1. Siesta Key
This barrier island on the Gulf Coast has some of the softest sand you'll ever touch. And the water is clear and warm to boot. Dr. Beach, the professor and Travel Channel star, agrees: He ranked Siesta Beach third on his most recent best beaches list.
2. Bahia Honda State Park
The journey down US 1 in the Florida Keys is one of the great American road trips. Bahia Honda, a park situated about 35 miles north of Key West, is a perfect stopping point. If you're feeling ambitious, you can go snorkeling or kayaking. Or just park your towel on the sand and spend a lazy afternoon doing nothing.
3. Sunny Isles Beach
The name says it all: It's sunny, it's a (barrier) island, and, of course, there's a beach (three beaches, to be exact). This city, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, is only 12 miles from party-central South Beach, but it's much calmer.
4. Canaveral National Seashore
This windy Atlantic park is only an hour from Orlando and it's so undeveloped and untouched that the beach doesn't even have a concession stand. It's rarely overcrowded, so you'll likely have a lot of space to yourself.
5. Grayton Beach State Park
In the Panhandle, this beach has sand dunes so white that from a distance they look like snow banks. Not that you have to worry about snow in Florida....
What are your favorite beaches in Florida and beyond?