The Best Places to Stay in Florida

  • Florida is home to hundreds of miles of beaches.
  • Cities such as Miami, Daytona, and Key West are known for their nightlife.
  • There are more than 1,000 golf courses in Florida.

Florida is known as a top destination in the United States for travelers of all ages. The state has more than 8,000 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Coast, and 825 of those miles are adorned with beautiful sandy beaches.

Whether you’re into sunshine and surf or looking to vacation somewhere with rich culture, nightlife, golf courses and theme parks, Florida is a destination that checks all the boxes.

Marathon

Marathon is a small city in the Florida Keys. This group of 13 islands is a great place to check out loggerhead turtles, dolphins, tropical birds and other wildlife. If you’re after a sunny beach vacation, you’ll find Marathon’s a perfect fit. The area is known for its white sandy beaches as well as several state parks that feature lush, tropical greenery. Between visits to the beach, you can find plenty to do here, including shopping, dining, fishing and boating. There are varied places to stay in Marathon, but for an upscale experience that’s affordable, try Tropical Cottages or the Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club.

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Key West

Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States, and it’s also home to an assortment of restaurants, nightclubs and beaches. The area features plenty of great places for visitors to stay, including campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, hotels and even luxury resorts. NYAH Key West is among one of the more affordable, highly-rated hotels in the city. While staying here, you can check out local attractions, such as Dry Tortugas National Park and the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, as well as a variety of great local sailing and fishing spots.

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St. Augustine

If you’re visiting Florida with kids, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of attractions in St. Augustine to take in with the whole family. The city features many tours and excursions, including ghost tours, a hop-on-hop-off trolley tour, and marine tours that offer opportunities to check out some of the area’s sea life, including turtles, manatees, and dolphins. There are hotels along the Matanzas River and the Atlantic coastline that offer scenic views and meet a variety of budgets, with many being operated by well-known hotel chains.

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Orlando

Orlando is the ideal destination for families with young children. It’s home to major theme parks, such as SeaWorld, Disney World, and Universal Studios, and it offers plenty of other activities and attractions, including the Orlando Science Center. When it comes to places to stay in Orlando, options are plentiful, with hotels located throughout the city, including at Disney Parks. If you’re heading to Orlando without kids, the city also has lots to offer for adults, including exciting nightlife and lush golf courses.

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Surfside

A luxury vacation to the Miami area isn’t complete without a visit to Surfside, an upscale beach community in Miami-Dade County with a geographic footprint of just 1 square mile. This small town is known for its vacation rentals, many of which are located along the waterfront. Try Villa Gabi if you’re not on a limited budget and want to enjoy a private, luxurious stay. Restaurants here are quaint and feature options such as sushi, seafood, and pubs. While you’re here, take a stroll just past the town limits, and you’ll find the Miami Beach Boardwalk.

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Bal Harbour

Another great spot in the Miami Beach area is Bal Harbour, a small village that sits at Miami Beach’s northernmost tip. This scenic community is surrounded by water and features dozens of luxury hotels and vacation rentals, nearly all of which boast ocean views. Bal Harbour is known for its elegance and is home to a variety of designer shops and high-end, five-star restaurants. The community’s arts and culture scene is thriving thanks to a variety of art museums and galleries in and around the community.

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Naples

If you’re hoping to immerse yourself in the coastal lifestyle, head to Naples and stay in one of the area’s many beautiful vacation rentals. The city also features several luxury resorts, including Naples Bay Resort & Marina and LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort. Naples offers its visitors an array of things to see and do, including hundreds of restaurants located right in the city. As with many other cities in Florida, golfing is a popular activity here. In fact, Naples has been called the golf capital of the world thanks to its broad assortment of 18-hole courses.

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Cape Canaveral

If you’re a space buff, Cape Canaveral is a must-see Florida location. The city has several hotels that appeal to varying budgets, and it’s home to the Kennedy Space Center, an attraction that’s operated by NASA and gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about space and space travel. Because Cape Canaveral is located within Orlando’s city limits, staying here affords plenty of opportunities to take in some of Florida’s other top attractions and theme parks.

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Fort Lauderdale

If you’re after a sunny beach vacation but don’t want to battle the typical crowds on Miami’s beaches, Fort Lauderdale is a great alternative that’s normally much less busy. The city is home to The Strip, an oceanside promenade that features luxury dining, shops, and resorts. If a resort isn’t your thing, check out a vacation rental, such as Sonder | Studio Apartment. The Museum of Discovery and Science is located here and offers a full day of things to see and do regardless of your age. Fort Lauderdale also boasts several aquariums where you can take in brightly-colored tropical fish and other marine life.

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Fernandina Beach

Fernandina Beach is a small city that’s connected to Amelia Island in Nassau County and is part of the Greater Jacksonville area. There are several affordable hotels here with oceanfront properties. If you’re interested in fishing, the city, which is known as the birthplace of modern shrimping, has plenty of great spots to cast a line. While you’re in Fernandina Beach, be sure to pay a visit to the city’s historic downtown, which is lined with quaint shops and restaurants.

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Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is a nature lover’s paradise. The island is home to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which features 6,000 acres of jungle and marsh. Visitors here frequently see endangered and threatened species, including great blue heron, nine-banded armadillo, and Florida manatee. Beaches are generally quiet on the island, with Bowman’s Beach being among the most popular with tourists. Sanibel Island features several places to stay, including Airbnb vacation rentals and chain hotels.

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Sarasota

Located just south of Tampa, Sarasota is a city that’s known for its arts and culture. It’s home to the Ringling Museum of Art, the Sarasota Art Museum and various galleries and museums. Siesta Key Beach is a must-see stop while you’re in Sarasota. This white sand beach is known for staying cool on your feet while boasting incredible ocean views. When it comes to places to stay in Sarasota, hotels along Sarasota Bay tend to be more expensive while those located inland and vacation rentals offer affordable accommodations.

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Kimberly Dixon

Kimberly Dixon

Kimberly Dixon is a freelance writer from Calgary, Canada. While she's covered a vast selection of topics, she's most passionate about creating content that encourages readers to live a healthier, more mindful lifestyle. Aside from writing, Kimberly's hobbies include painting and playing music.

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