The high-energy Atlantic rims Florida's 12 east coast counties from Nassau County at the northern boundary to Miami-Dade at the southern end. This coast is lined with historic state parks, beautiful palm-lined beaches, vast salt marsh estuaries, occasional inlets, coral reefs, urban areas, fishing piers, lighthouses, national parks and wildlife refuges. The diverse shoreline is edged with densely populated cities, rural areas and an extensive chain of barrier islands. Vast portions of Florida's east coast are protected and preserved by 38 state parks, 14 aquatic preserves, five national parks, seven national wildlife refuges and the 73,352-acre Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Visitors can enjoy horseback-riding on Amelia Island, surf fishing or windsurfing on Jacksonville's wide, resort-lined beaches, kayaking and canoeing the many paddling trails, sightseeing in historic St. Augustine's downtown, exploring Flagler's coquina beaches, or enjoying races at Daytona's International Speedway. Tour Kennedy Space Center near the Cape Canaveral National Seashore, paddle the freshwater marshes and preserves of Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin, surf in Palm Beach, or sun on the popular beaches in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
Atlantic Counties (north to south)
NassauCounty, just south of Cumberland Island, Ga., is a county with a rural feel and home to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. Nassau has many oceanfront retreats with miles of sandy beach. (More)
Duval's 15 miles of coast are jam-packed with beach access, fun beach bars and restaurants and hot spots for surfing. Jacksonville's metropolitan center has a multitude of cultural, dining, shopping and live entertainment activities. (More)
St. Johns is rich with an intricate history of exploration, colonization, piracy and the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine. More than 100 beach accesses stretch along 41 miles of the Treasure Coast. St. Augustine's historic downtown has haunted tours, live entertainment, museums, art galleries and historical re-enactments. (More)
Flagler has a laid-back feeling with the historic downtown of Flagler Beach. This county is a popular destination for surfing, fishing, camping and boating. Atlantic right whales migrate here for the spring. (More)
Brevard's 71 miles of Atlantic coastline are ideal for surfing and fishing. Also known as the Space Coast, it is home to the John F. Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral National Seashore. Cocoa Beach is a popular vacation area and is well-known for its surfing scene. (More)
Indian River is an ideal location for enjoying a quiet beach vacation in a relaxing, quaint area. Search for treasure lost in a massive, 1700s shipwreck along the beach, or enjoy an afternoon of fishing or scuba diving near Sebastian Inlet. Vero Beach has a charming downtown with upscale dining, boutiques and art galleries. (More)
St. Lucie is a tranquil, laid-back coastal county with well-kept, county- and city-owned beach parks. Large artificial reef structures create wonderful scuba diving opportunities along the coast. Golfing, biking, boating, bird viewing and guided sea turtle walks are some of the many outdoor recreational opportunities available to visitors of St. Lucie County. (More)
Martin marks the end of the southern Atlantic coastal counties without a large metropolitan presence. Enjoy the walk along the coast in the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, and experience the aesthetics of undeveloped Florida barrier islands. (More)
Palm Beach is well-known for its sprawling miles of palm-tree-lined beaches and world-renowned golf courses. Palm Beach marks the beginning of the South Florida metropolitan area, and is a wonderful place for nighttime entertainment, fine dining and shopping. (More)
Broward, located in the middle of the South Florida metropolitan area, offers charming beaches along an urban backdrop. Beach accesses are available at almost every street end in Fort Lauderdale along with places to eat and shop. Take a day excursion to the Everglades, or go scuba diving off the coast in Broward. (More)
Miami-Dade, located at the southeastern end of Florida, is a popular destination for all walks of life. Along with the big city excitement of Miami, Miami-Dade County also offers miles of beautiful beaches. The southern portion of the county is mostly mangroves with ideal fishing and boat launches. (More)
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.