Florida is synonymous with the impeccable year-round weather, blue skies, and miles of soft sand beaches. With many cities along the coast, you’re guaranteed to find yourself a spot on the beach somewhere on the peninsula. Skip all the fuss and frippery of big-name hotel chains. Opt instead for an intimate stay at an equally luxurious but less expensive boutique resort.
Treasure Island is the ultimate respite from the daily grind. This growing destination is part of a long stretch of barrier islands sitting in the Gulf of Mexico and is easily accessible by car. While it may not have any real buried treasure, it boasts its own variety of riches. Expect to find miles of continuous white sand beach, sparkling gulf waters, and an endless supply of sunshine. Consider staying at the Thunderbird Beach Resort. The family owned oceanfront property offers unobstructed views of the gulf, an on-site restaurant, and multiple pools to relax in.
Fort Myers Beach
Don’t confuse the seaside town of Fort Myers Beach to Fort Myers, nearly an hour away. The community faces the Gulf of Mexico and is abundant with excellent coastline. It is also known as a spring break destination, but Fort Myers Beach is more than its reputation. Many of the ocean-front properties belong to larger chains and bigger names. For a more casual and affordable stay, try Myerside Resort. This is not your conventional resort or hotel. Myerside is a small property only a stones throw away from the beach. It consists of one main house, several separate suites, a pool, and plenty of hammocks to soak in some sun. It’s paradise within a paradise.
If you’re looking for a relaxing family vacation or a couple’s retreat, look no further than Panama City. This laid-back destination offers a buffet for beach lovers and outdoorists. There are miles of white sandy shores to suit any beach activity from sunbathing to spikeball. There are also several nearby parks ideal for wildlife watching, hiking, and photographing. Avoid the hotel chains that have dominated much of the beach. Instead, book a stay at Carillon Beach Resort Inn.
West Palm Beach
There is no end to activities and attractions in West Palm Beach. This south Florida city is a hub for exciting nightlife, luxury shopping, and a one-of-a-kind art scene. It’s an enticing destination on its own, but don’t be fooled; the beach is a star on its own too. The long stretch of sugary white shoreline is the perfect contrast to the busy city. Shack up at The Chesterfield, a 53-room boutique hotel designed with English old-world charm.
“The Nation’s Oldest City” might also be the quirkiest. Where else can you go golfing, ride a pirate ship, and visit a winery all in one day? You can also stroll along the cobbled street and then hit the beach. St. Augustine has a significant span of unspoiled coastline beckoning to be explored. You’ll find the shores surprisingly tranquil and vacant. Make the best of this by staying at Colony Hotel Palm Beach, a nearly waterfront property with a history of hosting presidents and royalty.