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The Best South Florida Beaches: Four Must-See Spots

Florida is world-famous for its beautiful and bountiful array of beaches. As many a Florida native knows, these beaches are especially prominent in the southern part of the state…but exactly which beaches can beat out all the others to be considered the “very best beaches in South Florida”?

We’re glad you asked!

In this blog, we’ll dive headfirst into the best beaches in South Florida, giving you a helpful overview of where to go and what to do once you arrive in the Sunshine State!

Smathers Beach

Smathers Beach is one of the largest public beaches in all of Key West. While most of the beaches in the area are largely made of ground coral or pebbles, Smathers boasts a surprisingly sandy and smooth shoreline. Being a public beach, it’s free to all as far as the fun-in-the-sun part is concerned, but do be prepared to pay a bit to park if you show up on a particularly crowded day.

While beachside, you’ll find numerous stalls all along the coastline. These stalls and stands sell all sorts of beachside essentials: food, drink, chairs, rafts, and so on. Also, the water’s currents typically don’t get too strong, making this a popular option for families with younger children. You can also enjoy any number of beach-related activities while visiting Smathers, including snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, volleyball, and more.

Smathers Beach is located at 2601 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040.
Hours are 7 am to 11 pm every day.

Higgs Beach

Higgs Beach is within close proximity of Smathers, offering a nice yet slightly more tropical alternative complete with a palm tree-lined shore, vast stretches of sand, and ideal ocean breezes. While Smathers is arguably a bit more popular than Higgs, Higgs does have a clear advantage when it comes to free parking aspect – indeed, the concept of paying to park at Higgs is nonexistent! After parking, you’ll find plenty of things to do and ocean-ready items to buy or rent, such as beach chairs, kayaks, snorkeling gear, volleyball nets…the list goes on and on!

Also, across the street from Higgs Beach is West Martello Tower, also known as the Key West Garden Club. This historic garden is teeming with beautiful flora and fauna, an expansive playground for the little ones, and even a dog park right across from the beach! And one last thing: don’t let the “Club” part throw you off, as the Key West Garden Club is free to all. No membership required!

Higgs Beach is located at 1000 Atlantic Blvd, Key West, FL 33040.
Hours are 6 am to 11 pm every day.

Red Reef Park

There’s a lot to do within the 67-acre Red Reef Park. For starters, you can visit the man-made reef located just 10 feet from the shore for some hassle-free snorkeling. While swimming past the rock formations, you’ll get an up-close view of all manner of wildlife, from turtles to eels to countless types of tropical fish.

Afterwards, you can take a break at any of the park’s grills, tables, or restrooms before checking out the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center’s aquariums, butterfly gardens, and Nature Center. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone at Red Reef Park!

Red Reef Park is located at 1400 N Ocean Blvd, Boca Raton, FL 33432.
Hours are 8 am to 10 pm every day.

Spanish River Park

Looking for a relatively low-key place to picnic, take your pets for a walk, go fishing, or hike along wildlife-filled nature trails? Spanish River Park has what you’re looking for! Named after the fresh water stream that once flowed alongside the park, this delightful destination features a beach that’s perfect for sunbathing or swimming, plus a full lagoon on the park’s west side!

Regardless, no matter which side of the park you’re on, you’re sure to find a great number of things to do coupled with all the necessary amenities for a great day out: clean restrooms, playgrounds, grills – the list could go on and on. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s also the 40-foot observation tower to go up for a panoramic view of the park’s many beaches, lagoons, and bordering ocean waters in all their majestic beauty.

Spanish River Park is located at 3001 N. State Road A-1-A, Boca Raton, FL 33431.
Hours are 8 am to 6 pm every day.

The Best Beaches in South Florida are Just a Click Away!

As an added bonus for our customers, all of these beaches are located within very close proximity to the Ocean Lodge hotel, offering a comfortable and convenient place to stay between your seaside excursions. So, if you’re interested in visiting any of these breathtaking destinations while staying at our boutique bed and breakfast, contact us today to make that reservation!

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“We booked a week at Ocean Lodge sight unseen based on the reviews here and a wonderful conversation with Israel about our family’s needs. What a delightful surprise to find such beautifully updated rooms, clean and comfortable, a lovely pool, sitting area and grill for the guests to use. My brother and his family stayed here as well and we enjoyed the grilling area as a place for our large families to eat and socialize.

Proximity to the beach was a great plus. This is a wonderful treasure along the shore of Boca Raton. If you are looking for clean, comfortable, and affordable, with a great staff that goes the extra mile this is the place for you.”
-Trip Advisor Reviewer

“We really enjoyed our stay at this place. Management was great and friendly and the rooms were very clean and comfortable. We enjoyed the breakfast treats and it made for a very nice and enjoyable time in Boca Raton.”
-Trip Advisor Reviewer

“We have stayed at the Ocean Lodge twice now in the past three years. One year, we decided to experience another beach farther North in Delray, but neither the hotel, nor the beach could compare to the Ocean Lodge and South Beach Park. We will continue to return to the Ocean Lodge for many more wonderful vacations. The rooms at the Ocean Lodge are cleaned meticulously each day. The kitchenette inside our room was so convenient with a refrigerator, stove, microwave, coffee pot, dishware, and utensils. The pool and deck are so relaxing and refreshing after the beach and are both very clean, as well. Israel, the manager, is always so kind and helpful, as are all of the other staff…. Thank you Israel and the Ocean Lodge for making these few days in Boca Raton my favorite days of the entire year!"
-Trip Advisor Reviewer, January 2012