An island with sandy beaches, palm trees and cool drinks is nearly everyone's idea of an ideal vacation. There are many unique island resorts in the Florida Keys, including great options not far from Miami. Plan a quick weekend trip or stay a while, the choice is yours. The Florida Keys, comprised of 882 islands, offer an array of activities to couples, honeymooners and families: scuba diving, sunbathing, swimming, art galleries, fine dining and entertainment. Stretching for 120 miles from Key Largo in the north to Key West in the south, this romantic destinations offers some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
»Sunset Key Cottages
Sunset Key Cottages, A Westin Resort is located on a 27-acre island in the Florida Keys. Guests are accommodated in one- to three-bedroom cottages with outdoor verandas which face the ocean or the fragrant resort gardens. In the morning, a complimentary breakfast basket is delivered. Guest room interiors are decorated with Caribbean island touches and Old Florida furnishings.
The Spa offers treatments in stylish spa suites with private bathrooms and French doors that open to a private patio, perfect for relaxing afterwards. Guests receive additional relaxation time after the treatment to fully take advantage of this beautiful space. Available treatments include facials, wraps and massages. Latitudes Restaurant has an indoor dining room decorated with photos of Ernest Hemingway and an outdoor patio overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Dine under the stars surrounded by romantic tiki torches. The restaurants serves entrees that incorporate locally-sourced fish and tropical fruit. Romantic cottages start at $615 per night (website).
»The Gasparilla Inn & Club
The Gasparilla Inn & Club is an elegant hideaway surrounded by sandy beaches on Gasparilla Island, known for its slower pace of life and spectacular views. Guests are accommodated in rooms and suites at the inn, or in private cottages and villas, some with lanais and fireplaces. Couples and families have access to a diverse range of activities, from championship golf and tennis to spa services, fitness and boating.
There are many fun activities to choose from: explore the shore in a kayak, go paddle boarding, sign up for an eco tour or take a romantic sunset cruise around the island. Be sure to allow some time to get pampered at the spa and enjoy its luxurious facilities, including the steam rooms, saunas and relaxation areas. The fitness center offers fitness classes, personal trainers and a 80-foot heated lap pool. Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island is a quiet village with no traffic lights where you will find charming shops, restaurants and friendly locals. The best way to get around the island is in a golf cart or by bike. Room rates start at $255 per night, cottages from $445 per night (877-403-0599, website).
»Little Palm Island
Located in the sunny Florida Keys, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is a luxury private getaway for couples seeking romance. The resort has 30 thatched-roof bungalows that will remind you of the South Pacific. The resort is located offshore of Little Torch Key and accessible only by boat or seaplane. For your romantic honeymoon, book one of the bungalows with a private verandah overlooking the ocean. Some of the guest accommodations feature private outdoor showers and jetted tubs.
The resort can arrange a romantic turndown with a chilled bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Bungalow rates start at $790 per night. The All Inclusive special is a great idea if you plan to take advantage of all of the resort activities. If you prefer to pay as you go, there are several romantic offers to choose from. The 5-night Romance includes: Five nights in a suite, airport car service, champagne, Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, Non-motorized water sports, $200 spa credit per person and One snorkel trip per person ( website).
»Grove Isle Hotel
Grove Isle Hotel overlooks Miami, but is set on a 20-acre private island with a marina. Plan a romantic getaway filled with stunning sunsets, relaxing days by the pool and rejuvenating treatments at the spa. From luxury guest rooms to the 700-square-foot Grand Luxury Bay Suite, guests can choose from several great layouts when booking their stay. The five Grand Luxury Bayfront Suites offer spectacular views of Biscayne Bay from their large windows (website).
»Orchid Key Inn
Combining traditional architectural design with a taste of modern luxury, Orchid Key Inn is a relaxing retreat in the heart of Key West. Lush tropical gardens surround 24 beautifully appointed rooms and suites which feature marble floors, plush décor, and state-of-the-art technology, including climate control and i-Home sound systems. Relax in style on the elegant sun deck, take a dip in the heated swimming pool, or head to the whirlpool spa. A dedicated concierge team is available to secure restaurant reservations and help you decide which attractions to visit. The inn serves a complimentary Continental breakfast overlooking the pool. The Orchid Bar serves snacks and light meals during the day and exotic cocktails in the evening as the sun dips below the horizon. The hotel is near famous Key West attractions such as the Hemingway House, art galleries, theaters, bars, and restaurants. Rooms start at $364 per night (website).
»The Gardens Hotel in Key West
Located just steps away from the famous Duval Street, the luxurious Gardens Hotel is set within The Peggy Mills Botanical Key West Gardens, providing its guests with plenty of privacy and magnificent tropical garden surroundings. The estate houses 17 guest suites which range from beautiful garden cottages to historic rooms and the exclusive Carriage House. Individually designed and decorated in chic Bahamian plantation style, guest rooms feature private entrances, wide outdoor verandahs, luxurious marble bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs, and ultra-modern amenities, including Kuerig coffee makers. Begin the day with a delicious al fresco-style breakfast on the porch overlooking the gardens, before spending the day next to the heated pool. Request a massage poolside as you sip cocktails from the pool bar. In the evening d’vine Wine Gallery offers an excellent selection of wine for evening sundowners. Rooms start at $495 per night (website).
If you are looking for a unique getaway in Florida with a great variety of water activities, visit Hawks Cay, a 60-acre resort. The hotel is home to the renowned Offshore Sailing School and offers fishing, swimming pools, kids clubs, a chance to interact with dolphins, and a full-service spa. Dive Duck Key offers scuba diving lessons, kid's courses and guided trips.
