Florida is famous for its sandy beaches, sunny days, amazing spas and golf. Whether you are planning a romantic weekend getaway or a family trip to the sunshine state, there is a diverse choice of things to see and do. Check into one of these stunning hotels, dine with a view of the water and play a round of scenic golf. If you are traveling with children, many of the resorts that made our best of list offer kids' camps, junior golf and other fun activities.
»PGA National Resort & Spa
PGA National Resort & Spa is famous for its five championship golf courses where you can play some of the best golf in the U.S. The resort recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of its guest accommodations, the outdoor pool area, restaurants and the spa. Plan a romantic trip or bring the whole family for a weekend of fun and relaxation. Guest rooms and suites each come with a private balcony or terrace, letting you enjoy the best of outdoor living. Luxury amenities include a 42-inch LCD HD TV, sitting area and a plush bathroom. Junior Suites are a good option for families who want more space and good value. The 1,017-square-foot PGA suite features a pool table, dry bar and three balconies which overlook the Fazio driving range. The Legends Suite has spectacular views of the pool and lake. If you like getting massages in the privacy of your own room, request one of the Spa Suites which have a treatment area with a leather massage table. These suites are closest to the spa, its mineral pools, saunas and relaxation lounges. Club cottages are a great idea for a family vacation or a golf trip with friends, offering plenty of privacy, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious living room, kitchen, washer/drier and an outdoor terrace.
Of the resort's 5 golf courses, the Champion is the most famous, home of the Honda Classic, a famous PGA event which takes place in February. The Fazio course was newly renovated in 2012. The PGA National Golf Academy is the place to get advice from the pros and make sure you have the right clubs by visiting the Club Fitting Lab. Kids have access to junior golf camps during certain times of the year. The resort is near beautiful sandy beaches. Dine at Ironwood Steak & Seafood, one of the finest restaurants in South Florida, serving contemporary American cuisine accompanied by fine wine. iClub Piano Bar offers live entertainment and is the perfect place for after dinner drinks. Palm Terrace by the pool serves a delicious buffet breakfast. Rooms start at $256 per night (website).
Innisbrook Resort near Tampa is the site of PGA Tour's Transitions Championship. The property has 608 guest rooms and luxury suites, a new 18,000-square-foot spa, and a selection of restaurants. The property offers 11 tennis courts, 6 swimming pools, water slides, racquetball, basketball, shuffleboard, beach volleyball, children's playground, Camp Innisbrook, Nature Walk and guided tours, jogging, walking trails and biking. There is plenty to do for the whole family. Indaba Spa has soothing men's and women's relaxation rooms, steam rooms and whirlpool baths. Treat yourself to a massage after a round or while the kids are busy zooming down the waterslide. Rooms start from $129 per night (888-794-8627, website).
»The Hotel Zamora
The Hotel Zamora is the newest hotel in St. Pete Beach on Florida's west coast, featuring Mediterranean-style architecture and rooms with water views. Luxuries include walk-in spa showers, soaking bathtubs and plush bathrobes which invite you to relax and rejuvenate on your trip. Ask for a balcony with a view of the Gulf of Mexico or the Intracoastal waterway where you can have a romantic breakfast in the morning. Castile Restaurant has a beautiful outdoor terrace with ocean views and serves contemporary cuisine with Spanish, Mexican and Mediterranean influences. The terrace is a popular spot for cocktails in the evening. During the day, relax on white sandy beaches, visit local cafes or take a trip to Tampa just across the bay. Rooms start at $195 per night (website, 877-798-2434).
»Villas of Grand Cypress
The Villas of Grand Cypress is a luxury getaway in Orlando. The hotel offers 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf and is adjacent to Walt Disney World where you can take your family for fun in the sun. The property offers spacious AAA Four-Diamond Villas with spectacular views of the waterways or fairways of the North Course. Guest accommodations feature private terraces, high-speed Internet access, and a large-screen flat-panel television. There are two pools, both with waterfalls and one with two waterslides for kids. The Academy of Golf is one of the best places to learn to play in Florida. The 21-acre facility is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology which is used to analyze and improve your swing. Rates start from $535 per night (407-239-4700, website.
