Discover the enchanting allure of the Sunshine State with our curated list of the 15 best weekend getaways in Florida.
From the vibrant cityscapes of Miami and Fort Lauderdale to the serene beaches of Vero Beach and the historic charm of St. Augustine, each destination offers a unique experience.
Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Florida has it all.
So pack your bags and embark on a memorable journey through the diverse landscapes and vibrant cities that make this state a must-visit destination.
- Florida offers a variety of weekend getaway destinations, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Vero Beach, Amelia Island, Ocala, Naples, Anna Maria Island, Sarasota, Orlando, the Space Coast, Islamorada, Sebring, and additional destinations like Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach, Cedar Key, The Palm Beaches, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Key West, Mt. Dora, Fort Pierce, and Hutchinson Island.
- These destinations offer a range of attractions, such as white-sand beaches, urban parks, museums, restaurants, vibrant street art scenes, historic hotels, cafes, boutiques, breweries, art galleries, national parks, international atmosphere, yacht spotting, cultural attractions, water activities, biking, walking, rollerblading, upscale beach towns, farmers markets, beachy boutiques, unique hotel experiences, marshy grasslands, historic sites, undeveloped beaches, cozy restaurants, luxury oceanfront options, horse country, rolling landscapes, state parks for swimming and canoeing, wildlife, luxury shopping and dining, Everglades National Park day trips, quaint Old Florida feel, powdery beaches, no chain restaurants or mass resorts, sunset views, world-class art, beachfront hotels, sophisticated small-town ambiance, theme parks, alternative exploration, growing food scene, freshwater springs for kayaking, unique experiences like the Beer Spa, close proximity to Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center, surf lessons, guided tours to see sea turtles laying eggs, national seashores and wildlife refuges, Upper Florida Keys oasis, snorkeling, offshore game fishing, private vacation villas, car racing events, hiking and camping opportunities, water activities like fishing and boating, historic downtowns, glittering Gulf of Mexico waters and powdery sands, inviting getaways, true Old Florida experiences, posh stays at resorts, beautiful beaches, compact and walkable downtown, explore by bike, scooter, or trolley, historic lakefront town, one of Florida’s best weekend farmers markets, and scenic and uncrowded beaches.
Tampa is a vibrant city on Florida’s west coast that offers a range of attractions including white-sand beaches, urban parks, and a thriving food scene. Known for its stunning waterfront views and warm weather, Tampa is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.
When visiting this city, some of the best attractions to explore include Busch Gardens, an amusement park with thrilling rides and exotic animals, and the Tampa Bay History Center, which showcases the rich history and culture of the area. For those seeking hidden gems, the Tampa Theatre is a must-visit. This historic movie palace features stunning architecture and hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
Additionally, the Tampa Riverwalk offers a picturesque stroll along the Hillsborough River, with various restaurants, museums, and parks to discover along the way. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day or an exciting cultural experience, Tampa has something for everyone.
St. Petersburg, a vibrant city on Florida’s west coast, offers a diverse array of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are the top attractions in St. Petersburg:
- St. Pete Pier: This iconic landmark features a rooftop tiki bar with stunning views of the city skyline and Tampa Bay. Visitors can also explore the conservation center and enjoy the beautiful waterfront.
- The Dali Museum: Art enthusiasts will be captivated by this museum, which houses a large collection of Salvador Dali’s works. From surrealist paintings to sculptures, the museum offers a unique and immersive experience.
- Central Avenue and Bayshore Drive: These bustling streets are lined with cafes, boutiques, and breweries. Visitors can indulge in delicious cuisine, shop for unique souvenirs, and experience the vibrant local culture.
When it comes to dining in St. Petersburg, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the best places to eat in St. Petersburg include The Mill Restaurant, which offers farm-to-table dishes, and Locale Market, a gourmet food hall with a variety of culinary delights.
Whether you’re looking for art, history, or delicious food, St. Petersburg has something for everyone.
Moving south from St. Petersburg, the next exciting destination on our list of best weekend getaways in Florida is the vibrant city of Miami. Known for its art, fashion, and diverse food scene, Miami offers an international atmosphere that is sure to captivate visitors. For those looking for a luxurious stay, stylish hotels like Faena and The Setai in Miami Beach provide the perfect accommodations. But Miami is not just about relaxation – it also boasts some of the best nightlife spots and trendiest restaurants in the state. To help you plan your weekend getaway, here are some recommendations:
|Nightlife Spots||Trendiest Restaurants|
|LIV at the Fontainebleau||Komodo|
|Basement Miami||Mandolin Aegean Bistro|
|The Broken Shaker||KYU|
With its combination of vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, and exciting entertainment options, Miami is the ideal destination for a memorable weekend getaway in Florida.
