Florida is certainly known for its beautiful, bountiful, bustling beaches, from Miami Beach to Siesta Key, South Beach to Naples. However, when we think of Florida Beaches two come to mind first:
Key West and Clearwater!
Clearwater sits along the Gulf of Mexico and provides some of the most gorgeous sandy beachside views, as well as great day-trip access to Tampa. The beach scene is lively and there will always be something for you to do here along the beach boardwalk.
Key West, on the other hand, sits in a unique ecosystem holding a coral barrier reef system, making it's biggest draw in the scuba/ diving realm of beachside recreation. It too, though, has excellent day-trip access to the rest of the Florida Keys, several state parks and protected ecosystem areas that come with unbeatable views, and even surprisingly close access to Cuba!
So which do you visit?!
When it comes to finding the perfect beach for your group there are certain factors you should consider: weather, crowds, price, and views. Take a look at our Key West vs Clearwater breakdown below.
Florida Key's beaches are seriously top-notch, with Key West sitting as one of the most popular in the archipelago. Key West is Florida's southernmost point, just 90 miles north of Cuba. Key West is known for its natural beauty, it's port connections, and it's iconic Overseas Highway, but most importantly, for its coral reefs.
Key West is less about beaches to lay on, per say, and more about some of the most unique and gorgeous ocean experiences provided in the area. Referred to as the Florida Keys Reef, this reef ecosystem stretches 220 miles along the southeast coast, from Key Biscayne to Dry Tortugas. The system is considered to be the 3rd largest barrier reef after the Australia and Belize reefs.
Diving and snorkeling/scuba are the most popular recreation activities here, with numerous excellent companies here ready to get you geared up, underwater, and in all the reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds!
- BEACHES: Dry Tortugas, Fort Zachary Taylor, Higgs, Smothers, South
- WEATHER: 82°F Average Summer, 73°F Average Winter
- CROWDS: 1.8 Million Annually
- PRICE: $$
Clearwater Beach in Florida is undoubtedly one of the absolute best, providing powdery white sand, clear tranquil waters, and a myriad of recreation options along the beach. Any age of visitor will find something they love along Beach Walk Promenade, from water-related recreation activities to local shopping and dining experiences on the beach. Pier 60 is the perfect spot to take in that famous Clearwater sunset, as well.
Nearby you can visit Sand Key Park/Beach/ providing cabanas, playgrounds, and a dog park. Be sure to take some time to visit downtown Clearwater as well, with plenty of great shopping, dining, and live entertainment, especially along the Cleveland Street District. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is always a good activity for a day at the beach, as well.
- BEACHES: Clearwater Beach, nearby Sand Key
- WEATHER: 81°F Average Summer, 65°F Average Winter
- CROWDS: 2.3 Million Annually
- PRICE: $$
The common agreement among travelers:
Clearwater has a better beach, Key West has a better overall view and selection of activities.
The price is about the same depending on where you stay and what you do in both places, with Key West coming in slightly under budget more often than Clearwater. However, the weather is warmer in Key West than in Clearwater, on average, though just slightly.
So, which beach wins for your group?? Call us, let us know, and let us get you there!!
Check out our Battle of the Beaches: Honolulu vs Miami Beach and Battle of the Beaches: Virginia Beach vs Myrtle Beach blogs as well.