Florida, as one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States, provides a plethora of weekend getaways in Florida possibilities. 125 million people visit Florida each year, whether they’re looking for luxury all-inclusive weekend getaways or a romantic couples retreat (or lengthier Florida holidays, for that matter).
What’s the big deal? For starters, Florida is blessed with plenty of sunshine and mild temps all year. Then there are the numerous beaches throughout the state. Beach vacations in Florida may be found all throughout the state, from the Panhandle to the north, along the broad stretches of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and even in the little tropical paradise of Key West.
Are you looking for a list of the most interesting weekend getaways in Florida? This guide has all of the best Florida weekend getaways!
Since Florida is filled with so many amazing destinations, that means there are tons of awesome weekend getaways in Florida. Relax on a beach on a beautiful island, immerse yourself in the culture and history of a city, or escape into nature at a natural spring. Whichever options you choose, there are some great weekend getaways in Florida to enjoy.
key West—one of the greatest places to visit in Florida for folks looking for a fast-paced weekend getaway—is not quickly forgotten once visited. This small tropical island is not only the country’s southernmost metropolis, but it’s also one of the most diverse in terms of culture. Here, you’ll find an unlimited selection of things to do that titillate the taste buds and entertain the senses, thanks to a heady blend of the Caribbean and European influences – with a healthy dose of the South thrown in for good measure.
Much of the enthusiasm is focused on bustling Duval Street, a 1.25-mile stretch of road that allows walkers to walk from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. From Cuban-inspired music and cuisine to shopping in chic art galleries and boutique shops, there’s plenty to keep you occupied throughout your weekend getaway (or, for that matter, tacky souvenir stores).
Then there are the spectacular sunsets, which are celebrated each evening in Mallory Square with acrobatics and busking. When you add infamous Key West sights like the Southernmost Point marker and Ernest Hemingway’s House, you’ve got yourself a weekend getaway to remember.
The sands of Miami Beach, among Florida’s numerous excellent beaches, have a lot to offer sunseekers and weekend visitors. There are plenty of opportunities to sit back and relax here. The beaches straddle a thin barrier reef and are accessible from the mainland through multiple bridges. They are lined with hotels and high-end homes and are an easy shuttle ride from Miami International Airport (or even by water taxi).
The beach itself appears to be boundless, with plenty of room to spread out and sunbathe or stroll and take in the sights. Strolling the many lively streets with their shops and fantastic dining experiences, especially along Ocean Drive, which divides the seashore from the many fine examples of colorful 1930s and 1940s architecture that line the road, is a highly popular pastime here.
The Art Deco Historic District in South Beach, a famous tourist destination that’s great to explore on foot, has even more beautiful architecture. There are many superb hotels and resorts to choose from (some of which offer tempting Florida vacation packages and bargains), as well as good dining and entertainment options. Then there’s still the rest of Miami to discover.
Sarasota, which is served by the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, is a fun-filled weekend escape for families seeking a terrific beach vacation. Aside from the sun and sand, Sarasota is known for being the birthplace of Ringling Brothers Circus, whose history continues to this day.
The magnificently gorgeous Ca d’Zan estate is the most noteworthy of the many tributes to the Ringlings. The Ringling, a cluster of attractions that include museums dedicated to the family’s art collection and the history of the circus, including this sumptuous former home of John Ringling, which is now a fascinating museum chock-full of interesting relics and furnishings. It’s a fascinating experience that’s appropriate for both children and adults… but plan on spending at least a day here.
The Gulf Coast city of Naples, one of many ritzy locations in Florida, has a lot to offer visitors looking for a wonderful weekend escape. It’s a highly romantic destination for couples, just like its Italian namesake, especially along magnificent 5th Avenue—and especially at night.
The Boulevard is lined with high-end boutiques and art galleries, but the food is what draws the throng. You can experience delectable dishes from award-winning chefs from all over the world, including fresh, locally caught seafood served in fine dining restaurants or as fish and chips in a casual eatery—both of which are much better when dining al fresco. Relax on the gorgeous beaches during the day, watch dolphins frolic right offshore, or go for a swim in the tranquil seas. Head out to the pier around sunset to view the sunset.
