Best places for a weekend getaway in Florida 01 out of 10. From Jacksonville to Miami, here are 24 of the best weekend getaways in Florida. From beach getaways to city getaways, few places attract like the Sunshine State when it comes to fabulous, affordable weekend getaways. Enjoy an urban stay in bustling downtown Tampa, plan to enjoy the golden sands and high fashion in Palm Beach, or try the laid-back Florida style on Amelia Island. Read on for the best weekend getaways to Florida and start planning your next getaway to the Sunshine State.
With hundreds of murals by renowned street artists that animate its urban corridor, the new, avant-garde St. Pete Pier (with a rooftop tiki bar, conservation center, and bayside beach) and historic cotton candy pink hotels like The Vinoy and The Don CeSar, in downtown St. Pete makes for a joyful weekend getaway. The Dalí Museum houses the largest collection of Salvador Dalí's works outside of his native Spain.
The nearby Central Avenue and Bayshore Drive are packed with coffee shops, boutiques, and breweries to explore. Art, fashion, Florida's best food scene, and an international atmosphere make Miami one of the best weekend getaways in the entire U.S. UU. Stay in Miami Beach at an elegant beachfront hotel like Faena or The Setai, or choose a more urban base in downtown Miami at EAST Miami or at the Kimpton EPIC Hotel.
Two of Florida's most incredible national parks, Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park, can transport you to nature surprisingly close to the urban metropolis. Yacht-watching, going to restaurants and biking, walking and skating along the waterfront are just a few ways to spend a weekend getaway in Fort Lauderdale, where culture awaits you just steps from the sand. Park your car for the weekend and explore the city on foot or aboard the water taxi, with stops near the bustling Las Olas Boulevard and Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, as well as on the beach. Roughly equidistant from Miami and Orlando along Florida's east coast, Vero Beach is an exclusive coastal city with a compact, walkable pedestrian center, where you'll find a weekly farmers market, beachfront boutiques, and beachfront restaurants just steps from the sand.
The hotel options offer something for everyone, from the romantic Costa d'Este Beach Resort & Spa and the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa to the quirky Driftwood Resort. On Amelia Island, located just south of the border with Georgia, swampy meadows stretch to the horizon, golden beaches stretch mile after mile, and shrimp and grits are a staple on local menus. Rent a bike to explore the historic sites and undeveloped beaches of Fort Clinch State Park, and cycle through the cozy restaurants and shops of downtown Fernandina. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, is beachfront on a sublime stretch of coastline.
North of Orlando, Ocala is the equestrian country of Florida, home to farms and ranches (where the Arabian champions are raised) and rolling landscapes unique to a state that would otherwise be flat. The Equestrian Hotel is the ideal place to stay, with a fabulous on-site spa, horse courts that host regular competitions, and a glorious heated pool. Nearby, visit Rainbow Springs State Park to swim in crystal clear, spring-fed waters, or paddle a canoe down the river to see waders, turtles, and perhaps alligators. You can combine time on the beautiful sands of the Gulf of Mexico with luxury shopping and fabulous restaurants when you make Naples your weekend getaway.
For a quiet, gulf-front stay, it's hard to beat the Edgewater Beach Hotel or the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort. Naples is also a good starting point for day trips to the nearby Everglades National Park, where you can venture out on boat trips from the nearby town of the Everglades. About an hour south of Tampa, Anna Maria Island has a picturesque Old Florida vibe, with houses painted in shades of Easter eggs, long beaches of fine sand, and no chain restaurants or massive tourist centers in sight. Rent a Surrey bike or golf cart to tour the island and explore, and don't miss the local nighttime ritual meeting at the beachfront SandBar restaurant to watch the sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico.
Whether you're visiting the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando theme parks, or you prefer to explore leafy downtown Orlando and nearby Winter Park, this Central Florida city has something for every type of traveler. The city's food scene is booming, both in parks and elsewhere, with Soseki, star of Capa and Omakase, among Orlando's restaurants that have recently won Michelin stars. Cool off in freshwater springs during kayaking trips in places like Wekiwa Springs State Park, or try some unconventional wellness at the state's first Beer Spa. Some of the closest beaches to Orlando are less than an hour east of the city, along the Florida Space Coast, where rockets launch regularly from Cape Canaveral, and a visit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must.
Take surfing lessons in Cocoa Beach, where professional surfer Kelly Slater grew up, or on nearby Melbourne beach. Schedule your visit for the summer months for a chance to see sea turtles laying their eggs during nighttime guided tours along the Canaveral National Coast and inside the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Just a 90-minute drive south of Miami, the Islamorada Oasis, in the Upper Florida Keys, is a Caribbean getaway that includes snorkeling on coral reefs and deep-sea sport fishing. When you stay at the Hawks Cay Resort, in neighboring Marathon, you can leave directly from the property's docks for excursions and stay in private vacation villas with all the comforts of home.
The sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the fine sand, plus many ways to enjoy nature from the beach, make the Destin-Fort Walton Beach area attractive to spend a few days outside. You can dive along artificial shipwrecks on the Florida Panhandle Wreck Trail or bike the 8.1-mile paved route of the Blackwater Heritage State Trail through habitats with excellent birdwatching. Panama City Beach may be known as a spring break destination, but it's an attractive getaway all year round. Its beaches reach their maximum beauty in St.
Andrews State Park, where you can watch birds, ride bikes to explore, or board a passenger boat to Shell Island, a barrier island off the coast. For an authentic experience in old Florida and to try some of the best fish and seafood in the state, plan a weekend getaway to the picturesque village of Cedar Key, on the Gulf Coast. On this group of islands off the Gulf of Mexico, commercial fishing is still a way of life, and flip flops are as stylish as resort wear. Cedar Key's clam chowder, mullet sauce, and oysters are some of the local seafood specialties you can try.
When it comes to accommodation, there are a few small inns and hotels, as well as atmospheric vacation rentals perched on stilts at the water's edge. With a compact, walkable center, 17th-century San Marcos Castle, and miles of golden beaches perfect for beginner surfers, St. Augustine mixes history and fun under the Florida sun. Stay in town at the historic Casa Monica Resort & Spa or stay about 30 miles north along the coast at The Ponte Vedra Inn and Club and head to St.
Augustine: a day trip to the beach. Lake County, in Central Florida, is filled with beautiful freshwater lakes and is home to some of the best places in Florida for birdwatching. Turn it into the historic lakefront city of Mt. Dora, 30 miles northwest of Orlando, is your base and spend the day buying antiques, taking seaplane trips to see the lakes from above, and picking juicy citrus fruits from local farms during the orange and grapefruit season.
Fort Pierce, home to one of the best weekend farmers markets in Florida, held every Saturday morning along the Intracoastal Waterway, and a marina full of charter fishing boats, is a Florida surprise. The compact and historic city center is home to buildings A, E. The Backus Gallery and Museum, dedicated to Florida-inspired art, the Manatee Observation and Education Center, and the Sailfish Brewing Company, with beers made with local ingredients. The Martin County stretch of coastline along South Hutchinson Island, which is easy to overlook when you don't know, has some of the most picturesque and least crowded beaches in Florida, loved by kitesurfers and sunbathers alike.
Towns like Stuart, Jensen Beach, and Hobe Sound are full of places that locals like to keep to themselves, including the unusual limestone beach at Blowing Rocks Preserve, where rare sea turtles and loggers come ashore to nest. The city of Everglades has seen a lot. And you can see a lot if you use it as a base to explore this wild, humid corner of Florida. It's a small town at the end of the road surrounded by national and state parks in every direction.
We've stayed at both the historic Rod and Gun Club in the Everglades and at The Ivey House eco resort, which organizes many kayaking and other excursions. We went to Venice to bike the Legacy Trail, one of the best paved trails in Florida. But we discovered much more to do here. Our walk took us through Oscar Scherer State Park, which is a gem and a great place to camp.
On that visit, we stayed on an unspoiled barrier island, Casey Key, and enjoyed searching for shark teeth on the beautiful beaches of Venice. All ads that appear on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Condé Nast Traveler does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The information published by Condé Nast Traveler is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting a health professional. Beaches, outdoor activities, indoor activities, and family-friendly restaurants make Jacksonville a great weekend getaway for families. We ate well, drank well, biked in both directions, stopped at the Oakland Nature Reserve, and toured the downtown museums. With the bustling urban beaches and outdoor bars, volleyball games, and vibrant energy offered by quiet undeveloped island beaches and everything in between, you'll want to pack enough sunscreen (and a boogie board) for your weekend in St.
It awaits you when you spend the weekend in Tampa, a stone's throw from the glorious Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida. If you like history and nature, you'll find more there than you can do on a weekend getaway. I've compiled the 10 best weekend getaways in Florida, whether you want to sit on the beach, go on adventures, explore its history and hear ghost stories, or watch some transvestite shows and go to the gay beach (yes, Florida, I said gay). Although Miami is the second most populated city in Florida after Jacksonville, it's not very big: at just 36 square miles, it's easy to enjoy the best of Miami in just one weekend.
A lot can be said about the Sunshine State, but there's no denying its appeal as a year-round destination for a weekend getaway or, if you can, for something longer. Enjoy a historic getaway to Central Florida about two hours south of Orlando, in the picturesque town of Sebring. For a Florida getaway that combines world-class art with spectacular beaches around small towns, Sarasota is the ideal place. The Florida Keys and Key West can be the weekend getaway in Florida that connects you to what is a true vacation in this state.