Fort Lauderdale offers a unique combination of yacht spotting, a beachfront promenade, and cultural attractions near the beach. Here are three reasons why Fort Lauderdale should be on your weekend getaway list:
- Restaurants and nightlife options in Fort Lauderdale: From waterfront dining to trendy rooftop bars, Fort Lauderdale has a vibrant food and nightlife scene. Indulge in fresh seafood, international cuisine, and craft cocktails while enjoying stunning views of the ocean.
- Water Taxi transportation in Fort Lauderdale: Explore the city by hopping on the Water Taxi. This convenient mode of transportation allows you to cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway, stopping at various points of interest, including restaurants, shopping areas, and cultural attractions.
- Biking, walking, and rollerblading: Fort Lauderdale is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a leisurely bike ride along the beachfront promenade, go for a stroll on the scenic Las Olas Boulevard, or strap on your rollerblades and glide along the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale. With its picturesque surroundings, Fort Lauderdale offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities.
Located on Florida’s east coast, Vero Beach offers an upscale beach town experience with a walkable center and a variety of hotel options. This charming destination is known for its weekly farmers market and beachy boutiques, providing visitors with a laid-back and relaxing atmosphere. When it comes to accommodations, Vero Beach boasts some of the best resorts in the area. Two popular options include the Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa and the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa. These luxurious resorts offer stunning ocean views, top-notch amenities, and exceptional service. In addition to its beautiful beaches and fantastic resorts, Vero Beach is home to several top attractions. Visitors can explore the McKee Botanical Garden, take a boat tour along the Indian River Lagoon, or visit the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Vero Beach has something to offer for everyone.
|Best Resorts in Vero Beach||Top Attractions in Vero Beach|
|Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa||McKee Botanical Garden|
|Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa||Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours|
|Vero Beach Museum of Art|
Continuing our exploration of Florida’s best weekend getaways, let’s turn our attention to the charming Amelia Island. This hidden gem, located south of the Georgia border, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historic sites.
Here are the top attractions and best beaches on Amelia Island:
- Fort Clinch State Park: Explore the untouched beauty of undeveloped beaches and scenic biking trails in this historic park. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich history as you tour the well-preserved 19th-century fort.
- Downtown Fernandina: Stroll through the cozy streets of Fernandina, where you’ll find an array of charming restaurants and shops. Indulge in delicious seafood, browse unique boutiques, and soak in the relaxed atmosphere.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island: For those seeking luxury, this oceanfront resort offers a world-class experience. Relax on the pristine beaches, indulge in spa treatments, and savor exquisite dining options.
With its marshy grasslands, golden beaches, and captivating history, Amelia Island is truly a delightful weekend getaway destination.
Next on our list of best weekend getaways in Florida is Ocala, a charming destination nestled in Florida’s horse country.
Ocala is known for its picturesque farms, ranches, and rolling landscapes, making it the perfect retreat for nature lovers and horse enthusiasts alike.
One of the highlights of Ocala is its best horseback riding trails, which offer scenic routes through the countryside and allow visitors to explore the beauty of the area on horseback.
For those seeking luxury accommodations, Ocala also boasts top luxury resorts that provide a comfortable and indulgent stay. Whether you want to relax by the pool, indulge in spa treatments, or explore the surrounding nature, Ocala offers a delightful escape for a weekend getaway.
Nestled along the Gulf of Mexico, Naples offers a perfect blend of stunning beaches and upscale shopping and dining experiences. This charming coastal city has something for everyone, from outdoor enthusiasts to shopaholics.
Here are the top highlights of Naples:
- Best shopping spots: Naples is known for its upscale shopping destinations. Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South are the main shopping districts, lined with boutique stores, art galleries, and high-end fashion brands. Waterside Shops is another popular spot, featuring luxury retailers and gourmet dining options.
- Top outdoor activities: Naples is a haven for outdoor lovers. With miles of pristine beaches, visitors can indulge in swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. For nature enthusiasts, Everglades National Park is just a short drive away, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and thrilling airboat rides. Naples also boasts several golf courses, parks, and nature preserves for those seeking more active pursuits.
With its beautiful beaches, upscale shopping, and abundance of outdoor activities, Naples is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway in Florida.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island offers a charming escape with its colorful houses, powdery beaches, and quaint Old Florida feel. This hidden gem is located just an hour south of Tampa, making it the perfect weekend getaway destination. What sets Anna Maria Island apart is its commitment to preserving its unique character. You won’t find any chain restaurants or mass resorts here, allowing visitors to truly immerse themselves in the island’s laid-back atmosphere.
