers multiple stores, restaurants, and attractions.

Panama City Beach highrise

In addition to the fun activities and entertainment options in Panama City Beach, this gulf coast community offers spectacular beaches. With crystal-clear water and soft, white sand, Panama City Beach is a great spot to spend time if you’re looking for beaches with clear water in Florida.

Clearwater Beach, Florida

As its name implies, Clearwater Beach is the perfect spot to plan a beach getaway for those looking for the clearest waters in Florida. The town of Clearwater is located just west of Tampa, making it an easy destination to get to via plane or by car.

Clearwater Beach and pier from the sand

Clearwater Beach sits on a barrier island just off the coast of the city and offers clear blue water and white sand beaches. Families traveling to this area can enjoy nearby attractions like Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Busch Gardens, and Zoo Tampa.

Seaside, Florida

Seaside is located on the Emerald Coast of Florida between Destin and Panama City Beach. This spot on the famed Highway 30a is a favorite beach destination for families due to its white sandy beaches and clear ocean water.

Seaside, Florida features all sorts of cozy cottages and high-end properties available for guests to rent. If you are planning a trip to the Seaside area, make sure you walk over to the Town Square

dunes in Seaside fl

There, you’ll find local shops, restaurants, and food trucks. The Seaside Amphitheater in the Town Square also offers entertainment, including live music, family movie night, and festivals. For additional activities here, check out our post on the Best Things to Do in Seaside, Florida!

Siesta Key, Florida

Siesta Key Beach is a beautiful spot that sits on the Gulf of Mexico just south of Sarasota. Visitors to Siesta Key will find clear waters that stay warm through the fall months of the year.

lifeguard stand on Siesta Key Beach

The sand in Siesta Key isn’t as soft and fluffy as that on the Emerald Coast. However, it’s still smooth to walk on. The community of Siesta Key Beach features numerous shopping and dining options for visitors. Additionally, it’s within an easy drive to the popular St. Armands Circle and the city of Sarasota.

Destin, Florida

Destin is located on the Florida panhandle to the east of Pensacola. This popular vacation spot is known for its emerald waters and white sand beaches. Destin is full of restaurants, shops, and activities, so visitors will never feel like they have a lack of things to do. Plus, the beaches offer clear blue waters for those who plan to just relax near the ocean.

beach chair sitting on sand

If you’re planning a vacation to the Destin area, you can check out popular spots like Harborwalk Village, Crab Island, and Henderson Beach State Park. Additionally, we recommend checking out our posts below:

If you’re looking for places to stay in Destin, we recommend checking out the Henderson Beach Resort. This beautiful hotel provides luxurious accommodations and multiple pools.

Rosemary Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach sits on Highway 30a near Panama City Beach. This small, coastal community is a great spot for a couple’s trip, girls’ getaway, or family vacation.

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beach travel planner

Rosemary Beach, Florida features crystal clear water and soft sandy beaches much like the rest of the Emerald Coast. This quaint town also offers an adorable town center with cobblestone streets, restaurants, shops, and entertainment.

St. Pete Beach, Florida

If you’re looking for a great spot on the Gulf of Mexico that’s a little further south than the panhandle, you’ll want to check out St. Pete Beach. This beautiful beach community features clear water and beautiful sand, making it a beach lover’s paradise.

beach with clear water and white sand

St. Pete Beach is a barrier island that sits just west of St. Petersburg, Florida. It offers easy access to Tampa and Clearwater, so visitors can also take advantage of entertainment options and activities in those communities as well.

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida sits just east of the Sandestin area. This beach community offers lots of local dining options and seasonal entertainment.

beach with seagulls

The beaches in Santa Rosa Beach feature miles of coastline boasting beautiful white sand and clear water. This is an excellent place to vacation with the family as it offers fewer crowds than the neighboring Sandestin community.

However, you’re still within an easy drive to the activities and dining options in nearby communities. For a full list of our favorite activities in this picturesque town, you can check out our post on Fun Things to Do in Santa Rosa Beach.

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Fort Walton Beach is located just west of Destin, Florida. This beach community features beaches with amazingly clear water and soft sand. 

The Fort Walton Beach area is home to lots of fun activities and restaurants for families to enjoy. Plus, visitors are a short drive away from Destin where they’ll find even more things to do and places to eat.

If you’re planning a trip to Fort Walton Beach, we recommend checking out our post on Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. This local aquarium is a great spot to view marine life and to participate in dolphin experiences.

Miramar Beach, Florida

Miramar Beach sits between the towns of Destin and Sandestin on the Florida Panhandle. This small beach community features some of the best beaches you can find in the state of Florida.

miramar beach florida

With crystal clear water and super soft sand, the beaches in Miramar Beach are the perfect place to spend a beach vacation. Miramar Beach offers lots of local dining options, and it is home to a popular outlet mall called Silver Sands Premium Outlets.

