Florida is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. From gorgeous beaches to world-class amusement parks, nature trails to upscale shopping boutiques, sporting events to the incredible Everglades, there is something for everyone. Here are 9 fantastic Florida vacation destinations where you can soak up the Sunshine State.
1. Palm Beach
Palm Beach is the ritziest area in the entire state of Florida. If it is luxury you are craving, this is your best choice for splurging and vacationing in pure decadence. The beaches are gorgeous, food fantastic, and accommodations aplenty. I recommend staying at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island for family travels or the Colony Resort for singles or couples. The Marriott Singer Island features the beautiful Sispa Spa for total indulgence, a plethora of kids and resort guests activities, plus any water sports you may wish to partake in.
At The Colony, make sure to enjoy the top-rated Royal Room cabaret which features seasonal entertainment. History lovers must stop by the Flagler Museum to explore Henry Morrison Flagler’s opulent winter estate while shopping enthusiasts will be awestruck on Worth Avenue. Take a sunset sail on the Intracoastal aboard the Hakuna Matata for $30 per person.
2. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach is a classic mix of old-school cool and hip family fun as it still features the 1970’s style arcades, rides, and boardwalk. On the flipside, the city also has upscale eateries, unique museums, and lots of artistic flair with affordability and a laid-back feel that is unique to the area. Hotels line the beach allowing for oceanfront views and this is one beach where you can drive your car right out on the sandy beach. Pack up your lounge chairs, coolers, and beach toys and head for a family day of fun at the wide and beautiful Daytona Beach.
Adventures you might enjoy are the world-famous Daytona International Speedway, Escape Room Adventure, Daytona Lagoon, or the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light, the tallest lighthouse in the state.
3. Clearwater Beach
The most beautiful beach in Florida is the iconic Clearwater Beach. Its white-sugary-sand beaches, located only steps from the sidewalks, are truly gorgeous. It is no wonder thousands of people vacation here annually. Family-friendly restaurants and a fresh group of newly built upscale hotel chains line the boardwalk. Check out the beachfront Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa or the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach Resort for the ultimate hotel experience.
Clearwater Beach hosts interesting events year round including the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival featuring 11 world-class sand sculptors. Don’t miss seeing Winter and Hope of the Dolphin Tail movie fame at the Clearwater Aquarium, a sanctuary and rescue hospital for injured aquatic life.
It should come as no surprise to you that Orlando is not only home to the #1 vacation destination in the world, Walt Disney World, but also other amazing theme parks, incredible outlet shopping, upscale hotels and resorts, and fun adventures. I love the fact that you can come to Orlando for vacation and not even have to visit a theme park to have a good time.
Though located in the middle of the state with no beachy things to do, Orlando still has hundreds of attractions and entertainment options. I like to stay around I-Drive which offers mile after mile of hotels, restaurants, shopping complexes, and unique activities, such as Main Street Entertainment, Topgolf Orlando, Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, and the Icon Orlando 360. We recommend staying at any of the Universal Orlando Resort properties. Their pools are lovely and incredibly fun so you can work on your tan. Still craving more? Shop at the Orlando International Premium Outlets or Mall at Millenia.
5. Hutchinson Island
Hutchinson Island is located at the South end of Florida’s Treasure Coast. The property is split into two different counties. Hutchinson is the perfect place for beach lovers who want an undisturbed location and water adventurers. The Avalon State Park offers beach access plus you can take your leashed pets.
Hutchinson is one of the few beaches in Florida where horseback riding is permitted. It is a barrier island so not only do you have the beach comforts of the Atlantic Ocean but you also have the calm bays of the Intracoastal Waterway. Hutchinson Island is a great place for just admiring the beautiful beach (Bathtub Reef Beach is my favorite) or nature unless golf or fishing interests you… and if so, you are in for a real treat.
When you want to visit Florida and experience some culture, Sarasota is the perfect spot. I would be lying if I did not tell you that any mention of Sarasota makes me giddy like a child because I am in love with The Ringling, a museum of circus collectibles and stories from the famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus fame. Inside the museum is the Howard Bros. miniature circus scene meticulously created and painted. Do not miss the Ringmaster and animal trainer outfits along with the circus train cars.
After touring the museum you can also visit John and Mabel Ringling’s beautiful Venetian palace, Ca’D’Zan: House of John, on another part of the property. This opulent gem is a must see. Sarasota also offers the Classic Car Museum, Sarasota Opera House, and Performing Arts Hall as well as a big cat habit and sanctuary. Its skyline views are lovely. Sarasota is minutes from St. Armand’s Circle, great for a short day trip to eat, drink, and people watch.
7. Miami Beach
Miami is the most metropolitan city in Florida with so many activities that it would take me all day to list them. From epic concerts and shows to a thriving cruise port, Miami offers something for every member of the family. For a unique experience, visit Little Havana, a Cuban neighborhood that freely shares their culture through cafes, dance clubs, eateries, and domino parks.
Sophisticated shoppers will love Bal Harbour (maybe the most impressive shopping in Florida), CocoWalk, and Miracle Mile. Sports enthusiasts will be thrilled as Miami is home to pro baseball, football, basketball, and soccer teams. Thoroughbred horse racing, golf, and NASCAR events are also popular in this chic city.
Hotel hopping through South Beach is another really fun way to spend the day. Miami is also home to the Lincoln Road Mall, the first ever pedestrian-only shopping complex in the US, which is a mile-long megaplex with tons of shops, cafes, and amazing people watching.
Destin and Sandestin are side-by-side beach destinations that share the same gorgeous white powdery sand beaches and epic entertainment complexes. The water in Destin is lovely hues of greens, giving it the Emerald Coast nickname. A visit to Grand Boulevard at Sandestin for upscale shopping and dining is a must or the quaint Baytowne Wharf or Destin Commons. Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant and Bar is a great pick for happy hour prices on drinks and mouth-watering appetizers.
For early risers, nothing beats catching the gorgeous sunrise followed by a scrumptious breakfast at Another Broken Egg Cafe or Donut Hole Bakery Cafe. Golf enthusiasts may love Destin more than any other area on the Florida Gulf Coast with top-notch courses such as Kelly Plantation, Regatta Bay, and Sandestin Golf. Try a dolphin cruise, jet skiing, or Segway tour for something adventurous, too.
9. Siesta Key
The picturesque Siesta Key continually wins awards for being one of the best family beaches in the world, and rightfully so. It is family-friendly, partially uncommercialized, and has a feel of days gone by. On the beaches, you can find collectible seashells and some interesting rock formations at Point of Rocks. This is the type of vacation destination that you can truly relax and unwind in.
Siesta Key has delicious restaurants, many with succulent fresh seafood, and no matter where you go, it is all casual. Recommended eateries include The Hub Baja Grill, Miguel’s Restaurant, and Toasted Mango Cafe. Vacation does not get any easier than in this family hotspot. For a cozy and stylish place to stay, check out the Siesta Key Bungalows, a hidden gem in Siesta Key.
Florida, A Vacationer’s Paradise
Florida is filled with offerings to make your vacation unique and wonderful. There are no towns in the entire state more than 60 miles away from a beach. The more I explore the Sunshine State, the more amazing destinations I find to share with our readers. No matter what sort of thing you are looking to do on vacation, it is most likely you can find them in our amazing state. Where are your favorite fantastic Florida vacation spots?
Article Written by Melody Pittman of Wherever I May Roam
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