For food enthusiasts, Anna Maria Island boasts some of the best restaurants in the area. From fresh seafood at The SandBar restaurant, where you can enjoy stunning sunset views over the Gulf of Mexico, to the delicious Italian cuisine at Oma’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
In terms of activities, explore the island’s charming streets and beautiful beaches with a rented Surrey bike or a golf cart. Take a leisurely stroll along the Anna Maria City Pier, where you can fish or simply enjoy the scenic views. For nature lovers, a visit to the Robinson Preserve is a must, with its miles of walking trails and abundant wildlife.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, indulge in delicious food, or immerse yourself in nature, Anna Maria Island has it all.
Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota offers a unique blend of world-class art and spectacular beaches. This vibrant city has something for everyone, from art enthusiasts to beach lovers.
Here are the top attractions in Sarasota:
- John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: This impressive museum showcases a European art collection and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. It is a must-visit for art lovers.
- St. Armands Circle: This charming shopping and dining district is located on Lido Key. Explore the boutiques, galleries, and restaurants while enjoying the lively atmosphere.
- Best beaches in Sarasota: Sarasota is home to some of the best beaches in Florida. Siesta Key Beach, with its crystal-clear waters and powdery white sand, consistently ranks among the top beaches in the country. Lido Beach and Longboat Key Beach are also popular choices for sunbathing and swimming.
With its sophisticated small-town ambiance, Sarasota is a fantastic weekend getaway destination.
Continuing the exploration of Florida’s diverse weekend getaways, the next destination to consider is the vibrant city of Orlando. Known worldwide for its theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, Orlando offers much more than just thrilling rides and magical adventures. The city boasts a leafy downtown and nearby Winter Park, perfect for alternative exploration. Orlando’s growing food scene is making waves with Michelin-starred restaurants and unique culinary experiences. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle, Orlando is home to hidden gems like Wekiwa Springs State Park, where visitors can kayak in freshwater springs or unwind in the peaceful surroundings. And for a truly unique experience, visitors can indulge in the Beer Spa, where they can enjoy a relaxing spa treatment while sipping on their favorite craft brew. Orlando offers something for everyone, from the iconic attractions to the hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.
|Unique Experiences in Orlando||Hidden Gems in Orlando|
|Michelin-starred restaurants||Wekiwa Springs State Park|
The Space Coast
The Space Coast, situated less than an hour east of Orlando, offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and aerospace marvels. Here are three reasons why it’s worth a visit:
- Exploring wildlife and nature on the Space Coast: With the Canaveral National Seashore and Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, nature enthusiasts can enjoy pristine beaches, coastal dunes, and an abundance of wildlife. The summer months also offer the opportunity to witness guided tours to see sea turtles laying eggs.
- Unique dining experiences on the Space Coast: From waterfront seafood shacks to upscale restaurants, the Space Coast offers a diverse culinary scene. Indulge in fresh seafood, locally sourced ingredients, and innovative dishes that showcase the region’s flavors.
- Close proximity to Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Embark on a journey through space exploration at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Learn about NASA’s history, view rockets and spacecraft, and even meet an astronaut. Cape Canaveral also offers the chance to witness rocket launches and experience the thrill of space exploration firsthand.
- Nestled in the Upper Florida Keys, Islamorada offers a tranquil Caribbean oasis for a weekend getaway in Florida. Known as the “Village of Islands,” Islamorada is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and picturesque sunsets. Visitors can indulge in a variety of Caribbean-inspired activities, including snorkeling on coral reefs and partaking in offshore game fishing. The Hawks Cay Resort in neighboring Marathon provides private vacation villas, allowing guests to experience the ultimate relaxation and luxury. Located just 90 minutes south of Miami, Islamorada offers the perfect escape for water activities and relaxation. Whether it’s exploring the underwater world, lounging on pristine beaches, or unwinding in a hammock with a tropical drink in hand, Islamorada is a true paradise for those seeking a rejuvenating weekend getaway.
Nestled in central Florida’s Highlands County, Sebring offers a unique weekend escape for car racing enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Here are three reasons why Sebring should be on your list of weekend getaways in Florida:
- Car racing events: Sebring is famous for its car racing events, particularly at the Sebring International Raceway. Experience the thrill of watching top-notch motorsports competitions and get up close to some of the fastest cars on the planet.
- Highlands Hammock State Park hiking: For nature lovers, Sebring is a gateway to the stunning Highlands Hammock State Park. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, including ancient cypress swamps, lush hammocks, and scenic trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife like alligators, deer, and a variety of bird species.
- Lake Jackson: If you’re looking to cool off and enjoy some water activities, head to Lake Jackson. This beautiful lake offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and even relaxing on its sandy shores.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or prefer a leisurely stroll in nature, Sebring has something for everyone.