Navarre Beach, Florida

Navarre Beach is located on a barrier island between Pensacola Beach and Destin. This quiet beach community features emerald-colored waters and white sand perfect for enjoying the beach.

beach with clear water and people swimming and laying on beach chairs

Visitors to Navarre Beach can enjoy several local dining venues, or you can take the short drive to Pensacola Beach or Ft. Walton Beach to find additional restaurants and activities.

Sandestin, Florida

Sandestin sits just east of Destin and Miramar Beach and is a super popular vacation destination for families. The Sandestin community offers amazingly clear water and soft, white sand.

This beach community also features several different areas with dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Visitors to Sandestin should check out The Village of Baytowne Wharf where you’ll find restaurants, shops, outdoor entertainment, activities, and more.

Sandestin’s Grand Boulevard Town Center features additional dining options and shopping as well as seasonal entertainment and festivals. If you’re planning to visit the Sandestin area, we recommend checking out the Hilton Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. This beachfront hotel offers multiple restaurants and pools. It also provides a free shuttle to the above mentioned entertainment districts.

Longboat Key, Florida

Longboat Key is located on a barrier island between Bradenton Beach and Siesta Key. This ideal beach destination features clear ocean water that stays warm well into the fall months of the year.

longboat key aerial view

Longboat Key offers lots of local dining options, including restaurants at the nearby St. Armands Circle. Plus, it offers easy access to Sarasota and other neighboring beach communities.

If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay in Longboat Key, we recommend checking out The Resort at Longboat Key Club. This beautiful property features beaches, restaurants, golf courses, and pools.

Key West, Florida

Although Key West surprisingly isn’t known for its beaches, you can find some sandy spots with clear water here. Many visitors rave about the local Smathers Beach as it features calm waters and soft sand.

palm tree on sand at smathers beach in key west
Smathers Beach

Even though Key West beaches like Smathers Beach don’t offer the same aqua clear water as the other Florida beaches on our list, it’s still worth a visit if you are in the area.

Additionally, visitors to the Florida Keys can find all kinds of local restaurants and activities to enjoy during their beach getaway. If you’re looking to enjoy animal interactions, we recommend checking out our post on the Best Places to Swim with Dolphins in Florida.

Miami Beach, Florida

My family and I recently visited South Beach in Miami and were pleasantly surprised by the color of the water while we were there. I didn’t think I would ever find water on the Atlantic Ocean that I would call clear. (It’s typically more of a green color or even a brownish tone.)

view of South Beach from hotel balcony

However, the South Beach area is totally worth visiting! We stayed at the Loews Miami South Beach and thoroughly enjoyed our time spent on the sand. The wide beaches were super clean and the sand was nice and smooth. The ocean water in South Beach featured waves that were a lot larger than on the Gulf, but the color of the water was really pretty.

Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida

Like South Beach, Ft. Lauderdale Beach features beautiful ocean water on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. This coastal community also offers multiple family friendly resorts and hotels. Many of these beachfront properties even provide surfing lessons and water sports.

aerial view of Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Plus, visitors can find all kinds of dining opportunities and shopping areas in Ft. Lauderdale. From museums to animal encounters, Ft. Lauderdale is a great beach vacation destination as you’ll find plenty of things to do in addition to enjoying its amazing beaches.

Where to Stay on the Beach in Florida

In addition to the specific hotels we listed above, my family and I have also rented condos and vacation homes on the coast in Florida. We like to use the VRBO website when searching for vacation rentals as it allows you to filter your search results based on specific criteria. We like to specify the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed along with narrowing down results to places with pools.

Additionally, we love that VRBO includes guest reviews for almost every property. These reviews provide valuable insight into the experiences of other families. If you would like to check out VRBO, you can type in the specific destination from the list above into the search box. As an added bonus, when you’re in map view, you can typically move the map to other destinations on our list, and VRBO will update the properties to that new location.

Printable Beach Planner

If you’re in the process of planning a beach vacation, you may be searching for packing tips and hacks. If so, we highly recommend you check out our post on the Ultimate Beach Packing List. In that post, we provide an extensive list of essential items to pack for a beach vacation. You can even grab a copy of our free beach packing list to print!

Families who are searching for a more in-depth planning guide for a beach getaway will love our printable beach planner. This planning guide is available in our Etsy shop and includes over 30 pages of forms and sheets to organize your trip.

beach travel planner

The printable beach planner includes everything from hotel comparisons to outfit planning to itinerary guides. Plus, you can stay on budget at the beach with the included budget planner! If you’re interested in checking out this printable beach planner, you can grab your copy here or by clicking on the image above.

Final Thoughts on Florida Beaches with Clear Water

Overall, the destinations on our list offer some of the clearest water in Florida. If you’re looking for soft, white sand and crystal-clear water, the locations above won’t disappoint. Additionally, you’ll find so many fun things to do and places to eat in each coastal community. So, if you’re wanting to venture out away from the picturesque beaches, you’ll have plenty of options for activities.

We hope this post has helped you in your quest to find Florida beaches with clear water! Enjoy your beach vacation! Did we forget to include your favorite clear water beach in Florida? Comment below to share it with us!

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