»One Ocean Resort in Florida
Located in Atlantic Beach, One Ocean Resort is a stylish getaway with a spa and a gourmet restaurant. The resort's 193 rooms and suites feature modern decor, a 42-inch LCD entertainment center, and ocean views from their floor to ceiling windows. If you like to wake up early, watch a spectacular sunrise from one of the Superior Balcony Oceanfront Rooms which offer private balconies facing the ocean. The spa offers luxury treatments inspired by the sea. Book one of the VIP suites and spoil yourself with a day at the spa on your weekend trip to Florida. A light spa lunch menu is available to spa guests. The beach resort Azurea restaurant serves gourmet meals in an elegant setting. Rooms start at $210 per night. Look for golf and spa specials which are frequently available, especially during off-peak times (oneoceanresort.com).
»Bayfront Westcott House B& B in St Augustine
Bayfront Westcott House B& B offers a selection of romantic rooms, some with water views. Victoria is a great room to book on a romantic getaway because you will be able to have breakfast on your private balcony in the morning overlooking the bay. Rebecca is another great room featuring a unique configuration with a double Jacuzzi and a walk-in shower with dual shower heads. There is plenty to see and do in St Augustine, from music festivals to wine tasting and boat shows. Rooms at the Bayfront Westcott House B& B start at $149 per night.
»Waldorf Astoria Orlando Near the Walt Disney World
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando hotel is a family vacation destination offering an array of activities and proximity to the amusement parks. There is a complimentary private shuttle service direct from the hotel to Walt Disney World Theme Parks. In addition to everything the area has to offer, children can participate in kids' programs led by the resort concierge, including watersports, bike tours and golf clinics. Many interactive classes like cooking and art are both educational and fun.
While kids participate in age-appropriate activities, you can treat yourself to a relaxing massage or a round of golf on the Waldorf Astoria Golf Course, a championship 18-hole course designed by Rees Jones. Spa by Guerlain is a 24,000 square foot spa that includes 22 treatment rooms and a diverse menu of treatments, whether you a looking just a classical massage or a unique treatment from across the world. Room rates start at $179. The resort offers seasonal specials and packages, so be sure to check their web site and twitter page before you book (407-597-5500, website). Remeber to look for weekend specials.
»The Chesterfield Palm Beach
The Chesterfield Palm Beach is a luxury romantic hotel in the heart of Palm Beach, located just three blocks from a sandy shore and the ocean. Palm Beach is famous for its boutiques, jewelers, and department stores, including Chanel, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany and Saks Fifth Avenue. Other activities to try on your luxury vacation include concerts, the Palm Beach Opera, theaters and museums. The hotel has several fine dining options, including the award-winning Leopard Lounge, the open-air Courtyard and by the pool. Vacationers can order 24-hour rooms service and dine in the privacy of their own room. The Leopard Lounge serves international cuisine. The Leopard Bar offers live entertainment every night, and a selection of wines, beers, spirits, cocktails, and home-made flavored vodkas. The property has 41 uniquely decorated guest rooms and 11 luxury suites. Rates start at $179 per night (561-659-5800, website).
»Marco Beach Ocean Resort
Marco Beach Ocean Resort is a luxury getaway set on four miles of white sand beach. The resort has 98 stylish suites, Clefs d'Or Concierge, a spa and fitness center, and an outdoor swimming pool. Choose from 83 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom suites with spacious living rooms, bedrooms and custom-designed furnishings. Luxury guest suites feature marble-clad bathrooms with separate enclosed showers. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead to balconies or patios where you can luxuriate in outdoor living. The hotel offers pre-arrival stocking of kitchen with preferred treats and maid service twice daily. There are six different dining options to choose from, including a gourmet Italian restaurant with views of the Gulf. Activities at the resort include golf, tennis, beaches and boating. VacationIdea.com Tip: Remember to look for packages. Room rates start at $195 per night (239-393-1400, website).
