Gone to the Beach

When you think of summer, you’re probably thinking of Florida.  That’s why it’s a good place for us to start our annual pick of top beaches for this summer. Since Florida has over 1100 miles of coastal lines it was difficult picking just one for each category, but we finally narrowed it down.

Daytona Beach, the world’s most famous waterfront and the DCL pick for family beach of the year, has always been a household name for native Floridians. With its variety of attractions and family-friendly beaches it’s no wonder why it has been a top pick for vacationing visitors over the past decades. Nestled between Miami and Jacksonville, Daytona has become a must-do for visitors to the sunshine state. While in Daytona, make sure to visit the local museums, take a scenic stroll to the Ocean Walk Movie Theater, spend a family day at Daytona Lagoon, take a breezy walk about the boardwalk, or a visit to the Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 experience to entertain the little ones and the “big” little ones.

For lodging, the Bahama House is an ideal family-oriented vacationing spot with extended stay suite layouts, direct beach access, and free drinks and popcorn every evening. Head on down the road and enjoy the fresh fare at The Cracked Egg – a breakfast diner popular with locals and tourists alike. You will be greeted by a wonderful wait staff that will make you feel as if you’re having breakfast with the family back home. For more information visit daytonabeach.com.

If your idea of beach fun is dancing on the shore until the wee hours of the morning, lounging at a beach bar with a refreshing Mojito, or soaking up the sun and uh… “sights” on soft bleached sand, then Panama City Beach is our choice for the party beachgoer. Often referred to as the “Spring break capital of the World,” this 27 mile beach with emerald green water offers a variety of entertainment options. Dance clubs, restaurants, wine bars, jazz venues, karaoke spots, and tiki lounges that can spice up not only your nightlife, but also your daytime social adventures. If you’re lucky you may be in town to catch a show during Panama City’s Summer Concert Series.

The DCL top foodie spot for the starving swimmer or sunbather is the food truck, Finn’s Island Style Grubb. Eat slowly – their expertly prepared seafood can compete with any restaurant in the city. For lodging we have chosen the Holiday Inn Resort, a tourist favorite and gratifying for the average partygoer right dab in the middle of the festivities on the strip. For more information visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.

The Sarasota beaches can be enjoyed by all three types of vacationers, but Lido Key is a hidden gem for relaxation. This barrier island features numerous sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Spend your precious leisure time by unwinding your mind and body at Lido Beach Resort. This resort is located directly on a private powdery white sand beach in Lido Key and offers two climate-controlled beachfront pools, three Jacuzzis, and the popular Lido Beach Grille Restaurant.

After hours of napping and peaceful meditation on the beach, why not head over to St. Armand’s Square, a charming area of locally-owned shops and cafes, and chat with a diverse collection of locals. When you’re ready for a more adventurous day, try a walk through the nature trail at South Lido Park. What we love  most about this park is the fact that it is bordered by four bodies of water; The Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bayou. When you’re on the scenic nature trail you will be embraced by the local inhabitants and the lushness of the mangrove forests, pine flatwoods, and coastal hammocks.

The minute fine dining is on your mind; enjoy a meal at Columbia Restaurant: an award-winning eatery and a bay area favorite located in St. Armand Square. The Mediterranean style décor along with the savory Spanish/Cuban cuisine will have you coming back for more paella and unlimited refills of sangria. Don’t just take our word for it, why not try it for yourself. You’ll thank us. For more information on Lido Key visit www.exploringlidokey.com.


BAHAMA HOUSE  www.daytonabahamahouse.com

DAYTONA INTN’L SPEEDWAY www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

CRACKED EGG DINER www.crackedeggdiner.com

FINN’S ISLAND STYLE GRUBB www.finnsislandstylegrub.com

HOLIDAY INN RESORT www.hipcbeach.com

COLUMBIA RESTARUANT www.columbiarestaurant.com

LIDO BEACH RESORT www.lidobeachresort.com

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.thedoubleclicklife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Iphone-Jan2013-April2013-002-e1365542691388.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Nikida Vaughn is a host and writer for DCL and The Theme Park Hipster. Want to learn more about writing or hosting for DCL? …read more[/author_info] [/author]