The Best Florida Beaches for Swimming

Florida has over 1,000 miles of coastline that stretches from the cool water of the Atlantic Ocean to the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico. With the exception of Hawaii, there is probably no other state in the union that is built of swimming more than Florida. Just because you've got coastline and beaches, however, doesn't mean you've got a great place to go swimming. If you really want to go swimming in Florida, check out these hot beaches.

Located in the Panhandle roughly midway between the Big Bend and the Alabama border, Destin has some of the clearest water to be found off the coast of Florida. You see clear down to the surface sometimes even half a mile out to sea or more. And the water remains warm enough for swimming almost year-round.

Captiva Beach

The best thing about taking a swim at Captiva beach, near Ft. Myers, is the breathtaking and beautiful sunset every day. The sand is sugary white, though not quite as nice as you'll find on the Panhandle, but the amazing shells you'll come across while swimming more than make up for that.

Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach has plush white sugar sands and warm waters. This Panhandle city is more family-oriented than the spring break mecca of nearby Panama City, although both towns offer beautiful beaches. Pensacola Beach also offers something that no other beach in Florida can offer: you will be swimming in the waters of the first European settlement in America.

Caladesi Island State Park

This Pinellas County beach was named America's best beach in 2008 by the coastal geologist known as Dr. Beach. This marked the sixth time this Florida beach has made the list. Caladesi got the top spot for various reasons, including water temperature, water color and public access. The bright white sand and green vegetation leads to beautiful azure water that will make it clear immediately why this is considered such a great place to take a dip.

Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.