»Terrace Hotel in Lakeland
The Terrace Hotel in Lakeland is a member of Historic Hotels of America. The property offers 73 guest rooms, including 15 spacious suites with separate bedroom and living areas. If you are looking for a getaway where you can feel part of the rich American history, the Terrace is a great option. Located in a historic building, the property first opened its doors in 1924. Book one of the 15 luxury suites if you need more space and privacy. Each has a sofa bed in the sitting room and a private bedroom. Guest room amenities include plush cotton robes and free High Speed Internet Access. If you are planning a romantic wedding, here you can enjoy historic ambiance and attentive staff. The Terrace Grille, serves elegant dinners. The Terrace Bar, which offers club-like atmosphere, is a cozy spot for a light meal and cocktail. Plan a historic getaway to the Terrace Hotel with room rates starting at $139 per night.
Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is a beautiful getaway offering AAA four-diamond guest accommodations, relaxed atmosphere and pet-friendly services. The hotel is located between Palm Beach and Orlando. The white sand that fronts the property is spectacular and the perfect spot for a relaxing weekend escape. There are 113 elegant rooms and suites with light, West-Indies-style decor. Ask for a room facing the ocean for best views. If you are planning a family trip, book one of the suites with a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen which will give you the flexibility of preparing your own meals. Rates at start at $199 per night. This is a pet-friendly hotel (866-602-8376, website).
»The Shores Resort
The Shores offers scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway. This AAA Four Diamond Daytona property features chic accommodations with Italian marble bathrooms. The wellness center has intimate treatment rooms and unique healing rituals. Choose from signature treatments, facials, massages and other services. Chocoholics have to try the Chocolate Raspberry Delight treatment which includes a chocolate massage and a peppermint pedicure.
If you are planning romantic honeymoon in Florida, book a couples treatment, indulge in a private cabana, and have a romantic dinner with a view. The Bliss Couples package includes a 80-minute massage in the romantic couples' room. The massage incorporates French Lavender and Patchouli essential oils. After the massage, the couple is invited to relax in the beautiful claw foot bathtub infused with Sea salts and rose petals, surrounded by candlelight. Nearby activities include golf, cultural venues, NASCAR racing, boutique shopping and bistro dining. Room rates at the Shores start at $109 per night.
»Loews Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Loews Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is located inside Universal Orlando, providing its guests with easy access to the Universal theme park rides. This mission-style resort is set on 19 acres, featuring Orlando's largest heated outdoor pool. The pool has a 240-foot slide, twelve underwater speakers, a Jacuzzi, interactive fountains, private cabanas and a sandy beach. The resort boasts a $31 million collection of rock and roll memorabilia showcased throughout the public areas.
There are 650 elegant guest rooms and suites. If you are planning a family trip to Orlando, book one of the Kid's Suites which include kid-oriented amenities such as twin-sized beds, a small table and chairs, Kids' Welcome Pack, television, and separate bathroom. There are two restaurants: the Palm Restaurant, and the Sunset Grill which features an open exhibition kitchen. The Lobby Lounge, Velvet Bar and the poolside Beach Club serve a selection of drinks. For families, Loews hotels offer a complimentary activity planning service. Before you go, let the hotel know that you are traveling with children and the hotel's Family Concierge will contact you with the details. VacationIdea.com Tip: Browse more family and weekend vacation ideas. Doubles start at $224 per night (407-503-7625, website).
»The Biltmore Hotel of Coral Gables
The Biltmore Hotel of Coral Gables is a fun weekend destination offering a variety of activities. Guests can play golf, work out at the fitness center, and get relaxing massages at the spa. There are 275 guest rooms, including 130 luxury suites. The hotel has been popular with discerning travelers since it opened in the 1920s. The resort is set on 150 acres of gardens with 10 tennis courts, an 18-hole Donald Ross-designed golf course and a beautiful pool with private cabanas. Nearby attractions include South Beach, and downtown Miami. Rooms at the Biltmore start at $234 per night. Rates start at $339 per night.
