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Summer is almost here! That means it’s time to close your books and and open your travel brochures. It’s time to take off your reading glasses and put on your sunglasses. It’s time to take your feet off of the desk in front of you and bury them in the warm sand. It’s time to replace morning energy drinks with afternoon margaritas. Most of all, it’s time to empty your backpack and fill up your suitcase. If you’re going down south over break, some of the best attractions can pass you by if you don’t plan ahead. Get a head start on your vacation and check out these five incredible Florida beaches to explore!

St. Pete Beach:

This incredibly popular tourist destination has it all. From clear blue skies to delicious seafood to great bars to a breathtaking beach, St. Pete is often praised for its wide array of intriguing attractions. With the equally entertaining city of St. Petersburg located just a drawbridge away, you will never have a dull moment. Oh, and one last thing, the beach is 100% free!

Fort De Soto Park:

This is a semi-hidden gem located just a few miles from St. Pete Beach. Made from a series of interconnected islands, Fort De Soto offers a tremendous experience for beach lovers and history buffs alike. The fort itself was constructed during the Spanish-American War in 1898 (although never used), and the gorgeous scenery makes for a picture-perfect postcard image. Also, there’s plenty of rentals available for outdoor activities like biking and kayaking.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort:

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit since this isn’t an actual beach but sure does feel like one. Located on the edge of the calm Crescent Lake, the Beach Club’s sandy shore provides the feel of a genuine beach. It is flanked on either side of the lake by the Yacht Club and Boardwalk areas, making for a fun-filled stroll around town. More importantly the area is located within walking distance of Disney’s Epcot Center, as its futuristic vibe and intercultural mash-up make it my personal favorite of the four main theme parks.

Clearwater Beach:

If your ultimate trip consists of laying on the beach and watching the crisp blue waves roll in, Clearwater is for you. As if the name itself didn’t already win you over, keep in mind that it is the smallest city in the Tampa Bay area. This cozy place is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, so don’t let the celebration pass you by!

Key West:

Beautiful seclusion at its finest. This island is the southernmost point in Florida (or the continental U.S. for that matter), located about 90 miles northwest of Cuba. Key West’s minuscule population of around 25,000 could fill about half of Yankee Stadium, making it one of the most local communities in America. The 7.4 square mile city is also home to the famous Hemingway House, which serves as one of the greatest slices of history in modern literary history. With so much cultural influence from the sea, it’s no wonder locals refer to Key West as “The Conch Republic.”

Will you be going to any of these Florida beaches this summer?