You can stay in one of the guest rooms, suites and villas featuring classic West Indies. If you are planing on trying many activities, look for specials and packages to save on your trip. The resort often offers packages for couples and families. During the day, try water skiing, snorkeling, parasailing and kayaking. In the afternoon, take a sunset cruise or visit the spa. Calm Waters Spa is the perfect place for relaxing. Try the signature Key Lime Mojito Body Treatment. Room rates start at $149 per night (888-395-5539, website). Browse more Florida specials.
Spend your couples' getaway relaxing in the sun, getting pampered at the spa and enjoying an array of watersports at Cheeca Lodge & Spa in the Florida Keys. Activities include parasailing, windsurfing, kayaking, sport fishing and sailing. There is a white sandy shore with palm trees, a wooden fishing pier and two heated swimming pools. Guest can play tennis on six lighted tennis courts, take romantic walks in the landscaped gardens, or go snorkeling. For golfers, the resort offers a Jack Nicklaus-designed course. You can take lessons to improve your game.
If you want to arrange a tour or charter a boat, the full-service resort concierge can help you arrange anything ranging from deep-sea charter fishing trips to scuba diving at some of the famous dive sites in the Upper Keys. The spa offers a selection of wellness treatments, including daily fitness classes and innovative therapy. Book a tandem massage and relax together on your couples getaway. For kids kids ages 5 to 12, the hotel offers Camp Cheeca, which includes fishing off the pier, snorkeling in the lagoon, Hermit Crab races and other activities.
There are 137 guest rooms and 64 luxurious suites. If you are planning a romantic getaway, ask for one of the new adults-only Beachfront Bungalows which have a private balcony with a spectacular view of the ocean. From the bungalow, you'll have direct access to the ocean via a spiral staircase, and a private patio below. Dine at one of the three resort restaurants, serving New World cuisine with a Florida Keys flair, or try one of the local restaurants near the hotel. Browse more weekend getaways for couples. The property is located i75 miles south of Miami International Airport. Alternatively, Marathon Airport, 30 miles to the south, offers limited daily commercial flights and can accommodate private aircraft and charters. Bed and breakfast rates start from $530 per night plus a $39 resort fee which includes many activities such as golf green fees, spa exercise classes, high-speed internet, access to the fitness studio, cabanas and fishing rods (800-327-2888, 305-664-4651, website).
»Ocean Key Resort
Ocean Key Resort is located between Key West Harbor and Mallory Square in the Florida Keys. There is a wellness center offering a menu of relaxing treatments and a fitness center where you can tone your muscles. For the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation, sign up for one of the rituals. Hot Tin Roof restaurant offers its patrons spectacular sunset views and conch-fusion cuisine. Sunset Pier restaurant offers waterfront dining where patrons get to sample Tropical and Caribbean cuisine as well as nightly music and dancing. Enjoy a romantic dinner with a view of the sunset. Ocean Key Resort has 100 guest rooms and suites with private balconies. Ask for a room with a view of the ocean. Room rates start at about $320 per night. Nearby attractions include the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West Trolley Tours, Key West Aquarium and the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA (website).
»Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is a landmark getaway that has hosted famous musicians, dignitaries and celebrities since the 1920s. The best feature is a private sandy beach with many activities. Key West is a sunny city lined with palm trees, Victorian homes and houses on the National Register. There are numerous dive shops and charter boats. It features museums, galleries, theaters and sidewalk cafes which you can visit on foot or by trolley.
»The Marker Waterfront Resort in Key West
The Marker Waterfront Resort in Key West is a new hotel with plush accommodations and three pools.
»The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is located on a 13 mile barrier island in northeast Florida. This luxury beach resort offers championship golf, attentive service and programs for families. The resort also features a tennis complex, Massage and Fitness Center, indoor and outdoor heated pools, three restaurants, and 1.5 miles of sand-dune lined beaches. The course at the Golf Club of Amelia Island was designed by Mark McCumber and Gene Littler and incorporates the natural surroundings of the island. There are five other nearby courses.
The kid's program is offered to families with children ages 5 to 12. The program features a number of activities, including beach games, arts and crafts, and nature programs. On Fridays and Saturdays, parents can spend romantic time alone while kids participate in the Kids Night Out program. There is also professional nanny service There are 449 guest rooms, including 62 Club rooms and 43 suites. Although all hotel rooms offer ocean views from the room balconies or patios, you should book one of the direct oceanfront rooms for best views.
Guests can choose from three restaurants, two lounges and 24 hour In-Room dining. The Grill, a four AAA Five Diamond Restaurant, features panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and offers a private dining room which seats up to 22 guests. Cafe 4750 serves regional specialties, and the Ocean Bar and Grill lets you watch dolphins while you dine. The nearby historic Fernandina Beach is a quaint seaside village with Victorian houses, boutiques and art galleries. The resort is located about 25 minutes by car from Jacksonville International Airport and 10 minutes from the Fernandina Beach Airport which can accommodate private aircraft (800-241-3333, website).
Fisher Island Hotel and Resort is a private island in Florida. The hotel is accessible only by auto-ferry, boat or helicopter. The hotel is a perfect hideaway for couples and honeymooners looking to relax on the beach while staying in an elegant hotel. The hotel is located 10 miles from Miami International Airport and a short ferry ride from the famous South Beach. You will have access to a sandy beach, marina, golf, tennis and a spa. The resort is home of a P. B. Dye designed championship golf course with ocean views. The Spa Internazionale overlooks the Vanderbilt Marina and offers relaxing treatments such as the Hawaiian four hands massage. Rooms start at $400 per night (website). VacationIdea.com Tip: Packages are often available for honeymooners, spa goers and families.