The best luxury hotel in town, the Inn on Fifth, is located in this famous area of town, and it’s a wonderful spot to spend the weekend. From here, you can easily enjoy the best of Naples, including the beach and pier, which are only a 10-minute walk away.
The Palm Beaches, which include West Palm Beach and Palm Beach proper, have a plethora of options for those looking for a luxurious weekend escape. Despite its reputation as a haven for millionaires (and presidents), there’s enough to offer to those on a more modest budget.
Palm Beach, an island connected to the larger, vast West Palm Beach at various crossing points, is home to the majority of the most opulent resorts. The upscale Worth Avenue is located here, and it is home to an array of luxury shopping choices, ranging from the most up-to-date clothing to the most luxurious boats.
Palm Beach is also home to over 47 kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches. There’s also plenty of parking, making a stay in one of West Palm Beach’s more affordable hotels and motels—along with its own collection of shopping, dining, and entertainment options—even more appealing.
Historic St. Augustine is a great place to come if you’re searching for a memorable, romantic trip in Florida. St. Augustine is one of the most northerly cities on Florida’s east coast, as well as one of the oldest. This charming walled city, located less than an hour south of Jacksonville, was founded by the Spanish in the mid-16th century and has managed to keep its European flair.
The historic district also has a number of charming romantic hotels, inns, and guesthouses, which are especially enjoyable to visit during the Christmas season. The streets are charmingly lit up throughout the holiday season, so much so that they’ve helped cement St. Augustine’s status as the “greatest Christmas town in Florida.”
It’s a beautiful site to explore on foot, especially around the historic Colonial Quarter (leave your car in one of the fringe parking lots and catch the bus if it’s busy). This intriguing region, preserved much as it would have been in the 17th and 18th centuries, gives a very vivid picture of life back then. There are various attractions to see here, including the well-preserved Castillo de San Marcos fortification. You can explore the old fort’s walls and see historic military displays and exhibits of old trades.
In St. Augustine, though, it’s not all about indoor, urban enjoyment. The area is also noted for its beautiful beaches, such as Ponte Vedra Beach, which is known for its high-end seaside resorts.
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While Daytona Beach has a reputation for being a budget-friendly holiday spot, there’s a lot more to this Atlantic coastal city than inexpensive Florida vacations. In fact, discerning travelers interested in the various attractions on this side of Florida can choose from a variety of premium hotels and resorts, including the trendy Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach.
Whatever hotel you choose, there will be plenty of entertaining things to do to occupy your weekend. Visiting Daytona International Speedway, home of NASCAR racing and fun to explore even on non-race days, is at the top of most people’s lists.
The many amusement arcades and attractions along the waterfront, which are dotted with souvenir stores, restaurants, and other entertainment venues, are just as entertaining—especially for families vacationing with teenagers. Walking along the long Boardwalk at night, when the multicolored lights from the rides and attractions light up the sky, is a particularly wonderful thing to do in Daytona.
The Everglades is widely regarded as Florida’s most popular natural destination. This massive region, which is best explored from either Miami to the east of Naples and Fort Myers to the west, encompasses 1.5 million acres of ecologically important marsh and is home to rich animals. While you may drive through the Everglades National Park or visit the main visitor center in Homestead for a pleasant boardwalk experience, taking an airboat trip is by far the finest way to see it.
The true thrill comes when you see some of the local creatures. Visitors have been known to witness Florida panthers, a rare and secretive animal, while on a routine trip they might see manatees, crocodiles, and alligators.
If you have a lot of free time, consider going on a kayak tour. These enjoyable outings are catered to people of all ages and backgrounds, and they offer a much quieter and more relaxed atmosphere. Try it out and see what happens.
This largely residential island just south on the gulf coast, less than an hour from Sarasota, is a slice of old Florida many don’t realize exists. Often overlooked by visitors drawn to the big-name beaches of St. Pete and Clearwater, this largely residential island just south on the gulf coast, less than an hour from Sarasota, is a slice of old Florida many don’t realize exists.