»The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach
Check into the Brazilian Court Hotel for a relaxing weekend vacation in the sun. Sample gourmet cuisine at the Cafe Boulud Restaurant, get massages at the spa and go shopping. The Frederic Fekkai Salon and Spa offers a menu of beauty and pampering services. The 1,600 square foot salon has ten stations and two treatment rooms. The property offers 80 beautifully renovated studios, one, two and three bedroom suites. The private Beach Club is located on a sandy shore with a swimming pool and spa services. The hotel provides chauffeured car service to and from the club. Rent a private poolside cabana and relax in style. Rates start at $315 per night (561-655-7740, website).
»The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort has been awarded a Five Diamond status by AAA. Among the luxury amenities and surely helped tip the scale in the hotel's favor are the luxurious private Oceanfront Day Villas. You will get a private butler to serve you drinks, delicious chocolate treats and pretty much anything else your heart desires. Order the Bloody Mary, the Signature Cocktail first created in 1934 at the St. Regis New York. Each St Regis hotel offers its own signature interpretation of the famous drink. There are just nine Private Day Villas on property, all with ocean views. If you want to be sure that you won't feel crowded by the pool or on the beach, this is the way to go. While staying at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, don't miss a visit to Remede Spa where calm decor and a diverse menu of treatments will let you unwind and feel like a queen.
Sandpearl Resort is a beach weekend getaway located on 700 feet of oceanfront in Florida. The resort offers 253 rooms and suites with balconies that overlook the water. Clearwater Beach and the Gulf of Mexico provide a relaxing setting, allowing vacationers to unwind in the sun on their beach vacation. The spa offers an array of services and activities, including massages, facials, sunrise yoga and more. Clearwater Beach offers dinner cruises, deep sea fishing, sailing, kayaking and many other ocean-based activities. Dining options include Caretta on the Gulf, the only 4-Diamond restaurant in the city, Tate Island Grill and the casual Marketplace which overlooks the pool and serves light "to go" meals. Room rates start from $199 per night in the summer, from $399 in the winter (727-441-2425, website).
More Weekend Trips in Florida
Flagler BeachFlagler Beach is a seaside community with six miles of sandy beaches, restaurants and shops. Stay at the Island Cottage Oceanfront Inn & Spa which is set on a sandy beach, perfect for romantic walks and sunset cocktails. The spa offers a diverse menu of services, including couples' massages under the stars. Rooms start at $169 per night (islandcottagevillas.com, 877-662-6232).
Discovery Cove in Orlando
Discovery Cove in Orlando is a tropical park where vacationers can swim with a bottlenose dolphin, interact with rays, observe 30 species of birds in the aviary, and swim in the pool. Admission to Discovery Cove is limited to 1,000 guests per day to ensure an experience with more personal attention.
Upon arriving at Discovery Cove, guests are personally checked in and invited to walk through a nature trail with unique animals. Discovery Cove is home to lagoons, reefs, waterfalls and grottos which can be explored by the whole family. Among other attractions, visitors can explore the reef filled with exotic fish with a mask and snorkel.
To be able to swim with dolphins, visitors must be at least 6 years old (please double check this requirement before you go as rules may change). Children under 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult to visit Discovery Cove. Kids 14 to 17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian through the check-in process. All-inclusive pricing starts at about $249. If you skip the swim with a dolphin experience, prices start at $149 per person. For more information and reservations call 877-4-DISCOVERY or visit www.discoverycove.com.
Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has introduced Florida's tallest roller coaster, SheiKra. The ride reaches 70 mph in speed, is 200 feet high and lasts about three minutes. SheiKra is currently the tallest dive coaster in the world. It also features a 138-foot dive into an underground tunnel and a water-feature at the end of the ride.
