Florida is well known for fun in the sun, but this southern state serves up so much more! From magical, glass-bottom boat rides to swimming with dolphins, and stays ranging from nights in a luxe teepee to a five-star resort, here are the 15 most perfect Florida getaways!
Probably one of the best-kept secrets, this is a Floridian favorite. Located within Ocala, the Silver Springs State Park has been a charming Florida landmark since the 1870s. Florida’s first tourist attraction, and one of the largest artesian springs in the world, is most famously known for the Glass Bottom Boat tours. Guest can explore the spring aboard a clear bottomed vessel, allowing a view into the underwater aquatic life.
While many think of Mickey Mouse when this Central Florida city is mentioned, Orlando offers so much more! For a weekend full of adventure, splashes and animal encounters, look no more than the Sea World properties. Book a room at the beautiful Renaissance Orlando at Sea World, and catch a free shuttle to Sea World, Aquatica and Universal Studios. Guests here also receive front of line que passes for Sea World. Make sure to spend a day at Discovery Cove, and get up close and personal with dolphins. When choosing where to have dinner, be sure to include at least one dinner show to your itinerary. The Three Musketeers, Medieval Times and Al Capone’s are a few examples of where you can have dinner and a show.
A short 30-minute drive from Tampa International Airport, St. Pete Beach was voted No. 2 on “America’s Top 25 Beaches” by TripAdvisor. Consistently rated as an exceptional beach, the resort sits directly on the Gulf of Mexico, providing plenty of access to the white, sugary beach. The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort is a top choice while visiting St. Pete Beach. Neighboring sister property, Guy Harvey Outpost, also offers complete charging privileges to guests of TradeWinds Island Grand, giving guests double amenities and activities.
This relatively small area is in the northeast corner of Florida, and serves up a relaxing vibe. Visitors to this city should visit Zeta Brewing Company for a seafood-filled lunch or dinner. A few blocks away is the Casa Marina Hotel. This beachfront property opened back in 1925, and serves up a mighty brunch. Enjoy the ocean views from the third story Penthouse restaurant. Several unique shopping lines the beach boulevard, as well as a historical museum, Adventure Landing, featuring rides, mini-golf and go-karts and a few beachfront bars.
Located in the very northeast corner of Florida is a hidden gem of an island. Amelia Island, complete with Fernandina Beach, provides a small-town vibe. Take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle, and browse the local farmers market on Saturdays. Visit the downtown Fernandina Historic District which houses an electric collection of local shops, galleries and boutiques. Stroll through Palmetto Walk Shopping Village to browse through several privately-owned retail shops and then head over to The Shops at Amelia Island Plantation for more upscale fashion, gifts, gourmet and more.
Lots of lands make up Kissimmee: GatorLand, LegoLand and the HolyLand. The Holy Land park is a living, biblical museum and park that brings the world of the Bible to life. GatorLand is the “gator capitol of the world.” And LegoLand, just outside of Kissimmee is home to countless Legoland displays, play areas and family-friendly rides.
Westgate River Ranch is a short drive from Orlando, but a long distance from the typical resort. The River Ranch Resort features a variety of lodging options, most uniquely being the new luxe teepee units and the glamping units. The luxe teepee units are the perfect blend of comfort and camping. The glamping units are also climate-controlled, and feature all the modern comforts of home, in a peaceful outdoor setting. Activities are plentiful at this ranch, with options ranging from swamp buggy rides, airboat tours, horseback riding, skeet shooting, a weekly rodeo and much more. A spa, saloon, restaurant and general store rounds out the River Ranch, providing the perfect weekend getaway for couples and families.
So, this Florida city’s name sums up the beaches perfectly. Sugar-white sand leads to crystal clear ocean waters. Get out those boogie boards and surf boards and spend some time being one with the water. Enjoy some sun time. Take that breezy stroll down the long stretch of shoreline. When your day at the beach is over, take a few steps back to your home away from home, at the Sandpearl Resort. Room range from standard two beds, all the way up to luxurious suites.
Highland Beach, located within Palm Beach county, is a relatively small beach town. With population listed just under 6,000, it provides a great destination without all the foot traffic. When visiting Highland Beach, be sure to spend some time unwinding at the Delray Sands Resort. With oceanfront dining at the all-new signature restaurant, Latitudes, and a quiet retreat in one of the recently remodeled 115 guestrooms and suites, Delray Sands provides the perfect space to begin and end each adventurous day.
And, what a secret it is! This wilderness area includes a large variety of native Floridian trees, including laurel oak hammock, maple, mangrove and cypress. Toss in a butterfly garden and reptile habitat to the mix and the Secret Woods provides plenty of fun for ages nine to 90. Other activities available for participation include shark diving, a casino, a fishing hall of fame, snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as browsing gift shops and specialty stores. When visiting Dania Beach, consider resting your head at the Cambria Hotel & Suites. A few amenities here include free continental breakfast, free parking, free Wi-Fi and a fitness center with a gym/workout room.
In the northwest corner of Florida, Miramar Beach is a must-visit location. Located on the sugar-white sands of the Gulf Coast, Miramar is a common area for travelers seeking the winter sun. Dolphin watches and history tours, parasailing and Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park are a few attractions available. The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa matches the beauty of Miramar Beach, and can be just as relaxing. Being the largest full-service beachfront resort in northwest Florida, the Miramar is a popular choice.
Tampa offers so much variety that only a fraction can be listed here. From casual to fine dining, a wide variety of outdoor activities, art galleries, museums, the list of staples is virtually endless. Mix that in with specific attractions such as the Florida Aquarium, that houses over 20,000 aquatic animals and plants, Busch Gardens, Dinosaur World, The Tampa Zoo and Adventure Island, and visitors can’t possibly leave Tampa before being entertained.
Just about an hour north of Tampa, on Florida’s Nature Coast, is Crystal River. Lots of historical exploration in Crystal River, including the Crystal River Archaeological State Park. It was just about 500 years ago that Native Americans left the area, but not before building a ceremonial mound complex that can be viewed today. Another entertaining stop is the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Perhaps a trip to the Mullet Key Lighthouse would be the highlight of the trip. The Plantation on Crystal River is an eco-friendly lodge surrounded by more than 25,000 acres of pristine lakes and rivers, wildlife refuges and state parks. The Plantation features a full-service marina, the Aveda Spa, the opportunity to swim with manatees and an 18-hole golf course.
Daytona is widely known for spring break celebrations and for the Daytona 500, but there is lot more to explore within this Florida city. The Daytona Lagoon is a water park with laser tag and go-karts. The Museum of Arts and Sciences provides a break from the heat and sun, while some time exploring Daytona’s City Island is never predictable. For the most luxury, comfort, service and style, look no further than The Shores Resort & Spa.
Florida’s capital city is far from average. With a variety of museums, state parks and wildlife refuges, there is plenty to allow for a jam-packed vacay. Spend a few hours at the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum. A must for almost everyone, this museum houses a wide variety of collections: Cars, knives and cash registers, to name a few. Take the plunge on one of the many zip line and aerial adventure parks. Visit St. Mark’s lighthouse, and join in one of the night tours around the city. Tallahassee isn’t your ordinary city. Shouldn’t your stay be extraordinary? The Park Avenue Inn provides an experience far from typical. Experience laid back luxury within a historic antebellum mansion.