The Best Florida Vacations We Took This Year (and They’re All Within a Few Hours’ Drive of Miami)
Whether you’re planning a last-minute getaway or a serious vacation five months out, you don’t have to jet across the globe to get away from it all. In fact, you don’t even have to look much farther than your own backyard. (Well, sort of.) Here, the best Florida vacation spots we can’t get enough of.
TripAdvisor named Key West the number-one city to visit in 2018. So yeah, catch us perusing colorful pastel-painted beach houses, hanging at Ernest Hemingway’s historic home and drinking our way through the rowdy bars of Duval Street. Don’t judge us for overindulging in some freshly caught seafood and zesty key lime pie, either. Even though we’ve been here before, we always manage to find something new to explore.
It may be just two hours from Miami, but the upscale resort town on the Gulf of Mexico feels like another world entirely. From serene beaches to top-notch dining to some of the most gorgeous sunsets we’ve ever seen, Naples has everything you need for the ultimate weekend getaway. If you go, make it a point to visit the Naples Pier, which offers striking views of the ocean, and pop into Jane’s Garden Café on 3rd for a mimosa, gluten-free avocado toast and a stack of sweet pancakes.
St. Pete is Florida’s most underrated gem. It’s got all the fixings for an epic escape from Miami (think gorgeous beaches, cooler weather, stellar restaurants and top-notch art museums). Plus, downtown St. Petersburg is less than ten miles from St. Pete Beach. But because there’s virtually no traffic in the area, the drive is just under 15 minutes. That means you get to experience the excitement of downtown but squeeze in a few hours a day on the sand too.
With more than 22 miles of quiet beaches, tons of local art and a blossoming food scene, there’s a good chance we just found your new favorite Florida town. As one of the largest cities in the continental U.S., it has a host of places to explore, from funky arts districts, museums and state parks to craft breweries and restaurants. The only downside is it’ll require about five hours in a car—but don’t worry, once you get there, it’ll totally be worth the drive.
We get it: You don’t have enough time to actually leave town for a vacation, but you’re still in need of a little rest and relaxation. So why not take a quick visit to South Beach? Hear us out: We can barely deal with driving near Lincoln Road either, let alone finding a parking spot and attempting to wade through the mobs of tourists. But what if you could avoid all that and still enjoy the best of Miami Beach? We’re talking indulgent brunches and unbelievable spa treatments—resulting in a downright blissful day away from the worst of the crowds.