Friday, 2 September 2011 3:13 PM
If you choose a Florida holiday for your next break, you will have plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy the state's famous weather, as it has some of the best beaches in the USA. Whether you opt for a resort on the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, or one of the many islands, you are sure to be close to long stretches of white sand perfect for sunbathing and water sports. You can't really go wrong with the Sunshine State as a destination for a beach break, but there are some locations that really stand out as extra special.
Florida Keys holidays are an excellent choice for a family getaway in beautiful surroundings. You can look forward to going on dolphin spotting and sea fishing trips, but perhaps the best feature of the archipelago is the beaches. Smathers Beach on Key West is a location not to be missed. This long stretch of white sand is dotted with palm trees and fringed by a deep blue sea, giving it the feel of a desert island hideaway. It is easy to find a quiet spot if you wish to do nothing more than lie back and soak up some rays, but if you are looking for something a little more active, join in a volleyball game or try your hand at windsurfing and kayaking. It is also a great place to see the area's famous sunrises and sunsets.
Bahia Honda State Park is another of the finest places to work on your tan in Florida Keys. This idyllic spot is famed for its snorkelling and water sports, but it is also home to a fantastic beach and lots of wildlife that you will be able to see as you relax on the sand. Before you finish your holiday in Florida Keys, make sure you spend a day on Sombrero Beach in Marathon. You won't find a cleaner stretch of sand anywhere in the USA and as it is two miles from the nearest major highway, it is also among the quietest.
If you choose a St Petersburg beach holiday for your next break, you will have a choice of great coastal spots where you can enjoy long lazy days. St Pete Beach is among the most popular locations with sunseekers in Florida, with its seven miles of white sand and lively atmosphere perfect for family day trips. Not far out of the city is Fort De Soto State Park, which has a seven-mile beach that was named the best in the USA in 2005. If you want to try something a little different from sunbathing and water sports, you could take a tour of the historic fort after which the park is named or go bird spotting. While staying in St Petersburg it is also well worth checking out Clearwater Beach. As well as a long stretch of sand packed with holidaymakers having fun, it has a marina complete with a host of operators running fishing voyages and hiring out sailing vessels.
For a beach where you can be completely cut off from civilisation, try Caladesi Island State Park. You could just enjoy the peace and quiet while soaking up some rays, but you may prefer to explore this beautiful location by tackling a nature trail or the three-mile kayak route through the mangroves. You will need to take a ferry to reach it, but it is within easy travelling distance of the top hotels in St Petersburg and Clearwater.
Sarasota is another excellent option for sunshine holidays to the USA, as the city is home to Siesta Beach, which was named the best in America in the 2011 Doctor Beach list. With fine white sand and a crystal clear blue sea, this is the picture postcard image of a tropical paradise. Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale is a good choice for a family getaway, thanks in part to the beautiful beach that sits next to the city's famous palm-fringed promenade. You can fit in with the locals by rollerblading from your hotel to the sand, before enjoying a picnic in the sun and watching the wind surfers and jet skiers in action.
If you opt for a holiday in the Miami area, it is well worth spending at least one day at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and relaxing on the white coral sand beach. There is an offshore reef that breaks the waves up, so it is a great place for swimming in the sea. And if you want a bit of shade, you can take a tour of the lighthouse, giving you great views of the scenery.