Why do we love going to the beach so much? The feeling of sand between our toes offers a soft cushion beneath the feet. It’s so wonderfully blissful that simply throwing down a towel makes a mattress of wherever you choose to set camp. Warm waters restore the senses and offer tranquility even as the blood gets moving while navigating the sea. The sun shines down to keep the whole scene toasty, producing vitamin D for inner energy and releasing endorphins that wash over us into a state of happiness. Throw in friends and family, food and drink, and what you end up with is the perfect event for rejuvenating a weary soul and refreshing a tired body. As if the news couldn’t get any better, you’re looking at the possibility of living on Florida’s Emerald Coast. And, the beaches here are among the best in the world.
To be sure, different people are looking for different diversions for their day at the beach. Some folks love a crowd, feeding off the energy of sharing the day with lots of people; others may want access to lots of amenities nearby like restaurants and shops. Then there are people looking for a more secluded experience in a quieter setting off the beaten path. Public beaches welcome everybody, while private beaches have deeded access, meaning you are welcome to walk the beach but can sit and stay only while in certain sections. There are even condo complexes that have their own personal stretches of sand. Whichever experience you seek, the Emerald Coast has a beach for you. Here are a few of the very best beaches for you to try out.
Henderson Beach State Park
There are people who think of fishing as something closer to a holy calling rather than a fun way to pass some time. If you’re one of those people, then Henderson Beach State Park may just be your spot. Nestled in Destin, known as the “luckiest fishing village in the world,” anglers just love this spot. The reason for the good fortune on rods and reels has to do with the underwater geology along the shore, which seems almost custom-designed for attracting all kinds of fish. It’s a chill spot with nature trails somewhat removed from the crowds, yet still easily accessible thanks to the adjacent parking lot. Not many amenities here, but maybe that’s how you like it.
Miramar Beach Regional Beach Access
Miramar Beach, Florida
Located within walking distance to popular eateries like Pompano Joe’s and sitting just west of Frangista Beach, one of the largest public access points to the sugar-sand coastline is available at the Miramar Beach Regional Access. Plentiful parking, easy-to-navigate boardwalks and rentable beach wheelchairs ensure that safety, convenience and accessibility are top priorities at this slice of paradise. ADA-accessible restrooms on-site offer additional peace of mind, while ensuring a full-day jaunt at the beach is a blast for everyone in your party.
Ed Walline Regional Beach Access
Gulf Place, Florida
Footsteps from iconic 30A landmarks such as Gulf Place and Shunk Gulley, Ed Walline is one of the top picks for those looking to soak up the Emerald Coast sun during their time along 30A. Located due south at the intersection of County Road 393 and 30A, the is also one of the preferred locations for residents with homes north of 98. Restrooms, beach shower stations and a charming watch tower add to this location’s appeal, which endless opportunities to dine, shop and rental bikes are available right next door.
This one just may win the beauty prize out of the bunch. Incredibly gorgeous and largely pristine, this is a favorite spot along 30A for true locals. Situated in a small residential community, Grayton Beach’s almost rustic setting will make you feel like you’re in a postcard from more than a century ago. It’s the perfect place to kick back and forget the world in a semi-private area.
If you bring your bike or hiking boots, you’ll be rewarded by miles of nearby trails that meander in and out of the dunes, offering stunning scenes and wildlife viewing opportunities. There are also places to launch boats and for fishing if that’s more your bag.
Bramble Grove Beach
Seagrove Beach, Florida
Over at the Bramble Grove Beach access point, you’ll find a cozy little parking lot leading to a wooden path that takes you to a lovely strip separated from the roads and homes by vegetation and dunes. Anchored by boutique luxury neighborhoods and fantastic restaurants, a plethora of amenities are available in case you are looking to spend more than just an afternoon there.
Inlet Beach Regional Access
Offering secluded beach access with a meandering boardwalk leading to some of the most beautiful beaches in Walton County, the Inlet Beach Regional Access provides restroom and sitting facilities, plentiful parking and an enchanting experience from start to finish. Surrounded by a grand collection of varied architecture, picturesque sand dunes and the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a day at the beach doesn’t get much better than when spent here.