A vacation rental on a canal or fronting the Gulf of Mexico is a terrific way to spend your time on Anna Maria Island. (Pineapplefish boasts the prettiest of the group), or stay at the Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club in nearby Holmes Beach, which includes docks for boaters. There are no chain stores on Anna Maria Island, and golf carts are the predominant form of transportation. With a Surrey (or normal) bike rental from Beach Bums, you can pedal wherever.
A road trip through the Overseas Highway connecting the Florida Keys is an adventure that must be experienced at least once, whether you’re driving into the state or picking up a rental car at the airport (there are several).
Miami is an excellent spot to begin. From here, you can drive the entire 113 miles to Key West in three hours (with a few pauses to take in the breathtaking ocean vistas). You can also take a break by staying in a beachside hotel or resort in Key Largo, near the top, or Marathon, which is closer to the midway point and maybe a better option.
You should spend at least a day (or evening) at Key West, regardless of where you camp for the night—and camping is also an option. It is known for its laid-back, Caribbean attitude and has plenty of exciting things to do, particularly along busy Duval Street. Other activities in the Keys include fantastic diving and sailing, charter fishing (or casting a line from a pier), and visiting top Florida sites like the outstanding Dolphin Research Center in Marathon.
When it comes to family vacations in Florida, there’s no denying that Orlando is one of the greatest. Even if you’re seeking a romantic getaway, Orlando is a terrific option. Spend your time in downtown Orlando, ride the Wheel at ICON Park for a panoramic perspective of the area, or visit one of the major amusement parks to relive your youth.
It was here that the great Walt Disney created Walt Disney World, the world’s most visited and popular theme park. Walt Disney World, which is actually four parks rolled into one great Florida destination, has it all: thrilling rollercoasters and rides, wet-fun water parks, superlative casual and fine-dining experiences, plenty of shopping, sports activities (golf is big here), entertainment, and festivals, and some of the best Florida resorts to crash in after all that excitement.
All of this, as well as other well-known theme parks like Universal Studios and SeaWorld, to name a few, can be enjoyed in a matter of days. And, thanks to Orlando’s excellent international airport, they’re easy to get there for those looking for a fun-filled weekend break.
The beaches of South Walton in Florida’s Panhandle rise to the top for the kind of water you thought only existed in screen savers and sand so fine you’ll want to put it in an hourglass. Rosemary Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Grayton Beach, and Seaside all have vacation rentals where you may have your morning coffee while watching dolphins play just offshore.
Hotel Effie, with its elegant rooftop pool and club, debuted in February 2021 in Sandestin. And classic gulf coast hotels like the WaterColor Inn, which sits directly on the Gulf of Mexico, put you right on Scenic 30A, where you can enjoy coastal views while driving, paddling in freshwater dune lakes, or sampling suds at the Grayton Brew Company.
The Ocala National Forest is ideal for people looking to get away from the city and reconnect with nature. You’ll be able to experience the finest of what nature has to offer thanks to the springs, footpaths, camping areas, and lakes.
In the Ocala National Forest, you’ll find Juniper Springs and Alexander Springs. Kayaking, swimming, and scuba diving are all available at these two springs. If you’d rather keep dry, there are hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding paths in this national forest.
Fort Myers is a vacationers’ dream come true. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to your favorite tropical island, with unlimited sunshine and fresh seafood restaurants! The Edison and Ford winter estates, a historic landmark originally held by two of America’s finest inventors, are also located here.
Lovers Key State Park is located just adjacent to Fort Myers. This is the place to go to see Florida’s wildlife because it has both saltwater and freshwater habitats. From manatees to shorebirds to dolphins, there’s plenty to see!
Tampa is one of Florida’s most underappreciated weekend escapes. This Gulf Coast city is rich in natural beauty, culture, and even a little history, making it an ideal vacation spot for just about everybody.
The beaches are one of Tampa’s most well-known features. With 361 days of sunlight per year, it’s no surprise that Tampa’s best beaches are popular with locals and visitors alike. Beaches, though, aren’t the only thing Tampa has to offer. Ride thrilling rollercoasters at Busch Gardens, meander along the Tampa Riverwalk, or visit the Big Cat Rescue to see your favorite wildcats.