If you follow Barry Good Times on Instagram, you might have noticed that we are seriously crushing on Florida’s beaches.
After two and a half months in Florida, we continue to be impressed with the miles of sandy coast that kiss our toes. Our “winter” is quickly fading away here in the Sunshine State and it is the perfect time to reflect on our lengthy stay. Without a doubt, the beaches here have given us our favorite Florida moments. We found 12 stunning beaches that are each quite versatile and capable of providing beach goers with a unique visit. Wether you are seeking the family adventure, a romantic picnic or a remote setting for quiet reflection, these beaches have a spot for you. Here is a run down of our coastal tour and some eye candy for those seeking destination inspiration:
Miami Beach is fun and crazy! We could not visit the state without giving the kids a taste of this landmark beach. As we visited in the late-afternoon on a weekday…it was quite apparent that the nightlife here is the real star.
Anna Maria Island, on the west coast, is beautiful. This beach town not only has adorable beachy charm, but if you drive to the tip of the peninsula, there is a lovely, remote beach, with hardly anyone around! We spent New Year’s Eve here and enjoyed a delightful and relaxing afternoon.
We found St. Pete Beach to be a great place for laying out and catching rays, but definitely a very busy beach filled with locals and tourists. The entire area of Saint Petersburg is super cute…just don’t be in a rush because it’s becoming very congested.
Clearwater Beach was fun…and incredibly crowded. This is a lovely beach, however there are people everywhere…almost like a smaller Miami Beach. It was beautiful to see, however it was a little crowded for our taste.
St. Augustine is an incredible town, with a really nice and narrow beach. We visited the beach on the coldest weekend of the winter and still loved it. What a beautiful place for a stroll. The city, not far from the beach, is truly amazing. It is definitely one of my favorite small towns that we have visited in our two years of full-time RV travel. It should be further noted that as a full-time traveler of the states, I did not even hear bout this quaint little city until we were on the road for 18 months. Talk about a well kept secret! Special thanks to Whitney at Driving Down A Dream for sharing this secret with me when we had a family meet-up last August in Indiana. I just love friends who share great travel tips!
And then…we met the Panhandle. Oh my! I do believe that I have fallen hard for this little piece of the Gulf coast. This stretch of sand is unique to the rest of the state. The vibe is a bit more southern. The beaches are beautiful and boast perhaps the best sugar-sand in the country.
When planning this portion of our travel, I became quite intrigued by the photos that I had found online of this Emerald Coast. I knew that we would need plenty of time to linger and revel in this piece of Florida. It was quickly decided that we were going to do the Panhandle Crawl…and this is how it went:
Our first stop was St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in Port Saint Joe. This state park is incredible. Even on a cool and fairly windy weekend, this little peninsula had plenty to offer us. Our campsite was lovely and backed up to this gorgeous oasis that is a haven for birds and other wildlife.
The park has well maintained trails for birding and the beaches are spectacular. We appreciated that there were very few people on the sand and there were so many treasures to inspect.
There is a Wilderness Preserve at the end of the peninsula that provides access to more secluded beaches.
We thoroughly loved our weekend at this state park. Chris and I managed to get out one evening for a date night and found the perfect hole-in-the-wall seafood joint. You can click here to visit my Instagram and see where we went for amazing local oysters in Port Saint Joe.
I should probably mention that the sunsets were phenomenal…
From here we meandered west, through Panama City and over to the adorable town of Seaside. This town has CHARM…
And the beaches are so picturesque!
We loved this area with its cute shopping and small beach town scene.
Grayton Beach is another beautiful and teeny-tiny beach community. I would definitely like to come back and explore this area more. Grayton and Rosemary Beach were two great spots that we ran out of time to explore, beyond an initial visit.
We continued our crawl west and discovered Santa Rosa Beach. This is where my heart really started to skip a beat. Although we loved each of these areas, the laid back feel of South Walton County is a perfect match for our style, and just a short drive from so many great places.
And at the end of the day, the sunsets melted our hearts…
Mirimar Beach and Destin were the next towns to the west. Although these beach communities were a bit more crowded for our taste, we enjoyed the beaches and had a wonderful time visiting them.
As the weather and water temperatures cooled, the kids brought out there wetsuits and continued to swim and enjoy the water.
This entire coastline is sprinkled with cute little restaurants and watering holes. We took time to enjoy the view with a tropical sipper.
We stayed an extra week in Santa Rosa Beach and enjoyed camping in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. What sets this park apart from the other beautiful state parks in the area is that it has full-hookups for RV’s at each site. It also has a pool, a laundry room and a 1-mile trail that leads to the beach. We loved every moment of our week at Topsail.
We had a beautifully landscaped campsite in the back part of the campground, where it is much more private compared to the loops in the front of the park.
There are bike paths and trails that lead to two different lakes, as well as the ocean. It was fun to be in a park where you can see deer, alligators and black bears. We saw all but the later.
This park was by far the best RV option between Seaside and Destin, in my opinion.
To conclude our Panhandle Crawl, we are parked in Pensacola Beach now. I really did not know what to expect with Pensacola. Although we are going to be here for awhile, I am really happy about this destination and our location. The season of Spring Break has now started, so we hope this area does not get to crazy. For now, we will enjoy the weather and beautiful sunsets.
Hopefully there will be plenty more days like we had this past weekend…
…plenty of sunshine…and time on the beach!
Be sure to note that we visited these beaches during the months of December through March. The temperatures are wonderful this time of year. If you can possibly plan your family -visit in the winter months it is quite likely that you will experience the same beautiful weather and crowd-free beaches that we found. What beaches in Florida have you discovered? I’m already starting a bucket list for our next visit!