Riders must be at least 54 inches tall. The coasted is located in the park's new Stanleyville area. After experiencing SheiKra, visitors can have lunch at the Zambia Smokehouse. For more information about Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, visit www.buschgardens.com. Find out more about Florida and plan your vacation getaway.
Choose from a great selection of spas which cater to both men and women with unique and relaxing treatments.
- Doral: Doral has 52 treatment rooms and offers over 100 services, ranging from beauty treatments to wellness programs. The resort offers several packages. If you are a golfer, you will enjoy the resort's five championship courses for players of all skill levels, including the famous Blue Monster. After a day of golf, try the Blue Monster Massage, a revitalizing sports massage, to help you relieve muscle soreness.
- Boca Raton: The 50,000-square-foot Boca Raton Resort has 44 treatment rooms and a wide choice of therapies, including Native American healing rituals and European techniques.
Miami Spas and Day Spas
- Canyon Ranch: Canyon Ranch in Miami Beach brings the Canyon Ranch philosophy to Miami and offers its guests an extensive menu of services.
- Spa of Eden: Spa of Eden at the Eden Roc Renaissance Resort offers a number of packages and individual treatments in Miami Beach, Florida. Guests must be 18 years of age for spa services. The spa is open Monday to Friday 6am to 10pm; Saturday & Sunday 8am to 8pm. For more information and reservations, call the Reception Desk at 305-674-5585 or Spa Package Reservations at 305-674-5580.
- Lyons Day Spa: Lyons day spa in Miami offers a full range of services. Guest can choose from a variety of massages, body treatments, facials, hair and mail care. The spa uses some of the leading products, including Aveda, Dermalogica, Tend Skin and Keyano. Lyons is open from Tuesday to Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information and reservations, call 305-663-1777.
- Meduhr: Meduhr on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami is known especially for its bikini wax, offers a number of skin care, massage and body services. If you are planning a vacation to Miami, stop at the spa for a waxing treatment and a relaxing massage the day before you go to the beach. Swedish Massage costs $80 for 60 minutes. Meduhr is open Monday to Friday 10am - 6pm; 6pm - 7pm by appointment; Saturdays 9am - 5pm; closed Sundays. For more information and reservations, call 305-758-5750.
- Myra & Company: Myra & Company features a day spa, salon, spa cafe, and a movement studio featuring daily Pilates classes. At Myra, women and men can spend a full day of pampering and rejuvenation. The spa also offers Alternative Medicine treatments such as acupuncture and needle free acupuncture. The spa is located in South Miami. Opening hours are as follows: Wednesday & Thursday 8am - 8pm; Friday & Saturday 8am - 7pm; Sunday 10am -6pm; Monday 8am - 6pm; and Tuesday 8am - 7pm. For more information and reservations, call 305-661-2381.
- Nirvana: Located in the Howard Johnson Hotel in Miami Beach, Nirvana offers relaxing treatments, a Russian steam room, Finnish dry sauna, Swiss showers, Turkish Hamam steam room, a Lavendar Aromatherapy steam room and an ozonated jacuzzi. The spa is open seven days a week from 11am to 10pm. For more information and reservations, call 305-867-4850 or toll-free 800-355-0564.
Florida Weekend Packages
- Central Florida's Treasure Coast from $139: Vero Beach on Central Florida's Treasure Coast is offering a mid-week special for AAA Members which is perfect for a quick trip. Receive 30% off your reservation when you reserve Sunday to Thursday, including free valet parking and a complimentary glass of Champagne upon arrival. Rates Starting at $139 (ask for HDEAL rate). The property is also offering the perfect package for couples who want to get away on their second honeymoon. Mini-Moon which includes: three nights in a suite, airport pickup, breakfast, chairs, 1 dinner, spa visit, Tiffany frame, and edible turndown. Ask for the PSPA rate which includes: 20% off best available rate and a 25 minute massage and facial.
