Whether you’re a resident of Greater Atlanta or somewhere points south, there are dozens of beaches along the Florida/Georgia borderline that are perfect for a day trip, or a week in a vacation rental. We’ve nominated seven of our absolute favorite Florida Panhandle beaches for you to explore. Happy planning!
7 Amazing Florida Panhandle Beaches Near Georgia
The area known as Pensacola Beach is really a roughly 8-mile section of the Santa Rosa barrier island. Here you’ll find everything from family-friendly Northwest Florida beaches (replete with lifeguards and other amenities), to far more secluded areas. Casino Beach and Quietwater Beach are two of the more popular bathing spots. Bring your rod and reel to the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier. This boardwalk stretches nearly 1,500 feet into the Gulf. Even non-fishers enjoy the view. Strut down the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk for beach gear, henna tattoos and food.
Go an explore this secluded 247-acre barrier island about 15 miles southwest of Pensacola. Learn how barrier islands protect the mainland from storms. Enjoy a family feast (one you’ve packed yourself beforehand), at the picnic tables overlooking the water. A lot of wildlife can be spotted here including sea turtles and lots of different sea birds, as well as the unique Perdido Key beach mouse, which is an endangered species of rodent that actually lives on the beach and is perfectly camouflaged to match with the color of the sand. The beaches of Perdido Key feature some stunning sand dunes and miraculous views in all directions, and even more natural adventures can be enjoyed at the nearby Big Lagoon State Recreation Area.
Santa Rosa Beach
There are several public beach-access points in the town of Santa Rosa. Ed Walline Park is a popular one. You access the beach from a boardwalk, down 25 steps to its silky sands. Lifeguards are on duty here during the summer season, and the beach is popular with families. Rent beach chairs and umbrellas during the season. The water is clear enough that you can see schools of tiny minnows.
Beauty is a subjective issue and everyone has their views on what makes something beautiful, but it can be universally agreed that Santa Rosa Beach is quite simply one of the most gorgeous coastal locations in the world. On a sunny, Florida day with a bright blue sky and a gentle breeze in the air, there’s nowhere quite like this Florida Panhandle beach. Basic amenities can be found at this beach and it’s an unbeatable spot for sunbathing and relaxation.
Situated between Destin and Panama City, Grayton Beach is right by the Grayton Beach State Park and is a very family-friendly location with astonishing white sands and clear waters. The nearby historic village provides the perfect backdrop to a lazy day of beach relaxation, and Grayton Beach often ranks among the prettiest beaches not just in the Florida Panhandle, but in the whole of America, so it really is a must-visit location. Cycling, hiking, and kayaking can all be enjoyed in the nearby park.
If you’re searching for the best of what Florida offers (think sun, sand, family attractions, and nightlife) set your sights on Panama City Beach. Adventures abound on the land and sea, as an afternoon jetskiing gives way to an evening dining on delectable seafood. The “Spring Break capital of the world” comes alive in March, that’s for sure, but it also welcomes visitors the other 11 months of the year. With over 300 sunny days per year, and temperatures hovering in the low 80’s, there’s no bad time to book a trip.
Nine miles of undeveloped, isolated beach graced by towering sand dunes. Camping sites are available, lifeguards are not. You’ll find terrific shelling and boat ramps. Launch to catch sea trout, redfish, mackerel and other species. Birdwatchers visit in the fall, when you can spot migrating birds heading for their winter homes in South America. Falcons, hawks, and kestrels also flap their wings. You’ll love driving the four-mile bridge that provides access to St. George Island from mainland Eastpoint.
Not far from Apalachicola, this little Florida Panhandle island is located in Franklin County and provides some truly breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. The island runs for 28 miles in length and is inhabited, but has still retained a pristine, ‘untouched’ look to it. Two different lighthouses can be found on St. George Island, making this a nice spot to simply walk along the beach, admiring the views and snapping some photos. Swimming and kayaking are popular here too, and it’s a good spot to fish. Nearby Dog Island is also a nice beach with low numbers of visitors, perfect for people who love their privacy and want to avoid the crowds.
Just east of Pensacola you’ll find Navarre Beach — a tiny seaside community that’s bursting with local flare. It offers 12 miles of pristine shoreline and sugar white sand nestled between Gulf Islands National Seashore and Navarre Beach Park. It continues to win awards for the area’s best beaches and puts northwestern Florida on the map. If you like vacationing “like a local” you’ll love quaint Navarre Beach.
Navarre most recently won the award for “Florida’s Most Relaxing Place”, and we can certainly see why. Swim in the blue emerald waters, sunbathe under the hot rays, and go shelling while your family enjoys the afternoon. It’s a beach paradise. You’ll also be surrounded by state parks and a national seashore. If you’re looking for tourist traps or silly souvenir shops, look elsewhere! Navarre Beach is all about peace and tranquility.
The main attraction on Navarre Beach, besides the sun and sand, is the Navarre Beach Pier. This is the longest fishing pier on the entire Gulf of Mexico! It’s gone under some new renovations and is absolutely gleaming. There are daily fishing licenses, and on-site restaurants, a kid’s play area, volleyball courts, and incredible views.