Going to hit a Gulf coast beach and Atlantic coast beach any suggestions?

We are driving down and DS16 has never been to the ocean. One of the days we are there we are taking an afternoon and driving to the east coast of Florida so he can see the ocean. Then on our way home we are wanting to stop on the gulf side so he can see the gulf. We will be there fist 2 weeks in February.

Do you have any suggestions on which beaches would be good on both sides? Not wanting a big commercialized spot, its for the beach, shells maybe and so he can see the ocean.

And at those beaches is parking going to be an issue? Are there lots to park at or find it were you can? Long walk from parking to beach?

Thanks in advance!

I was a single mom and too chicken to take him to the beach by myself the last time I was there and don’t want him to miss it this time.

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We stayed at Daytona Beach during that time period (first week of February). We tacked it on at the end of our Disney trip. It was so nice and not busy at all! Our teen DSs loved everything about it - fishing pier (free to walk out and even fish - the other nearby beaches charged a fee) with Joe’s Crab Shack, lots of arcade type stores along the boardwalk and OceanWalk Shoppes. Daytona Lagoon waterpark wasn’t open when we were there. Lots of shells and sand dollars etc. along the sand. It was their first time seeing the ocean as well. We ended up going again for a week last Christmas - we loved it! We stopped at Ormond Beach, Flagler Beach and St. Augustine as well but Daytona was our favourite, hands down. It would be much busier during Daytona NASCAR racing and Bike Week but that early in February was fantastic. We did a track tour and that was really cool too! There are public parking lots but I believe you have to pay to park. We stayed parked at our hotel and walked everywhere. There was free parking at St. Augustine.

I did a trip report from our Christmas trip (as we did both Disney and Daytona) if you want to check it out. LoveBug53's Disney Trip Report The Daytona part is nearer to the end. I also posted a few pictures from the other beaches I mentioned.

As for the Gulf side, I’ll let someone else chime in on that. I loved the St. Pete/Clearwater area as a child - John’s Pass was really charming too.

Sand Key is just a few miles down from Clearwater It is not as busy and really beautiful. I have always stayed at a hotel over there, but there is a public park. Here is the link: http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/15_sand_key.htm

I love the Gulf side of Florida. The water is so beautiful. Have fun!