- LEGOLAND Tickets at The Bohemian Celebration: Bohemian Hotel Celebration is a 115-room luxury getaway with old-world elegance and lakeview guest rooms. The hotel is offering several great packages for couples and families. Take a look at the LEGOLAND offer which includes: Spacious accommodations for up to four, Delicious breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children to energize you for the day (up to $70), Two adult tickets to LEGOLAND (children's tickets can be purchased separately on property based on quantity and ages), Two activity books with crayons and Four bottles of water. Great for couples, the Adventure in the Sky special includes: One night in our luxurious accommodations, Two tickets for a hot air balloon ride and Transportation to and from the landing zone. Flights are available seven days a week at sunrise, weather permitting. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance. The Romantic Retreat includes: Luxury guest room, romantic turn-down service which includes a bottle of champagne, chocolates, rose petals and a romantic CD to play in the in-room Bose CD player; and Breakfast for two in the morning to be used in the Bohemian Bar and Grill restaurant or room service (up to $50).
- Dinner on a Private Yacht in Fort Myers from $289 per night: Sanibel Harbour Resort in Fort Myers in Florida is offering a dining special which gives you a chance to dine aboard a luxury private yacht. Ask about the "Dine with Us" offer which starts at $269 and includes: breakfast buffet, Dinner, Champagne & strawberries.. Ask for a room with a view of Sanibel and Captiva islands on your trip. You may also like the relaxing spa special with rates starting at $289 per night. Ask about the "Revitalize and Rejuvenate" promotion which includes: Overnight accommodations, Breakfast for two each morning, One 50 minute spa service, Choice of a Swedish Massage; and a Caloosa Facial, body wrap or body scrub. Mention promo code SPA to get this package. The property has a 40,000 square foot spa & fitness center.
- Save with a Package in Coral Gables: Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida is a stylish getaway for couples who like to golf, relax at the spa and have romantic dinners. Take a look at the hotel's Romantic Escape which includes: Deluxe accommodations with welcome amenity including champagne and strawberries, One 5-course tasting dinner for two at the Award winning Palme d'Or restaurant, One 50-minute couples massage at the Biltmore, Breakfast daily in any of the resorts 3 restaurants; Complimentary valet parking, Unlimited fitness classes, health club access and tennis. The Pamper & Play is great for couples who want to combine spa and golf - it includes: Deluxe accommodations, Breakfast daily in Fontana's Courtyard, The 19th Hole or Cascades (Weekend's Only), Unlimited golf on the Donald Ross Classic course, additional rounds are subject to cart fees, One 50-minute Spa treatment, Unlimited fitness classes, health club access and tennis. If you are looking for free nights on your romantic getaway, take a look at the Stay 4 Pay 3 which gives you a free night on certain dates. Click here for more Florida packages.
Golf Vacations in Florida
The state of Florida boasts 1,370+ golf courses, more than any other state in the United States. Golf getaway are especially popular in the winter when visitors from the East Coast escape south to enjoy warm weather. Palm Beach County has more golf courses than any other county in the U.S. Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach offers 36 holes of championship golf on its historic Ocean Course and the Breakers West course. The Ocean Course is Florida's oldest 18-course, originally laid out in 1896.
The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island features a course designed by Mark McCumber and Gene Littler and incorporates the natural surroundings of the island, including sand dunes, palm trees and oaks. Close to Miami International Airport and Biscayne National Park, Doral features five championship courses and the Jim McLean Golf School. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, also nearby, offers golf privileges at the nearby Crandon Golf Course.
Plan a trip to Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate and play on two Greg Norman-designed championship golf courses. The resort can customize golf vacation packages that will let you play on many nearby golf courses as well. The National is an American-style course with lush fairways and fun par 3s. The International is an authentic links-style course with one of the highest difficulty ratings in the state.
In addition to great golf, the Omni Orlando Resort in Florida features an European spa, an array of dining options and proximity to the area's theme parks such as the Walt Disney World theme parks, Sea World Orlando and Universal Studios Florida, which makes it an exciting family vacation destination.