One destination worth exploring for a weekend getaway in Florida is Destin-Fort Walton Beach. This hidden gem on the Gulf Coast offers glittering Gulf of Mexico waters and powdery sands, making it a paradise for beach lovers. But there’s more to discover beyond the beaches. Destin-Fort Walton Beach is known for its unique outdoor activities, such as fishing charters, dolphin cruises, and water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking. Visitors can also explore the vibrant boardwalks, indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants, or shop for unique souvenirs at the charming boutiques. To engage the audience further, here is a table showcasing some other additional destinations for a weekend getaway in Florida:
|Panama City Beach||Beautiful beaches all year long||Snorkeling, diving, and parasailing|
|Cedar Key||True Old Florida experience||Kayaking, birdwatching|
|The Palm Beaches||West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, posh resorts||Golfing, shopping, spa retreats|
|Jacksonville||Beautiful beaches like Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach||Surfing, fishing, hiking|
|St. Augustine||Compact and walkable downtown||Historic sites, ghost tours|
These destinations offer the best hidden gems in Florida and a variety of unique outdoor activities for a memorable weekend getaway.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Some Budget-Friendly Accommodation Options in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Miami?
When it comes to budget-friendly accommodation options in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Miami, there are several choices available.
In Tampa, consider staying at affordable hotels near the Tampa Riverwalk, which offers access to urban parks, museums, and restaurants.
In St. Petersburg, look for budget-friendly hotels in the downtown area, close to Central Avenue and Bayshore Drive where you can find cafes, boutiques, and breweries.
In Miami, consider staying in downtown hotels like EAST Miami or Kimpton EPIC Hotel for more affordable options.
Are There Any Pet-Friendly Hotels or Resorts in Fort Lauderdale and Vero Beach?
When it comes to finding pet-friendly accommodations in Fort Lauderdale and Vero Beach, there are several options available.
In Fort Lauderdale, hotels like The Ritz-Carlton and The Atlantic Hotel welcome furry companions with open arms.
In Vero Beach, Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa and Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for both you and your four-legged friend.
As for the best beaches in Naples and Anna Maria Island for families with young children, Naples offers Gulf of Mexico beaches with luxury amenities, while Anna Maria Island offers a quaint and picturesque setting with powdery beaches and charming colorful houses.
What Are Some Must-Visit Attractions for Outdoor Enthusiasts in Amelia Island, Ocala, and the Space Coast?
Must-visit attractions for outdoor enthusiasts in Amelia Island include hiking trails like those found in Fort Clinch State Park, offering undeveloped beaches and scenic biking trails. Amelia Island also offers top water activities such as snorkeling and offshore game fishing.
In Ocala, outdoor enthusiasts can explore Rainbow Springs State Park, known for swimming and canoeing opportunities. Ocala also boasts an abundance of wildlife, including wading birds and alligators.
The Space Coast offers top water activities like surfing and guided tours to see sea turtles laying eggs. Nature enthusiasts can also visit Canaveral National Seashore and Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
Which Beaches in Naples and Anna Maria Island Are Best for Families With Young Children?
When it comes to beaches in Naples and Anna Maria Island that are best for families with young children, there are some great options to consider.
In Naples, families can enjoy the calm waters and soft sand of Lowdermilk Park Beach, which also offers picnic areas and playgrounds.
For a fun water park experience, Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a top choice, featuring water slides, pools, and interactive play areas.
In Anna Maria Island, Coquina Beach is a popular family-friendly spot with lifeguards, picnic areas, and calm waters perfect for young swimmers.
Additionally, families can visit Bayfront Park, which has a playground, fishing pier, and beautiful views of the bay.
Can You Recommend Any Unique Dining Experiences or Hidden Gems in Sarasota, Orlando, and Islamorada?
When it comes to unique dining experiences and hidden gems in Sarasota, Orlando, and Islamorada, there are plenty of options to explore.
In Sarasota, visitors can indulge in world-class cuisine at restaurants like Indigenous and Shore.
In Orlando, Michelin-starred restaurants like Victoria & Albert’s and The Ravenous Pig offer exceptional dining experiences.
In Islamorada, hidden gems like Lazy Days Restaurant and Pierre’s Restaurant provide delicious food with stunning waterfront views.
These destinations promise unforgettable culinary adventures for discerning travelers.
In conclusion, Florida offers an incredible array of weekend getaway destinations that cater to every type of traveler.
From the vibrant city life of Miami to the tranquil beaches of Vero Beach, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Florida has it all.
Just like a vibrant tapestry, Florida’s weekend getaways are like different threads weaving together to create a beautiful and diverse experience that will leave you wanting more.