As a Floridian, I own bathing suits in every color, think any temperature below 65 is freezing, have sand in every purse I own, and consider myself a connoisseur of beaches. When it comes to the sand and the sea, I know my stuff- I’ve lived directly across the street from a beach for over half my life, and I’ve been to more than a few coastal locations on vacation. Seeing as it’s almost summer, I feel obligated to share with y’all a few of my favorite beaches in Florida, which you should definitely visit once exams finally end. Because come on- what’s summer without some sand between your toes?
As a resident of this cozy little beach town, Vero Beach holds a special place in my heart. While it does not have the same cache as some of the bigger beaches in Florida, it classifies as an island (which is pretty dang cool) and is a great spot if you’re looking to relax and get away from it all. If you want proof, take a look at the pic of my best friend and I, chilling like villains on my neighborhood’s beach- we look pretty relaxed (and tan, not that I’m advocating suntanning). Casey’s and Cravings are yummy beachfront cafes frequented by locals, and there’s some great shopping to do along Ocean Drive. If you want to fit in to the VB culture, bring your finest Lilly or buy some at the Lazy Daisy- Vero is incredibly preppy. And if you’re traveling with your parents, tell your dad he can get some great golfing in at one of the many prestigious golf clubs!
My uncle has a house here, so I get to visit this particular beachfront location about once or twice a year. What I love most about Key West is that it provides a lot to do for basically every vacationer. If you’re a college kid looking to bar hop, that is definitely possible- there’s even a nude bar, which I have only seen from the outside, if you’re into that. But if you’re just looking to chill at a quality hotel, you can achieve that by staying Casa Marina, the only hotel in Key West directly on the beach (pictured below). Stop by the Southernmost Point if you feel like being a tourist and embrace the random assortment of people you will encounter when visiting this location. And try to stay away from the roosters- they freak me out.
Panama City Beach
I just recently went on a frat formal to Panama City Beach, and forgive me for saying this, but I was pleasantly surprised. The sand was soft, the water was beautiful, and some of my friends and I were able to find a really cute pier with a Buffalo Wild Wings, a Maragaritaville, and a Kilwin’s (world’s best ice cream, I swear it). There was even a ferris wheel at the end of it! This is THE place to go to as college kids if you’re looking to rage, besides perhaps Miami Beach. Except in Miami, the city off the beach is quite a bit more developed and you’re bound to see a ton more people walking around, including the occasional celebrity. So if you’re looking to party with your close group of friends, hit up Panama City Beach. Even the 72nd worst hotel out of 74, Cabana Cay, wasn’t that bad.