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 while only 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.
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
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. There are nearby homes and even boutique hotels in case you are looking to spend more than just an afternoon there.